1 Peter #3 1 Peter 1:13-25 Pouncing Sin
1 Peter #3 1 Peter 1:13-25 Pouncing Sin
Five things we are going to take home with us from 1 Peter 1:13-25. The Apostle Peter admonishes us to guard our hearts and minds, being ready for action. He tells us we are to live holy lives because we belong to a holy family. We are to forsake the old way of living with its desires and passions and live as new creations in Christ. Last week we called this living the Yes. The way we spiritually thrive, grow deep, grow up, grow fruit, living our life to the full is by following Jesus’ example of obedience to the Father. Peter tells us that the most important thing we do in this new life, in our new family, is to love one another. Let’s see how these truths unfold.
1 Peter 1:13-25 (MSG)
13 So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, and be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. 14 Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. 15 As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. 16 God said, "I am holy; you be holy."
17 You call out to God for help and he helps—he's a good Father that way. But don't forget, he's also a responsible Father, and won't let you get by with sloppy living.
Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. 18 It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. 19 He paid with Christ's sacred blood; you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. 20 And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. 21 It's because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.
22 Now that you've cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it. 23 Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God's living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself! 24 That's why the prophet said,
The old life is a grass life, its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers; Grass dries up, flowers droop, God's Word goes on and on forever. This is the Word that conceived the new life in you.
Previously Peter has explained the glorious life that we have been allowed to enter. He wrote of the privilege of being part of the Chosen Ones. There is a responsibility that goes along with privilege. We can call that responsibility discipleship. Discipleship always requires desire, discipline, and doing. Peter tells us don’t get lazy, don’t become pew potatoes, be on guard all the time lest we fall back into the patterns of behavior that we escaped. These behaviors just led to one mess after another. In Genesis 4:7 God reveals to us one of the problems of the human predicament. He tells Cain that sin is lying in wait, like a crouching lion waiting to pounce at the first opportunity, as soon as the guard is down, that it’s out to get you (1 Peter 5:8-9). Then God adds, “you’ve got to master it.” For us today discipleship keeps us on guard against sin. It is so easy to create a relational mess. A wrong word, a bad decision, doing nothing when you needed to do something, and blam, feelings are hurt, trust betrayed, anger erupts. If God tells us that we can master sin, then He gives us the power to do so. You are empowered right now, discipleship keeps you ready.
This sin that crouches is the antithesis of love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. This sin that crouches is self-centeredness, a disregard for the other, it’s your way, your agenda, and your advantage that is most important. This sin that crouches is doing what you want, when you want, regardless of how your behavior negatively impacts someone else. This sin crouches in making yourself the authority, you are the judge, and you determine what is right and what is wrong by your standards. Peter tells us that before you became a disciple you lived this way. Now you know better, you know the way of love, and you know that being a lover is what following Jesus is all about. You know that obedience is foundational to discipleship. Now you have the power to master it.
As you work on mastering sin, you live a holy life. Being holy is being like Jesus. The Greek word translated for us as holy has two meanings. The most familiar is “set apart to sacred use.” In the Old Testament, all the Temple paraphernalia used in worship was considered holy. For instance, ritual utensils would never be used for anything other than carrying out the ritual. People are also set apart for sacred purposes, Levites (Exodus 29) who served in the Temple, Nazarites whose tasks had a deadline and their holy service would end (Numbers 6:1-12) and prophets like Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5) are all considered holy because they have special assignments by Divine appointment. God’s people are considered holy because they have been set apart to show the world the glory of God.
The additional meaning of the word holy has to do with moral purity. When Peter admonishes believers to be holy, he is talking about ethical conduct. Disciples are to live out the ethics of the Kingdom. The ethics of the Kingdom all have to do with your behavior. The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17) are an example of Kingdom ethics. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) is another example. Jesus also summed up Kingdom ethics when He told the Pharisees that the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). We know that love for God is demonstrated by our obedience to His commands (1 John 5:3). Jesus also told the Pharisees that “loving your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) is just as important. Loving others is seeking to meet their need, even when it costs you time, talent, or treasure to do so. Kingdom ethics is infused with servanthood. Jesus told His disciples that the greatest among them is the one who humbly serves (Mark 9:35-37). Self-sacrifice for the good of others, and the betterment of the world, is being Christ-like, and that is what it means to be heart holy.
As you master the sin that remains in your life you a pulled away from the old ways into a God-shaped life, life in all its fullness. You experience being loved and loving others. You experience inner peace and abiding joy. Your life takes on a new meaning and a new purpose as you use the gifts that the Holy Spirit has birthed within (! Corinthians 12:7) You shine, love makes you shine, and you stand out; people will either be attracted to you or repelled by you, because of holiness. You will need help as you learn to master the sin that remains, egoism and all its desires. That help comes from God and comes from other disciples. That help comes from other disciples is why fellowship is so important, why having a church family is important. Help comes from God as you ask through the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit’s sanctifying grace that transforms you into the person God always intended for you to be.
“This call to holiness is overwhelmingly inclusive. There is no aspect of believer’s lives that does not fall under the command to be holy” (Powers, p 68). God supplies all the resources you need to be holy in all you do. But disciples are not to take this gift for granted. Disciples are expected to actualize this sanctifying power. We call God Father because that describes the intimate relationship that humanity knew in the Garden in Eden. We call Jesus “friend” (John 15:15) because that describes the relationship we can enjoy with Him. What we cannot do is allow this familiarity as a rationalization to fail to be holy, to assume God’s forgiveness for our willful disobedience. We must remember that God is Father and Judge. We must remember that Jesus is our Friend and Lord. Willful disobedience is disciplined. Willful disobedience is when you know a behavior is wrong, but you do it anyway. The old timers called it high-handed sin, knowing the right but doing the wrong. Peter tells us God corrects His children and Jesus warned us that the Father prunes fruitless branches (John 15:1-7). If we persist in doing wrong, we are in danger.
Hebrews 10:26-31 (MSG)
If we give up and turn our backs on all we've learned, all we've been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ's sacrifice and are left on our own to face the Judgment—and a mighty fierce judgment it will be! If the penalty for breaking the law of Moses is physical death, what do you think will happen if you turn on God's Son, spit on the sacrifice that made you whole, and insult this most gracious Spirit? This is no light matter. God has warned us that he'll hold us to account and make us pay. He was quite explicit: "Vengeance is mine, and I won't overlook a thing," and, "God will judge his people." Nobody's getting by with anything, believe me.
The gift that allows a person to be saved, to become one of the Chosen, and to enter the Kingdom of God was given at a high cost.
1 Peter 1:18-19 & 21 (MSG)
It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ's sacred blood; you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb … It's because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.
Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God (1 Peter 1:17). The journey is from where you are right now, in a world that is a mess, maybe in a life that is a mess, into a world that is like Eden. As we journey our inner world is transformed by the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit and in turn, we are to be transforming the world outside us with the love of God. Being aware of God’s presence in our lives, being deeply conscious of Him, keeps us on course, keeps us living holy lives, doing all that deepens, grows, and matures our relationship with God, others, and ourselves, while refraining from any thought or action that would damage those relationships.
In this crazy world we live in it is of utmost importance that you protect your heart and mind from the things that pull you away from obedience to God. It is your duty as a member of a holy family to live holy lives by forsaking sinful desires, passions, and behaviors. You don’t give in to sin, you fight it, battle after battle, until you are victorious. Disciples follow the example of Christ by obeying God's will; living out Kingdom values. Doing so will result in your spiritual growth, deepening, maturity, fruitfulness, and closeness with one another in our new life as followers of Jesus. If you don’t know what God’s will is, or what the kingdom values are for a given situation your default is to love.
Five things from our teaching that you can apply right now to your life.
1. Guard your heart.
2. Be ready for action
3. Be holy in all you do.
4. Turn your back on the mess-creating behavior
5. Follow Jesus’ example of obedience to the Father.
Guard yourself against the pouncing lion
It’s time to start living the YES.