Watch Out (1 Peter, Part 5)

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In the first 12 verses of 1 Peter, Peter reminded the people that they are chosen, he spoke about their salvation that was bought by the sprinkling of Jesus’ blood, he reminded them of their inheritance, he spoke of the trials in their lives and that the proof of their faith was more precious than gold. King Herod had become the Christian’s primary enemy. Jews who confessed Jesus as their Messiah were scattered abroad to other Roman provinces such as Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. Although Herod hated Christians, it wasn’t until Nero that the persecution of Christians reached beyond Judah. Peter now transitions in his letter to encourage Christians to watch out and be ready.

I hope you have your Bible and will read 1 Peter 1:13-25.

The first thing Peter tells us is to be ready. Verse 13 says, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  We are to prepare our minds for action. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. We fill our minds with such trivial things. TV. Gossip. Work. Remember what is going on in the world at Peter’s time. Nero was on a vendetta to attack Christians. Rumor had it that Nero burned Rome in A.D. 64 so that he could rebuild it the way he wanted it and then blamed the fire on Christians and thus began the systematic persecution of God’s children. For fun Nero would cover Christians in animal skins and send them out to the dogs to be ripped apart. Christians were fastened to crosses in Nero’s garden and set on fire where they served as torches. Prepare your mind, be sober, and be ready.

Fill your mind with the things of Christ. Study the scriptures. Listen to preaching. Meditate on the Word. Pro. 16:3 says, “Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established.” Volunteer in the church. Volunteer in a local ministry. Do this until the end. Don’t be faint.  Don’t be weary.  Keep your mind in constant preparation for the duty to which you have been called. We have become a people that give up so quickly. We’re not willing to stick anything out. We want results immediately. We see it in all areas of life. We want promotions at work without putting in the time or effort required to earn it. Our kids run amok because discipline doesn’t work and we say, “I tried that once.” Do this until the end.  Until Jesus comes again . . . or until you die. As obedient children. Obedient comes from the Greek word that means obedience and submission. Submit to God’s revelation – the Word of God. As obedient children . . . perhaps without question. How often do we question God’s Word? I know what the Bible says, but . . .  “ . . . do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance.”  (1 Pe. 1:14) Christians are to be completely different from other people. Before you were saved you indulged yourself, you lived by your own rules and ideas. Selfish. Greedy. Materialistic. Notice that we are not conformed to our former lusts that were ours in our ignorance. Conformed comes from the word that means made after a pattern. When we didn’t know any better, our lust acted as a pattern that formed us and shaped us. Ignorance can be fixed. Stupid is forever. 2 Cor. 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” These are our former lusts, past tense. We have a new agenda. New desires. A new master. “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”  (1 Pe 1:15-16) In all manner of your conduct and behavior. In all that you do – be holy. Be holy because I am holy – Lev. 11:44. He that called you is holy and He is our example.

If we are to be ready, we must also be mindful. 1 Pe. 1:17 says, “If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth.” God will judge the work in which we do, impartially, no matter who you are and what you do. The Greek word “work” actually means job. Every one of us has a job. Father, husband. Mother, wife. Son, daughter. We are to “conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth.”  We are strangers in a strange land.  We are not of this world. Rom. 12:2 tells us, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” This is our temporary home, we’re just passing through. Spend your time here with fear. It comes from the Greek word phobos, butPeter not’s talking about being scared. He’s talking about a healthy, reverential fear of judgment. Solomon said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Pro. 9:10)

We are to be ready, we are to be mindful and we are to be thankful. “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers.”  (1 Pe. 1:18) Peter says, you know. As Christians, we must know the price that was paid for our redemption. It was not paid with things that pass away like silver and gold. It was not paid with by the vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers. The idea is the tradition passed down from generation to generation was without truth, it was worthless. Our ransom was paid with the blood of Christ. It is precious. It is without blemish . . . faultless. It is spotless. It is imperishable. “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world.” Foreknown in comes from the Greek word proginosko where we get our English word prognosticator and prognosis. This is someone’s best guess, but when we talk about Jesus, it’s not a guess. Verse 21 says, “Who through Him are believers in God.” It is by Christ that people believe in God. Faith in God is always a characteristic in true religion.  “who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.God raised Jesus from the dead. God exalted Jesus to His right hand. God did this so that our faith and hope would be in God. “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart.”  (1 Peter 1:22) Our souls are purified through obeying the truth. A ceremonial cleansing, washing our souls pure.

Peter concludes this section by saying, “and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” Everything that we hold so dear on this earth is going to pass away. Don’t be so attached to this place. Nothing lasts forever but, “THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” And this is the word which was preached to you.”

We need to be ready, be mindful, and be thankful. We need to be ready for the trials we will face, be mindful of the work you do, and be thankful for the price that was paid for your soul.  Remember where you were when you met Jesus. Think about how far Jesus has brought you.

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