By Josh Petras on September 4, 2022
1 Peter 2:9-12
By Josh Petras on September 4, 2022
1 Peter 2:9-12
So good to sing those truths about our great Savior who loves us and clings to us. Always good to sing about that on Sunday morning. Well, good morning, everyone. It is so good to see you. Welcome to compass Bible Church. If it's your first Sunday, it's mine too. So here we go. I'm really so excited to be part of this church, excited to hear what God has done over eight years here, encouraged to hear about the people have come to know Jesus, people who've grown in their love for Christ. I'm sure you're thanking the Lord and rejoicing in the Lord this morning. I am so glad to be part of this church family. I'm particularly thankful to the pastors for inviting me to be a part of this. And I'm thankful for many of you as well, you have been praying for the Petras family, even though you hadn't met us. Some helped us move in, others brought us dinner, a bunch of you sent me an email even before I had an email address. So, I'm already behind, which is great. It's a great way to start. And it is such a joy. We've already felt the love of this church family. And we know it's because of your love for the Lord, and your love for the Word, and it's just an overflow of that. So, it's so good.
My name is Josh, if we’ve not met yet, my wife's name is Katie, we have three little people that live with us. Their names are Jude, Chloe, and Sophia. And you can come meet us later this afternoon. We'd love to get to know you. At all these events, please come up and introduce yourself. We want to get to know, and I want to try to memorize as many names as possible. So just you know, I'm sure in a week, we'll figure it all out or something like that. Anyway, thankful to be here. Looking forward to it, Lord is going to do it in Long Beach and I’m looking forward to being here and doing church with all of you in the meantime. Let's take our Bibles. It's going to be 1 Peter chapter 2. 1 Peter 2 is going to be our text for this morning. And I know here we stand for the reading of God's Word. So, if you’d please stand, because this is the Word of the living God, who has not left us to guess what he's like, but he's communicated to us who he is. And we'll read from his Word this morning. 1 Peter 2:9-12. The word of God reads,
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
This is God's very word you may be seated. And before we consider this passage, would you pray with me? Let's pray together. Heavenly Father, we praise you and thank you that you have blessed us as your children, with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. There is no good thing you have held back from us. We know you've given us Christ, you've adopted us, redeemed us from our sin. Lord, we pray as we come to hear your word this morning that you would open our eyes to build wonderful things from your word. You'd incline our hearts to obey that we wouldn't be hearers only but doers. You'd help us to focus, Lord, that You would revive our hearts. Help us to see where we fall short. Give us wisdom. Lord, give us a glimpse of your glory. We need to see you and you we ask that you'd help us do that in this passage today. It's in your Son's name we pray. Amen.
Consider if you would, the cultural moment we find ourselves in. Consider this cultural moment. Christians are held in suspicion and in derision. The world does not trust them. The world does not like them. They have become the object of scorn and ridicule. They are blamed for so much of what is wrong in society. And it only seems right to hate and mock them. And in society's mind these Christians have brought this upon themselves. Their view of morality has placed them on the wrong side of history. And even worse, they are insistent on placing their corrupt worldview and imposing it on everyone else. Their self righteous view of ethics is only outdone by the absurdity of their beliefs. As if there's only one right way to live, as if the old there's only one God and that God would come die, or the ridiculous idea of a resurrection. Consider this cultural moment. And as you can probably guess the cultural moment I'm describing is the 60s, not the 1960s. I mean, the first 60s, as in the year A D 60, almost two thousand years ago, because this was the view of Christians, just 30 years after Christ had resurrected, that the Roman Empire did not trust them. The Roman Empire did not like them. This new sect of Judaism, that heralded a resurrected Carpenter, as their king was not to be trusted, because, well, in one sense that people thought they were an atheist. I mean, how could you deny the pantheon of gods that the Romans believed in? In fact, the Christians were so distrusted that it was easy for Emperor Nero to blame them for the Great Fire of Rome in the year 64. And at the time of this letter that Peter writes, while there was no state-sanctioned persecution, Christians were being locked up necessarily in mass. The world had rejected them because their views were just weird. And you call yourselves brothers and sisters? Even partake in flesh and blood of Christ, Christian slaves receive harsher treatment, Christian wives found themselves out of favor with their unconverted husbands. The difficulty, like I said, didn't come from the government, it came from society. That's the historical setting of the letter that you have in your lap right now, First Peter, written by the Apostle Peter. And yet, as I even say that you could notice the similarities to today, as we talk about this on September 4, 2022. We are not under any sort of state-sanctioned persecution, at least not yet. So, this is a later recording, this is September 4, 2022. Large portions of society clearly put themselves against Christianity. I mean, if you look at the news media, the way that people media talk about Christians, why is it that every time there's a megachurch pastor that fails morally, we all hear about it? And the media wants to point out the hypocrisy. Why is it in movies jokes about Christians are not only allowed, they're celebrated and laughed at? Well, we can only help but wonder what would be the response if the same jokes are made towards Islam, or think about the rhetoric of dangerous fundamentalist in recent abortion cases? Well, that's not just something we see in the media, right? You see that socially, you see that at the workplace. If you're a student, you see that at school, it's when you're not invited, or you're the punchline of every joke, because of your holiness. Slander, isolation, social distancing is not a new invention. People have wanted to social distance from Christians for a long time now, because the world finds it strange. That's where we are, friends, you won't be jailed for loving Jesus, you just won't be liked or embraced. And I wonder, as we talk about that today, on our eighth birthday, what your response to that is. Are some of you frustrated by that? Maybe others of you are like fired up, you're ready to mobilize, you know, let's get all political here. Maybe others of you are discouraged, as you're reminded by this, because you know what it's like to show up to Christmas dinner, where you were once warmly received. And now because of your love for Jesus, things are just, they're just difficult. How are we supposed to live in a world that does not want us here?
That is the issue Peter is addressing in this passage. Under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, Peter talks to these Christians living in a society that has rejected them about who they are, and how they are supposed to live. And that's what we will talk about in the passage today. We will talk about who we are as the people of God, and how we are supposed to live in a world that doesn't want us.
It is our birthday. And as you know, birthdays typically happen once a year; we'd all agree to that. Yeah, that's good. Okay, just checking if you're with me here. And birthdays are always time for reflection, right? Because you're a year older and you look back and say what's different about a year ago and how have I grown, and what changes I need to make coming forward? And sometimes people have a midlife crisis on their birthday and go, you know, I don't have that truck yet. Maybe this is the year I get that truck. Or we're not going to have a midlife crisis today. I don't think, no, we're not going to, but we do want to evaluate. That’s why we're calling this sermon Birthday Reflections just to remind ourselves again, who are we as Christians, and how are we supposed to live in this world where we do not relate?
So, I do want you to take notes. I want you to fill in. We'll have two points today. And you'll notice they'll be a couple of descriptions that further talk about what we're going to see in those points. My prayer, as we look at this passage, is that you would be comforted by God's goodness, as we remind you again of the mercy he has shown us, and that you'd be compelled to live zealously in his ways, to walk in a worthy manner of which he has called you. So, let's talk about this. Who are we? And what are we supposed to do? Who are we? Well first this morning I want to talk about is our identity as God's people, our identity as God's people. So, looking at the passage, who are we, Peter says that you are a chosen race. He says, you are a people for his own possession. In 1 Peter 2:10, he says, “you were not a people, but now you are God's people.
If you're a Christian, you know what your most important identity is, you are part of the people of God. You belong to him. So more important than any political affiliation, sports team, you work for, family that you're in, or job that you have, your most important identity in your life is that you belong to Christ, and therefore you belong to the people of God. And not just that you're his people as if you're in that group, but you're his people in that God calls you his. So, God, the God of the universe, claims you. Hebrews 2 says that Jesus Christ is not ashamed to call us brothers. That is what's happening here in first Peter. Now, let's hold our spot here in First Peter, and I want you to go back to Exodus.
Let's go to Exodus chapter 19. So, flip all the way back, go to your left second book of the Bible. Exodus, we'll look at chapter 19. And the reason I go to this is because if you were reading through the Bible, Genesis, and you start in first Peter two, and as you read the phraseology, the rhetoric that Peter is using, he's describing them in this way, you would experience a sort of a biblical déjà vu; you're like, I've heard this before, where have I heard this, this sounds very, very familiar. And where you would have heard this was Exodus 19. See Exodus chapter 19. God, you're familiar with this, has rescued the people of Israel out of Egypt. He's delivered them from bondage to Pharaoh, but he hasn't just delivered them from slavery to him, he's brought them to Mount Sinai, to tell them what the relationship between him and them is going to look like. So next is 19, we get God defining the relationship between himself and his people. And here's what he says Exodus 19:3-6, says, “while Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
What you need to notice is this. God is in the habit, it's part of who he is, of making people his own, of calling people to himself, of having people identify with him and he himself, identifying with them, calling them his people. The transcendent God, the God who rules this universe, who has spoken into existence, who reigns over every molecule is also personal, and intimate, as he purposefully, individually, and corporately, chooses people to identify with him. And we'll say an exodus for now. But the reason why Peter picks up on this language is he's saying this is happening again, this has happened again. Just as God rescued people out of Egypt, not to be autonomous, not to be their own individuals, but he rescued them out of slavery to be with him, so he has through the blood of His Son rescued people out of bondage to sin, not to be their own person, do your own thing, but to be his, to belong to him. He chose them that in first Peter there to secure a chosen race. That were chosen is the Greek word eklektos. It's the word you'd use for choosing. He chose these people to be his. In fact, that is also not only a New Testament idea, go if you want to Deuteronomy 7 that'll be a few chapters, a few books of the Bible to the right, Deuteronomy, chapter 7, again, because God is always God, and God always acts like who he is, this is something we've seen before, where he chooses people. Deuteronomy 7, this is Moses preaching the law, Deuteronomy is awesome because Moses is going to die, he knows he's not going to get to go to the promised land. So, he's just going to preach a lot and then die. It's a good way to go out. But hopefully not in the heat today at four o'clock. But in Deuteronomy, chapter 7, Moses is preaching to the people. He's reminding them who they are. And in Deuteronomy 7:6-8, he tells them who they are. He says, notice again, the similarity, “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” Okay, this text is incredible. Why? Because why does God love Israel? He loves them, not because they deserved it, not because they were bigger, not because they had potential. It just simply says he loves them because he loved them. Why did God choose Israel, he chose them because he chose them. This is God's nature. He chooses people who do not deserve it to be his.
So, let's turn back to First Peter now. So, when it says that you're a chosen race, one of the emphases in this passage is the idea of God's sovereign purposes. That is all over the Bible, that God picks people who do not deserve it to be with him. Ephesians 1:4, I'll have that up on the screen here. It says, “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” So, before we could do anything to earn it, he chose us. And in John 15:16 says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” So, it's one of the things that's being highlighted here, but here in 1 Peter, I think the bigger emphasis is the idea of possession. We are his chosen people, we belong to him, not to ourselves. Let's look at the passage. It says, “you are a chosen race,” then says you are “a holy nation.” Now what does that mean? That we not just us individually but us as a group of Christians, are a holy nation.
Well, holy does have the idea of purity. I was sitting at breakfast of my kids on Friday, and we were talking about 1 Peter 2:9-12. I'm going to run my sermons by them before I run by you guys, so if it works for them, it should work for us but first Peter to and I asked them you know, guys, what is what does it mean to be holy? And you know, my son gave a great answer. But what does it mean God is holy, he goes like, “he is set apart from sin.” Good job, buddy, extra breakfast, you know, all you want. So and what are we supposed to be as holy? Oh, holy means you don't sin. I'm like, Okay. So let me ask you this. In the tabernacle, there's furniture there in the temple. Notice that there are utensils, tongs, right? The tongs are called holy. Does that mean that the tongs never sinned? And he was like, no tongs can't sin, right? What did that mean? Or think about in Exodus when God says, Moses, remove your sandals for the ground is holy. Does that mean that the ground there like had never told a lie? Is that what that saying there? No. Holiness has the idea that it was devoted, that it was set apart. It was set apart for a special purpose; those tongs can be used or anything, you know, helped make your Arnold Palmer on this day and helping the tabernacle the next day. No, those tongs were set apart, devoted. Another word that you could use as consecrated for a higher purpose. That's who we are as God's people. We're set apart from the world but set apart for God. We belong to him. Our lives are not our own. I've said that a couple times already. It's not that we're free to be ourselves. We're free from this old thing we used to be under the dominion, that we would be his and possessed by him. You see that same theme echoed in the next description. It says that you are a people for his own possession. So, I love the language, the Old Testament that he uses of this because the word is like his special treasure. So, some of you have a special treasure at home. Maybe it is a car in the driveway. Maybe it is a trophy that you want in high school that no matter how many times your wife asks you won't throw it out. Maybe it's a family member. You have a special treasure, something you delight in. It says that as God's people, he delights in us. And I don't want to make that in like a sappy way and make God lower. And at the same time, we’re just saying, those he saved are his delight. He loves his people; he bought them with his own blood. If you're a Christian, you're part of God's people that he treasures and loves, cares for and protects, because they're his. And the idea again, is, we're his, we belong to him, not ourselves.
Brothers and sisters, can I ask you, are you living like that? Do you live like your life, your plans, everything you've been given belongs to you? Or that your life belongs to him? Notice what Peter is saying here. He is not saying reach this level. He's saying, hey, you should opt into being a holy nation. You know, there are some benefits. You as a Christian, yeah, you haven't gotten so you should get these extra benefits that you haven't received? No, no. He's saying if you're a Christian, this is who you are. Don't reach this level, you are this. You are a holy nation. You are God's chosen race. You are a people that belong to him. So live like it.
What does that look like? How does that look like to live like it? And how does that shape our identity even further? Well, further shaping our identity, we are his representatives. We are his representatives, that second blank on your outline here, we live as his representatives. And as we belong to him, it says that he has made us a royal priesthood, Exodus language, a kingdom of priests. If you're a Christian, this passage is saying you are part of the priesthood. Just making some of you nervous because you're like, what does that mean? Because other religions have priests! I know some priests wear white collars. Do I need to get a white collar? Are we passing out white collars at the door on the way out? We're not, but if you come Monday, you'll get a t shirt. But what it does mean is you are a priest. What do we mean by that? What we'll think about what priests do not just biblically, but you know, in other religions, what do priests do? Priests are involved in representation. And mediation. Here's what I mean by that. Priests often go to God on behalf of the people. So, you see that in the Old Testament, right, the high priest would go once a year into the Holy of Holies to offer a sacrifice as a representative of the whole nation of Israel, one man representing everybody. And the priest within mediates between God and the people, as they would come to offer sacrifices, as they would come to hear what God is like. That is what we're called to do. Collectively, we have been chosen by God out of the world, so that we might represent him to the world and tell the world what he's like. He chooses people to be his representatives so that the world might come to know him. That follows the biblical pattern, right? Genesis 1, made in his image, why to image him? To show what he's like, God not only rescues sinners, but then he employs them as his ambassadors to tell others about him. Some, you know what it's like, when somebody has to bring their kid to work. Maybe the babysitter got sick, or the kid wasn't ready to go to school. Some of you have been parents, you've brought your kids to work. Some of you have been the kids that your parents brought you to work. And you remember that talk or something like this, hey, I know you are a good kid most of the time, I need you to be a really good kid today. Why? Because you represent me. So how you act is going to reflect on me. Because that's what God has given us. And the way that we act, we'll see that in 1 Peter 2:9. And the way that we speak, we tell people what God is like. And we do that it says you're by “proclaiming the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light,” that we go to the world telling people how great God is. Not just that he is, but how great he is.
You guys have been studying through the book of Romans. Is that correct? I get a few head nods if you're here running through Romans one. So, we'll check in you're alive with us here. That's good. Romans chapter 1. And you read how all of creation testifies that God is real. Right? Man knows in his conscience, he sees sunsets, he tastes delicious food, somebody must have made this. They know that he is, but they don't know what he's like. That's what his people go and tell. They go tell people, the excellencies, the goodness of God, that this is a God who is holy, that this is a God who is trustworthy. He's righteous. He is altogether good. In fact, he's so good, he could judge those who aren't good. He's forgiving and patient and gracious. The excellencies of God, friend, what an encouragement that is for evangelism. I know some people are nervous about evangelism because they're afraid they're going to mess up the formula, whatever that is. And there are truths you need to share when you're sharing the gospel. But what you're doing is you're proclaiming the excellencies, that you know experientially, because you yourself have been called out of darkness into his marvelous light. So, if you go out tomorrow to share the gospel on Labor Day, you're just telling people, here's who God is. He's a great kind, God, who knows your faults more than anyone else, and will love you in spite of them if you turn to Jesus. What a good reminder that is, by the way to read our Bibles. We read our Bibles regularly. Why? Because we need to see the excellencies in the text, so we could tell people about who God is. So, let's reflect you’re his, you belong to God, not just that you identify with him, but he is actually not ashamed identify with you. He's made you his representatives, he treasures you individually and us collectively as his people. How did this happen? How did we get this identity? Well, we'll second with this, we've been shaped by his mercy. We’ve received this identity because of his mercy.
That's that second blank there: His mercy. If you're here this morning, and you're not a Christian, maybe you're newer to Christianity, maybe you've been checking out church to figure out what this all is about. Maybe you have thought that Christians are good people who have fixed their live and cleaned their lives up. Friends, that is not true. It says in verse 10, “once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” What you need, what we all needed is mercy. We need mercy because we're sinners. Sin. By the way, there's a lot of confusion about sin today. Sin is not a flaw. Sin is not a bad habit you have; sin is not a quirk that you’ve go. You sin, I sin, we all sin, ee i ee i o. it's nothing like that. A sin is rebellion. Sin is personal. Sin is understanding what God has called you to do and you saying, no? shaking your fist at him! Willfully, repeatedly, often with a smile on your face, rejecting God's reign in your life. Sin is cosmic treason, in which you have repeatedly tried to supplant God as the ruler of your life, by putting yourself on the throne, and saying, no one tells me what to do. Which is why sin is so evil because this God is nothing but good. And we rebel against him regularly. So, friend, what you need from this God is not a fifteen-step plan to clean your life up. No, today is not if you want to know this God, the first Sunday in my ten Sundays of transformation. No, what you need from this God is mercy, forgiveness, you need something that you do not deserve. And that's exactly what he offers in Christ. In Christ, who is called the grace, who's called the kindness of our God, Christ came and live the life you were supposed to live, he did it willfully. He was sent by the God who loves sinners, and he lived the life you're supposed to live and then died, the death on the cross, he died the death we should have died, taking the wrath of God, we shouldn't do it forever. So, if we cry out to Him, if we trust Him, God says, mercy, forgiveness, all your sin washed whiter than snow, your conscience can be cleansed, and at peace, because you can know you're at peace with God. Friend, if you're here today, and you're not a Christian, and you need to know the mercy of God, because you know, deep down, there's something wrong with me, all you need to do is turn to this God today and ask for forgiveness. And he gives mercy through his Son. If you have any questions about that, I know the pastors will be around after to talk with you. You can just ask the people that brought you, they'd be happy to tell you how Jesus didn't come to help people who are pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. He came to save sinners who couldn't otherwise save themselves. Christian, you will never outgrow the title of people who have received mercy. You are not more worthy of salvation today than you were on the day you got saved.
Sometimes we trick ourselves into thinking, you know, I've been holding holy for a while. And I'm kind of better off than those really bad people. You are today only what you are because you're people who've received mercy. God's mercy. You've been forgiven. It's God's mercy that you keep believing. It's God's mercy that you're growing in holiness. Some of you're going, man, I'm so glad I got to this church. I know other people. You know, not all churches are good. Right? It's God's mercy that you found this place. And it's God's mercy that he'll hold you fast and you'll make it to the end. We are always those who have received mercy.
That's who we are. We are God's people. He has chosen representatives who he has shown mercy to. It's the only reason we're in that category. So that's who we are in this world. So, then the question is that how do we live in this world? Right? Because that's who you are. But I promised you two parts of this. So how do we live? So secondly, how do we live in this world? I want to talk about our priorities as earthly pilgrims, our priorities as earthly pilgrims, 1 Peter 2:11. There Peter starts with “Beloved,” which I think is so encouraging we, we could dwell on that all day. “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles.” So, he says that you are sojourners, exiles, some of your translations might say aliens and strangers. That's not like antenna and a helmet or anything like that. That's saying, you don't belong. You're pilgrims, you're passing through, you're in this place going to another place. It's actually a word that's talked about someone who's living in another kingdom, not in the kingdom where their citizenship belongs. Friends, that's who we're going to be in this life. We're pilgrims. We do not belong here.
In fact, go to Chapter 4 of 1 Peter. 1 Peter 4. It's going to say that society is going to look at us like what's wrong with these people they don't quite fit in. So, 1 Peter 4:3 says, “For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.” We're done with those times, we got enough time with that it says. With respect to this, they, the unsaved world, are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you, so you're not going to live like them, and the world's going to think that person is weird. And the reason why it doesn't seem like we fit is because this world is not our home. Philippians 3, I have it up here. Philippians 3:20 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Brothers and sisters, we don't have time to explore all the application of this truth right now. I'm going to ask you a question. I'm going to trust the Spirit of God to work on your heart in this. Are you living like a pilgrim passing through this world? Or like a permanent resident of this world? Would you say right now that you live like your citizenship is here? Or that your citizenship is in heaven? How are you making your life decisions? I've shared this already. I love staying in hotels. Hotels are fun. My kids like hotels. I've never understood camping. Why would we save up money, so we could live like we don't have any? But as much as I liked staying in hotels, I've never once thought like, you know what, let's rework the carpet. Let's add shutters. Why? Because we're checking out tomorrow. It doesn't mean you totally abandon everything in this world. You just have the right perspective. We are passing through; we're sojourning through and what does our sojourning, what does our pilgrimage look like? What do we look out for? What are our priorities as we travel to heaven? Or we have to have these priorities. They're the blinks nearly and the first one is this, we watch out for the danger of sin, the danger of sin. Peter says “Beloved, I urge you” I warn you, pay attention here, and soldiers and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Why is it so strong? Doesn't Peter know about Christian freedom? Right? I mean, it is true as Christians, it says that we used to be slaves of sin. Sin was all we could do. We love sin, we crave sin. When you get to Romans chapter 3, sin had dominion over us. It reined in our life. But whoever the Son sets free is free, indeed. We've been for not only forgiven our sin, but we've been transformed from a heart that loves sin.
Take a look here Romans 6:17 says, “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you are committed.” So now Christians, we Christians don't just obey, they want to obey. They have a new heart that loves holy things and wants to live holy. So why this warning of Jesus if I'm new in Christ, and Jesus set me free, or why do I need to watch out because there's something called the flesh? There is something that the scriptures refer to sometimes as the old man, that something about being in this body that's corrupted by the fall. There are still these passions of the flesh, desires that we, while we lean towards sin, one commentator says Peter is warning here about all the sinful cravings of the body of the mind. This is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the boastful pride of life. There's the desire to celebrate and sneak to that which God has forbidden, self-glory, gossip, slander, hatred, bitterness, not forgiving, sexual sin, wealth, pleasure. This is not something outside of us. This is something that comes from our own sinful desires. There's a lot of talk today about the enemy, and everything gets kind of blamed on Satan. And we do have an enemy 1 Peter 5 says, Satan roams around like prowling lion looking for somebody to devour.
But you need to watch out for you. Peter says you need to watch out for your sinful cravings. Why? He says abstain. Hold back from this is so different from the world, right? The world says if it feels good, do it. You be you. Peter says, If it feels good, but it's wrong, don't do it. If it's right and you don't feel like it, obey anyway. You obey. That's who you're called to be. And why is that? One is we're called to be holy, right? You are a holy nation. So live holy. 1 Peter 1:15, says, God is holy, “he who called you is holy, you also be holy” as he is holy. Alright, so we're called to be holy. But that's not the emphasis in this passage. The reason why we abstain from those passions of the flesh, is because they make war, they wage war against your soul. Let's think about war. Let's not think about hindrances. Let's think about war. How does the flesh wage war.
Take your Bible, go a few books to the left to Hebrews, we'll just find here we'll be there shortly. The book of Hebrews, it's just two books left and it's at the end Hebrews 12. So, one of the ways that the passions of the flesh wage war against you Christian is they slow down your pursuit of Christ. Hebrews 12 describes the Christian life as a sprinting marathon. You are going as hard as you can for the Lord, in faith until the day you die and go view with Jesus, you run hard. And the author of Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” So, the image here is of a runner in sin is like shackles trying to slow you down, or it's ankle weights that you're tying around yourself, or you're going to carry something heavy as you try to run this marathon. And the others just set it aside. Because it slows you down. Sin harms your Christian service, you live for Christ less zealously because of sin. It's like knowing you're going to enter the race and giving yourself a bum ankle before you start running. And this passage, it echoes, I have it on the screen your 2 Timothy 2:20 says, “Now in a great house, there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use some for dishonorable” that is the vessels will be like vases. And there are some that are made of more beautiful materials, some of more common materials, some that you put up on the mantel, some that are kind of used as a trash can. There are these different kind of things. 2 Timothy 2:21, “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” Are those descriptions what you want as a Christian? I don't know if you want to be useful to the master, set apart as holy, ready for every good work. Well, you maintain purity, you maintain a holiness in all areas, not just in big sins, but in all areas is I want to be devoted, consecrated, set apart for the Lord. How about that last one we read, ready for every good work? How often are we not prepared for service because of sin? Because we walked into sin, because our conscience feels guilty, we hear about service opportunities, we think. I can't teach those kids the Bible. I'm not even living it out. Oh, no, I can't serve. We're busy this week. And when deep down you just you feel such like such a hypocrite that you can't serve. Friends, that is sin waging war and winning. It's slowing down Your service at Sona. You were created Ephesians 2:10 To walk in “good works, which he prepared beforehand” for you before the foundation of the world. And you say no to them because sin makes you feel guilty.
Sin also deceives. Go to Hebrews 3. It's good to Hebrews 3:13 “sin deceives us. Speaking to the church family, Hebrews 313 “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Do you realize that sin works deceitfully? Sin does not announce its intentions. Sin does not tell you, hey, by the way, this won't satisfy, right? Sin never, by the way, can provide what it offers, never provides the satisfaction that offers that's why some of you keep diving deeper and deeper, innocent thinking, well, if I just get a little bit more, I'll be good. Doesn't work. No. Sin is like a fishing lure, shiny and beautiful and attractive. But it'll kill you. And sin doesn't come to you announcing, hey, hey, take a bite of this. It'll ruin your life. Hey, you want to ruin your marriage? Jump in. You want your kids to see hypocrisy, so they don't just learn jump in on this, it'd be great. If it doesn't do that. Sin comes with false comfort. Comes to you and you're already beat up, in the hospital bed says, here let me help you out and feel better, as it slowly presses down on your air hose and kills you. That's how sin works. That's the deceitfulness of sin, total wages war.
Now let's think again about waging war. We're saying here in Hebrews 3, notice the severity. Hebrews 3:12 says, “Take care of brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.” Sin wages war against you. And you fight sin. Why? Not just so that you would have a good reputation. Not just so that you'd be the neighbor of the coworker, though that's the real Christian one. Not just so that you'd be pure on your wedding day, though that is a good reason. You wage war against your sin because your soul is at stake. This is about staying a Christian. Waging war is not like Oh, I’ve got to cut from sin. No, it's seeking to destroy you, to devour you, to ruin your eternity. What is it talking about here? An evil unbelieving heart. You know what the context is of Hebrews? It's talking about Israel, talking about Israel, who saw the hailstones coming down to wipe out the Egyptians, whose sandals got dry sand in them as they walked through the parted Red Sea, who got bread and quail from heaven to eat, who felt the shaking and heard the thundering on the mountain when they met with God. And later say, man, things were better when we were in Egypt, because we had leaks to eat, and we were comfortable. Sin deceives you into thinking that sin is better than Jesus.
So, I remember very vividly sitting in a coffee shop two years ago this past month, with a friend of mine who was explaining to me why he wasn't going to be a Christian anymore. Why he was leaving his wife of ten years and their four kids why or how he had gotten into the affair that he'd been having. But even worse than that, what he explained was, I still believe the Bible's true. I know this is right. I just don't want to do it anymore. How did that happen? Small compromises day by day. Friend, you never fall off the ladder. You simply just take your last step down. Friends, be careful of sin. So, you know people, you can think of names and faces right now, of those who don't love Jesus anymore? Because they think sin is better. Don't let that happen to you. Watch out. Be careful.
I've been doing ministry for about 15-ish years now. Can I give you some patterns I have seen that people have walked down but does lead them to walk away from Jesus some habits some tendencies. I'll give you a few of them. The first I've seen is people not being careful to guard their mind. So not filling their mind with what's good. And instead, filling your mind looks bad. So, filling their mind to this bad is entertainment, TV shows that reflect a certain worldview, movies, music, listen to podcasts, none of those things are inherently evil. But if you're just taking garbage in, and never setting your mind on the Scriptures, the mind begins to change. So be careful you really listen, your mind is not a doormat that just suddenly comes in. Colossians 3 says you set your mind so I can take my mind and set it. And I need to be careful that I set my mind on the things that I do not want to be naive about what things are affecting my thinking, too much is at stake.
Secondly, what have I seen as a pattern? I would say I would call this one, the pull of nominally Christian friends. So, there is a group of people, there are people, who claim Christianity will be super offended if some non-Christian at their work were to tell an inappropriate joke, but amongst each other? It's totally okay. I will record this Christians. So, it's okay because we're forgiven, we joke like this. Or like, you know, Jesus is kind of like a Sunday morning thing. If he just kind of stays in his lane, I'll stay in mind. And you find people that model that and reflect that and even encourage that in your own life. You don't need to be too serious. The pull of nominally Christian friends, if you want to be a lukewarm Christian, which the Bible says is not a Christian, then find those who encouraged you in that as well, particularly those who will never call your sin sin, they'll just laugh at your bad habit.
Third, I'd say all forms of sexual sin. sexual sin is so devastating, it is deceptive. It affects the whole person. You begin to rationalize in your mind, once you've crossed lines, you can't cross anymore. Well, this is okay, it's fine. Or maybe this is just more enticing in better. This has led to the fall of so many. I have a pastor friend, who whenever a young man comes to him and says, I'm not a Christian anymore, his responses will be, just tell me what her name is real quick. Because that's always the case. People have those choosing sin, not knowing it will not satisfy. Choosing temporary, fleeting pleasures, save eternal joy.
Fourth is this lack of connected accountability, lack of connected accountability. Hebrews here, which is still in front of me, says take care of brothers, lest there be in any of you. The idea is that you help each other out. Do you know why we come to church in person? Why COVID was so hard, why we don't just have an app where you could just stream us from your living room individually? Easy, because it's good for all of us to hear this together. And you people over here, know that these people over here heard it, and you over here know that they heard it, and you know that you're supposed to obey and that they're supposed to obey, and you know that they're supposed to obey the word as well, and you help each other obey the Word. When you're not connected, no one knows when you've started acting weird spiritually. No one knows when something's off. If you're in a spot where you don't know how others are doing spiritually, and others don't know how you're doing spiritually, you're in a very precarious position. Fight sin. Let others help you. You have an obligation as a church family, to help each other keep loving Jesus.
Now, listen, the fight against sin is hard. And discouraging at times. It can be very, very difficult and we can get tired. But can I encourage you with this? First John to one says this, like I have this one, My little children, they have it on the screen. I'm writing these things to you that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous. Christ is the reason why we're loved by God, not our fight against sin. That is good news for us. The second thing I want you to see is in Hebrews 4, we have time to look at it in this service. I will Hebrews 4 “get help. Isn't that so good? For verse 15. “For we do not have a high priest,” speaking of Jesus, Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.” He sympathized with us, but he who is it “but one who in every way has been tempted as we are yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Sin is hard, but Jesus gives help. He cares for us and one day from that flesh, that old self that you're trying to put to death. His days are numbered. And one day you will never fight sin again. Self-denial will be a thing of the past because our hearts will be perfected, and we will enjoy Christ forever. Amen. And until then, don't let sin ruin your eternity. Find it.
Second, what's our second priority? We all look out for the danger of sin. And our second priority is we look for the rescue of sinners. As we are a passing through, we look for the rescue of sinners. This go back to 1 Peter, and we wrap up our time there. 1 Peter 2:12. Peter then says, “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable.” It's interesting that he uses that word Gentiles because some of the believers he's writing to our Gentiles. Gentiles are non-Jews. So why does he say this? Well, he's borrowing again, that idea from the Old Testament, that you are the people of God who have been called out of the world; now you belong to God. But the Gentiles, you're saying are all non-Christians. And it's a reminder for us that we live in different kingdoms. Right? We belong to a different kingdom, that our non-Christian neighbors do not belong to. Either there are differences, and I would just remind you guys, it's a good thing. We should not be surprised when we are hated. We should not be shocked when we are rejected. Jesus said, if they hated me, they will also hate you. So, what should be our response to them? What's our response to that different kingdom that different world? Do we fight them? I think that's interesting. More people are likely to love their sin and fight the enemy or fight their Gentiles that fight their sin and love them. But do we fight them? Is that our response? Do we debate them? Do we get alternative education? Perhaps we mobilize and outvote them, or old fashioned way? We just out breed them? That's all we'll do. I'm kidding. Don't do that. No, no, all of those options could have some merit to it. But you know, whatever. That's not Peter’s concern. You know, he says, Keep your behavior excellent before them. You, you keep your behavior good, fair, praiseworthy, you have beautiful character. You live like a real Christian.
If they've never seen a real Christian before you live like one. You show them what it's like to love the Lord. You show them what it's like to love people. You show them what it's like to keep working hard even when the boss went early for the day. You show them what a real Christian looks like. And the way that you're talking about your friends and your enemies. You look and show them what a real Christian looks like. And the way that you talk about the opposite sex and the way that you ask for forgiveness when you're wrong. Now, some of you, you know, this, you know, sometimes we think, Oh, high school is when peer-pressure ended, but we know that's not true. And so, when you think, yeah, but if I act like a Christian at my family dinner, they might mock me. They might slander me. They might reject me. Let me clear that up for you. That's not true. Peter tells us what's true. He says Not that they might, he says they will. You will be rejected. He says right here in the texts. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they are going to call you the builders. They aren't going to say you’re what's wrong with society. They're going to call you a fool and a bigot and narrow-minded and want to be careful, some of us might end up deserving this. So, 1 Peter 4:15, it does say, let me see here, “let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evil doer or as a meddler. So, we want to be careful. Some people say like, I'm being persecuted for being a Christian. No, you're just being persecute for not being nice to non-Christian. So don't be a jerk or zany, like, be loving to them. But we live godly, and they'll reject us anyway. But that's not the end. 2 Timothy 3:12. “Indeed, all who desire to live godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” It will happen.
Philippians 1 actually says it's his gift to you. It's his grace to you. But that's not the end. The end is that they would see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. The end goal is that they would worship God from what they hear about him as you “proclaim his excellencies” and what they see in your life. Friends, we need to be careful. This tells us a little bit about our end goal. We need to be careful about the way we talk about non-Christians. Non-Christians are not idiots. They're blind. They’ve not seen the glory of God. They've not seen how good God is. They're not seeing how awful their sin is. They've not seen the Amazing Grace, the salvation that's offered in Jesus, that he would pay for their own sins with his own blood. They have no idea and the end goal then as we live like this is not that then they would stop annoying us as much. Not that they become more morally conformed to our ethical values, no, the end goal that we'd like those things to happen. The end goal is that on the day of visitation as when Jesus comes back that some of them after hearing the gospel and seeing your life would say, Praise God, King Jesus is here. That's the goal, is that they would think more highly of him. So let them mock me all they want my life, as long as on that day and forever, they worship him because that's what they need. They need Christ. And we know that because God is so good. Let's fast forward the tape. Let's fast forward your life ten years from now, twenty years, hundred years from now, let's think about your funeral. People think about that. Right? And they go, what do people say about me? My funeral? You know, he was a nice guy. She was always selfless. What do you want people to remember you for? You know, the answer for that as a Christian is? Who cares? We want them to know the Lord. We want them to boast, to enjoy to worship him. Why? Because he is worthy. Because he is good. Because even if every single person on the planet worshipped him, it still wouldn't even compare to how good and gracious he is. Because he is the God that saved us. He is the God that saved you. He is the God that chooses people, rescues people, identifies with his people. And he's done it because he's shown us mercy. This is our good God. This is the one we want people to know. This is the one we reject. So, we might be with him forever because he is good. And we are his because of his mercy. Let's live in light of that truth. Let me pray.
Father, thank You for Your word. Thank you for your faithfulness, for the past eight years at this church, to have your word heralded to work in the hearts of people to draw them to yourself, to encourage them to keep them. Lord, we pray that You would help us to be who we're supposed to be, to live our identity, the identity that you've given us. Lord, help us to run from sin. Help us to live excellently and proclaim the good news so that more worshipers would fill the world that you've made. Or even pray today for anyone who don't know you can even see what a good God you are and place their faith in Christ. Thank you for loving us, Lord more than we deserve. We love you. We want to worship you now in this week. We pray these things in your Son's name. Amen.
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