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Topical - Effective Christian Living (Petrine)

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Effective Christian Living

The Letters of Peter                September 15, 2002

 

Scripture Reading: 1Peter 2:13-3:22; 5:1-7

Introduction:

Provide connection between the message of Christ in the beatitudes about a new way of spiritual living in submission - to - the message of Peter about how this works out in practicality.

We have been learning in Peter's letters that that people of God must make a difference in the world by their new way of life in Christ.

          - Our new way of life must be different from the world (different living).

          - Our new way of life must identify with God (godly living).

          - Our new way of life must remember the future (future living).

And now we come down to the most practical application of all this.

          - Our new way of life must have present effect (effective living). 

Notice the transition between 1Peter 2:12 and 13. We move from an exhortation to live good lives among the pagans so they can see our good deeds and give glory to God to an entire section exhorting us to live in an attitude or lifestyle of submission because of God.

Big Question:

How can our new lives in Christ have practical present effect to those around us?

I.       We must live our lives in Christian submission to government.

          A.      Narrative (1Peter 2:13-17):

 

          One of the main features of the way that the people of God live in differently from their old way - from the way of the world - is in the area of submission.

Old attitudes of independence, resistance and rebellion are resistant to change and are one of the most telling features that identify and affirm whether the people of God indeed are genuine.

Submission begins with submitting to God (2:13) and he seems to be requiring it as a lifestyle change originating in a proper relationship to him and flowing on down from there.

A person without visible submission to earthly authority has never fully submitted to God since God is the one who instituted all earthly authority for our good (2:14).

Being a servant of God (being God's people) means respecting all people whether it is the Christian brotherhood, the government, or the Person of God himself (2:17).

Those in the world around us will find it hard to disrespect us as the people of God if we respect others (2:15).

There is the sense in which the people of God are free to submit to other proper authority since they have first submitted to God (2:16) because they are first of all in his care.

          B.      Implication

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

II.      We must live our lives in Christian submission to employers.

          A.      Narrative (1Peter 2:18-25):

 

Even slaves are called to submit (2:18) and even under harsh conditions because of their greater personal calling to serve God's purposes in the world (2:19-21).

          B.      Implication

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

III.    We must live our lives in Christian submission to husbands.

          A.      Narrative (1Peter 3:1-6):

 

And neither does Peter forget the marital relationship as an example in the world of mutual submission of which the world is bound to take notice.

Wives are to submit even to unbelieving husbands in order to win them to Christ (3:1-2) without words by their behavior.

Indeed, submission to God is a beautiful thing (3:3-6).

          B.      Implication

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

IV.    We must live our lives in Christian submission to wives.

 

          A.      Narrative (1Peter 3:7):

 

And husbands too must have a proper attitude toward their wives (3:7).

It is the broad sweep of the Christian's life, whatever his station in life, that will make a difference in the world.

          B.      Implication

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

V.      We must live our lives in Christian submission to others.

 

          A.      Narrative (1Peter 3:8-22):

 

But there is also another way of submission that Peter addresses since this is also vital to the witness of God's people in the world.

We must get along with each other in the church (3:8) if we expect to invite others to faith in Christ and ultimately into the church, much less keep the church together in the face of the world.

Giving blessings in the spirit of sympathy and compassion also receives blessings (3:9).

When people struggle to exalt themselves there is disharmony, but when people exalt the Lord (3:15) with a proper attitude they have maximum influence on those who oppose them inside the church or out.

The behavior of God's people should be good enough to ultimately shame any evil brought against them (3:16).

God will deal with evil in his own time and way (3:12).

The way the people of God are to deal with evil is not directly in kind (3:9) but by the influence of good (3:10-12).

If our behavior is right we can live in confidence above fear (3:13-14).

In a sense, this becomes our answer to the world (3:15) because we live above it (3:16) by being conscious of Christ (3:18).

The witness of Christ through Noah to a dying world is a picture of his witness through us to our dying world (3:19-20), but we can be confident of our own salvation (3:21) even as Noah was confident of his because all things are in subjection to Christ (3:22).

          B.      Implication

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

 

 

VI.    We must live our lives in Christian submission to church leadership.

 

          A.      Narrative (1Peter 5:1-7):

 

          Continuing the theme of submission in the church to church leadership, Peter appeals to the generation gap by calling elders to submit to God in his call to them as shepherds of the flock (5:1-4).

This submission is to take the form of willingness, generosity, service and humility as examples to the flock.

Elders are to reject tendencies to laziness, greed and pride in order to please Christ (5:4).

Submission to church leadership begins with the submission of church leadership.

Concerning the other end of the generation gap, Peter appeals to the young men to likewise be submissively humble toward the elders by trusting in God's maturing process (5:5-6) lest the devil get a foothold in the door of the church (5:8-9).

The church and its submission through all its members to Christ is his primary witness of his presence in the world.

          B.      Implication

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

 

Conclusion:

Big Answer:

How can our new lives in Christ have practical present effect to those around us?

We must live in Christian submission to government, to employers, to spouses, to others, and to church leadership.

Timeless Truth:

A submissive lifestyle speaks to others about our submission to God. It may be the best wordless witness we will ever have. The opposite attitude to submission is pride, and we know what God thinks about that – it comes before a fall.

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