Spiritually, You Are What You Think

// December 30th, 2018 // Sermons

As I was thinking about what I might preach on for this… You can listen online or download it and listen later…Spiritually, You Are What You Think …the last Sunday of 2018, I determined that this is a time when people typically rethink how they view life, re-establish some priorities, hit the reset button on certain aspects and hit the delete button for some things.

Perspective is really important.  And so, there are things that you need to think about when considering rearranging your life for the next year.

1 Peter is a practical book.  It speaks to life in a powerful way.  As the title suggests, it is true that as you think, so you are.  For this reason, we need to think appropriately about ourselves as a Christian if we are going to be what God wants us to be.

There are some essential, divine realities that form the structure of how we see ourselves.  I’m not talking about looking in a mirror, looking at your successes, achievements or accomplishments.  But, looking into God’s Word and setting our lives to a new default position.  First…

  1. Remember Whose You Are

1 Peter 1:18 says, “You were not redeemed, purchased or bought with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”  Then v. 21, “Through Him you have become believers in God.”  God owns us because He purchased us!

In 1 Peter 2:9 we read, “Since you have been purchased by God, you are…a people for God’s own possession.”

1 Cor. 6:19-20 say, “You’re not your own, you’re bought with a price.”  In Eph. 1:4 we are told that we were chosen before the foundation of the world.  You were chosen to be given to Christ as a part of His bride.

The Holy Spirit convicted you, brought you to salvation and you came to be the possession of Christ.  He paid the price with His blood, so that God could take you, own you, and then give you to Christ as a gift of His love.  This is at the foundation of how a Christian should view life.

You are not your own, you are bought with a price.  I have to constantly remind myself that I am not my own.  I’m not a master of my own fate, I’m not the captain of my own destiny.  I’m not in charge of my own life.  I belong to God.  I need to surrender my will and my ambitions to Him.  Pair that with the promise of God that He knows best and will empower us to be everything that He wants us to be – which is far more than you and I would ever be on our own.

The picture here is of a slave being bought with an extreme price.  Not silver or gold, but blood – and not just anyone’s blood, but the blood of the sinless Son of God.  Secondly, we should…

#2. Renew Our Commitment to Obey

In ch. 1:1, Peter says he’s writing to believers who are living as aliens – that’s how we all should see ourselves – they are aliens scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.

They are chosen by God, elect – listen to v. 2, Peter wrote, “They are elect according to the foreknowledge of God by the sanctifying work of the Spirit to obey Jesus Christ.”  The whole point of our salvation is to bring us into obedience to Christ!

Through obedience to Christ we are able to be spared much of the hardship that comes to those who don’t believe.  And, obedience also produces reward, eternal reward in the life to come.

You may not have realized these things when you came to Christ, and you confessed your sin and you asked Him to save you from your sins and to become your Lord and Savior.  By the act of saying, “I confess Jesus as my Lord” – if He’s your Lord, you’re His slave.  Part of that confession is an oath of obedience!

In v. 2 it also says, “…for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood…”  What does it mean to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood?

Peter is an OT scholar – he knows his OT.  And so, when you go back to Exodus 24, you find one of the most interesting events between God and His ancient people Israel.

Moses has been given the Law.  He brings the Law before the people and starts unfolding what it is that God wants them to do.  In v. 3, we read, “Moses came, recounted to the people all the words of the Lord, all the ordinances, and all the people answered with one voice and said, ‘All the words which the Lord has spoken, we will do.’”  That is an oath of obedience, a pledge made to God.

Then Moses wrote down all the words.  First, he gave them verbally, then he wrote them down.  After this he arose early in the morning, built an altar at the foot of the mountain that had twelve pillars, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.  Then, he sent young men of the sons of Israel and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as peace offerings to the Lord.

You need to understand that more than a million people needed to be atoned for – so they slaughtered these animals and then Moses in v. 6 took half the blood and put it in basins, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar.  Then he took the book of the covenant that he had written down and read it in the hearing of the people and again they said, All that the Lord has spoken, we will do and we will be obedient.”

In ancient times, they would use blood to seal a covenant or a promise.  So Moses took the basins of blood and literally threw it on the people saying, “Behold the blood of the Covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”  This was their covenant with God.

God said, “Here’s My Law, obey My Law and you’ll be blessed” – that was God’s part of the promise.  And the people said, “We will obey” – that was their part of the promise.  And to seal the covenant, blood was poured on the altar representing God, and splattered on the people representing them.  This what Peter has in mind in 1 Peter 1:2.

When you and I came to Christ and Jesus promised blessing, grace, mercy, forgiveness, hope, joy and salvation, He made His part of the promise.  Our part, is to obey Jesus Christ – to confess Him as our Lord.

And it’s as if at that moment blood was splattered on us in the same way that it was splattered on the children of Israel at Mount Sinai back in Ex. 24.  Salvation is a covenant of obedience.  By faith, the blood of Jesus is splattered on us as we affirm our obedience to Him.  Nowhere in Scripture can you find a verse that says you can believe and then live for yourself.  If we truly believe we will obey!

How long has it been since you renewed your covenant of obedience with the Lord?  This would be a great time to do that – to go back to the promise you made when you were saved, when you received the gift of eternal life, when you confessed Jesus as Lord.  As part of that covenant, we need to declare ourselves as His slaves.  That’s why Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”

We all struggle with spiritual obedience, with being everything that we ought to be.  But the potential for victory becomes much more likely if we renew our covenant with Him on a regular basis.

Every time you sing of the lordship of Christ…every time you confess Jesus as Lord in a prayer and address Him as your Lord and your God, you are affirming again your pledge to be obedient.  True disciples continue in obedience to His revealed Word.  #3…

#3. Remain Faithful to Your Biblical Convictions

  1. 13 is literally saying “tie up all the loose ends in your mind”.  Peter pictures a soldier wearing a loose garment while going into battle. He gathers up all the loose ends and ties them up.  The KJV says, “Gird up your loins”.

Tie up all the loose ends of your life, all your loose thinking and make sure your doctrine is firm, your convictions are set, and then, be faithful to your biblical convictions.

In 1 Peter 2:1 we find the source of these biblical convictions – put aside all kakia – that’s all evil, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander.  V. 2 – “like newborn babes long for the pure milk of the Word so that you may grow in respect to salvation.”

Like a baby desires milk, we need to desire the Word of God.  It needs to be our first desire.  When babies come into the world, they could care less about the drapes, the color of the crib, the color of the blanket or the wallpaper.  They want milk – that’s all they care about.

The apostle Peter is saying, like a baby’s singular passion for milk, we need to have a singular passion for the Word so that we may grow.  The Word is where your convictions come from.

First, you read the Bible to get the right information.  Then as you continue to read the Word of God, the information becomes belief/doctrine; belief then becomes conviction, and conviction controls my life and sets my affections.   Remain faithful to your biblical convictions.  Don’t be hypocritical or double-minded.

In 1 Cor. 16:13 Paul wrote, “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”  Be unwavering, uncompromising, faithful to what you know, what you believe, about your convictions.

It’s all about the courage of your convictions.  So, as we get set to start a new year, remain faithful to biblical convictions, faithful to biblical truth.  Know the Word, believe the Word, be solid about the Word.

#4. Recognize All Sin as a Violation of a Relationship

Violating and break God’s Commandments happens every day.  Unbelieving people do this, but they don’t care because they don’t have a relationship with God.

Believers, however, are the children of God – He is our Father!  He has caused us to be born into His family spiritually.  He has given us all the rights and privileges of an honored and adopted child.  We belong to God, and have a relationship with Him, a relationship to Christ.  Sin for us is not simply violating an objective law, it is breeching a relationship.

In v. 14, Peter says, “do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance…”  Don’t live the way you did before you were saved!  Instead, live – “As obedient children.”  Your heavenly Facebook status says, “In a relationship with God”.  You are His child and He’s your Father…for this reason you should be like Him.

  1. 15, “But like the Holy One who called you into His family, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior because it is written you shall be holy for I am holy.” “We are God’s children, connected to Him, therefore, we should be holy as He is holy.” We need to demonstrate His life in us through the way we live.

I find it helpful in dealing with sin to see every sin as a violation of a relationship with a loving, gracious, merciful God who chose me for eternal glory before the foundation of the world, redeemed me, forgave all my sin, and promised me eternal life.  I don’t want to violate that relationship!

When David came to his senses about his sin with Bathsheba, in Ps. 51, he prayed, “Against You, and You only have I sinned.”  He had sinned against Bathsheba, against Uriah, against his own wife, against the people he was leading as king, against all his children…he sinned against a lot of people, but when he came before the Lord, he confessed that it was really only against the Lord that he had sinned.

In 1 Peter 3:10 it says, “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” Why?  V. 12 – “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”  You choose – do you want God working against you or for you?

#5. Love One Another Earnestly

  1. 22, in the Message uses the phrase, “Love one another as if your life depended on it.” I like that! “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart…”  One of the by-products of being saved is you love other believers.  There’s a new level of friendship, a new level of camaraderie – a new enjoyment of those who are also in Christ because you both have something profound and eternal that you hold to.

As believers, we have an eternal life principle operating in us that produces a love for other believers that is to be fervent.  “Fervent” is a Greek word that means “stretched,” – like a muscle that was stretched to its absolute maximum capacity.  Peter is saying, love other to the maximum of your capacity.

In John 13, Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that you’re My disciples, that you have love for one another.”  This implies a deep love – not as an emotion but a willingness to render sacrificial service to others.

  • To Jesus, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
  • To everybody else, “I love you, so I want to sacrifice myself for you.”

#6. Relish the Effects of Adversity

In 1 Peter 1:3 we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”

You have an inheritance.  You’re protected by the power of God through faith.  You’ve been saved.  You’ve been forgiven.  You’ve been promised resurrection, an inheritance that can’t fade away, undefiled, reserved in heaven.  These are guaranteed promises from God.  It’s all good!

But, then v. 6, “In this you rejoice.”  Who wouldn’t rejoice in all that?  Then comes the tricky part – “…though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials.”

The idea that Jesus wants everybody healthy, wealthy, prosperous and pain free is part of Satan’s lie.  Prosperity, health and wealth kind of preaching is deceptive and not from God’s Word.

We need trials.  V. 7 says, “That’s the proof of your faith.”  The trials of v. 6 are necessary to help us prove that our faith is real.  If you say, “Oh, I believe in Jesus, I’m a Christian,” and a trial comes and you collapse under it, you start blaming God, deny Him, walk away…then that trial has revealed that your faith is not for real.

However, if your faith is real, the trial may be hard, it may be painful, but when you come out the other side you can say, “Glory to God.  I trust Him, I love Him, I’ll follow Him no matter what the price.”  That’s the assurance of the reality of your saving faith.  You know this because you have passed the trial.  “How valuable is it to know your salvation is the real thing?”  It is more precious than gold that is perishable.”

In v. 25, Peter tells us that trials drive us back to the Shepherd.  Trials give you the assurance that your faith is saving faith, and they drive you in the direction of the Shepherd, which is where you want to go, casting all your cares on Him because He cares for you – 1 Peter 5:7.

  1. 10 – “After you’ve suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory in Christ will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

Trials perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.  No wonder James wrote, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”  Paul wrote, in 2 Cor. 12, “I have a thorn in the flesh…I prayed for the Lord to take it away, but He doesn’t take it away.”

Paul celebrates in his suffering.  He says, “My power is made perfect in weakness.  I will rather boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weakness, insult, distress, persecution, difficulty for Christ’s sake for when I’m weak, then I’m strong.”  When I’m weak in myself, I’m strong in Him.

#7. Retain the Full Function of Your Conscience

Your conscience is a gift from God.  It accuses or excuses you.  It’s a mechanism in you that reacts when you do right and wrong.  When you do what is right before God, it confirms you.  When you do what is wrong, it accuses you.  This is a gift from God.

Conscience is God’s means of warning you about spiritual damage.  Peter is very aware of the role that conscience plays.  In 2 Cor. 1:12 Paul says, “Our proud confidence is this, the testimony of our conscience.  My conscience is not accusing me.  You are accusing me.  I have lived my life in holiness and godly sincerity, that’s how I’ve conducted myself in the world and toward you.”  A clear conscience is so satisfying.  Like when you pass a radar trap and you know you don’t have to worry about being pulled over, because you are doing the right speed.

#8. Recognize God’s Purpose for Your Life

1 Peter 2:4 – “…you are…precious in the sight of God.”  Then, v. 5 – “you yourselves like living stones…”  The imagery is the temple – you’re like living stones in a temple built up to the glory of God.  “You are built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

What is a spiritual sacrifice?  To fulfill the purpose of my life.  What is the purpose of life?  To worship with the mind, the lips, the songs, with behavior – it’s a life of worship.  The supreme purpose of your life involves worship.

In John 4 Jesus says, “The Father seeks true worshipers.”  Our whole life is a spiritual sacrifice offered to God as an act of worship, adoration and praise.

And then, in 1 Peter 2:9 we read, “You’re a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession.”  And here’s purpose: “So that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”  That’s evangelism through proclamation.

So your life goes upward in worship and outward in evangelism.  That’s how we all are to live our lives, so that in the end, as he says at the end of 4:11 – “…that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ to whom belongs the glory and the dominion forever and ever.  Amen.”

So, whatever it is you do in life, whatever your job, whatever your career, whatever earthly pathway you choose to take, whatever goals you set, the supreme purpose of your life is worship to God and evangelize the lost.

As we come to the start of a New Year – what areas of your life need to adjustment?  Remember, spiritually…as you think, so you are!  Ask God to help you get on the track that will take you where He wants you to be.

Let’s pray:

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