Great Reasons for Godly Living
1 Peter 2:11-17
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Dec. 23, 2012
*When I bump into people I haven’t seen for a while, sometimes they ask: “How’s the world treating you?” -- But as we look at this Scripture tonight, a better question for us is: “How are we treating our world?”
*God wants us to live Christ-like lives in this world. And in these verses, Peter gives us some great reasons for Godly living.
1. The first reason to live a Godly life is because we are headed to Heaven.
*Peter reminds us of this great truth in vs. 11, where he says: “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.”
*Christians: Peter is urging us here to remember that we are different, so he appeals to us as “sojourners” or “strangers” in the KJV and “pilgrims.”
-We are “pilgrims” because this world is not our home. We are just passing through! We are on our way to Heaven, and that’s our real home.
*Christians: We are all “pilgrims!” -- But Peter also calls us “strangers” because as believers, we are already citizens of Heaven. From God’s point of view this is both a literal and legal reality.
*Though I have never been more concerned about the direction of our nation, I am hugely grateful to be a citizen of the United States. But as believers we hold dual citizenship. Right now we are citizens of Heaven. And that’s where our first loyalty lies, because it never could have happened without the cross of Jesus Christ.
*The Apostle Paul tells us about this great truth in Ephesians 2:12-19. Here Paul was speaking about the power of the cross. He was speaking to Gentile believers like us and said:
12. . . At that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
13. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ.
14. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of division between us,
15. having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,
16. and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
17. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.
18. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
19. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
*Christians: By the blood of Jesus Christ, right now we are citizens of Heaven.
*We are different. And so, we ought to live in a different way. In vs. 11, Peter says: “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.”
*Certainly he was talking about sexual sins. But Peter was talking about much more than that, because they had a broader understanding of fleshly lusts than we have today. It would have included all of the things Peter talked about up in vs. 1: malice, guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking.
*Peter’s understanding of fleshly lusts would have included all of these things and more. So we ought to live in a different way, a Godly way, a Christ-like way. And why? -- Because we are headed to Heaven. It never hurts to focus on the fact that we are on our way home to Heaven.
*The Apostle Paul surely kept his focus on Heaven. In 2 Cor 5:1-8, Paul said this to fellow Christians:
1. For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,
3. if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.
4. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.
5. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.
7. For we walk by faith, not by sight.
8. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
*Here Paul began by telling us that our earthly body is just a tabernacle or tent, not that there’s anything wrong with tents. Lots of people like to go camping in tents. And that’s a neat thing to do.
*One of the best trips Mary and I ever took was in a tent. It was in the summer of 1976, and we went all the way from Florida to Canada, sleeping in a pup tent. We had a blast. But we also learned that tents aren’t too strong.
*One night we camped in a valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and we got caught in an awesome thunderstorm that lasted all night long. Man did we get wet! And I was afraid we were going to wind up floating in the Atlantic Ocean.
*Tents are not too substantial. And our earthly home is just a tent. But 2 Cor 5:1 reminds us that “we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” And it always helps to focus on the fact that we are on our way home to Heaven.
*In his book “Mere Christianity,” C. S. Lewis wrote, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.
*The apostles themselves, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English evangelicals who abolished the slave trade, all left their mark on earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with heaven.
*It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” (1)
*We should live Godly lives, because we are headed to Heaven.
2. But also because we can bring glory to God.
*This is Peter’s message to us in vs. 12, but we have to understand that Peter wrote this letter to Jewish Christians scattered around the Roman Empire. And the Gentiles he mentions in vs. 12 are unbelieving Gentiles. So Peter said that these Jewish Christians should be “having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
*The day of visitation is coming. That’s the Day of Christ’s return. And it is on the way! What a day of glory that will be! We can’t begin to imagine how glorious our Lord will be. But the Apostle John gives us a hint in Revelation 1:9-18.
*There the Apostle wrote:
9. I, John, both your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
10. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,
11. saying, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,'' and, "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.''
12. Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,
13. and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
14. His head and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;
15. His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;
16. He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
17. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.
18. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”
*Jesus Christ is glorious beyond compare! -- But here is another awesome truth: You and I can bring more glory to God on that day!
*How can we do it? -- Peter tells us in vs. 12, that it’s by living that different life. Again in vs. 12, Peter said that we should be “having (our) conduct honorable among the (unbelievers), that when they speak against (us) as evildoers, they may, by (our) good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
*I disagree with almost everything Jimmy Carter did when he was President (and most of what he has said since then). But President Carter and his wife Rosalynn have done good work with “Habitat for Humanity.”
*One time a man stopped his car in front of a house that Jimmy & Rosalynn helped to build. A little boy was standing in the front yard, probably 5 or 6 years old. The little boy ran out, put his hands on the side of the car, and said, “Man, you sure got a pretty car.” The man in the car replied, “Well, you sure got a pretty house. Which one of these houses is yours?” -- The little boy proudly answered, “That one.”
*Then the man asked the little boy this question: “Young man, who built your house?” He thought the boy was going to say, “President Jimmy Carter built my house.” But, instead, the little boy gave a big smile and said, “Jesus built my house!” (2)
*We should live Godly lives, because we can bring glory to God.
3. But also because we are servants of our Savior.
*Peter has a lot to say to us in vs. 13-17, but the heart of it is in vs. 16, where he tells Christians that we should live “as free, yet not using your liberty as a cloak for vice, but as servants of God.”
*Christians: We are servants of God, and this should affect every area of our life.
 In vs. 13-15, being a servant of God affects how we relate to the law.
13. Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme,
14. or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.
15. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men
*Verse 15 makes it clear that Peter is talking about us obeying good laws. As believers, God wants us to be good citizens. He wants us to obey the law. But when Peter says that we should obey every law in vs. 13, he understands that no man-made law is above God’s law.
*In fact, this same Peter told the supreme court of Israel that He wasn’t going to quit speaking out about Jesus, no matter what they commanded. In Acts 4:9-12, Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said this to those religious leaders:
9. “If we this day are judged for a good deed done to the helpless man, by what means he has been made well,
10. let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.
11. This is the `stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.'
12. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
*Just a few verses later in Acts 4:19-20, Peter and John were commanded to stop speaking out about Jesus.
19. But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.
20. “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.''
*No man-made law is above God’s law. But sometimes obeying even good laws can be a challenge.
*On Oct. 14, 1994, Southern Baptist missionary Stanley Stamps was put to the test. That night he was driving down a road in Honduras, when he hit a man who staggered into the path of his car. There was no way to stop or swerve in time.
*The old man's body was sprawled in the middle of the highway. Stunned, Stanley got out of his car. The man was dead. The car was badly dented and the windshield pushed in. The last two passing vehicles had ignored Stanley’s appeals for help. It was late and the highway was abandoned. What was he to do?
*Many in Honduras would have driven on, and the newspapers would have reported yet another hit-and-run death. A driver could be killed by infuriated family or neighbors, especially if he was a foreigner. It was considered a family's obligation to get revenge.
*Stanley fought the urge to run, and suddenly, he felt calm. He knew the Lord was beside him. And he knew he had to report the accident. He drove to the police station, and the officer on duty was reading a Bible. That officer was the first of many to help Stanley and the dead man’s family. Someone even helped with the burial expenses. And they found out that the accident was not Stanley’ fault.
*But what impressed people the most was that Stanley had turned himself in to the police. They knew that most people would have driven away from the accident. And the fact he had done the right thing said a lot to them about faith in Jesus Christ. (3)
*Being God’s servant affects how we relate to the law.
 And how we relate to the lost.
*Again in vs. 15: “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” The Lord God wants foolish men to wake-up to the truth. And we can help them do it!
-Being God’s servant affects how we relate to the lost.
 And how we relate to our liberty.
*We see this truth in verse 16, where Peter tells us that we are to live “as free, yet not using your liberty as a cloak for vice, but as servants of God.” In Jesus we are truly free. But Peter says that we must not use our freedom as a license to misbehave.
-Being God’s servant affects how we relate to our liberty.
 And how we relate to life itself.
*We see this truth in vs. 17, where Peter tells us to: “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” This verse touches all of our relationships in life, so being a Christian should affect our whole outlook. It should touch every part of our life, with the potential of touching our whole world.
*I’ve always had a thing for maps and globes. One time I rescued a globe from the trash at a friend’s house. I hung it from ceiling in my office with fishing line, and it stayed there for years
*Once I read about another globe. This one was given to a little boy, and he really liked that globe. He especially liked the fact that it had a light in it, because it glowed in the dark.
*The boy liked to use it as a night light in his bed room. But one night his parents were talking about some point of geography. And one of them remembered the globe in their son’s room. Dad went to get the globe, quietly tiptoeing into his son’s room and unplugging it.
*Just as he was almost out of the room, his son called out in a sleepy voice: “Daddy what are you doing with my world?” (4)
*The Lord could ask the same question to every single one of us: “What are you doing with My world?”
*God wants us to live Godly, Christ-like lives. And we should.
-Let’s ask the Lord to help us as we go to God in prayer.
(1) C.S. Lewis, “Mere Christianity,” “Christian Behavior” - SermonCentral illustration contributed by Mark Brunner
(2) David Holwick illustration #2224 - CATEGORY: Good Deeds, Charity, Help Others, Jimmy Carter, Habitat for Humanity - TEXT: Matt 5:16, 2 Th 2:17, 1 Tim 2:10, 1 Tim 5:10,25, 1 Tim 6:17-19, Heb 10:24, 1 Pet 2:12 - Number: 2224 - SOURCE: Dynamic Preaching Disk, Spring 1992 "A" - TITLE: “He Is Who He Says He Is” - DATE: 4192 - ENTERED: 9992)
(3) Sermon “Shut Their Mouths” by David T. Holwick - First Baptist Church, Ledgewood, NJ - 1 Peter 2:11-12, 15 - 06011997 - illustration #3513
(4) “God’s Little Devotion Book for Dads” - p. 107