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How Then Shall We Live

How Then Shall We Live, 1 Peter 1  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Theologian, evangelist and apologist, Francis Schaeffer wrote a book entitled How Then Shall We Live. This book was originally published in 1976 and in it Schaeffer suggested that
"There is a flow to history and culture. This flow is rooted and has its wellspring in the thoughts of people. People are unique in the inner life of the mind—what they are in their thought world determines how they act. This is true of their value systems and it is true of their creativity. It is true of their corporate actions, such as political decisions, and it is true of their personal lives."
In other words, Schaeffer was saying that how we think determines how we act and live. He was proposing that we have big picture thinkers that should help orient us historically, theologically and ethically towards what God has called us to be.
He states, "This book is written in the hope that this generation may turn from the greatest wickedness, the placing of any created thing in the place of the Creator, and that this generation may get its feet out of the paths of death and may live.”
Although this was penned in 1976, it is still prevalent today. We live in such a time where wickedness abounds. Just pick up a copy of our local paper or just turn on the news and it doesn’t take one long to read or hear about horrendous crimes that are happening all around us. We are guilty indeed of placing created things in the place of the Creator.
The question remains, How then Shall We Live?
Written around AD 64, this incredible book outlines for you and me the answer to this incredible question! It’s author is Peter, the apostle that walked with Jesus, fought for Jesus, yet denied Jesus in a time of difficulty but was restored by Jesus in a beautiful example of what you and I can receive as well.
Listen closely or read along with me as share with you from .
1 Peter 1:1–25 NIV84
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.
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1 Peter 1:1-25
Peter identifies himself as an apostle, one that was sent with a commission. He doesn’t have any other title for himself. He tells his readers that they are strangers in the world, scattered throughout the land. Some translations might have dispersed, just like a farmer disperses his seed on the land. As believers, we are God’s seed.
Matthew 13:38 NIV84
The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one,
Interestingly God plants His seed wherever He chooses. Sometimes this means He will use persecution to scatter the seed, such as mentioned in the Book of Acts concerning the stoning of the great man of faith Stephen:
Acts 8:1 NIV84
And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.
Acts
Acts 11:19 NIV84
Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews.
Verse 2 outlines the plan of salvation: we are chosen by the Father, prompted by the Spirit, and cleansed by the blood of Christ.
Warren Weirsbe writes that “The Father chose you in Christ before the foundation of the world; the Son saved you when He died for you; but it took your surrendering to the Spirit to seal the transaction.
From here, Peter gives us an outline in this first chapter how you and I ought to live then in this hostile world.
Verses 3-12 commands us to Praise our God for a Living Hope.
1 Peter 1:
1 Peter 1:3–12 NIV84
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.
You see, the unsaved person is without hope.
Ephesians 2:12 NIV84
remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
However, as a believer, you and I have a living hope because we have a Living Savior.
Christ is our HOPE!
1 Timothy 1:1 NIV84
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
1 Timothy
We are promised that He is coming again for us and our hope is not something we work for, but something we are given when we are born again!
John 3:5 NIV84
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
It is a living hope and it is also a LASTING HOPE!
1 Peter 1:3-
1 Peter 1:4–5 NIV84
and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
If it can never perish is stays alive!
We have this living hope because it is eternal. Our eternal security is not based on our faith but the faithfulness of our God!
We are reminded of God’s Faithfulness in verse 6
1 Peter 1:6 NIV84
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
1 Peter
We all have had stuff that we have gone through! But it is not permanent!
It is part of a process!
Did you see the time frame there?
A little while!
Even though as a child, you and I might have heard that phrase and it seemed like an eternity before we might be able to carry out that dream or desire, but as we have gotten older, we have a better understanding that a little while is short lived, it is not permanent!
1 Peter 1:7 NIV84
These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:7
Did you catch that?
Your faith is worth more than gold! Your faith is being refined and processed to that it can increase and grow! What happens when your faith grows? Your HOPE grows!
Aren’t you glad that our God does this for us???
A faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted!
Not only should we live in hope, we should live in HOLINESS!
Verse 6 reminds us that this
in verses 13-21, we see the blessed hope we have ought to make us live holy lives!
1 John 1:1–3 NIV84
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
1 John 3:1–3 NIV84
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
1 John 1:1
You and I ought to be different in our lives than those that apart from Christ!
WE can’t have a loose tongue and be holy!
Exodus
We can’t tell coarse jokes and be holy!
Exodus 12:11 NIV84
This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.
We can’t gossip and be holy!
We can’t be one thing on Sunday and something else on Sunday night!
We can’t drive down the road with a Christian bumper sticker on our car then flip off the person that pulls out in front of us!
I must confess that I had to ask for lots of forgiveness this week as I have studied and meditated on this passage!
I have had to pray, “Lord help me live a life of holiness! Help me to be bold enough to make a difference for the kingdom by making my life holy!
1 Peter 1:
1 Peter 1:15–16 NIV84
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Oh my goodness! Are you holy in all you do? What would happen in our church if we ALL were HOLY in ALL we do??
What would happen in our town? What would happen in our community?
What would happen in your life???
Listen, holy does not mean sinless perfection because that is impossible in this life:
1 John 1:
1 John 1:8–10 NIV84
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
Being holy means set apart, separated unto God. If we are the children of God, the apple should not fall far from the tree! In other words, we should be holy because He is Holy!
We should live in holiness because of the sacrifice Christ paid on the cross for us! It was with the perishable things like silver or gold by which we were saved from an empty life! It was through the blood of Christ, the spotless lamb of God! Our gratitude should be us surrendering our all to Him!
1 Corinthians 6:15–20 NIV84
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
We are called to live in hope, we are called to live in holiness, and last, we are called to live in harmony!
1 Corinthians 6:
I was fortunate as a young boy to have both sets of my grandparents until I was about 9 years old. In fact, they lived across the street from each other on Highland Avenue in Harmony, North Carolina. If you have ever been to this little town in North Iredell County, you can see what makes it so unique. It one time was like a little Mayberry....everyone knowing everyone else, the front porch was the community center, the gardens were shared and lives were lived together. Everybody knew everybody.
One of the things that makes our church a great church, is that we live in Harmony! Not in a geographical location, but we are able to come together and live life together. We are able to fellowship (Koininia) together!
The Spirit of God loved us and brought us to Christ, and thus uniting us together in brotherly and sisterly love! Remember when Peter asked Jesus if he loved Him?
John 21:15-
John 21:15–17 NIV84
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
Peter uses two types of the word LOVE in our passage today. One is brotherly love and the other is agape. We are to love others the way that God loves us. How are you doing with that?
We are to practice living in Harmony. When we do so, we are a blessing to the Lord, our church, and to ourselves! Imagine, what would our world be like if every professing Christian obeyed the word of our God and practiced this type of love, we would be living in harmony.
As we close, I can’t help but wonder if you are batting a 1.000, three for three in answering this question, “How then shall we live?”
Are you living in Hope?
Are you living in Holiness?
Are you living in Harmony?
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