The Importance of Humility in the Local Church: 1 Peter 5:5-7

Occasion Sunday Worship 29th March 2015

Illustration: Jonah teaches us that you cannot fight against God and win. And that even a true prophet of God can become so proud that he will refuse to take God’s message to those who need it. God can do and use anything He chooses to accomplish His sovereign purposes. He used and storm, a great fish, a tree, and a worm to reveal how He uses His creation to accomplish His purposes in the world.  We see from the life of Jonah, that fighting against God in pride and rebellion is futile. You cannot prevail.

Text: 1 Peter 5:5-7

Purpose: Since a properly ordered church is the best environment for young believers to grow, Peter commands the church to seek peace around truth through humble interaction.

Proposition: God wants you to be a humble Christian.

Interrogative: What truths will help you to be a humble Christian?

Truth 1: God resists the proud: 5:5 God resisteth the proud…

  • What is pride? Viewing yourself higher than you ought to think

Romans 12:3 I say to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.

Illustration: Satan Isaiah 14:12-14 Thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will be like the most High.

    • Arrogant self-esteem: You really think you are something special.
    • Self-focused: Your own interests are your primary concern.
    • Self-promotion: You will do whatever it takes to get noticed and promoted.
    • Self-reliance: You trust and depend on no one but yourself.
    • Self-pleasing: Your own desires are your focus
    • Self-governing: You see your own mind as the final say on everything.
  • What does he mean by resists?

Illustration: Picture two brothers, where the older brother runs and hides behind the door to the house.  When the little brother pushes against the door, he cannot move it because he is being resisted by his older and stronger brother.  This is how many people live before God.   

    • Literally, God will become your opponent, and will fight against you.

Psalm 89:6-9 Who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD?  God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.  O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?  Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.

Truth 2: God gives undeserved favor to the humble: 5:6 And giveth grace to the humble.

  • What is humility? Viewing yourself Biblically.

Illustration: How would the chairman of a certain department at UCC view a first year student correcting him incorrectly? A humble student would never dream of acting so proudly.

    • Your confidence is not in self, because you know what you are before God, but rather it is in God’s grace given to you in Christ.
    • Your focus is on God above everything else, and then to your fellow man.
    • You let God promote you, rather than seeking to promote yourself.
    • You are dependent upon God’s providential care, not upon your own strength, wisdom, and plans.
    • Your greatest desire is to glorify and please God not self.
    • You bring yourself under God’s rule, and everything you do is filtered by a fear of the Lord.
  • In what ways does God favor the humble?
    • Salvation: You cannot be converted without the humility that accompanies genuine repentance.
    • Promotion: God lifts up those who do not lift themselves up.
    • Protection: God defends those who do not defend themselves.
    • Fellowship: God communes with and reveals Himself to those who are humble.

Application: Five biblical responses to this text

  • Show proper honor to those who are older than you in the Lord: 5:5 Ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder…
  • Hold your opinions gently: 5:5 All of you be subject one to another…

Illustration: It seems that every family has at least on controversial member, that one uncle who always has to have the final word. When his mind is made up, you might as well close the meeting, because no other view will move him. Is this the way a Christian should behave in the church?

    • Never compromise on truth.
    • Be quick to compromise on personal opinion for the sake of unity in the body.
  • Have a humble interaction with other members of the body: 5:5 Be clothed with humility…

Illustration: When a visitor comes into the church and sits in your chair, the chair you have sat in week after week since the first day you came to the church, what thoughts come into your mind? Are you irritated and offended? Do you think things like: Who does this person think that they are?

    • How do you speak to other Christians?
    • How do you speak about other Christians?
    • How do you relate to other Christians?
  • Humbly let God exalt you: 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time…

Illustration: The scriptures are full of men and women, who were humble and came from lowly places, but God chose and used in remarkable ways for His own glory.

  • Give your anxiety to God: 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you…

Illustration: Do you ever lie down on your pillow at night with your mind racing and overwhelmed with worry and fear. Your life seems out of control and you do not know what to do. Is this the way a Christian should live his life? Does this kind of thinking please God?

    • Worry is rooted in two serious sins:
      • Distrust of God: God is not able or God is not good
      • Pride: I must be in control of my circumstances

Conclusion: Let us take a moment to reflect on what we are before God: we are morally bankrupt, without any hope of salvation apart from God’s work for us. Every spiritual blessing that we have is ours by the work of Christ alone. Every good gift that we have is from God’s kind hand. How many times has He held back His anger from us, and showed us mercy. Let us see ourselves as God sees us, because then we will be able to walk before God and men as this passage commands us to walk!

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Three Final Thoughts on Elders: 1 Peter 5:1-5

Occasion: Sunday Worship 22nd March 2014 

Text: 1 Peter 5:1-5

Purpose: Peter wants to see the church persevere in obedience, and mature into Christ-likeness, therefore he emphasizes the importance of God’s instruction regarding elders in the local church.

Proposition: God wants His church to submit to His instruction regarding elders.

Interrogative: How can we as a church do that?

Truth 1: An elder must be motivated by an internal sense of calling: 5:2 Not by constraint [force/compulsion], but willingly

Ill: A young man training for the Olympics in boxing or weight lifting will go to the gym for hours every day when he peers sit in the house and what’s app chats with his friends all day. What separates the athlete from his peers: an internal desire to be a champion.

  • What is a calling?

Ill: When we here the word calling, we often get a mental picture of someone receiving a vision or hearing a voice. That is not what we are talking about.

    • It is not a prophetic word from God.
    • It is not an simply an emotional experience.
    • It is not simply the sense of a need in the church.
    • It is the inescapable work of God in a man’s heart convincing him of his need and fittedness under God to do the work of pastoral ministry that will ultimately be recognized and confirmed by his local church leading to his appointment as an elder.
  • Where does the calling come from? It comes from the gracious work of the Spirit

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some pastors and teachers…for the perfecting of the saints.

Acts 20:28 Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers…

    • The Spirit fits the man for the work: gifting
    • The Spirit motivates the man for the work: internal sense of calling
    • The Spirit matures the man in his daily walk: spiritual qualification
  • How does the calling work?

Ill: Picture a germinating seed. We put it in the soil and water it, and in its time, what we cannot see becomes evident and eventually it feeds us.

    • It begins with a daily walk of growth into Christlikeness
    • A is revealed in to the church through a period of service in the church.
    • It is pursued as God works a desire into the heart of the future elder and the church recognizes God’s hand upon the man.

Truth 2: An elder must not be controlled by money: 5:2 Not for filthy lucre [dishonest gain], but of a ready mind [free from covetousness]

  • Weak elders can be tempted to remain silent when they must speak the truth:

1 Corinthians 16:10-11 If Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.  Let no man therefore despise him

1 Timothy 4:11-12 These things command and teach.  Let no man despise thy youth.

Titus 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

    • Weak teachers are silent because they are afraid it will cost them their daily bread.
      • They are unwillingness to confront error in the church.
      • They are unwillingness to teach certain truths that may offend.
  • Teachers appeal to men’s consciences

Ill: Peer pressure is not a small issue, nor is a pricked conscience, and unethical “pastors” are masters of manipulating the people. A great example was an appeal made to the local NGO’s at a Social Welfare workshop in Cape Coast.

    • False teachers are masters of manipulating the weak consciences of unstable and immature people.
  • Teachers can be tempted to appeal to pride and greed in their congregations.

2 Timothy 4:2-4 Preach the word; for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Titus 1:10-11 There are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

2 Peter 2:-1-3 There shall be false teachers among you…through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.

2 Peter 2:14-20 They beguile unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices…when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh…they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption.

    • False teachers deliberately shape their message to bring and keep a big crowd.

Truth 3: An elder must be an example: 5:3 Neither as being lords [masters/kings] over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

1 Timothy 4:12 Be thou an example of the believers.

Philippians 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me…ye have us for an ensample.

2 Thessalonians 3:9 We make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.

  • Hypocrisy causes resentment and opportunity to excuse compromised living.
  • Examples prove that principled, righteous living is possible
  • We learn best when we see it done

Ill: A picture is worth a thousand words: Picture the welder who will not be able to make something for you simply based upon what you let him, but if you make a model or draw a picture, he will have no problem making what you want.

Conclusion: Let us pray together, that God protect this church from weak and unprincipled elders and may He consistently raises up men from our midst till He returns who will take these scriptures seriously and be faithful with their God given callings!  Let us also pray that God will help each of us to walk in the same way for God’s glory!

 

Submitting to Biblical Church Administration: 1 Peter 5:1-4

Occasion: Sunday Worship 8th February 2015

Text: 1 Peter 5:1-4

Purpose: Peter wants to see his suffering brothers and sisters persevere in obedience, and mature into Christ-likeness, therefore he emphasizes the importance of God’s instruction regarding elders in the local church.

Proposition: God wants His church to submit to His instruction regarding elders.

Interrogative: How can we as a church do that?

Truth 1: All Christians need spiritual leadership: 5:2 “Shepherd the flock of God…”

Ill: When my day security killed the wrong hen, he left the chicks without a mother, and eventually they all were killed.

  • Instruction: You need someone to teach you the truth

1 Timothy 4:6-7 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ…

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word! Convince, rebuke, exhort…

  • Edification: You constantly need your heart to be stirred up even when you know the truth.

Ill: If you are tending a fire, you must constantly add more wood and stir the coals to keep the fire hot and burning properly. If you remove one coal from the coal pot, its will go out.

1 Timothy 4:13 Give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

  • Correction: Rebuke and pointing someone in the right direction

Titus 1:9 Hold fast the faithful word as it has been taught, that you may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

  • Oversight: Ruling, and guarding against error.

1 Timothy 6:20 Guard what was committed to your trust…

  • Accountability: Willing to ask the deep questions that no one else is willing to ask you.
  • Pattern: They don’t just tell you what to do, they come alongside you and show you how to do it.

Ill:  We have school and we have an apprentice.  Which of the two really prepares you for your field? The practical goes much further than the theoretical.

1 Timothy 4:12 Be an example…in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Truth 2: God alone has the right to order the church: 5:3-4 “Nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away…”

Ill: Have you ever watched someone who has just bought their first car? They wash it every day, they spray it so its finish is sparkling, the even brush each tire and polish its rims. They won’t even give you the keys to move it for someone.  When you own something, you are protective of it.

  • He ordained it:

Matthew 16:18-19 I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it…

  • He purchased it:

Ill: He paid the bride price to take His bride to Himself!

Acts 20:28 Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

  • He has instructed it:

1 Timothy 3:15 I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Truth 3: God demands that His servants be fully devoted to fulfilling their office: 5:1, 3 “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ…Shepherd the flock of God…being examples to the flock…”

Ill: What happens to a farmer who is only half hearted about his work? He will not be successful. You must be all in, or you will starve as a farmer.

1 Timothy 4:15-16 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.  Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

  • A witness of the sufferings of Christ: An elder is accepting a position of humble sacrificial service, that involves being willing to release his rights for the benefit of the congregation.
  • Eagerly: An elder must have a passion or be driven to do his work.
  • Entrusted: An elder will answer to God for his faithfulness in his pastoral office.
  • Example: An elder is constantly being watched, and is called by God to live in a way that is worthy of imitation.

Titus 2:7-8 In all things show yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity…sound speech that cannot be condemned…

Conclusion:

  • Pray for your elders.
  • Submit to your elders.
  • Hold your elders accountable to their God given calling in the church.
  • Refuse to appoint unqualified half hearted elders to the office.
  • Be a faithful elder.

 

Three Commands to Christians in the Face of Persecution: 1 Peter 4:1-6

Occasion: Sunday Worship Fall 2014

Illustration: Church history is filled with great men of the faith: One if my favorite characters was the German reformer Martin Luther. He spoke perhaps his most famous words in April 1521, when confronted with the option to recant or face likely execution. Luther said the following: Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures…which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me.

Text: 1 Peter 4:1-6

Purpose: Peter wants believers to look to Jesus as their perfect example so they will faithfully persevere in the Christian life.

Proposition: God wants us to persevere in obedience.

Interrogative: How can we be sure to do this?

Command 1: Have the mind of Christ: 4:1 Since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind…

What is Christ’s mind? Philippians 2

  • Selflessness: 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
  • Concern: 2:4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
  • Humility: 2:7-8 Christ made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant…He humbled Himself…
  • Obedience: 2:8 He became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
  • Love: Christ’s motivation was a love for His Father and the world.

Hebrews 11:1 By faith the elders obtained a good testimony…without faith it is impossible to please Him.

Hebrews 12:1 Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

Command 2: Remember your time here is temporary: 4:1 He who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin

  • Has suffered: There is no rest till you first have first suffered.
  • Has ceased from sin: The temporary nature of our suffering is meant to encourage us to persevere.

1 Thessalonians 5:8 Let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.

Romans 8:18-19 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us…the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

Illustration: Running in Senior High School. They would inform us of our time at every mile.

Command 3: Do the will of God: 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

What does he mean?

  • Pagans viewed Christians as boring people who did not know how to have fun.
  • Christians would not be involved in many commonly accepted practices in Roman society:
    • The Roman theater
    • Chariot races: violence
    • Gladiator fights
    • Vicious feuds
    • Sex outside of marriage: homosexuality, having a mistress, incest, polygamy, prostitution, festivals
    • Drunkenness
    • Slander
    • Lying
    • Covetousness
    • Theft
    • Burning incense to the gods

Commentator: Pagans in the first century viewed Christians as people who lived without pleasure, because of their attitudes toward Roman customs and morals. Their refusal to burn incense made their neighbors and families see them as traitors to the Roman way of life.

Peter encouraged his readers to continue to stay away from the things that society believed were acceptable, even though he knew that their actions would bring anger from people who were doing these things. Whenever Christians are forced by their faith to oppose cultural values they will suffer.[1]

Illustration: This is happening in the Middle East with groups like ISIS beheading Christians.  It is even happening in the US where pastors are being bullied by public officials.

Conclusion: May God give us the grace to faithfully in obedience to His will.

  • To have the mind of Christ.
  • To remember our time here is temporary.
  • To be committed to doing the will of God.

[1] Karen H. Jobes, 1 Peter, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005), 262.

The Importance of Identifying With Christ Even in the Face of Persecution: 1 Peter 3:18-22

Occasion: Sunday Worship Fall 2014

Text: 1 Peter 3:18-22

Purpose: Peter refers to the faithfulness and deliverance of Christ and Noah to encourage these persecuted believers to have godly thinking and faithful living as they wait for the coming judgment of God on their persecutors.

Proposition: God wants you to be faithful no matter what you are facing.

Interrogative: How can this passage help you be faithful?

Step 1: Interpret the passage:

The Key statement: 3:17 It is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

What does he mean by doing good?

  • Identify with Christ publically, by professing your faith through water baptism.
  • Live faithfully to Christ in all areas.
  • Do not compromise, even if it means you will suffer.

What does he mean by doing evil?

  • Refuse to be baptized, out of fear of the consequences.
  • Divide your life into areas that are submitted to God and areas that belong to you.
  • Compromise, because it will cost you too much to do what right.

How does he illustrate his teaching?

  • Christ: 3:18, 22 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.
  • Noah: 3:19-20 By whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

Why are these illustrations important? Patience, perseverance, deliverance, and glory.

  • Both trusted and obeyed God:
    • Every aspect of Christ’s life was lived in full dependence upon the Father.
    • Noah spent 120 years building a boat on the land, preaching God judgment, with rain which had never been seen, got into the ark, and shut the door before he saw a drop of rain.
  • Both suffered as they did the will of God.
    • Christ was mocked, beaten, despised, falsely accused, stripped, and crucified.
    • Noah was mocked, and lived during the wickedest time in human history.
  • Both were delivered once they had done the will of God.
    • Christ rose from the dead after three days.
    • Noah was rescued with his whole family.
  • Both were instruments of God’s judgment and grace:
    • With Christ’s crucifixion, He sealed judgment on the Jews, and all men who reject His offer of salvation, and provided a complete salvation for all who will trust in His finished work.
    • Noah’s obedience sealed judgment on his entire generation, and preserved his family, people, animals, and God’s plan of redemption.

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

  • Peter’s primary application: If you suffer for doing good as they did, your obedience will result in your deliverance from their persecution and their judgment.

Acts 2:36-42 Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…Be saved from this perverse generation.

James 5:7-11 Be patient, until the coming of the Lord…for the coming of the Lord is at hand…Behold, the Judge is standing at the door…we count them blessed who endure…the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

Step 2: Apply the passage:

  • Remember what God has done for you, so you could be saved: If there had been no Noah or Christ, there could have been no salvation.
  • Respond with a thankful heart: God’s grace was at work for you, long before you trusted in Christ and were saved.
  • Trust God no matter your circumstances: God will deliver in His time, so trust Him.
  • Obey in every area of life: God does not make room for you to compromise. Every area of your life is important to God.

2 Peter 2:4-9 If God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell…and the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked…then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the Day of Judgment,

Conclusion: God wants you to be faithful no matter what you are facing.  Are you doing it?

Responding to Challenges God’s Way Part 2: 1 Peter 3:13-17

Occasion: Sunday Worship Fall 2014

Illustration: University game eating a covered apple and a covered onion. Both look the same; until you take a bite, then you realize the difference.

Text: 1 Peter 3:13-17

Proposition: God wants you to respond in a Christ-like manner in all circumstances.

Truth: Fear God not man: 3:14

Truth: Submit to Christ’s Lordship: 3:15

Truth 1: Be prepared to answer questions: 3:15 “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…”

  • Godly living will cause people to ask questions:

1 Peter 4:3-5 We have spent our past doing the will of the Gentiles– when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.  They think it strange that you do not run with them.

  • Christians must be prepared to give a logically reasoned Biblical defense

Apologetics: a verbal defense by reasoned statements or arguments

Know what you believe and why you believe it, and make sure what you believe is Biblical.

  • The motive for Christian living is our resurrection to glory, which motivates us in two practical ways:
    • Judgments Seat: We will be rewarded or lose reward; be rebuked or commended; and we will be beaten or crowned.
    • Eternal State: We will receive rest from all our labors, temptations, and pain; living in a glorified body free from sin’s presence.

Truth 2: Have a humble spirit: 3:15 “With meekness and fear…”

Proverbs 3:3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you.

Ephesians 4:15 Speak the truth in love, so that we may grow up in all things into Christ.

  • Our defense should be without offense.
    • Meekness: Gentleness and humility
    • Fear: Obviously, based upon what he said just a few verses earlier; the fear is focused on God, not the person we are answering. We will not only answer to God for what we say, or do not say, but we will also answer to God for how we say the things that we say.

Truth 3: Have a Biblically cleared conscience: 3:16-17 “Having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.  For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

  • What is the conscience? Found 32 times in the NT. 3 times in 1 Peter: The part of our inner man that separates between what is morally good and morally evil. It either condemns or commends us.
  • Why is it important?
    • God will hold us accountable for what we knew was right in our conscience.

Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…so that they are without excuse.

    • It is meant to warn us when we are doing wrong.

Romans 2:15 All men show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, accusing or else excusing them.

    • It is meant to restrain us under temptation.

2 Corinthians 4:2 We have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully.

2 Corinthians 1:12 The testimony of our conscience is that we conducted ourselves in simplicity and godly sincerity.

    • It can cripple us if it is constantly violated.

Romans 14:22 Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats,

    • It can make us bold and persistent in damaging sins.

Romans 1:22-26 Professing to be wise, they became fools, Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies…who exchanged the truth of God for the lie…for this reason God gave them up to vile passions.

  • How can we damage it?
    • It can stay immature: We feel guilty about things that are not condemned in scripture.
    • It can become a sense of pride: We become proud because our convictions are more strict that those around us.
    • It can become desensitized: We no longer feel guilt when we sin.

1 Timothy 4:2 Some speak lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron.

    • It can become perverted: We start thinking that evil is good and good is evil.

Titus 1:15 To those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.

  • How can we keep a good conscience?
    • Be constantly under the ministry of God’s word.
    • Have a healthy personal walk with God.
    • Do not sin against it.
    • Be quick to admit your faults and make things right.

Conclusion: God wants you to respond in a Christ-like manner in all circumstances.

  • Are you living in a godly way, which will certainly bring questions?
  • Are you ready to answer those question in a Biblical, logical way?
  • Are you answering people humbly?
  • Are you serving God with a Biblically clear conscience?

Responding to Challenges God’s Way Part 1: 1 Peter 3:13-17

Occasion: Sunday Worship 5th October 2014

Text: 1 Peter 3:13-17

Purpose: Peter wants these Christians to respond to pressure in a Christ-like way; therefore, he explains that godly responses start in a humbly trusting heart, ultimately pointing them to Christ-like character.

Proposition: God wants you to respond in a Christ-like manner in all circumstances.

Interrogative: How can you effectively do this?

Truth 1: Fear God not man: 3:14 do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.

Why give this command?

Psalm 34:20-22 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all…and redeems the soul of His servants.  None of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

  • Some people will not trouble you, because you do not threaten them: Christians are gracious, trustworthy people, which preserve them from many problems in life. 3:13 Who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?
  • Others will hate and attack you, because your life threatens their conscience or ways: 3:14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake you are blessed…

Solomon taught this: Proverbs 23:9 A fool despises wise words.  Proverbs 9:8 A scoffer will hate those who correct him.

Christ experienced this: John 7:7 The world hates Me because I testify that its works are evil.

Christ prepared His followers for it: Luke 6:22 Blessed are you when men hate, exclude, revile, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. 2 Timothy 3:12 All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

  • The righteous are always blessed: 3:14 You are blessed…

Philippians 1:21-24 Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death…to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain…if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.

What does a fear of man look like?

Their situation:

  • Going to pagan festivals and parties.
  • Being involved in Roman religious life.
  • Continuing in compromising relationships.
  • Continuing in compromising jobs.
  • Being unwilling to identify with Christ through baptism.

Our Situation:

  • Being dishonest for sake of convenience.
  • Being afraid to evangelize.
  • Not breaking off compromising relationships.
  • An unwillingness to forsake old habits.
  • Compromising in our work situation.

Two Questions:

  • What do your decisions say about who you ultimately fear?
  • How much has the gospel really changed the way that you live your daily life? What have you lost or forsaken now that you are in Christ?

Ill: Pastor’s wife in Ghana who went to get a dress made, but the lady refused to make it because she believed it would not be modest.

Truth 2: Submit to Christ’s Lordship: 3:15 Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts,

Matthew 10:35-39 He who loves father, mother, son, or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me…and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

Luke 14:26 If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

  • Set apart Christ as the Lord of your life.
  • Submit to His right to rule

In what ways do we submit to Christ’s Lordship?

  • First: Trust His rule with your heart: Sometimes, God’s ways are confusing and even discouraging, yet His ways are always best!

Consider God’s Providence in the lives of some of the prominent saints in the Bible:

  • Providence allowed Job to experience the loss of his children, health, and possession.
  • Providence allowed Joseph into to be sold as a slave, false accused, and imprisoned for close to 15 years.
  • Providence allowed Daniel to be forced into captivity.
  • Providence allowed Abraham to wait till he was 100 years old to have the promised son.
  • Providence allowed Israel to wander in the desert for 40 years.
  • Providence restored Job.
  • Providence preserved and promoted Joseph.
  • Providence preserved and promoted Daniel
  • Providence gave Abraham the son he was promised.
  • Providence gave Israel the Promised Land.
  • Second: Do what He says:

1 Samuel 15:22-23 Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD…rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry

Ill: Corrie ten Boom forgave her torturers and trust God even when He allowed her to experience the pain of Nazi concentration camps.

Two questions:

  • How are you responding to God’s sometimes confusing ways?
  • Are you submitting to his will in all things?

Conclusion: All men suffer, but Christians should suffer with grace and a steadfast confidence in God’s loving providence.

  • Do not fear men, but rather fear God.
  • Submit to Christ’s Lordship in your heart.
  • Submit to Christ’s Lordship in your actions.