In this sermon Peter explore the new way of life that we have been redeemed into through Jesus Christ. As the children of God we find ourselves as foreigners in the culture that surrounds us and drawn to a new way of living.
We are continuing our series in Peter and I’m sure like me you will be challenged by today’s passage of scripture. Firstly some background.
As Christians, we believe in two main things that unite all humans: first, that we are all created in the image of God and worthy of dignity and respect, and secondly, that we are all sinners, rebels against a holy God, out of step with His design for us and in need of salvation.
Perhaps you don’t agree with either of these statements. This would not surprise me.
I have numerous friends and acquaintances who would conclude in relation to the first statement
Actually we are not made in the image of God because there is no God and we are basically created by chance and a series of random events that evolved us into who we are.
In relation to the second statement interestingly they would conclude that we are all basically good and would say as I saw quoted recently “The greatest error of a man is to think that he is weak by nature and evil by nature. Every man is divine and strong in his real nature.”
One set of statements acknowledges the one true God and the sinfulness of mankind whilst the second set puts self above God , creates a Divine being namely man and says that he is basically made in his own image and is basically good.
As I reflected on this recently I was reminded of one of the most powerful stories I have ever heard regarding the fact that we are all sinners.It was something I heard in a Tim Keller sermon.
In 1983, Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes interviewed a man named Yehiel [You He] De-Nur, a survivor of Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp.
Twenty-two years earlier, in 1961, De-Nur had testified at the trial of Adolf Eichmann, one of the men primarily responsible for the holocaust. When De-Nur had entered the courtroom to testify against Eichmann, he had started to sob uncontrollably before collapsing. The judge had to restore order in the court after the commotion that ensued.
In the 60 Minutes interview, Wallace asked De-Nur what he had been feeling there in the court. Was it post-traumatic stress? Rage? Trauma which overcame him?
De-Nur answered by saying that when he walked in and saw Eichmann, he suddenly realized that he was no demon. He was not a superman either. He was an ordinary human being, exactly like De-Nur. And suddenly De-Nur became terrified about himself. He told Wallace that he realized that he was capable of doing the exact same things as Eichmann
I wonder whether you were ever involved in World War Loos.
This picture was taken on the 4th April 2020
I had just achieved an amazing feat. I had captured the only remaining toilet paper in a Supermarket in Top Ryde and was returning home to the northern Beaches triumphant.
This was Tim Giovanelli and a friend celebrating the same sort of achievement
Sadly Pictures like the next one were more common place amongst our fellow human beings.
Pictures of fights between shoppers.
People were actually charged over fighting for toilet paper.
Of course, not you or I but other people who were desperate to provide for their families and let underlying rage take them over.
Who would have thought that possible.
Let’s be honest we quickly move from feeling indignation when we see rage in another car driver towards another human being to passionate rage ourselves when someone merges ahead of us on the spit bridge or wherever we are.
Ladies and Gentleman , Brothers and Sisters Without a God perspective we are lost in self-indulgence thinking that we are doing OK and kidding ourselves that we are actually quite good when in reality anger and sinfulness and self-indulgence lie just below the surface.
With this as a backdrop Let me read you our passage for this morning putting it in context with the verses Kirrilie excellently preached on last week.
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”[a]
17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.18 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 ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
This morning for a few minutes I want to remind us of a number of things that will help us build a significant life as we head for Glory.
This will apply whether you are a father , a mother , an aunty, an uncle, single ,divorced etc etc etc.
This is a message for everyone and has eternal consequences.
So 4 reminders FOR US
1] Firstly I want to remind us that We are not Ignorant
We are not ignorant
I want to show you a humorous video
I have good news for you this morning if you are a believer in Christ.
You are no longer ignorant.
You know the ultimate secret. Your eyes have been opened to reality.
2 Corinthians 4v 4 “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.But God, v 6 who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.’
If you are a Christian this morning you have God’s Glory shining in you and through you.
You know the truth. You know the God who made you, You know the saviour who saved you . You know the Holy Spirit who keeps you.
You are no longer ignorant.
You walk with God now .
You live for God now.
For billions around the world the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1 v18 “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Waking up to the reality of who God is amazing.
Knowing What Jesus sacrifice means.
Knowing the God of the Universe as a friend.
Knowing you are going to live forever with the most glorious and wonderful person.
You know that your Life has purpose, It’s not empty. It’s not Random.
You and I are not just some random result of life coming together from one cell which was formed out of the chaos and disorder of the primordial soup which just happened to exist. Or that there was a superdense ball of matter that exploded and out of that Big Bang the order of the Universe came into being with No God to be seen.
The truth is In the beginning God.
And God formed you and He formed me and gave us a soul that will last forever.
You and I are not ignorant of these facts.
This is amazing news but can I remind you it’s also challenging news
Here is the challenge
You are not ignorant so don’t waste your life!!!!
How could you waste your life?
Well Live for yourself.
Live an ungodly Life
Live in the Fear of Men and not the fear of God
Put other Gods before the one true God like pleasure and money and power.
Live devoted largely to self and not to God and Others.
This is what God would say to you and I this morning
And JESUS answered, s“You shall love the Lord your God with all your
Heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and tyour neigbor as yourself.”
Am I doing that? God help me.I don’t want to live distracted. I want to live for you . Devoted to You.I want to be a worshipper of God and a deliverer of men and women.
John Piper in his provocative book entitled “Don’t waste your life”which I have been reading says
“If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full”
Church you are not Ignorant.
Hallajuhah . The secret of the Universe has been revealed to you . You have found priceless buried treasure. Take advantage of it and live accordingly
2] So Firstly WE are not Ignorant’
Secondly We are Foreigners
The comedian in our video knew he was living as a foreigner in the USA from China.
He knew he was different . The culture was not his.
I have always been incredibly challenged by these verses
Romans 1 The Message Paul writing under the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit
1 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
2 Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
A mature person is focused on pleasing God not on pleasing men and women and fitting into the culture around you.
Jesus said You are in the world but not of it. In the world but not of it.
Christian there are times you are not going to be liked because you serve the Master not Men.
Peter gives us 2 motivations to live like this which we will cover in a moment.
For now I want to challenge You and I want to challenge me.
Here’s THE THING
“If you never feel like you are a foreigner on the earth than there is something wrong.”
Be careful when everyone speaks well of you.
Luke 6 v 26 “Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
If you feel totally at home in the culture and society you live in it may be time to ask yourself some questions.
Do you know where I feel most deeply at home .
Worshipping with my sisters and brothers.
Praying in my connect group . Discussing how we are going to impact our world for Christ.
Do you know where I don’t feel at home? Around people who are harsh with each other, Around politicians who lie, Around crude humour, Around arrogance, Around abuse, Around fathers who ridicule their children and husbands who denigrate their wives. Around children who don’t honour their father and mother. Around people who shape their values with no reference to the God who made them in His image.
I don’t feel at home around injustice, I don’t feel at home around self centredness and selfishness, I don’t feel at home around inequality.I don’t feel at home around violence and unrighteous anger.
Be careful if you feel at home when you shouldn’t. Don’t become so well adjusted to the culture around you that you fit into it without even thinking.
Church we should be thinkers. It’s so easy to get sucked into opinions when they have no basis of truth. Don’t just accept a narrative that sells papers or comes from the mouth of an uninformed influencer. You have a personal connection with the greatest influencer who exists. The God of the Universe.
Speak with Him. Ask his opinion.
Perhaps you just need to say
Lord I think I am I living more like a non thinking cultural complier and less like a foreigner. Lord help me. What adjustments should I make.
Please pin point any area where I need to change. Go will help you and he will help me
Remember Jesus he said I don’t take you out of this world. Jesus wants you to be in this world living for him.
So We are not Ignorant.
We are foreigners
Are you with me?
Third thing which we help us to live rights is to remember that
3] We live in reverent fear
The scripture we read states Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.
The bible talks much about the fear of the Lord as well as it does the love of the Lord
It is important that if you are to grow as a Christian that you don’t just embrace truth that you like and are familiar with but that also embrace truth that will ultimately challenge you to live counter culturally and will cultivate purity.
Here’s a question for us. Why should we live in the fear of the Lord.
Well Peter answers that question for us and provides us with 2 amazing motivations which I previously said I would get to .
First motivation We will be Judged
“Since you call on a father who judges , live in Reverent Fear”
I manage a team of school counsellors and every few weeks I need to book in my supervision. My boss says to myself and my colleagues.
Please book in your supervision.
Last Thursday week I booked in supervision. It’s a time for me to ask for help and to receive feedback. As one of my friends always says to me Feedback is a gift. I feel supervision is important for me. It keeps me on track. I have monthly supervision and I have annual reviews. I’m sure many of you would have them as well.They also provide feedback.
Can I say with absolute certainty that there is a day coming when you will receive the ultimate feedback from the Ultimate boss and Judge.
It’s not about keeping you on track because that track will be finished. It’s not monthly supervision or even you annual review it’s the ultimate review.
You won’t book it in.
He has already booked it in for you.
It will either be at the time of your death or when he comes again.
On that day you will not be asking question about your performance or offering excuses. Further He will not be giving generalised feedback to a group of you.
This will not be under 8’s soccer at the end of the came when the coach says to the boys or girls or both. Well done everybody ,You all tried really hard. You did your best and that’s all we can ask.Sure we lost 20 nil but we don’t count the score. We are all winners.
Brothers and Sisters
This is you and me staring into the burning eyes of Christ on our own.
On that day an assessment will be made.
Perhaps you have no real knowledge of this. Ignorance will not help you here. It will happen and I want to help you to know what awaits.
This assessment is not about your salvation it’s really about a judgement concerning how you lived your life as a Christianand what reward you will receive.
2 Corinthians 5:10 says for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, either good or bad. When we pass from these bodies, to the world beyond (and our resurrection bodies), we must each give an account according to what we have done, whether good or bad. That’s exactly what 2 Corinthians 5:10 says.
At the judgment seat of Christ, what we have done or not done, will be judged, but not only that. Also, our motives for what we have done will be judged. Paul presents this in 1 Corinthians 3:12, He makes it clear under the inspiration of the holy Spirit that what we have done and our motive for doing it will be tested by fire and the purifying fire of God will burn up everything that was not of Him.
You and I don’t want to be left with nothing on that day.
I remember preaching once at a wedding.
I was given this rather obscure passage to preach on in the Old Testament and I worked really hard to abstract some marriage advice out of it.
At the end I thought it had gone really well. I was really quite proud of myself that I’d managed to extract such wonderful advice from something so obsure.
I thought that went really well. People were laughing and there was a real buzz.
I went up to the couple after the service and I said. How do you think it all went.
And they said WELL we are having a great time but why did you preach on that passage of scripture . We told you CH 5 v7 not Ch 7 v 5.
OH What a disaster.
I did something that they never asked me to do and I did it largely for myself.
I wonder what you think matters to God.
What’s really going to count on that day?
What’s going to make it on that day?
Is it being in full-time ministry.
Is it being on Christian Platforms?
Is it looking good in front of others.
Look at me Look at Me Look at me .
Do you know what’s going to ultimately Count
Being Obedient to Christ
Being Responsive to Christ
Doing what He asks you to do whatever that may be . Big or very small.
Do you know what’s going to count
Loving God and Loving Others
Being Obedient to Him and Being a Worshipper
It’s fathers day?
Dad’s Be a great dad.
Just one verse to follow
Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
If you do that ,there will be much reward for you.
If you are married Be a loving husband
Love your wife like Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.
If you are a boss a great boss to your employees.
If you are an employee Be a diligent employee.
God see’s the things that no one else sees.
All of us we are called to Love others, To
Extend compassion to the poor, to lift up the broken, To reach out to the lonely and hurting.
In all these areas you are being obedient to Christs command Go into all the world and make disciples.
There is coming a Day, Not supervision ,Not you annual review . This is your Life Review.
On that day you want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21, 23).
God has much reward for you on that day . Don’t waste your life. Live for him , Live in Reverent Fear experiencing His love daily and serving Him with Gladness knowing that a review from the Ultimate Judge Awaits.
So knowing this motivates us but the other thing that motivates us is
Final Point Number 4
4] Knowing We have been bought with the Ultimate Price
The bible says 17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.18 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 ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
God paid the ultimate price for your future and my future , His very precious blood. The blood of God’s only son was the only way through for you and I and Jesus for the joy set before Him namely You and I was willing to pour it out.
That Peter is saying should motivate us to live right
Do you know Jesus is the most glorious person.
He is praying everyday for you. Interceding for you that you will be an overcomer in this life.
He is filled with love for you and sings over you with songs of joy daily.
The moment you see him you will be overwhelmed with love and joy and peace. You will be captivated by the man Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom.
HE has given his very body and blood so that one day you will be with him forever.
He died for us so and we now can live for Him with faith and hope in our hearts.
We don’t live for ourselves anymore.
We don’t even live for our families or our loved ones primarily.
We live for Him
He gave the ultimate sacrifice that you and I don’t have to live an empty way of life.
It’s not smells and bells.
It’s not do this, don’t do this, It’s not obey these hundreds of laws
It’s grace ,It’s being filled with the Holy Spirit
It’s beholding him every day and being changed by him.
It’s knowing you are not your own any more.
It’s not about you anymore it’s about Him
It’s living devoted to Him because you know one day you will see Him face to face and you want to hear him say.
Margaret well done good and faithful servant
Robert well done good and faithful servant
Grace well done good and faithful servant
Church a Few Reminders this morning
1] We are not Ignorant
2] We are Foreigners
3] We live in Reverent Fear and Will be judged.
4] We have been bought with the Ultimate Price
Let’s stand and worship Him with ALL OUR HEARTS