Experiencing God’s Power
We sing a song that says, "Upon Christ the
solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand." We sing that song
because Jesus taught that wise men build their houses on a solid foundation.
Peter confessed, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus
responded, "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will
build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." (Matthew
1 Peter 2:4-5
As you come to him, the living Stone-- rejected
by men but chosen by God and precious to him--you also, like living stones,
are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering
spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (NIV)
The church is built upon our solid faith in
Jesus Christ as we through faith accept Christ's life as the foundation
for our lives. Jesus Christ provides the only solid foundation for our
lives, but it is up to us to build upon that foundation. How we build upon
the foundation Christ provides is up to us. Christ has laid the foundation
and we must follow his direction to build a life upon that foundation.
If we follow his directions, we will build lives which endure time and
1 Corinthians 3:10-13
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation
as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one
should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other
than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on
this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,
his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to
light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality
of each man's work. (NIV)
Living for Christ gives us the greatest
assurance of God's presence in our lives. God's house is literally
being built as we choose to live for Christ moment by moment. The establishment
of God's spiritual house -- his church is an ongoing process. Peter conveys
the message that God is working with us and in us to build his church.
God builds his church in the present as we allow the living Christ to activate
his word in us. The church is often referred to as the body of Christ.
Christ church is a living body. When we seek to build our lives upon our
obedient confession of Christ we become one with him in spirit. (1 Corinthians
6:17) We become a part of that living body when we decide to live for Christ.
In a large city in Sri Lanka there is a huge
statue of Buddha in a reclining position. The chiseled face is calm, the
eyes are closed, and the head rests upon one hand. A full 50 feet long,
the image is impressive except for one thing: Buddha is sleeping while
the world goes by. He is paying no attention to his worshipers!
How unlike our God who is constantly watching
to see what we need and to satisfy us with rich treasures from His inexhaustible
Living for Christ is the only solid
foundation for our lives and the church. It is the only solid way
to build Christ's church. The survival of the church is dependent upon
building solid lives on the eternal principles revealed in the words of
the living Christ. Living for Christ will not allow the highest strategies
of Hell overthrow our lives.
Lives that Praise God
I often wonder if we would be willing
to die for Christ, as the first century Christians most certainly did.
The surest evidence of that kind of faith today is our willingness to live
for Christ. It is living for Christ through the difficulties of life that
manifest our death with him. It is that living sacrifice we make for Christ
that assures us of our willingness to die with Jesus Christ. Paul wrote,
"We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life
of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always
being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed
in our mortal body." (2 Corinthians 4:10-11 NIV)
I have been crucified with Christ and I no
longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live
by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (NIV)
We have been born into a living hope
because Jesus Christ is alive. When we die with him we can live
with him. He resurrected from the dead and has become a living Stone--the
living foundation upon which we must build our lives. Jesus Christ is a
living Stone and it is in Him that we must seek to live, move and exist.
"For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious
cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
(1 Peter 2:6 NIV)
In the Old Testament the temple was
the place of worship. The temple signified God's dwelling place.
There was a special priesthood, the tribe of Levi that offered the sacrifices,
which were brought to the temple in sacrifice to God. In the New Testament
there is a new order of things. Christians themselves are the temple of
God, God abides in Christians and we offer ourselves by sacrificial living.
This results in lives that praise God.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view
of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing
to God-- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer
to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your
mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his
good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)
1 Peter 2:9-12
But you are a chosen people, a royal
priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that
you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into
his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are
the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received
mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world,
to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such
good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong,
they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (NIV)
Peter declares the purpose of our calling
is to live lives that praise God. Power for living is discovered
in lives that praise God. Today, much of our effort goes into revamping
our worship services into what we are calling praise services. However,
our efforts to praise God are more beneficial when we live lives that praise
God. We must let lives seeking to praise God be the motivating factor in
our worship services. There can be no worship service of praise without
lives lived in praise to God.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Don't you know that you yourselves are God's
temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?
If anyone destroys God's temple, God will
destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (NIV)
1 Corinthians 6:17-20
But he who unites himself with the Lord is
one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man
commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his
own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,
who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you
were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (NIV)
2 Corinthians 6:16
What agreement is there between the temple
of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
"I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and
they will be my people." (NIV)
The only real way to make worship services
exciting is to live exciting lives for Jesus Christ. We come to
know the resurrection power of Jesus Christ through obedience to his living
Word. The power of the risen Christ exemplified in the lives of Christians
makes for a powerful praiseworthy worship.
For God’s Sake, Watch How You Live!
1 Peter 2:13-19
Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake
to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as
the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those
who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will
that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.
Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live
as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood
of believers, fear God, honor the king. Slaves, submit yourselves
to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate,
but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears
up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.
What are you doing for God's sake? Peter
is saying, "For God's sake, watch how you live!" In these verses
Peter admonishes us to submit in obedience for the Lord's sake, to do good
because it is God's will, to live as servants of God, to fear God, and
to be conscious of God. We are to take heed to his admonition in every
aspect of our lives. This is how we live lives for God's sake. There is
no way God's glory can be manifested through the church without living
lives for God's sake. In the outset of chapter two Peter is challenging
us to live lives for God's sake.
Peter said, "For you have been born again,
not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring
word of God---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." (1 Peter 1:23; 2:1-3 NIV)
Peter says, "We have tasted that the
Lord is good." We taste the Lord by delving into his word through
obedience. Once you have experienced the grace of God and experienced the
peace of Christ, which comes through obedience to the living and enduring
word of God, nothing is ever the same. God has chosen us as his people---we
belong to Him because we have allowed his mercy to salvage our lives through
the living Word of the living Christ. When we allow Christ's word to activate
our lives we begin sharing in and partaking of the life of Christ himself---we
begin sharing in the stability, which characterizes our Lord.
1 Peter 2:6-8
For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone
in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame." Now to you who believe, this stone is precious.
But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become
the capstone," and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that
makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message-- which
is also what they were destined for. (NIV)
Those who refuse to taste the power
of Christ through obedience are destined to fail. To refuse to
taste Christ through obedience is to stumble over the very power intended
to salvage our lives.
Before you reject Jesus Christ, you need to
taste him through obedience. Then you can know whether he taste good or
bad. Only then can you authentically decide to follow Him or reject Him.
Tasting the Lord leads to desire and craving the ways of Christ. We must
return to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. Allow Christ to direct
your life in a powerful way.
Motivation for Change
When we begin to consciously live and
act recognizing God’s way we begin to experience the power of the risen
Christ. [Don’t forget experiencing God’s power is always more real
than something better felt than told.] We begin to experience the power
available to all those who love him. Peter says, "For it is commendable
if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious
of God." (1 Peter 2:19 NIV) When we consciously suffer trusting in God,
God’s power is experienced and God is glorified.
Aches and pains and an unexplainable feeling
of sadness plagued John Bradford, the famous martyr. But while confined
in a damp dungeon, he wrote, "It is an amazing thing that ever since I
have been in this prison, and have had other trials to bear, I have had
no touch of my rheumatism or my depression of spirit." His experience is
corroborated by these words from Isaiah: ". . . he stayeth his rough wind
in the day of the east wind" (Isaiah. 27:8). Just as God does not cause
a howling gale to blow from the north and from the south at the same time,
so He will not allow the storms of adversity to strike us from all directions
God is glorified through lives lived
in praise to Him. Peter says, "Dear friends, I urge you, as
aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which
war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though
they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify
God on the day he visits us." (2:11-12)
Much of our effort today goes into creating
exciting worship services in the assembly. We want to excite people who
may be visiting. I like to see people excited about the worship services
of the church. It is harder to preach where members aren't excited. But
the excitement needs to be the result of something deeper than momentary
entertainment. The excitement must come from the flow of adrenalin that
is the result of engaging the forces, which war against our souls in battle.
When the world sees this kind of excitement they will glorify God through
When we choose to live honorable lives
in difficult times God’s power silences the ignorance of foolish men, and
we bring glory to God.
1 Peter 2:13-15
Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to
every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme
authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do
wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing
good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. (NIV)
A boy was once asked, "Who are the meek?"
He thought for a moment and then replied, "They are the people who give
soft answers to harsh questions!" The story is told that Frederick the
Great once rode through the streets of Berlin and noticed a crowd looking
intently at a wall. On it was hanging a vile caricature of himself. Someone
had put it up high so it wouldn't be torn down. The citizens expected a
terrific outburst of temper from their monarch. He looked at the picture
for a moment, noted the scurrilous slander, and then quietly said to his
servant, "Place it lower so that all may read it." As he calmly rode away,
he had won a victory over the evil intentions of his enemies, and the bystanders
had gained a new admiration for their leader. The world gains a new appreciation
for God when they see his followers allowing his goodness to triumph over
Serving the Lord sets us free from slavery
to sin. Christian slaves could live as free men as the trusted
the power of God to liberate them in their circumstances. So it is with
everyone’s sinful circumstances. Most of us know something about slavery
to a self-destructive lifestyle. We have all reaped a few wild oats that
we have sown. Jesus Christ can set us free from the horrible master of
1 Peter 2:16-18
Live as free men, but do not use your freedom
as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to
everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to
those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. (NIV)
Slaves were encouraged to live as free
men and were not use their freedom as a cover-up for evil. "If you
race merely for the tributes from others, you will be at the mercy of their
expectations." Too often in difficult
times we opt to shield ourselves through pretense rather than depending
upon help from God to do what is right. We must stop covering up our self-destructive
ways and seek the liberty in Christ to love all people---good and bad---with
a deep respect. We must treat the considerate and harsh with the same respect---realizing
this is how we serve God. We must love our brothers in Christ, those in
authority and harsh employers with equal respect.
The well-known Bible teacher Keith Brooks
had just finished speaking to a large class of businessmen on the Christian's
responsibility to be a "light" in the world. He emphasized that believers
are to reflect the Light of the world, the Lord Jesus. After the class,
one of the members related to him an experience he had in his home, which
had impressed upon him the same truth. He said that when he went into his
basement he made an interesting discovery. Some potatoes had sprouted in
the darkest corner of the room. At first he couldn't figure out how they
had gotten enough light to grow. Then he noticed that the cook had hung
a copper kettle from the ceiling near a cellar window. She kept it so brightly
polished that it reflected the rays of the sun onto the potatoes. The businessman
said to Brooks, "When I saw that, I thought, I may not be a preacher or
a teacher with ability to expound Scripture, but at least I can be a copper
kettle catching the rays of the Son and reflecting His light to someone
in a dark corner."
In engaging in a Christ-like battle
we receive commendation from God. God commends those who are battling
the evil forces with the weapons he provides. The world is pleasantly surprised
when they discover Christians fight differently.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
For though we live in the world, we do not
wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons
of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against
the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient
to Christ. (NIV)
1 Peter 2:19-20
For it is commendable if a man bears up under
the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is
it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it?
But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable
before God. (NIV)
Following Christ is our calling and
when we do so he becomes the foundation of our existence. Through
developing the attitudes of Jesus Christ --- Christ becomes the cornerstone
of our lives.
1 Peter 2:21-25
To this you were called, because Christ suffered
for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. "He
committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." When they hurled
their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no
threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself
bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and
live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were
like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and
Overseer of your souls. (NIV)
In difficult times we bear the insults
and trust God who judges justly. We must remember how Christ bore
our sins so that we will be able to bear the sins of others---even our
When we deal with heartache and despair we
must live conscious of God's presence.
In the days of the French monarchy, a tutor
was hired to instruct the prince of the reigning royal family. The young
heir, who led an undisciplined life, often misbehaved. The poor plebeian
teacher was frustrated because he didn't dare punish a prince. So how could
he correct this delinquent successor to the French throne? After much thought,
the tutor purchased a short piece of purple ribbon, symbolizing royalty
and the color of old France. He pinned the ribbon on the lapel of the young
prince's coat. Looking his student in the eye, he said respectfully, "Sir,
whenever you behave in a manner unbecoming of the French throne and of
the French king, I shall point to the royal color on your coat and make
my appeal by that."
We need to remind ourselves that we are Christians
living under the power of God.