Saturday, April 24, 2021

Arguments for Holy Living part 1 - 1 Peter 1:17-21 - April 25, 2021

These are the Sermon Notes for April 25, 2021. We are meeting at the church with specific procedures and protocols that need to be followed. Read our Covid-19 plan here. You can still watch our livestream service every Sunday at 9:37 am on our facebook page or watch the livestream recordings any time.

 1 Peter 1:17-21 Arguments for Holy Living part 1

Good morning! Once again we are back in 1 Peter chapter 1, this morning we are going to look at verses 17-21, that’s page 1014 in the pew Bibles.

Our text for this morning contains what is called, a “conditional statement.”

A conditional statement is a statement that uses the words, “if,” and, “then.” 

If you want to play outside, then you must finish your supper.” That’s how conditional statements work.

This morning’s conditional statement is not an argument for eating your vegetables however, it is an argument for holy living, which, I suppose is a spiritual parallel to eating your vegetables…

Let’s look at our text.

17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Let’s pray.

Now you may remember the context of what Peter was writing here. He has addressed the great worth of the gospel, that wonderful treasure that we have, and also the hope that we have as a result. Because we have faith in Christ we have a confident expectation that when He returns we will come into possession of our glorious inheritance in His eternal kingdom.

Not only that, but with the hope of that future grace in view, with sober-minds, and the loins of our minds girded up and ready for action, we must act as obedient children of our Heavenly Father.

And what is the word we use for acting in this way? Holiness.

Our passage last week ended with the words, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

So here comes our conditional statement:

And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, [then] conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile…

Now I want to make something clear right off the bat because we are going to be addressing our behavior here this morning: I am not talking about living in such a way that earns salvation or favor with God.

JP Lange wrote “The Scriptures uniformly teach that forgiving grace is not conditioned by any work; it is absolutely free and unmerited and presupposes nothing beyond a penitent mind and an appropriating of the righteousness of Christ; but it insists upon a life corresponding with the will of God, and even supplies the strength to lead it. Faith must work by love. It is the living root of all good works, while unbelief is the father of every sin. God looks upon the life of a man as one connected work.”

So again, to be clear, holy living is not an effort to earn forgiveness, nor earn salvation. Holy living is living in light of our forgiveness and salvation. Peter calls this, “conducting yourselves in fear during the time of your exile.”

Conducting ourselves in fear, just as Peter commanded those First Century believers, is a command for us. “If you call on Him as Father… Then conduct yourselves in fear.”

But what exactly does Peter mean by, “fear?”

In this context, the word fear does not mean terror, but reverence, not horror but awe and profound respect.

Jesus said in Luke 12:4-5,

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

Lange also wrote, “Fear not, but fear, and therefore fear, that you may not fear.” If we fear God, meaning living in reverence, awe, and profound respect of our Heavenly Father, then we have nothing to fear from man nor the devil.

So here are the arguments for holy living within these few short verses. True faith is not a hollow dream nor hollow talk but holy living in the fear of God, holy living in loving reverence of our Father.

The first argument for holy living (and you may be surprised to hear that there are not three of these) is found in verse 16. If you call on Him as Father…

The “if,” at the beginning of this verse doesn’t denote any doubt that Peter’s audience believed and called on Him as Father, rather it was more of a reminder that you ought not call Him Father if you are not willing to walk before Him in holy reverence as obedient children.

Holiness and reverence, as Peter put it, fear, are bound to our relationship to God

Ephesians 5:1 says, “Be imitators of God as beloved children.”

Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-45, 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Why should we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us? Because that’s how our Father acts, that’s what He does.

Luke’s version sounds like this in Luke 6:35-36:

35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Argument 1, we call on Him as Father, we should act like we’re His children.

Argument 2, v17 he judges impartially according to each one’s deeds.

God our Father, the righteous Judge does not measure with the same scale as us.

Lange wrote, “We find very great odds betwixt stately palaces and poor cottages, betwixt a prince’s robes and a beggar’s cloak; but the God they are all one, all these petty grievances vanish in comparison to His own greatness; men are great and small compared to one another; but they all amount to just nothing in respect to Him; we find high mountains and low valleys on this earth, but compared with the vast compass of the heavens, it is all but as a point, and has no sensible greatness at all.”

There is no outward mask that will fool Him, no class, nor race, nor sex is of any account, only the condition of the heart on the evidence of deeds. So walk in righteousness and obedience.

The list of references is long on this argument!

Romans 2:6-11, He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

Matthew 16:27,27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

2 Corinthians 5:10,10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Need I go on? I could, all day…

Argument 1, we call on Him as Father, so act like His children. Argument 2, He judges impartially according to each one’s deeds so act accordingly, Argument 3, we are exiles, don’t start acting like locals!

Jesus said in John 15:18-19

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Those that Peter was writing to were literal exiles, Jews living apart from Jerusalem, but we too are exiles now that we have been chosen and set apart from the world. The world hates the church, don’t act like them!

Peter says that the ways that they inherited from their forefathers were futile. Those ways have their roots in appearances, devoid of all true foundation, they are selfish, empty, and hollow. Those are the ways of the land of our sojourn, of the flesh, of this fallen world in which, we too are exiles.

So here are the first three arguments for holy living based on our text so far:

Argument 1: We call on Him as Father, and so, we should act like His children.

Argument 2: He judges impartially based on a person’s deeds, and so, our deeds should be worthy of Him so we have no fear of judgment.

Argument 3: We are exiles in this world because Jesus has called us out of it so we should not conform to the wicked customs of the land of our sojourn.

I really didn’t want this to be a three point sermon, but I’ve only made three points and there are six, so now I’m forced into two three point sermons!

This is where we are going to leave it for this week soo this is just part one of arguments for Holy living. Next time we will focus on the great worth and high price that was paid for our ransom so that we could be set free from sin and its penalty.