How Should We Live?
1 Peter 1:10-25
Grayson Baptist Church - Nov. 4, 2012
*Any Christian who is paying attention knows that our society has descended into darkness over the last fifty years. We need to understand that our rational world has been turned upside down by postmodernism, moral relativism and political correctness.
*As incredible as it may seem, Michael Duduit explains: “We live in a culture that increasingly rejects the very notion of truth. Those with a postmodern worldview say Christianity is simply one truth among many other truths. There is no objective meaning, and truth is simply what we want it to be for our own purpose...”
*Michael Duduit also asked, “Are those who don’t believe in truth more likely to lie, steal, cut corners, or do whatever they think necessary to advance their own agendas? Those who think truth is simply an act of power are more likely to use their own power to suppress opposition and enforce their own will. And when everything becomes subjective, moral principles are abandoned.
*As Gene Veith has observed, ‘Other people – even spouses and children – are valued only for what they can contribute to my pleasure.’ There is now little or no social sanction on the successful businessmen who abandons his wife and kids to take on a trophy wife – after all, who’s to say he is wrong? In an absence of moral standards, how do you even define ‘wrong’?” (1)
*Our society has descended into the moral chaos we find in the Old Testament book of Judges. There God’s Word described the situation by twice saying: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6 and 21:25)
*That’s how the world is living. But how should we live? As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, how should we live? -- God’s Word shows us these verses.
1. First Christians: Live with the Lord’s hope.
 As believers we have the only real hope in this world. And notice that having this hope is a great privilege.
*This is Peter’s message to us in vs. 10-13, where he said:
10. Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
11. searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
12. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven things which angels desire to look into.
13. Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
*The Old Testament prophets could see some things about the hope that would come to us through the gospel of Jesus Christ. They wondered about it, and they wanted to know more about it. They studied and examined the Lord’s prophecies, because they knew that the gospel we have is a million times more precious than all the gold in the world!
*But even though the gospel was precious to them, the gospel didn’t come to them. It came to us! And it is impossible for us to measure how privileged we are to live on the resurrection side of the cross! In vs. 12, Peter tells us that even the angels are interested in understanding what has been given to us.
*We live in a privileged time. And we live in a privileged place.
*Much of the world lives in religious or political slavery. And most of the world is deceived into believing pathetic, ungodly lies. But we have been graced to live in a place where we can freely hear the gospel. And we know that no one can save us but Jesus.
*Someone once said, “There are many religions in the world, but only one Savior: Jesus Christ!”
*Max Lucado once explained the truth this way: “Don’t believe in you; you can’t save you. And don’t believe in others; they can’t save you. . . Some historians clump Christ with Moses, Muhammad, Confucius, and other spiritual leaders. But Jesus refuses to share the page. He declares, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me’ (John 14:6). . .
*Many recoil at such definitiveness. John 14:6 sounds primitive in this era of broad bands and broad minds. . . This is the day of inclusion. All roads lead to heaven, right? But can they? Can all approaches to God be correct?
-Islam says Jesus was not crucified. Christians say he was. Both can’t be right.
-Judaism refuses the claim of Christ as the Messiah. Christians accept it. Someone’s making a mistake.
-Buddhists look toward Nirvana, to be achieved after multiple reincarnations. Christians believe in one life, one death, and an eternity of enjoying God. Doesn’t one view exclude the other? Somebody is wrong. . .
*Most supremely, every non-Christian religion says, ‘You can save you.’ Jesus says, ‘My death on the cross saves you. . .’
-Christ came, not for the strong, but for the weak.
-Not for the righteous, but for the sinner.
-He offers a unique-to-him invitation in which He works and we trust.
-He dies and we live.
-He invites and we believe.” (2)
*This is the truth and we have it! We have access to the Word of God, and the freedom to study it openly. -- Thank God!
*The hope we have is a great privilege.
 And it comes from a great power.
*In vs. 20&21, Peter stressed the power of God:
20. He (i.e. Jesus) indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
21. who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
*Then in vs. 23-25 Peter stressed the power of the gospel. Here he says that Christians have:
23. . . been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
24. because "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away,
25. but the word of the Lord endures forever.'' Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.
*The Bible is the eternal Word of God that gives us the eternal life of God. And if we believe in God’s Word, it has the power to work in our lives. Paul put it this way in his first letter to Thessalonian church: “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
*Here is the power of God’s Word in our lives:
-We receive spiritual birth through the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23).
-We are washed by the water of God’s Word (Ephesians 5:26).
-We grow from God’s Word like new-born babies grow from their mother’s milk (1 Peter 2:2).
-And we are fed by God’s Word just like our bodies are fed by bread (Matthew 4:4).
*Psalms 119:105 tells us that God’s Word “is a lamp to (our) feet and a light to (our) path.” It keeps us from stumbling, and it shows us which way to go.
*The hope we have is a great privilege. And it comes from a great power. So live with the Lord’s hope.
2. But also live with the Lord’s heart.
*Live with the kind of Christ-like love we see in vs. 22, where Peter said: “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.”
 Notice that this Christ-like love sticks together.
*In the original language there are actually two words for love in this verse. The first is “love of the brethren.” That’s “philadelphia” in the original language, and it means “brotherly love.” Most of you know that this word is where the city in Pennsylvania got its name, and why it is called “The city of brotherly love.”
*Brotherly love is one of the great blessings of being in the family of God. It’s why we can go all over the world and have an instant bond with strangers who belong to Jesus. We’re in the same family! And this brotherly love is the kind of love that helps us forgive and stick together. That’s important because we need each other.
*Evangelist D.L. Moody once visited a leading citizen in Chicago to persuade him to accept Christ. They were seated in the man’s living room. It was winter and coal was burning in the fireplace.
*Turned out that the man was a Christian. But he told Moody that he could be just as good a Christian outside the church as in it. Mr. Moody didn’t say a thing. But he stepped over to the fireplace, took the tongs, picked a blazing coal from the fire and set it off by itself. In silence the two men watched the flame grow cold and almost go out. Then the man simply said: “I see.” (3)
*God wants us to stick together! -- So He gives us this brotherly love for one another in the family of God.
 Christ-like love sticks together. -- And it’s sincere.
*In vs. 22, the KJV calls it “unfeigned” love. It’s not put-on or pretend. It’s the real thing. People need to see the real thing in us!
 Christ-like love is sincere. -- And it’s strong.
*In vs. 22, Peter tells us to “love one another fervently.” That word “love” is a different kind of love. It’s agape love, the strongest love, the same kind of unconditional love that God has for us.
*And Peter tells us to “love one another” with God’s kind of love “fervently.” He is talking about a passionate, intense, deep love, a love that doesn’t waver or quit. And God wants us to have this passionate agape love for each other.
 Christ-like love is strong. And it’s spotless.
*He says that we should love with a “pure heart.” That’s unselfish love. We love with pure motives, not looking out after our own good, but doing good for the ones we love.
*Mike and Lara Wall have a unique love story. They both lost their hearing as babies, and they met in an online chat room for the deaf. At their first face-to-face meeting, they fell in love, and they got married in July of 2001.
*In September of that same year, they set out on a new adventure together: A quest to restore their hearing. Lara and Mike both went through surgery to receive cochlear implants. These amazing machines can help even profoundly deaf people. When their implants were turned on, Mike and Lara turned to each other and said, “I love you.” They wanted those words to be the first words they ever heard. (4)
*People need to hear it from us, and people need to see it in us.
-So, we must live with the Lord’s heart.
3. But also live with the Lord’s holiness.
 Back up in vs. 14-21 Peter gives us three reasons why we should live holy lives. And the first reason is our relationship with God.
*We see this reason in vs. 14-16, where Peter says that we Christians should live:
14. as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
15. but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
16. because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy.''.
*Christians: We are children of God. And He wants us to be obedient children.
 We should live holy lives because of our relationship with God, and because of our responsibility to God.
*We see this reason in vs. 17, where Peter says: “If you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your sojourning here in fear” (i.e. Godly, reverential fear).
*God is an impartial judge of every man’s work, and we are accountable to Him.
*Yes, our sins are washed away.
-We have been saved by grace through faith.
-We have received the gift of everlasting life.
-And our home is being prepared in Heaven.
-But we are still accountable to God.
*Think about it:
-Children are accountable to their parents.
-Students are accountable to their teachers.
-Employees are accountable to their bosses.
-And we are surely accountable to the Almighty God of the Universe.
*The Apostle Paul put it this way in Romans 14:10-12:
10. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11. For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.''
12. So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
 We should live holy lives because of our responsibility to God, and because of our redemption by God.
*In vs. 18&19:
18. knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
19. but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
*Christians: We are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. And it is infinitely more precious than silver and gold, because nothing else can do what the blood has done for us! Jesus Christ’s death on the cross has eternally paid the price for our sins! He paid the price to save our souls.
*Think of the sacrifice. In April of 2008, the Medal of Honor was posthumously awarded to Navy Seal Michael Monsoor. Here is part of what President Bush said to Michael’s family and those gathered at the White House:
*“In September 2006, Michael laid down his life for his brothers in arms. Today, we remember the life of this faithful Navy SEAL. The Medal of Honor is awarded for an act of such courage that no one could rightly be expected to undertake it. Yet those who knew Michael Monsoor were not surprised when he did.
*This son of Orange County, California, grew up in a family where helping others was a way of life. Mike’s father was a Marine; his mother a social worker. Together, they raised their four children to understand the meaning of service and sacrifice. . .
*In some ways, Mike was an unlikely candidate for the Navy. He suffered from terrible asthma as a child. On some nights, his coughing fits would land him in the hospital. But Mike would not lie low for long. He strengthened his lungs by racing his siblings in the swimming pool. . . He worked to wean himself off his inhaler. He built himself into a superb athlete, excelling from sports like football to snowboarding.
*After enlisting in the Navy, he began preparing for the ultimate test of physical endurance: SEAL training. Less than a third of those who begin this training become SEALs. But Mike would not be denied a spot. In Sept. 2004, he earned the right to wear the Navy SEAL trident.
*When Mike deployed with his team to Ramadi in the spring of 2006, he brought that attitude with him. . . The SEALs carried out a broad range of special operations against terrorists and insurgents. Overall, Mike’s platoon came under enemy attack during 75% of their missions. And in most of these engagements, Mike was out front defending his brothers.
*In May 2006, Mike and another SEAL ran into the line of fire to save a wounded teammate. With bullets flying all around them, Mike returned fire with one hand while helping pull the injured man to safety with the other. In a dream about the incident months later, the wounded SEAL saw Mike coming to the rescue with wings on his shoulders.
*On Sept. 29, 2006, Michael Monsoor would make the ultimate sacrifice. Mike and two teammates had taken position on a rooftop when an insurgent grenade bounced off Mike’s chest and landed on the roof. Mike had a clear chance to escape, but he realized that the other two SEALs did not. In that terrible moment, he had two options: to save himself, or to save his friends. For Mike, this was no choice at all. He threw himself onto the grenade, and absorbed the blast with his body.
*One of the survivors puts it this way: ‘Mikey looked death in the face that day and said, “You cannot take my brothers. I will go in their stead.”’” (5)
*That is what Jesus did for us. He took our place. He paid the ultimate price so that we could live forever.
*So, let us live!
-With the Lord’s hope.
-With the Lord’s heart.
-And with the Lord’s holiness.
*Would you please bow for prayer.
(1) Adapted from “Unbelievers prefer relief over truth” article by Michael Duduit, Editor of “Preaching” magazine with quotation from Gene Veith, author of “Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture” - Crossway Books, 1994
(2) Adapted from “WE BELIEVE” by Max Lucado - John 3:16 Sermon #4 from Outreach.com
(3) “The Interpreter’s Bible” - Source: Sermonillustrations.com - Pentecost Part 1 - 05302004
(4) “I Can Hear You” by Marnell Jameson, Woman’s Day, May 14, 2002, pp. 82-86 - Source: “Dynamic Illustrations - OND 2002 - Love)
(5) “Thank You, Michael Monsoor” by Kathryn Jean Lopez - 04082008 - http://corner.nationalreview.com - Also see: michellemalkin.com20080408in-honor-of-michael-monsoor)