DashHouse.com

The Blog of Darryl Dash

This blog is about how Jesus changes everything. He changes:

Our relationship with God

Our relationship with others

Our vocations - how we live and work in this world

Our ministries

This blog exists to explore some of the ways that Jesus changes everything. It provides resources and articles that will help you think about the ways that Jesus can change every part of your life.

The Lord himself invites you to a conference concerning your immediate and endless happiness, and He would not have done this if He did not mean well toward you. Do not refuse the Lord Jesus who knocks at your door; for He knocks with a hand which was nailed to the tree for such as you are. Since His only and sole object is your good, incline your ear and come to Him. Hearken diligently, and let the good word sink into your soul. (C.H. Spurgeon, All of Grace)

A Life of Holiness (1 Peter 1:13-21)

  • please open your Bibles this morning to the passage read earlier, 1 Peter 1

  • I have shocking news for you this morning, although I sense that not all of you will be surprised
  • I'm not always the holy, fine, upstanding man you see in front of you
  • one day I was lining up to pay for my groceries at Valumart, and the express aisle was completely clear
  • I did a quick count of my items, and I was right on
  • the thing you need to understand is that my items were very large, so although I had the proper amount, it sure didn't look like it
  • I certainly didn't expect to be challenged, as I was, by the women who lined up behind me and made some snide comment to the cashier
  • and I, an ordained minister, who had just done his devotions that morning, and was preaching on being transformed into the likeness of Christ, turned to this woman and said, "Where did you learn to count?"
  • I completely blew it
  • in a moment of testing, I chose to respond in a sinful manner instead of in a gentle, Christlike way
  • I kept thinking afterwards, "What happens if that woman shows up at church the next Sunday and sees me in the pulpit?"

  • the story I've just told you might seem like a small thing, but I've noticed a real holiness-deficiency in my life
  • I don't want to exaggerate, but there are times when I'm cut off on the highway that I don't respond as Christ would
  • there are times that I'm not as patient and kind with my family as I should be
  • and there are certainly times when I don't pray and seek God's kingdom and his righteousness, as he commands me to
  • I might be good enough to get by on human standards, but compared to the life of holiness commanded in the Scriptures, I have a marked holiness-deficiency in my life

  • I'm not sure I'm the only one
  • anyone here struggle with a holiness-deficiency?
  • slips of the tongue, impure thoughts, moments of anger or selfishness?
  • or perhaps, more generally, a lack of a passion to please and obey God in all things?
  • okay, if you won't confess to a holiness-deficiency, can I ask your spouse?

  • holiness can be defined as "being dedicated for God, and set apart from sin and its influence"
  • that's the purpose of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and the desire of most of us here this morning
  • holiness encompasses all the ethical commands of God in Scripture
  • and the passage in 1 Peter this morning speaks of the need of believers to live holy lives

  • I'm glad Peter didn't just say "Be holy," because I would walk away with more guilt and little clue of how to be holy
  • but Peter tells us what I believe is the secret of holiness, and three reminders that will help us stay motivated to be holy
  • my goal is to give you the key to being a godly person, as well as three practical reminders you can use when you are struggling in this area

  • so if you're ready to become a person whose behavior is transformed, and who pleases God in more ways than you're able to now - if you're ready to live a life of holiness, please pause with me and ask God's blessing as we open this passage:
  • Father:
  • the passage we're about to read tells us to be holy, as you are holy
  • we long to live holy lives
  • and I pray that as we open 1 Peter this morning, that your Spirit would speak clearly to our hearts in some area
  • and make us holy people, we pray.
  • Amen.

  • in 1 Peter 1, I believe that Peter gives us the key to personal holiness
  • I'll tell you what it is, and then I'll explain
  • THE KEY TO HOLINESS IS THAT IT FLOWS OUT OF OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST
  • in other words, if you struggle in the area of holiness, the secret to becoming more holy is not to try harder, or to resist more
  • the key is your relationship with Jesus Christ

  • where do I get this?
  • (1 Peter 1:13) Therefore...
  • it's a general rule of Bible study that whenever you see a therefore, you ask what it's there for
  • most of the time in the Bible, the therefore signifies that the author is about to move from theology to ethics
  • in other words, "Because this is true, this is how you should live"
  • in this passage, we're forced to ask what the therefore refers to
  • the answer is found in verses 3 to 12
  • and if you read verses 3 to 12, you find that he's talked about the great benefits of salvation - a new birth, a living hope, and assured inheritance
  • and Peter says, because of these things, you ought to be different in how you live
  • in other words, our relationship with Jesus Christ, and the benefits of that relationship, provide the basis of our personal holiness
  • because Peter goes on to spell out what sort of lives we should lead because of our salvation

  • some time ago, Charlene and I began to experience some tensions in our marriage
  • nothing earth-shattering - just a little more conflict and a little less enjoyment of our relationship
  • until one night we hired a babysitter, and went out for dinner together
  • as we sat across from each other over a candlelight dinner, I began to think, "This woman is amazing. Now I remember why I married her!"
  • and that one night of re-establishing a relationship together made a tremendous difference in how I treated her
  • for at least a week after that dinner, I was a husband that would have made Jim Dobson proud
  • but for me at that time, the secret to wanting to act as a good husband was that our relationship was strengthened

  • it's the same as a Christian
  • if you want to become a holier person, don't try harder, just draw nearer to God
  • David Brainerd was a missionary to native Americans, and out of his missionary work he wrote this:
  • I never got away from Jesus and him crucified. When my people were gripped by this great evangelical doctrine of Christ and him crucified, I had no need to give them instructions about morality.
  • I find my Indians begin to put on the garments of holiness and their common life begins to be sanctified even in small matters when they are possessed by the doctrine of Christ and him crucified.

  • Augustine put it well when he said, "Love God and do as you please"
  • our relationship with Jesus Christ, and the salvation he's provided for us, are the foundation of our obedience and our holiness
  • and a strong relationship with Christ will conquer a thousand sins

  • now Peter also goes on to tell us that
  • THREE REMINDERS HELP US STAY MOTIVATED TO BE HOLY
  • (1 Peter 1:13) Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
  • you'll notice here that Peter gives specific actions that will lead to personal holiness
  • he first tells us to be mentally alert: "prepare your minds for action"
  • this literally means "gird up the loins of your mind," or in today's language, "Roll up the shirt-sleeves of your mind"
  • he tells us to be disciplined or "self-controlled"
  • the word literally means sober - not from just the effects of alcohol, but from the intoxicating effects of such good things as career, possessions, recreation, reputation, or friendships
  • don't "be under the influence," he's saying, of any of these things
  • and be focused: "set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed"

  • now, the problem with me isn't usually knowing what to do to be holy
  • at the check-out aisle, I knew that getting nasty with the woman behind me probably wasn't the holy course of action to take
  • when tempted with an impure thought, or faced with a temptation, I usually know what the correct course of action s hould be
  • the problem with me is not knowledge, but motivation
  • wanting to overcome the natural tendency to sin, wanting instead to please God
  • Peter gives us three reminders that will help us stay motivated to be holy, when we lack motivation:

  • REMINDER ONE: THE CHARACTER OF GOD
  • (1 Peter 1:14) As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
  • (1 Peter 1:15) But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;
  • (1 Peter 1:16) for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

  • one of the fun things associated with having a child is watching everyone ask, "Who does the baby take after"
  • I always find it amusing as people identify the nose as coming from the father's side, the mouth from the mother, and the legs from Uncle Louis
  • but there usually is some sort of family resemblance

  • here Peter says, be like your heavenly Father - pattern yourselves after him "in all that you do" - literally in every day, every moment, every thought, and every action
  • you see, it's the nature of children to imitate their parents
  • and we should delight in being like God, because he is our Father, and because his moral excellence is beautiful and desirable
  • to be like him is the best way to be

  • it can be helpful to remember how good, and loving, and just, and holy God is
  • and to remind ourselves, "If Jesus were in my shoes, he wouldn't do this!"
  • the recipients of this letter knew that the Roman gods were warlike, adulterous, and spiteful
  • they knew that the pagan gods were bloodthirsty and promiscuous
  • Peter says, "Your God is holy and just - imitate him"
  • that's the first reminder that will give us motivation

  • REMINDER TWO: THE DISCIPLINE OF GOD
  • (1 Peter 1:17) Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.
  • God is an impartial, penetrating, and absolutely honest judge
  • 1 Peter 4:17 tells us that God's judgment will begin with "the family of God"
  • but I think it's likely in this verse that Peter is not just talking about the future judgment at the end of time, but God's daily weighing of our actions and thoughts
  • God both blesses and disciplines Christians according to their conduct
  • and we're told that the healthy outcome of knowing that God is scrutinizing every action we take and every thought we think is "reverent fear"
  • fear, I believe, that if we don't act in a godly manner, God will bring discipline into our lives that will correct us

  • growing up, I had a reverent fear for what would happen if I disobeyed my parents
  • I didn't particularly look forward to their discipline
  • when I was the age that I could be left alone for a few minutes, but not quite the age I could be counted on to behave, my mother would take off her glasses, put them down in front of me, and say, "I'm stepping out for a minute, but I'm leaving my glasses here and I'll be watching everything you do while I'm gone"
  • it worked for a while
  • in every action, we need to ask, "Does this stand up under God's scrutiny, because if it doesn't, it's going to bring his discipline!"

  • a friend of mine the other week spotted at temptation that was coming my way
  • he said, "You had better watch this certain area, because I can see Satan using it in your life pretty soon!"
  • I turned back and said, "You're right, because I've learned that if I get weak in that area, God doesn't take to long before he begins to discipline me in no uncertain terms"
  • fear God's discipline
  • remember at temptation time that God is watching, and if necessary he will bring discipline into your life to bring you correction

  • REMINDER NUMBER THREE: THE PRICE AND THE PLAN OF SALVATION
  • (1 Peter 1:18) For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers,
  • (1 Peter 1:19) but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
  • (1 Peter 1:20) He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
  • (1 Peter 1:21) Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

  • in this paragraph, Peter reminds us of the highest motive for holy living - our salvation
  • and he reminds us of the price that Jesus paid
  • the word redeemed in verse 18 is lost on us today, but when this passage was written, there were probably 60 million slaves in the Roman empire
  • a slave could purchase his or her own freedom, if they could collect enough funds
  • redemption was a precious and a costly thing
  • this passage reminds us that we were slaves to the empty way of life handed down generation after generation

  • Peter witnessed firsthand Jesus' death on the cross
  • a slave could be redeemed by money, but no amount of cash could set a lost sinner free
  • Jesus shed his precious blood for us - he gave his life as a sacrifice
  • Jesus paid such a high price for our freedom - why would we want to go back into slavery?
  • when tempted by a sin, remember the price Jesus paid to bring you freedom
  • remember the pain that it brought him

  • verse 20 says:
  • (1 Peter 1:20) He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
  • in other words, this was no afterthought
  • God always knew he was going to do this for us
  • God didn't slap together some contingency plan - our salvation is so great, it was part of his eternal plan
  • as Eugene Peterson's The Message translates it:
  • "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. 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."

  • so, when the woman at the check-out aisle tries your patience
  • when your children provoke you
  • when you face a temptation towards impurity
  • when your anger is getting the best of you
  • remember that obedience is a product of the relationship you have with Christ
  • and remember three things:
  • the character of God
  • the discipline and scrutiny of God
  • and remember the price of salvation - part of God's eternal plan
  • let's pray