Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg

with Tom Fuller


Prepare For Action

1Peter 1:10-25

Do you ever take something for granted? ? We take our faith in Christ for granted. We also think we have it so bad ? But those who lived and preached long before Christ walked the earth would have thought it very cool to live in our time. Then the Spirit of God only came upon people selectively for short periods of time. Now we have the Spirit given out without measure at any time to those who wish to receive it.\r
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So far in Chapter 1 of 1 Peter we have seen \r
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1- Our Position ? in Christ, a place that is secure due to God?s foreknowledge, the Spirit?s purifying, and the Son?s sprinkling.\r
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2- God?s Purpose in trials ? to work something of value in us by testing us, burning away the bad, creating good in us, a good that will last forever.\r
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Today we will take what we?ve learned and see how Peter desires for us to live in light of what we know.\r
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As I said, we take things for granted. We even take our salvation for granted ? but I think that?s only because it?s been two millennia now since the resurrection and the newness of the idea that coming to Christ means escaping hell has worn off. It shouldn?t. \r
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If you talk to someone who has just received Christ you sense the excitement, the wonder, the humbleness. But don?t just stop there ? imagine Jesus hasn?t come yet. There is no church, no cross, no Spirit poured out ? that?s the situation the prophets of the Old Testament found themselves in. \r
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God revealed to them little tid bits ? like a few pieces of a puzzle to this thing called salvation ? then left them to figure it out.\r
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Vs 10-12 A Search For Knowledge\r
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The prophets: ?searched intently and with the greatest of care? trying to figure out when and how the Messiah would come.\r
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The idea from the Greek indicates that they both wanted to know very badly both by their attitude: ? the idea is they ?craved? the knowledge, and by their actions: they explored, looked around, dug into things.\r
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They wanted to know when it would happen ? and how ? and were greatly interested in what would happen to all of us. Names we revere ? Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel. They died not knowing.\r
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When we get to heaven we will want to rush up to these pillars, but they will want to talk to you ? ?what was it like to receive Jesus and have the Holy Spirit guiding your life?? ?What did it feel like when someone accepted Jesus as their Lord??\r
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As a side note ? do you ever find yourself seeing only part of the picture of God?s plan for you? Do you seek to know how the pieces fit together and how it?s all going to turn out? Often God only reveals enough wisdom for us to take the next step ? the rest comes by faith.\r
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The prophets of the Old Testament by FAITH trusted in a salvation they were not to see fulfilled in their lifetimes. We need to trust in God to have the end of our journey in mind as we make the next baby step that he lays before us.\r
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By the way ? it?s not just the prophets who look into this thing called salvation, but the angels too ? wondering about how God can redeem someone. They cannot be redeemed ? angels who disobeyed God are called demons and have no salvation available to them.\r
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And that?s why it?s so important that we consider this as we move through this section ? salvation is a crucial, fundamental, wonderful thing that we cannot take for granted. You should be thankful for it everyday because you are blessed to live in a time when that salvation is available through Jesus Christ ? it wasn?t always that way and it won?t be that way much longer. Take it while you can.\r
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Vs 13 ? 17 A Guide for Living\r
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?Therefore? Peter begins the next section ? ?in light of what we have just seen? ?Prepare your minds for action?\r
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Don?t just take all that we?ve seen ? our position in Christ, the purpose of suffering to make us pure ? and tuck it away in the ?gee these are fun pieces of information I learned? part of your brain.\r
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We are supposed to take action on what we know ? Peter wants us to put some ?deep thought? into how this knowledge not only informs but affects our actions.\r
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It happens in two ways:\r
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1) Internal Controls\r
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He says: be ?self controlled?\r
It means literally to abstain from wine ? but figuratively it suggests not getting giddy or intoxicated with the fact that we are saved ? but be sober about it, understanding what a great price Jesus paid to earn this salvation, and that it is not something to be taken for granted or ignored as we live this life.\r
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Paul said in Romans 6:15-18 \r
?What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.?\r
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Grace that God has given may be unmerited favor towards you, but it doesn?t mean a free excuse to do what isn?t right in God?s eyes.\r
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2) External Anchors\r
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?Set your hope fully? Peter says, ?on the grace to be given you when Jesus is revealed.?\r
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When you are in school, say your freshman or sophomore year ? it?s really hard to put your mind on graduation. It just seems to far away and hard to attain ? you?ve got all those requirements to fulfill, all those classes to take, all those assignments to finish.\r
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Life in Jesus is like that ? sometimes we lose sight of the end because it seems to be so far away and the struggles we must endure so unending. We might have a tendency just to give up and say it?s too hard ? I can?t do it.\r
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The Lord wants us to ?set our hope fully? on that graduation day ? when God will say ?well done, good and faithful servant? here is your reward. Let that day effect this day ? let your behavior now reflect how you will act when you walk across the heavenly stage to receive the crowns the Lord has stored up for you.\r
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The writer of Hebrews calls this hope an ?anchor? for our souls ? it grounds us, stabilizes us, provides something to hang on to when the storms of life rage around us.\r
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Vs 18 ? 25 A Call To Action\r
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Peter characterizes this ?action? he wants us to take in two ways ? Inward attitude, and Outward action.\r
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1- Inward Attitude\r
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Don?t let the world soil you\r
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As ?obedient children? it?s that same word ?attentive harkening? that we saw in verse 2 ? that obedience by choice. It?s the idea of kids who obey their parents because they want to, not because they have to.\r
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In that obedience we are not to be ?conformed? to the evil desires that we had before we knew better.\r
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?Conforming? means to fashion yourself after a pattern. What patterns do you see around you? Wealth is good, fame is good, doing anything that feels good is good ? God is old fashioned and not politically correct.\r
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Examine your life to make sure the pattern that you are becoming isn?t like the world, but like our God. Sin is very seductive ? and left to our natural course we will become like the world ? that?s why we must be sober.\r
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Let God purify you\r
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To that end is the second part of the inward attitude ? holiness.\r
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?Be holy? God says ? it means ?to be separate? ?to be devoted to God?\r
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?Be Holy, for I am holy? is from Leviticus 11:44.\r
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Here it is an interesting phrase ? ?Be holy? the part directed towards us, is in the future tense. ?I am holy? which is an emphatic verb.\r
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It is obvious that we are not wholly devoted to God ? but that is our direction, it is the command for our lives, it is your destiny ;-)\r
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How does that happen practically?\r
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It?s a huge subject ? but for the purposes of this section let?s put it this way ? run everything you do through a ?holiness? filter.\r
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Even as we at home must run our water through a filter before it is palatable ? filter your actions through God?s Word and character. Ask yourself before you do something ? is this in keeping with the person I am supposed to become? \r
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2- Outward Action\r
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How does this work out practically? Two ways:\r
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Live as a stranger in reverent fear (vs 17)\r
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Make your touch light in this world, like you are camping out ? or visiting a foreign country on a temporary visa. Don?t put down roots that make you feel very at home here.\r
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It?s kind of like this ? imagine you got a call from President Bush to represent the United States to Latvia.\r
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You travel to Latvia ? and while you are there you wouldn?t dare do anything that would disappoint the President who sent you. \r
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We have been sent as ambassadors for Jesus Christ to this foreign land called ?the world?. We need to act in a way that represents our true citizenship and represents our Lord in the best way possible.\r
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Vs 18-21\r
The world didn?t save you ? and isn?t making you holy, so don?t put your hope or trust in that system, but in God.\r
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Love your brothers\r
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The second way our being made holy works outward practically involves our love towards others.\r
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(vs 22)\r
As we obey (remember ?chosen obedience?) and through that obedience we become purified ? that has a natural result ? sincere love for the brothers.\r
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The word sincere means ?not pretended?. We all know what its like to fake it ? we talked about putting on the happy Christian face last week. You love because you are supposed to but you don?t really feel it.\r
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But as we grow closer to the Lord and become more like Him, one of the natural outgrowths is a love that is trumped up or pretended but sincere.\r
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One of the things that impresses me most about Jesus Christ was His love for the unlovely. He made friends with those the Jews considered sinful, unclean, untouchable. If He were around today He would rub elbows with folks we would avoid.\r
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Secondly, Jesus passed on to Peter this idea of being a shepherd. We talked about that two weeks ago ? Peter?s meeting with Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus? charge to Peter ? be a feeder and protector of the sheep I will give you.\r
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We should all have this kind of heart towards one another ? a sincere caring for how others are doing, not only practically, but spiritually. It would warm my heart to hear all of you talking to each other about verses the Lord has blessed you or challenged you with this week ? to inquire of each other how you are doing in your walk and provide encouragement. That?s sincere love.\r
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But Peter goes beyond that ? he characterizes that love by calling it ?fervent?.\r
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It means ?intently? ?without ceasing? and comes from a word that means ?to stretch?\r
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Our love for one another should be intense ? not surface ? but real and deep. Our love should be unceasing ? not giving up, not just a Sunday love, not a love that quits when someone goes through a hard time ? and love that causes you to stretch.\r
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It?s easy when we breeze into church on Sunday and give hugs and smiles ? it?s another when God?s love brings you to sit with someone as they experience extreme loss, or serious illness, or depression.\r
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Fervent love isn?t easy, it isn?t comfortable, it?s stretching ? but that?s Jesus? love ? a natural outgrowth as God gives you security in your position in Him, then purifies you through hard times so you can reach out to others.\r
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Conclusion\r
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I want to conclude with a verse, one of my favorites, out of 2 Cor 1:3-7\r
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.\r
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May that be our lives ? confident in our God, suffering to bring about perfection, then bringing the comfort God brings to us to those around us who are hurting.