Five Marks of an Eternal Focus: 1 Peter 2:17-25

Sunday Worship 13th July 2014 

Illustration: We all admire the athlete who listens to his coach, lets others praise him, passes the ball selflessly, pushes through pain, trusts his teammates, and is self disciplined.  Maybe the reason is that we see so few of these qualities on the pitch and on the court.  In life, we also admire people with these qualities.  They seem to be living for a cause that is bigger than themselves, and in the end, experience the deepest joys life can offer, insight of their sacrifices.  Keeping this illustration in mind, take a third look at the words of Peter. We have seen that Christ followers have a distinct view of God and relationship with other people, but today we will see that they also have a distinct view of life.  The Christ follower is not consumed with today nearly as much as he is with eternity.

Text: 1 Peter 2:17-25

Purpose: Peter wants his audience to understand the seriousness of following Christ; therefore he gives specific commands regarding many areas of life.  These instruction will not only reveal the will of God in specific circumstances, but they will also provide invaluable tools to shape each believer’s world view.

Proposition: God wants us to live for the eternal state.

Interrogative: How can we know if we are living for eternity?

I. The mark of submission: 2:18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear,

Truth: We are by nature rebels. (Ill) Watch small children work and manipulate their parents to get what they want.

Question: When your parent, teacher, husband, the government, or employer tells you to do something that you do not want to do, how do you respond?

Ephesians 6:5-8 Servants, be obedient to them…as unto Christ…as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord…knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

  • We do not submit because it is easy, or because our authority is always good and right.  We submit to honor the Lord.

II. The mark of humility: 2:19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.

Truth: We by nature do everything in our power to build up ourselves.

Question: When you are in a discussion, do you feel compelled to be the center of it?  Do you feel compelled to make yourself look better than everyone else or always be right?

Philippians 2:4-8 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

  • We should be humble people, because we recognize that everything that we have is  gift from God, and apart from Him, we are nothing.

III. The mark of selflessness: 2:21-24 Christ also suffered for us…Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.

Truth: We are by nature concerned about our own interests, and not the interests of others. (Ill) Introduce a new toy into a room with two children and plenty of toys laying on the floor, if you doubt that we are by nature selfish people.

Question: When people have needs, do we feel compelled to meet them, or are we so consumed with our own interests, that we have no time to even consider the needs of others?

Romans 5:6-10 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

  • We should be selfless, because as disciples of Christ, we are to reflect His character.

IV. The mark of dependence: 2:23 committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

Truth: We are by nature willing to only trust ourselves, yet the heart of the Christian faith is learning to trust God, and not in ourselves.

Question: When we are confronted with our eternal destination, or our daily living, are we willing to trust the Lord?  Do we try to manipulate situations, when we cannot see how he can work them out for our own good

James 5:7-11 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

  • We should be dependent people, because we serve a God who is perfectly good, all powerful, and sovereign.  He cannot lie, therefore every promise that He makes is absolutely certain.

V. The mark of denial: 2:23 when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not;

Truth: We by nature like to indulge ourselves.

Question: When situations call for restraint of our emotions especially when we feel we have been wronged, and desire revenge, do we let these things go, and entrust them to the Lord’s tender care?

1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

  • We should denial self, not only because we are followers of Christ, but also because we realize that we are fallen creatures, and our desires are always bent toward and mixed with evil.

What makes all the difference?

  • Those who believe there is an eternal state and a judgment to come are more concerned with that day then temporary pleasures and pains.
  • Those who believe that God is good and just are trusting Him to do what is right with all wrongs.
  • Those who believe that their whole person was affect by the fall have a realistic view of themselves.
  • Those who believe that all men are created in the image of God value others above themselves.
  • Those who believe that their whole person was affect by the fall are careful to control their natural appetites.
  • Those who recognize the weight of the gospel will view Christ as worthy of absolute loyalty and no sacrifice for another man’s salvation to big.

Concluding illustration:

On August 25, 1732, in Herrnhut, Germany, two men Leonard Dober and David Nitschmann, began preparation for what would be one of the most intriguing endeavors of the 18th century.  Few people know these names, but we all should appreciate their courage and godly zeal.  Against incredible odds, these two men began an eventful journey to St. Thomas, a small plantation covered island in the Caribbean. Sickness, poverty, and the hatred of money hungry slave owners were sure to meet these two godly men whose one desire was to bring the gospel to the Africans enslaved on the island.  The ship owners with the West Indies Company refused passage to these men, who offered to sell themselves as slaves in order to have the right of passage to St. Thomas.  By God’s gracious providential oversight, these two men were able to go to St. Thomas and the surrounding islands where they were able to see thousands of African slaves presented with the gospel, and many converted to Christ.  When asked why they chose to give their lives to this risky endeavor, Leonard wrote the following: “My disposition was never to travel…but only to ground myself more steadfastly in my Savior; but when I was told about the slaves, it gripped me so that I could not get free of it. I vowed to myself that if one other brother would go with me, I would become a slave…that the word of the cross in its lowliness shows a special strength to souls…and have no other ground than this…that on the island there still are souls who cannot believe because they have not heard.[1]

Luke 9:22-26 The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.

  • Do you have an eternally focused perspective, or are you living for today alone?
  • Are you so consumed with the things of this world, that you have no time to consider the souls of men and the gospel?
  • Are you so consumed with the cares os this world, that you have no time to consider the health and condition of your soul.
  • May God give us eyes to see, ears, to hear, and feet that are swift to run with patience the race that is set before us!

 

[1] (1982). Christian History Magazine-Issue 1: Zinzendorf & the Moravians.

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