Home   Complete Index    2009-2010 Sermons   2004-2008 Sermons      2002-2003 Sermons      2000-2001 Sermons     1998-1999 Sermons 

Series    Topical     Short Articles

 

Email

 

565  Sermons Available


Lives Experiencing God’s Power

1 Peter 2:4-25

Jim Davis

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 16:17-18 NIV)

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 circumstances.

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 supply.

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)

Galatians 2:20
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.

Romans 12:1-2
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. (NIV)

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 at once.

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 praise.

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 evil.

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 self-destruction.

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 enemies.

Conclusion:

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.

 

Home   Complete Index    2009 Sermons 2004-2008 Sermons      2002-2003 Sermons      2000-2001 Sermons     1998-1999 Sermons 

Series    Topical     Short Articles

Email