Live Here In Fear—1 Peter 1:17-21

INTRODUCTION

 

17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear [the title of this sermon came from here: Live Here In Fear]: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. (1 Peter 1:17–21)

 

Live here in fear. Does that sound right? Does God want us to live in fear? After all, we can find verses like 1 John 4:18:

 

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18).

 

There are, however, different kinds of fear in the Bible. It is important to to look at the context of the verses. In 1 John 4:18, you will find that it is speaking about having a confident boldness in the day of judgment. 

 

Elsewhere in the Bible, we find that we are not to fear persecution of our faith (1 Peter 3:14; Revelation 2:10); That we should speak the Word of God without fear (Philippians 1:14); and that we are not to fear death as Christians (Revelation 2:10).

 

Yet there is a fear we are to have, a reverent fear or, you could say, an awe of God, a respect of God…that is the kind of fear in view here.

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Living In The End Times—1 Peter 4:7-11

INTRODUCTION

 

7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:7–11)

 

We, as Christians, do and should believe that the end is near, but how should we act in response to this belief? Christian history is full of believers who responded in fervent but foolish ways. The Millerites were just such a group of Christians.

 

In the early 1800’s, a deist named William Miller set about studying the Bible to answer questions about the existence of God. He ended up, after two years, becoming convinced that he knew the year of the return of Christ—about 1843. For years he kept quiet about it, but in the 1830’s, he started to preach it strongly and started to gather a following. In 1838, he published a book, Evidence from Scripture and History of the Second Coming of Christ, About the Year 1843.

 

At the beginning of 1843, he announced that Christ would return between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. Thousands of people joined him. The Millerite Movement was in full swing. And boy, was it ever. Men quit their jobs. People sold their homes (Why? Did they need the money in Heaven?), others gave away their belongings. Many donned white robes. There are unverified reports that some went up on hilltops or climbed trees to be closer when Jesus came.

 

Of course, they were disappointed. Christ did not return on March 21. Nor did he come on the recalculated date of October 22.

 

And, because people don’t learn from history. The very same thing happened in recent years with a man named Harold Camping who predicted that Christ would return on May 21, 2011 and then recalculated for October 21, 2011. 

 

How would you respond if you were convinced that the end would come on a specific date? Would you dress in white robes?

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In Suffering, Commit Yourself To Your Faithful Creator—1 Peter 4:12-19

INTRODUCTION

 

There are a lot of ways to suffer in life:

 

You can hit your thumb with a hammer. 

You can have a stroke or heart attack or get cancer.

You can fall off a horse, get into a car accident, or break a leg falling out of a tree.

You can suffer the ravages of war, famine, and plague. 

You can writhe in the shame of remembered guilt.

You can feel the deep hurt of what someone said or did to you.

You can lose your health, wealth, family, and reputation like Job. 

 

Some of our suffering comes from the corrupted creation that we live in. Things break. Diseases happen. Tornados spin up and touch down.

 

Some of our suffering comes from other people—who are sinners—who do things, intentionally or not, to hurt us.

 

Some of our suffering comes from the choices that we make ourselves—angry words, vengeful actions, or simply sticking our foot in our mouths. Our tongue is often a source of our suffering—if we could just not say dumb things…

 

The suffering that Peter refers to in this passage, however, is the suffering that can happen because you are a Christian. Jesus warned us that identifying with him could cause others around you to hate you. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).

 

Some Christians, especially Christians in western nations like the United States, are unfamiliar with this sort of suffering. Christianity has been a part of our culture and, as long as you weren’t “going overboard on the religion stuff,” you hardly even got teased.

 

But that is changing in our country. Being Christian isn’t necessarily safe anymore. Christian companies like Chick-fil-a and Hobby Lobby have experienced legal pressure and worse. Christian bakers and photographers and florists have been taken to court because they refuse to act against their conscience.

 

Some Christians are stunned at this turn around in our country. But Peter has an important reminder for us in verse 12. He says, “think it not strange concerning the fiery trial…as though some strange thing happened unto you.” 

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Stranger Behavior-1 Peter 2:11-12

20160320FBCAM—Anniversary Sunday

Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A. 85 Years Have Brought Many Changes

 

What was the world like eighty-five years ago? We have a tendency to glamorize the “good old days,” forgetting that they had problems of their own. We also forget that they didn’t have many of the things that we enjoy today—like hearing aids, microwaves, and frozen pizza. No, the old days weren’t perfect by any means. 

 

But I think it is accurate to say that today the culture overall is less friendly to Christianity than it was eighty-five years ago. The culture is more ready to challenge Christians about their faith and even demand that they set their faith aside in certain situations, as we’ve seen with recent cases of Christian photographers, bakers, florists, and even county clerks.

 

Like it or not, the culture has changed. Christianity is not the norm anymore. Russell Moore, who writes about cultural issues, tells about a conversation that he had with an atheist lesbian:

 

We had a respectful, civil conversation, though she couldn’t help but laugh out loud several times when I articulated [Christian] viewpoints…

 

She said I was the first person she’d ever actually talked to who believed that sexual expression ought only to take place within marriage, and that I was the only person she’d ever met in real life who thought that marriage could only happen with the union of a man to a woman…She followed this up by saying, “So do you see how strange what you’re saying sounds to us, to those of us out here in normal America?” 

 

Before I could answer, I was distracted by those two words: “normal America.” How things had turned around. Most of the people in the pews of my church back home would consider themselves to be “normal America.”…But I suspect she’s right. More and more, she represents the moral majority…She is normal, now. 

 

She snapped me out of my daydreaming by asking again, “Seriously, do you know how strange this sounds to me?” I smiled and said, “Yes, I do…But what you should know is, we believe even stranger things than that. We believe a previously dead man is going to show up in the sky, on a horse” (Moore, Onward).

 

This is where we are at eighty-five years later, and no amount of wishful thinking or complaining or boycotting will ever bring those days back. We cannot bury our heads in the sand and become Amish, but we also cannot strike back in anger. But what we do need to do is to learn how God wants us to live as Christians in this new culture. 

 

The first thing we need to realize is that this the kind of culture where Christianity was first planted—and it thrived. 

 

Case in point: Peter wrote the letter of 1 Peter around AD 64-65, about the same time that Rome was burned. The burning of Rome killed many people, left many more homeless, and destroyed buildings of religious and cultural value. The Romans were devastated. Emperor Nero, who hated Christians, blamed the burning of Rome on Christians. As a result, Christians were widely and viciously persecuted. Christians were covered with tar, hung up on poles, and burned to give light along roadways.

 

We can be thankful that we aren’t at that point…yet. Peter wrote this letter to help those persecuted Christians know how to survive in a world that despised them and what they stood for. His letter can also help us live in a culture that is becoming more and more anti-Christian.

 

If eighty-five years have brought many changes, we can also say…

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Sermon: Why Are We A Peculiar People?

 

7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:7–12)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

On March 23, 1931, the First Baptist Church of Baker was officially organized. That was 83 years ago. Since that time, the world has seen a great many changes—some good, some bad. 

 

I think it is accurate to say that today the world overall is less friendly to Christianity than it was eighty years ago. The world is more ready to challenge Christians about their faith and even demand that they set their faith aside in certain situations.

 

Hobby Lobby, a Christian owned retail chain, is currently before the Supreme Court because they are being forced, by the Affordable Healthcare Act, to provide birth control for their employees in their health plans. The problem with that is that some birth control pills—contraceptives—actually cause abortions, such as the “morning after” and “week after” pills.

 

Hobby Lobby is just one example. In the last decade, we’ve see all kinds of attacks against Christianity, especially in terms of the public expression of our faith. Christian photographers, bakers, and florists have found that they cannot refuse to service same-sex weddings and so must violate their conscience and participate in something immoral. A Christian’s love and for the unsaved should not lead them into participating in or endorsing sin.

 

Students are told that they can’t mention Jesus in their show and tells or reports or graduation speeches. The situation seems to have an overall downward trend.


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Sermon: In Christ Alone, We Have Hope

 

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Peter 1:3)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

There is a famous painting of a woman with her eyes bandaged so that she cannot see. She sits with a harp that has all it’s strings broken except for one—and with that one she is playing a wonderful melody. 

 

The title of that painting is “hope,” and it’s intention is to show that despite any trial that might break the strings of your harp, you can still have hope. My question for you is this: where does that kind of hope come from?


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