Conduct Yourselves In Fear

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Conduct Yourselves In Fear

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: 1 Peter 1:17-21


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We are continuing our study through the Petrine epistles.  After his rich introduction, in our last lesson we began to delve into his message noting a call for holiness (1:13-16), based on the holiness of God.  Today we continue to develop Peter’s admonition for these brethren to remain faithful to God.

  1. And If you call on the Father
    1. NOTE: The word “and” is in the Greek text, though omitted from the NASB. This ties it to the previous phrase about being holy.  Peter is continuing to develop that.
    2. Having challenged us to holiness, Peter now reminds us that our heavenly Father is there and we CAN call on Him. How do we call on our heavenly Father?
      AS Christians, we call on Him through prayer – cf. Matthew 6:9, “Our Father in heaven…”
      Ephesians 2:18 notes that through Jesus we have access to the Father by the Spirit.
      Prayer is a privilege we enjoy as Christians.
      Prayer is to be an integral part of our lives – 1 Thessalonians 5:17,  Colossians 4:2, Romans 12:12, etc.
    3. He is impartial as He judges – Peter is encouraging and warning these brethren. They have the blessing of prayer, but they must not take it lightly and realize WHO they are approaching.
      He will judge us impartially – Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9, etc. His judgment will be fair and loving, but ALSO righteous and just. (There is a point to this!)
    4. He will judge each of us according to our works – Romans 14:12. Colossians 3:25 notes that he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, without partiality.
  2. Conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay
    1. BECAUSE we are going to stand in judgment, we need to approach God with holiness and godly conduct. We talked about holiness in our last lesson from Peter.  Now we address our godly conduct.
    2. Conduct yourselves – to behave, or go about. This is simply about living your life.
      The English word has multiple meanings that are appropriate –

      1. To conduct – lead – as in an orchestra, or a train. You need to take the lead in your life, AND your example
      2. Conduct – a description of how you act. How is your conduct?
      3. Both would apply here
    3. Throughout the time of your stay here – however long that may be. As long as you are living on this earth, you serve Him.  You do not retire from service to the Lord.
    4. With fear – in times past we have addressed reverence and fear as they relate to how we approach God. We need to fully respect Him and always live knowing who He is!  Hebrews 12:29 notes that He is a consuming fire.   Hebrews 10:31 noted that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
      We ought to desire to serve God purely out of love (cf. 1 John 4:19), and with maturity we reach that point.  BUT we must NEVER let God become common and forget our place in His presence.
  3. Your knowledge
    1. Why do we live with this proper respect for God? And why does that factor in HOW we live our lives?
    2. Because of the price that was paid.
      1. Knowing that we have been redeemed – this is a word that indicates a price has been paid for freedom, whether that of a slave, an indentured servant, or a prisoner of war, etc.
        And we are AWARE of that payment! We will return to this in a few moments.
      2. Not with corruptible things
        1. The Bible continually makes a contrast between the temporal and the eternal. Our continued study of Ecclesiastes has borne this out (Eccl. 1:2, etc.)
          Matthew 6:19-21 speaks of moth and rust destroying and thieves stealing.
          1 John 2:15-17 even notes that the lusts of this world are corrupted and finite.
        2. Like silver or gold – these are things of value. And in the material world, they would be the means to purchase freedom.  But, as we know, whatever freedom they purchase, is temporary.
        3. From your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers – this is similar language to Ephesians 4:17-20 – where Paul describes their former state, but not so in Christ. Also Ephesians 2:11-13 – they were without Christ and had no hope…
          when Paul and Silas were in Lystra (Acts 14:15) they perform miracles and are thought to be gods.  Paul uses the same term as aimless (useless) to describe their idols.
          Fathers, who reject God are typically concerned about your material success only.  But that is always temporary!
      3. But with the precious blood of Christ
        1. Jesus is our redeemer. He paid the price for our sins.
          And we are reminded – this is God coming to this earth to be that sacrifice –
          Titus 2:13-14 notes that Jesus “gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify us
          Romans 5:6-8, John 15:13 – Greater love…
          2 Corinthians 5:21 – God made Him “to be sin for us”, an expression that implies He paid the necessary price that God demanded.
          Peter will later say that He bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness… 1 Peter 2:23-24.
        2. As of a lamb without blemish and spot – likely this is a reference to Isaiah 53:7 which notes that He was led as a lamb to the slaughter…
          I am also reminded of John the Baptist as he sees Jesus as recorded in John 1:29 identifies Him, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
        3. Foreordained before the foundation of the world
          The actual word in Greek is one that means to foreknow (NASB) (dealing with knowledge, not necessarily actions which would be implied by foreordained).
          What happened was part of His eternal plan that began to unfold after Adam and Eve fell (Genesis 3:15).  And as we have noted on numerous occasions, this was in God’s plans all along – Ephesians 1:4 – we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world…
      4. Manifest in these last times to you
        1. The word manifest means to make something fully known. This expression simply means that NOW Jesus has been revealed.
        2. In times past, the fullness of the plan was not known, but now, and even as Peter writes, God’s plan had been revealed and it centered around Jesus.- Ephesians 1:7-10 reveals this.
        3. 18 begins with the word, “knowing” which indicates an understanding of these things. Peter’s audience (and we) had been taught about what Jesus had done for them.   They were aware of the VALUE of His sacrifice.
      5. Who Through Him we believe in God
        1. If you prove Jesus, you prove God. AND you prove WHO God is – the One True God of the Bible.  Hebrews 1:2-3 makes this point.
          So did Jesus – John 14:9 where Jesus told Philip and the others, If you had seen Him, you had seen the Father.  Jesus revealed Him.  See also John 1:18
        2. Who raised Him from the dead – this is the ultimate proof of Jesus and God, and the source of our hope.
          Romans 1:4 tells us Jesus was declared to the Son of God with power by His resurrection.
          1 Corinthians 15:1-4 finds this statement of assurance that we have.
        3. Gave Him glory – In Jesus dying and being raised, Jesus was glorified. Philippians 2:9-10 – God has highly exalted Jesus.    Recall how at the conclusion of Peter’s sermon on Pentecost, Peter not only declared Jesus raised but also noted that He has been exalted to the right hand of God (Acts 2:33) and made Him Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36).
        4. So that your faith and hope are in God – as we conclude this section, we notice Peter appeals to their faith and hope. Consider this in light of the troubles and trials they had been enduring.  They have reason to hope because of what God had done through and with Jesus AND what He had done.
          And, of course, that hope existed because of their faith (belief and trust) in Him.
          Romans 5:1-2 states it this way, Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
          Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for…”

In a world filled with troubles, just like in the times that Peter wrote, we must continually remind ourselves of what God has done for us in the sending of Jesus AND revealing it to us through the Spirit.  The better we understand that the more we can prepare ourselves to endure whatever comes our way.  We do that with holy living, reverential fear, and genuine faith. That is Peter’s desire in this letter of encouragement.  May it be ours as well.  Think about it.