Occasion: Sunday Worship 11th May 2014
Illustration: You are the leading scorer on the Black Stars, who is living a reckless life. Though an excellent player, off the pitch, you are known for partying, drugs, drunkenness, and immorality. One day, leading up to the world cup in Brazil, to the dismay of fans all around Ghana, your coach sacks you from the team for your undisciplined behavior. When criticized by fans all around Ghana, the coach gives this defense: people are watching and imitating this player, so I had to sack him. Are these actions reasonable and appropriate? Do your actions off the field really matter?
Text: 1 Peter 2:11-12
Purpose: Peter wants his audience to recognize the importance of a holy walk throughout their short life; therefore he commands them to have a blameless walk before their skeptics.
Proposition: God wants you to have a blameless walk.
Interrogative: How can I have a blameless walk?
Hebrews 12:1-3 Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Four doctrinal truths that guide us into a blameless walk. The first is a truth for us to reflect on, and the next three are warnings for us to consider.
Truth 1: We must rejoice in our new identity in Christ:
Remember our study from last week. Before our conversion, we were:
1 Peter 2:10 In time past were not a people, but are now the people of God.
Ephesians 2:11-14In time past Gentiles in the flesh…at that time ye 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: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace.
Now notice three words that he uses to describe our new identity in Christ: Beloved, strangers, and pilgrims…
- Beloved: God has a deep love for His people. Sometimes we miss this in our understanding of God. We correctly emphasize His justice and intense hatred for sin. We often emphasize the terror of the Lord as we should, but the balance is found in passages like this one…
6 times in his epistle, Peter calls them beloved, ones who are deeply loved. God cares for His children, and is moved with compassion toward them.
- Strangers: Foreign nationals
- Pilgrims:Temporary home
Illustration:I am foreign national. This country is where I live, but it is not my home town. I am an American, and as an American there are many challenges that come with living in a land that is foreign to me.
1 Peter 1:1 To the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…
- They were physically strangers in the regions that Peter mentioned, so they understood this concept.
- They were spiritually strangers as well, and this was the concept that was most important for them to understand.
The Old Testament Saints: Hebrews 11:13 Died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Since this is true: (Adapted from Thomas Manton’s sermon from Volume 14 Sermon XLII Hebrews 11:9-10)
- Practice putting to death fleshly desires that weaken your love for God and His eternal Kingdom.
- Do not become overly consumed with the cares of this life.
- Constantly reset your heart on your eternal home.
Illustration: Just like a windup clock needs to be reset every morning, our hearts need to be refocused on God and His eternal Kingdom.
- Do not be conformed to the thinking and values of this world.
Illustration: Dead fish always swim with the stream, because they are powerless to swim against it. It takes life and strength to swim against the current of our temporary home.
- Be patient when you are not treated fairly in this life.
- Sweetly submit to God as He orchestrates the length of your journey.
Warning 1: We must be wary of the battle raging inside our souls.
- Abstain: I must restrain myself through the Spirit’s enablement
1 Thessalonians 4:3 Abstain from fornication:
1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
Illustration: A dog is an animal and must be restrained by his master. An unbeliever is characterized by following his sinful desires like an animal. A believer is characterized by his purposed restraint of himself. By the enablement of the Spirit working through the word in a regenerate heart, the believer walks under the Spirit’s control and influence.
- Lusts: The word lust means a strong desire that could be good or bad depending on the context…Psalm 38:9 Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.
Where does lust come from?
Thomas Manton once said that: Other enemies could not harm without our own flesh. We are tempted to sin by Satan, encouraged to sin by the example and custom of others, enticed to sin by the baits and allurements of the world; but inclined to sin by our own flesh…the flesh opens the door to temptations, it makes our home in the world so dangerous, it chokes the good seed, hinders all our heavenly thoughts, and make Christian service a burden…It dwells with us, and in us, and makes us a ready prey to Satan. When we are about holy duties, it distracts us with vain thoughts…and makes us drowsy, dead-hearted, and weary of God’s service.
James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
- War against the soul: We are daily in a furious battle, and unless we wake up and prepare ourselves, we will stumble in the battle.
Ephesians 6: We remember the words and the illustrations used by Paul, but do we live as if we believe what he wrote.
2 Timothy 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
Warning 2: We are being watched.
- Having your conversation honest among the gentiles: These strangers were being watch not only because they are foreigners, but also because they bear the name of Christ.
Question: Why does Paul command Timothy in 1 Timothy 6 to teach servants to honor their masters?
Answer: So the name of God and his doctrine would not be blasphemed.
Question: Why does Paul command Titus in Titus 2 to instruct older women to have a holy behavior and younger women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands?
Answer: So that the word of God would not be blasphemed.
- They speak against you as evil doers: They will talk about you
- Which they behold: They are watching you
Illustration: Being a pastor in Ghana as an American is an interesting life. I know people are always watching me, analyzing what I say, and do. That is what people do. They want to see a pastor or a strong Christian fail, so they will be looking for every opportunity to discredit your work and message.
1 Timothy 3: A bishop must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Warning 3: Your life will impact others.
Paul’s primary concern in this section is not safety for the believer, or a good reputation, but rather the glory of God.
- They may by your good works…glorify God in the day of visitation…
God’s saving grace will be magnified in their conversion
God’s justice will be magnified as they are held accountable for their rejection of truth.
Conclusion: God wants you to have a blameless walk, so how are you responding to these four doctrinal truths that point us to a blameless walk?
- Are you rejoicing in your new identity in Christ?
- Are you sobered by the battle raging inside our soul?
- Are you aware that you are being watched?
- Do you realize that you life will impact others