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Called to Live Holy Lives

Chatswood Baptist Church https://www.chatswoodbaptist.com.au

1 Peter 1:13-2:3

Introduction

There are many things in this world that people set their hope on. We have recently had the Olympic Games in Japan to keep us partly occupied while we remain in lockdown. Now Olympians train incredibly hard. Take swimmers for example. Many of the swimmers set their hope on winning Gold and spend many years training in the pool for hours every day, sacrificing relationships and living a completely disciplined life with the hope that they will receive sporting glory and a gold medal when they compete. I have just read this week a CNN interview from a couple of years ago with Michael Phelps, who is the most decorated Olympian of all time with 23 gold medals (28 medals in total). You would have to say that he is was the poster boy for what it means to be successful at the Olympics. Yet did you know that Michael suffered debilitating depression after three of the four Olympics where he won gold medals and has been quoted as saying he is thankful that he is around today. In fact he was in rehab in 2014 and was given a copy of the purpose driven life by Rick Warren. Phelps identity was as a swimmer and you know what, that couldn’t last. In fact as good as 23 gold medals are, they won’t last forever either.

But if we have found our identity in Christ, then unlike other identities this one lasts. Our hope is sure. This is what Peter reminds us of in verse 13. Set your hope completely on Christ’s return. That is your identity.

As God’s children born again into a living hope, a sure and certain hope, we are changed in an instant when we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead. When we do this we are saved. It is faith alone through grace alone by which we are saved. I make this point strongly so that what follows can’t be misconstrued. It is only faith in Jesus Christ that saves us. Yet how we live speaks of our faith. For salvation is received and lived or as John Piper has said “The instant God gives new life, we do the living.” Colossians 2 backs this statement up as well. Verses 6 & 7 state:

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

We are to live in our salvation, or you could say live out our salvation. I also want to make two other points at the outset, we live out our salvation with the Lord’s help, we can’t do this through our own striving, but with the Holy Spirit living in us. Also, living out our salvation in Christ is joyful, it is what we were made for.

And that is where we find ourselves this morning as we look at the second half of 1 Peter 1. Peter sets out what it means to live lives in line with our new identity as brothers and sisters saved by faith in Christ. There are five verbs in the original Greek that are what we call in English imperatives. I believe that the best way to understand these is as commands. Peter isn’t asking us to do this if we feel like it. No Peter is saying do these things. These commands all go together, it isn’t like you can do one but not the other. No, if you are a Christian this is how you are to live a Holy and Obedient Life. The first command gets us to look forward and is found in verse 13.

  1. Live in the Sure Hope of Salvation

Let’s have another look at this verse from last week.

“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.”

As Christians we don’t have to guess or wonder where to put our hope. No it is to be firmly fixed on the fulness of salvation when Jesus returns as we saw last week in chapter 1v5. The Christian Standard Bible does is even more helpful with verse 13.

“set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

An alert and sober mind is a ready mind, a disciplined mind. We need to get our thinking right. Hope fully in Christ. Always have an eye on the future, you can live life now because you know what is coming, your salvation is secure. We do indeed need to get our minds right. We need to read God’s word and be praying to him continually. There is effort involved here. Being alert and sober minded is a choice, we decide what we fill our minds with. As Christians we are instructed to have disciplined minds that are looking to Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith and his return. It also means that nothing else should be or could be on the same level as this hope. If our hope is fully set on Christ’s return then there is no room for false hopes. The second last verse of the Bible (Revelation 20:22) should be our joy and our confidence. If indeed our hope is set on Christ’s return then we joyfully say – Amen, Come Lord Jesus!

  1. Live Holy Lives

The second imperative is to be holy. Peter helpfully in verses 14 to 16 tells us not only what to do, but what not to do.

14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

As brothers and sisters who are born again into a living hope, we are now God’s children. As Galatians 3:26 states “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.”

As children of God we are to be obedient to our Father in Heaven. Our eyes are now opened as those who have put their trust in Jesus. We are no longer uniformed, no longer ignorant. Brothers and Sisters we now through God’s word and Holy Spirit have knowledge. We are not to live life the way we used to, being led by our own evil desires. No now we are to live holy lives. The Apostle Paul in Ephesians makes a very similar point which is helpful when we are looking at these verses.

Ephesians 4:22-24

 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

God through Peter’s letter is calling, no commanding you and I to be holy. He is not asking a question; he is saying this is what you must be. And let’s read this carefully. We are called to be holy in all that we do, in all of our conduct, which is to be pure, without sin, set apart. We are to live holy lives and we are to do this because the one that we have put our trust in, the one who has saved us from our sins is holy. I’m sure that like me this then leads to looking at all areas of your life. What areas of your life do you need to ask for God’s help in so that you can be holy in all you do?

  1. Live in Reverent Fear of God

God is indeed completely perfect and holy, so we must fear the Lord and see him as high and lifted up, above all and over all. Let’s read verses 17-21

17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

Only God is to be reverently feared. We are of course to respect all people and those that rule and govern. In fact in just a few verses Peter writes (Chapter 2:17)

17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honour the emperor.

Living as followers of Jesus, as those who have put their trust in Jesus means that we will live our whole lives in reverent fear of God. God is the maker and sustainer of all things and as we read in verse 17 of Chapter 1, the judge. True fear of God is understanding that you can’t run from God. That God is perfect, that He loves us like no one else can and that he has shown that perfectly in sending his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Holy Fear – awe of God, worship of God is the correct response.

God is not only our Father, but also our Judge. There is one standard for all in our works. Because as we read in this verse God judges each person’s work impartially. We are not to say well God is my Father and it doesn’t matter how I live, or what I do. No God is indeed our Father, but he is also our judge and we need to live in reverent fear of our God as we live as exiles here on earth. Verses 18-21 then remind us of God’s love for us through the precious blood of Christ. Conduct yourself with reverential fear because you were ransomed by Christ death. Live your life in holy fear because this strengthens your faith and hope in God. Live your life in fear because God gave everything for you. Holy Fear of God flees from sin and runs to the Father.  Holy fear of God hates sin and sees it as ugly.

If we hope fully in God and understand all that He has done in Christ, we can only have Holy Fear of God. Truly living in the reverent fear of God is shown in your life. It is shown by where you have your hope, it is shown as you live a holy life, an obedient life in Christ. This is about living in Christ. We are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, God’s only Son whom he raised from the Dead and glorified. There is nothing else that can even compare to this. Nothing else that causes the believer to bow down in holy reverential fear and awe. So let’s live our lives in holy fear of God, our Father in Heaven.

  1. Live lives of Love toward one another

Peter then tells us as followers of Christ to love one another deeply from the heart. This is the fourth command in our passage today. Let’s look at verses 22-25

22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.[a] 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,

“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25     but the word of the Lord endures forever.”[
b]

And this is the word that was preached to you.

We are commanded to love one another deeply, but how is this enabled. Peter here says that this is achieved by obedience and purification. Firstly we read that we are purified through obeying the truth. That is through faith in Jesus, His death and resurrection we are given sincere love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. This can’t be faked; this can’t be made up. It is only through faith in Christ that we are given changed hearts that enable this love. Peter then commands us to live in this love. To walk in life loving deeply our brothers and sisters in Christ. We can only love this way because we have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.

The Gospel is eternal. The Word of the Lord endures forever. The Isaiah 40 passage that we read in verses 24 & 25 reminds us of what will last. The word of the Lord endures forever. God’s word is eternal. We will last because of the word of God implanted in us. We are born again as we read back in v3. Our living hope through faith in Christ is imperishable. It lasts forever, and because of this sure and certain hope we can and ought to love one another deeply.

  1. Live Craving Pure Spiritual Milk

The final command from Peter is that as people of hope, living holy lives in reverent fear of God and loving our brothers and sisters we would crave pure spiritual milk so that we can walk properly in our salvation. We start with that ever so helpful word ‘Therefore’. It joins everything that we have just read to these three verses. In view of our faith and hope being solely in Christ we are first told what to eject and then told what to embrace. Let’s have a look at these final three verses which bring us to a great place to finish for this morning.

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Peter first tells us what we should get rid of. The list is malice which hostility towards others, deceit which is dishonesty, envy which is coveting or rivalry, and finally slander which is defamation or lies against someone. You have probably picked up that this list speaks of interactions with people. How we treat people, and this list is in direct opposition to what we have just seen in verse 22 where Peter is commanding us to love each other. So we need to do away with these sinful actions and thoughts. We are a new creation in Christ, and we are to love one another deeply. As born again new creations we are to crave, to lust after pure spiritual milk, we are to deeply desire the Word of God.

At this point I want to say to you if you have put your trust in Jesus then you have tasted that the Lord is good. But if you are not following these five commands then you are quite probably not feeling that at this moment.

We grow bit by bit. I am watching my 12 year old seemingly grow each day before my very eyes. Yet it has taken him 12 years to get to the tweenager that he is. It didn’t happen overnight. The same happens with our growing in the Lord or what we read here as ‘grow up into your salvation.’ Again let me be clear it is through faith in Jesus Christ we are saved. Our salvation is secure as we read in verse 3-5. Yet as we trust in Jesus and read the Bible and have our minds set on the sure and certain hope of Jesus’ return we grow with the Holy Spirits help.

This is the right and proper response to what God has done for us in Christ. We are saved through faith, and we live out our salvation through Christ. Let’s pray.