April 2018  
SMTWTFS
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930     
     
Upcoming Events
APR

23

MON
F.A.I.T.H Rider's Monthly Meeting
6:30 PM
Prairie Kitchen, 6:30 p.m.
APR

24

TUE
Men's Bible Study
8:00 AM
Every Tuesday at the dowtown McDonalds, 7:00 a.m.
APR

25

WED
Midweek Activities
6:00 PM
Preschool, Children, The Mission (Youth Worship) and Adult Bible Study, Weekly Worker's and Officers Meeting
Bible Search
Becoming a FAT HOG for Jesus
Holy!
1 Peter 1:13-16
 
I’m getting a kick out of the reports I’m receiving from those of you who tell your friends and families you’re learning at church how to be FAT HOG for Jesus.  I’m having a good time, as well, telling people what I’m preaching about. 
 
So far we’ve looked at being faithful, available and teachable.  Today we’ll start on the HOG part with a study of 1 Peter 1:13-16 and what is says about being holy.  Following that, we’ll get to obedient and growing to finish out the series. 
 
We do live in strange times and things have been strange for a long time.  Listen to this poem that was published in the Saturday Evening post way back in 1949:
 
This is the Age of the Half-read Page
And the Quick Bash, and the Mad Dash
The Bright Night, with the Nerves Tight
The Plane Hop, with a Brief Stop
The Lamp Tan in a Short Span
The Big Shot in a Good Spot
And the Brain Strain and the Heart Pain
And the Cat-Naps, till the Spring Snaps
And the Fun’s Done!
 
The words fit, don’t they? That is the nature of the beast in the 21st century. We live in a hurry-up, get-it-done-now, grab-the-gusto kind of world.
 
And now, more than ever, we look around and see the uncertainties of life, and how often, the results are tragic.  We have bombings and terrorists and shooting and racial strife and political firestorms.  Truly we live dangerous times.  You may have seen a little piece called “The Paradox of Our Time” floating around the internet.  It reads like this:
 
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers; wider freeways but narrower viewpoints. We spend more but have less; we buy more but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences but less time. We have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge but less judgment; more experts but more problems; more medicine but less wellness.
 
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little of God’s Word, watch TV too much, fast too rarely, give too little, and pray too seldom.
 
We have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living but not a life. We’ve added years to life, not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air but polluted the soul. We’ve split the atom but not our prejudice.
We write more but learn less. We plan more but accomplish less.
 
We’ve learned to rush but not to wait. We have higher incomes but lower morals. We have more food but less appeasement. We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever but have less communication. We’ve become long on quantity but short on quality.
 
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men and short character; steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace but domestic warfare; more leisure but less fun; more kinds of food but less nutrition. These are days of two incomes but more divorce; of fancier houses but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom.
 
Every part of that seems very true, but I was especially drawn to one sentence in particular and that is, “We’ve conquered outer space but not inner space.”
 
Most everything you need to know about modern life is in that sentence. Everything we build is bigger, stronger, faster, and larger. We’ve come a long way in a short time. The engine of human progress hums right along. We send men to the moon, satellites into orbit, and radio waves to the stars. But inner space is another problem. We’re not even close to conquering that. The human heart seems as unruly as ever.
 
 
 
Here’s a truth you need to learn, if you don’t already know it and if you know it, you probably need to be reminded you know it:
 
What we are on the inside is more important than what we do on the outside. After all, if you are the right sort of person on the inside, you are more likely to do what God wants on the outside. The heart matters more to God than anything else in your life.  It is more important than your education, your income, your location, your career, and even who you marry. 
 
In fact, if you are the right person of the inside, all the other areas will find their purpose and fulfillment because of that and that’s why this text before us is so very important.  What is it that God really wants from us?
 
Notice what we read in
 
1 Peter 1:13-16
 
Our text puts it very simply.  God says, “Be holy because I am holy.” Now that is a very simple, straightforward statement regarding God’s desires for His people. 
 
And yet, as simple and as clear as those words are, holiness remains a mystery to most Christians. We know what the word means, but we have a hard time explaining what it looks like. So let me give you another interpretation that I think will help. 
 
God says, “I want you to be like me.” That’s what it means to be holy.  God wants us to be just like him. Holiness is at the essence of who God is, and God says, “Be like Me.”
 
In everything you do, be like me.  Where you go and don’t go, what you buy and well,  how you think and act, in your words and deeds, in every part of your life, God says, be like Me.  
 
Talk about raising the bar. That’s a high standard. And it goes far beyond the usual list of “dos and don’ts” that we associate with being holy.  You know what I’m talking about.  That’s all those things we like to brag about that we don’t do and how we don’t act so we can look at others who do and feel better about ourselves. 
 
But when God says, I want you to be like Me in everything you do and say”, we suddenly have a entirely different standard to meet.  I’m not just looking around to find some lousy church member or preacher to which I can compare myself and come out looking better.  I am not in the presence of perfection and the command is to bring myself up to that level. 
 
Now at first thought, that seems very discouraging.  We immediately begin to think in terms of how we can never measure up and how far short we fall and how many times we fail to do or say the right thing. 
 
But that’s not the point of what Peter is writing.  It isn’t written to defeat us, but to encourage us.  In fact, it is simply a message about practical holiness and practicing holiness. To Peter, being holy is being like God. And that’s the most exciting thing in the world. Holiness means being so much like God that you change the world.
Or to be more precise, holiness means to be so much like God that the world begins to change around you.
 
In regard to holiness,  C. S. Lewis, “How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing … it is irresistible. If even ten percent of the world’s population had it, would not the whole world be converted and happy before a year’s end?”
 
Absolutely, they would!  People who think holiness is dull don’t understand what it really means. When you meet a truly holy person, you feel drawn to them because they are so much like God. We’ve all known at least one person like that—someone whose life radiates God in such a way that you were drawn to them. Almost always such people are filled with a kind of contagious joy. They are like God—and they are filled with joy! What a fantastic combination.
 
We’ve all known people who brighten up a room every time they leave, right?  Do you know why that is?  Do you know why there are people you don’t like to be around and can’t wait to get away from?  It’s either because they’re not right with God or you’re not right with God or you’re both not right with God. 
 
Holiness attracts holiness and there are some people who are so close to God, you are just drawn to them.  It’s not because they are self-righteous or holier-than-thou.  They are genuine and real and compassionate and holy. 
 
That’s what the Bible means when it speaks of the “beauty of holiness” in I Chronicles 16:29. Maybe that’s our problem. Holy people have holy joy. They enjoy life because they are full of God.
Maybe we aren’t enough like God, and so we are easily resistible. If Lewis is right, if only 10% of Trinity Baptist Church had this sort of holy joy, we’d see the whole community converted by the end of the year. Maybe the people around us have seen us and our religion, but they haven’t seen enough of God in us, and not that much joy.
 
To be holy means to be full of God in every part of life. What could be better than that? And how do we get from here to there? Where do we start? What changes do we need to make?
 
Peter suggests five things that we need for our lives to be filled with God. Remember what the man said. “We’ve conquered outer space but not inner space.” If we’re going to be filled with God, “inner space” is where we must begin.  That means we need
 
  1. A New Mindset
 
Verse 13a
 
That is a literal translation.  Newer translations like the NIV say, “Prepare your minds for action.” That may be what Peter means, but it is not what he says.  He says, “Gird up the loins of your mind.”
 
That sounds strange to us. The words are a little bit foreign in our day.  If I told you, “When you go home, I want you to gird up the loins of your mind,” most of you probably wouldn’t know what that means.   Let me illustrate it for you.  
 
 
 
In the first century, men wore long flowing robes with a belt around the middle. Whenever they got ready to do hard work or to go into battle, they would shorten the robe by tucking it into the belt. That made it easy to move fast. That was called girding up the loins.
 
An equivalent expression today would be, “Roll up your sleeves, take off your coat, and get to work.” That’s why the New English Bible translates it “Be like men stripped for action.”  So that’s the picture.  Get anything that might potential get in the way out of the way. 
 
And notice he says, in particular to, “Gird up the loins of your mind.” In other words, the mind will  wander unless we bring it under control so don’t let your mind get fat and lazy.  Listen:  Spiritual trouble always begins with a lazy, undisciplined mind. All our problems start between our ears.
 
First we think it, then we dwell on it, and then we do it. So it is with anger, bitterness, impatience, lust, greed, and every other sin.
 
So if you want to be holy, you’ve got to control your mind. God has no use for a believer with a flabby mind. We need to learn to think, think hard, think intentionally and think things through carefully.
 
Paul uses a similar expression in Ephesians 6:14 where he instructs us to stand firm with the “belt of truth” buckled around our waist. The only way to “gird up the loins of your mind” is by using the “belt of truth” to cinch it tight with God’s Word.
 
Any time you are in a conversation about life, it is always appropriate to introduce the truth of God’s Word.  If people want to talk politics, I’m going to take them to the Bible.  If they want to discuss morality, we’ll begin with God’s Word.  If they want to talk religion, the Bible must be allowed to speak. 
 
If we are going to be strong in these days of immense moral confusion, we must “gird up the loins” of our minds. And the only way to do that is with the “belt of truth,” the Word of God. We tuck our mind into the truth of God’s Word so that what show from our life is a demonstration of holiness.  That means we must have the right mindset.
 
Here’s the second thing.  Not only do we need a new mind, we need
 
  1. A New Focus
 
Verse 13b
 
Peter’s next instruction is very simple: “Be sober.” The underlying Greek word means “wine-less.” It speaks of the need to be free from the clouding influence of alcohol or any other narcotic stimulant. Alcohol and other stimulants drag us away from God because they cloud our moral and spiritual judgment, causing us to lower our standards and compromise our values.
 
But beyond that, in an even broader sense, it means to be free from anything that clouds your moral or spiritual judgment. It could be your temper.  Sometimes anger clouds our judgment to the point where we totally lose control.
 
What else could cloud our spiritual or moral judgment? There is any number of things. A wrong friendship could do it. A harmful TV show could do it. A habit you know is hurting you could do it. Certain music can do it. The atmosphere where you work can do it. Certain mementoes from the past can do it. Love of new fads and fashions can do it. Desire for acceptance can do it. Political affiliations can do it. 
 
Let me put it this way:  If you will be like God,
 
  • There are some people you shouldn’t be friends with.
  • There are some books you shouldn’t read.
  • There are some TV shows you shouldn’t watch.
  • There are some places you can’t go.
  • There are some movies you shouldn’t watch.
  • There are some Internet sites you shouldn’t visit.
  • There are some people you shouldn’t date.
  • There are some relationships that are no good for you.
  • There are some jobs you shouldn’t have.
  • There are some habits you need to break.
  • There are some songs you shouldn’t listen to.
  • There are some people who only drag you down.
 
I can’t issue a definitive list of TV shows or movies you shouldn’t watch, or books you shouldn’t read, or places you shouldn’t go, or things you shouldn’t do. And I certainly can’t tell you which friends to avoid or who you shouldn’t hang around with. That list would differ from person to person.
And what bothers you or drags you down might not bother me at all. The point is: You know the truth about all these things because the Holy Spirit lives in you. If you will listen to the Spirit, he’ll give you clear guidance. But even the Spirit can’t help you if you reject his leading.
 
Keep your eyes open. Don’t let anything cloud your vision so that you can be holy. That’s Peter’s message to us.  Here’s the third thing.  We need
 
  1. A New Goal
 
verse 13c
 
We all set our hope on something. A student sets his hope on graduation, a bride sets her hope on the wedding day, a candidate sets his hope on winning the election. We all set our hope on the true controlling interest of our lives.
 
Peter says, “You will see Jesus when he returns to the earth. Keep your eyes on the prize.” The Christian life is not a 100-yard dash; it’s more like a marathon. Keep on running, and don’t stop until you see Jesus standing at the finish line. The race is so hard, so long, so difficult, and at times so discouraging, you’ll never finish if you don’t keep your eye on the goal.  Sometimes the slightest distraction can be disastrous.
 
If you follow the Olympic Men’s Three-Position Rifle Competition, chances are good you will hear the name of Matt Emmons when the games kick off in Rio de Janeiro this summer. 
 
He has quite a history including competing at his first Olympics competition in 2004, in which he won a gold medal with a borrowed rifle after his was sabotaged.  Then in 2008, he accidentally hit the trigger too soon while taking aim.  The blunder resulted in lowering his score enough to drop him out of qualifying for a medal. 
 
In 2010, he was scheduled to serve as an athlete ambassador at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.  The evening before he was to leave, he felt ill and decided to see a doctor. A few tests later, he found he had thyroid cancer.
 
But perhaps his greatest notoriety came in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens when he was one shot away from winning a gold medal in the Men’s Three-Position, 50-Meter Rifle competition. Leading by three points going into the final round, he needed only to hit near the bulls eye to win.
 
He took careful aim, pulled the trigger, and waited. But the target never registered a hit. It turns out that while standing in Lane 3, he shot at and hit the target in Lane 2, an unbelievable error at that level of competition. The judges gave him a zero score, dropping him from 1st to 3rd place and instead of the Gold, he brought home a bronze medal and it happened because he took his eye off the target, and aimed in the wrong place.
 
The same thing can happen to any of us spiritually. We hear a lot about climbing the ladder of success. That’s well and good, but pity the poor fellow who climbs to the top of the ladder only to discover it’s been leaning against the wrong wall.
 
Peter is very clear in what he says and it is a very compelling truth that I would guess most of us never consider.  Peter says that precisely to the measure that we believe in the Second Coming of Christ for us, in that same measure we will find power to be holy.
 
Now don’t miss what that means:  Peter is saying if we lose sight of Christ’s coming, we also lose our #1 motivation for Christian living. On the other hand, when we keep the coming of Christ in mind, we will have the power to share the gospel, courage to face suffering, and strength to turn away from the fads of the world.
 
Beyond that, it is also the coming of Christ that makes us accountable.  If we know that one day we will give an account to the Lord Jesus Christ for how we have lived, if that truth ever grips us on the inside, it will change the way we live. 
 
It will change the choices we make, the friends we keep, the words we speak, and the path we follow.  And maybe today you need to be reminded, you are going to answer to God for how you’ve represented Him on this earth.
 
So Peter says, “Keep your eyes on the goal.”  Fouth, we need
 
  1. A New Lifestyle
 
Verse 14
 
Peter calls his readers “obedient children” and contrasts that with the way they used to live before they came to Christ.
Do you know what you were before you came to Jesus? You were ignorant. You did what you did because you didn’t know any better, and even if you knew better, you had no power to change your life.
 
The message is simple: Don’t slip back into your old way of life. Peter is talking about your outward life, the part other people can see. That’s what the word “conformed” means. Back then you didn’t know any better. Now you do. So watch how you live.
 
When we adopt the habits, mannerisms, dress, speech, and distinctive traits of the world, we are covering up our true identity as God’s children. We are believers masquerading in the costume of the world. Don’t do it. Let your life by its outward character demonstrate the inner change that Jesus Christ has made.
 
We must make a decisive choice, a character-shaping decision to break with the old life once and for all. We will be exactly what we choose to be.
Finally, Peter says we need
 
  1. A New Standard of Conduct
 
 Verses 15-16
 
Here we find the ultimate reason for holiness: “Be holy, for I am holy.” We know God and God is holy. Holiness is the essence of what it means to be God. If you are a Christian, there ought to be a family resemblance. God’s children ought to reflect their Father’s basic character to the world.
 
 
Have you ever had the experience of knowing some one, then living long enough to see their kids grow up and begin to look and act just like them?  That happened to Lisa and me this week when I had the responsibility of preaching the funeral of Charles Griffith. 
 
I preached his wife’s funeral 19 years ago and hadn’t seen his kids since then, but in their only son, Cory, it was easy to see the family resemblance, not just in physical appearance but in mannerisms and presentation. 
 
And I don’t know about you, but there is something very honoring about being told you remind someone of your father or mother
 
But there is another resemblance I am to bear.  As a Christian, I bear the name of my Heavenly Father. And so do you, if you know Jesus Christ as Savior. To be holy means to live so that others will think well of Him when they see you. To be holy means bringing credit to our Heavenly Father by what we say and do. It means living so that those who don’t know Him, know him because they know us.
 
Being holy means living so that others will say, “He serves a wonderful God,” and so that God will look down from heaven and say, “That’s my boy!” or “That’s my girl!”
 
It is said that in the days of Alexander the Great, a soldier was charged and tried for desertion in battle. The Emperor heard about it and called the young soldier in. He heard the charge and then he asked his name. The reply came beck, “Alexander, sir.”
With that the Emperor looked him sternly in the eye and said, “Soldier, change your behavior or change your name.”
 
We bear the name of God everywhere we go, and that ought to make a difference in the way we live.
 
I want to point out one final thing in the text. Verse 15 says, “Be holy in all you do.” Phillips says “in every department of your life.” Holiness begins with the trivial details. If holiness does not show itself in the small things of life, then where will it ever be seen? Most of life is made up of small things. We can’t say, “It doesn’t matter what I do” because it does.
 
The true standard of living for the Christian, the true model to be copied, is nothing less than God himself. Peter is saying we are God’s children and there ought to be a family likeness. God says, “Be like me.” Holiness is not a set of rules and regulations. Holiness is about God!
 
God when I wake up.
 
God in the shower.
 
God around the breakfast table.
 
God on the way to work.
 
God in the classroom.
God in the showroom.
 
God in the office.
 
God in the factory.
God at lunchtime.
 
God during the break.
 
God on the way home.
 
God at the supper table.
 
God while watching TV.
 
God while reading email.
 
God while surfing the Internet.
 
God on the telephone.
 
God at bedtime.
 
God while I sleep.
 
God in the morning all over again.
 
God in every detail.
 
God in every place.
 
God in every relationship.
 
God in every word.
 
God in every thought.
God in every deed.
 
God in my private moments.
 
God with my friends.
 
God with my enemies.
 
God when I am happy.
 
God when I am sad.
 
God in the good times.
 
God in the bad times.
 
God in my faith.
 
God in my doubts.
 
God when I succeed.
 
God in my failures.
 
God above me.
 
God below me.
 
God before me.
 
God behind me.
 
God around me.
 
God within me.
 
God always and forever. God first and last. God under my feet. God above my head. God all around me. God guiding all I do and say. God in my deepest thoughts. Always God, always there, always with me, now and forever.
 
This is true holiness. This is true joy. This is the purpose for which I was created. And without God, I have no meaning, no purpose, and no reason for being here.
 
What did that man say? “We’ve conquered outer space but not inner space.” He’s exactly right. “Inner space” is where we must begin. A message like this calls for searching self-examination. It’s always easy to point a finger and say, “So-and-so really needed to hear that.” Remember the old spiritual, “It’s me, it’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.” When it comes to being full of God, we all have a long way to go.
 
And it is precisely at this point that the message of the gospel becomes so powerful. Jesus Christ came to bring God to us and us to God. He is the very fullness of God in bodily form. He came to save us, and he lives now to help us.
 
If you want to be more like God, it can happen. If you want holy joy, the first step is the hardest—and the simplest. Ask for it. Ask God to reveal himself to you. Ask the Lord to fill you with the fullness of who he is. Ask the Lord to make you holy in every part of your life.
 
If we want to be holy, we must conquer our “inner space.” Begin there, and your life will change, and the world will change around you.
 
Let’s pray.
Post a Comment