A Holy People
Last night we turned the time back an hour. Nice having an extra hour, eh?
For the month of November we are going to be studying 1st and 2nd Peter. Please be reading Peter’s letters daily. That is spending the best part of your day reading God’s Word and praying to Him.
The best time for me is early in the morning. And should I miss which sometimes happens I try and make it up later in the day.
I think by doing this we will not only grow in Christ but also with one another.
I like what Eugene Peterson said regarding Peter whom was an eye witness to the things Jesus said and did. I believe that as Peter grew in the faith he became less in the eyes of man. Yes, he could have become greater and greater; however, by putting his roots down deeper and deeper he became less and less. He who would save his life will loose it and he who looses his life will save it.
Good old Peter knew something about a godly life, a holy life. How did he know this? At times like the rest of us he was very ungodly, anything but holy.
Separating himself from his Gentile brothers is one of the times Peter failed. However, instead of focusing on what Peter once was or for that matter what we once were let’s turn our attention to what God is making us into.
1 Peter 1:13-25
13 “So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as “foreigners in the land.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.
21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.
22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.
23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say,
“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
25 But the word of the Lord remains forever.”*
And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.”
How many of you have a PASSPORT?
Your PASSPORT is the most important document you can have on you when traveling internationally. Without it your travels will come to a screeching halt! As important as that document is there is an invisible one that is far more important. Do you know what that is? Your citizenship in Christ for although at times you may feel foreign in this world; remember, that because of Christ you belong to a new covenant community.
How many of us consider ourselves savvy shoppers? Some of us clip coupons; go to garage sales, and auctions looking for the bargain.
In Kenneson’s book Life on the Vine he speaks of cultivating love in the midst of market-style exchanges. For example: he writes under obstacles to a life of love, “Living in a culture like ours also encourages Christians to frame their understanding of the faith primarily in terms of self-interest. (What’s in it for me? Plenty! Start with eternal life.) Hence, many people are ‘converted’ less out of their sense that they are estranged from God and other people and their desire to be reconciled, but more out of a sense that they’re savvy consumers, knowing a good deal when they see one. Such people, I suspect, have difficulty understanding some one like Paul, who understood that God’s plans for reconciliation were cosmic in scope. Rather then being consumed with self-interest, Paul was so sorrowful and anguished over Israel’s unbelief that he could wish that he ‘were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people”’ (Rom. 9:3).
What are we saved from? Is our salvation an insurance policy? Is it what’s in it for me kind of thing?
Salvation is what…? Conversion from a life of sin…, deliverance from sin…, freedom from sin…, liberation from sin…!
Romans 3:23 (NLT)
23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Romans 6:23 (NLT)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Does the average person see their salvation as an insurance policy? Or what is in it for me?
I think this is something that we really need to consider!
WE ARE FOREIGNERS …
Peter addresses his readers as foreigners, refugees, and strangers (1 Peter 1:1 and 1:17). Likewise if your citizenship is in Heaven then doesn’t that confirmation feel good? Tozer, writes in The Root of the Righteous, “The masses are always wrong. In every generation the number of the righteous is small. Be sure you are among them.”
Look with me at these following verses and see why we live as foreigners (1 Peter 1:18-21). We live as foreigners in this world because of what Christ has done for us. And each of us who recognize this forms a new covenant community. We are made holy because of what Christ has done. This also sets us apart from this world (foreigners we are) and our holiness begins today and last forever…
Headlines read… “The USA is not a Christian nation instead it is post-Christian!”
However, our foreign citizenship lasts only while we exist in the flesh which by the way is not really all that long. Is life really as short as they say? And if it is as short as they say then how should we so live? Think about it? What if today was to be the last day of your lives; how would you choose to live?
Consider your salvation; that is being saved as in the real deal not some sort of bargaining chip that we have acquired but honestly saved from our sin and truly grateful for that salvation that has come through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I think this is what Peter is getting at that is how to live so that today might be the last day of our lives.
HOW TO PERSEVERE IN LIGHT OF OUR SUFFERINGS…
We do so by living the new life and not going back to the previous way we use to live. Each of us has a testimony a way in which God has brought us from darkness into the light.
Holiness is something we are all striving for: holiness towards God by spending time in his Word and prayer. Both of these seem to be fruitless endeavors because it is hard to see productivity coming from them. However, I assure you that the ultimate source of productivity comes from these two virtues of spending time with God in his Word and prayer. These are the things that good fruit is born from. What plant ever produced fruit that did not have a good root system? Put your roots down deep as the Psalm goes…
Psalm 1:3 (NLT)
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
There are other fruitful ways to live (Galatians 5:22-23). However, putting our roots down deep in Christ is central.
All this got me thinking this week.
WILL I CHOOSE TO LIVE A HOLY LIFE…
All of us to a certain extent want to think of our lives as amounting for something. But the harder we try at this the more we fail. Take a seed for example. You might have the greatest seed in the world. This seed has great potential; however, unless it dies and is buried it will never amount to anything.
WILL YOU CHOOSE TO LIVE A HOLY LIFE…
If you have never died to Christ; today, is the day—repent of your sins and be baptized! As important as your PASSPORT is your invisible identity is what really counts! And if you have already repented and been baptized—dying to self, living as strangers here on earth is a daily happening because we never know when Christ will return or we will die such as the flowers of the field.
Remember that the Word of the Lord stands forever. Thursday I was working in the basement of a house and nearby where I was working were some Bibles. I needed to reach for something above my head and the thought occurred to stand upon that stack of Bibles. I said to Don who I was working with that there are a lot of things I would stand on however I would never stand on the Bible. After saying that Don said something that helped me realized what a dangerous statement that was. By standing on the Bible our roots grow down deep real deep!
This week as I have been trying to let Christ become greater in my life I received a poem from a special friend.
Though it’s been a while since you came
I thought I should write you just the same.
You have no idea how God used you that day
To speak to me in a certain way.
For in your life His glory shown
Of a life that is captured by Him alone.
God used His presence in You for me
To remind me of how my life should be.
Thank you for allowing Him to use you!
Let’s pray. Father, may we become less so that you may become greater. In Jesus name. Amen.