I Peter 1:14

(A Bible Study Led by Dr. Larry Reynolds)

June 20, 2013

 

1.      If you happen to be up in the middle of the night and turn on the television, you will discover that during those ours many channels are running infomercials.  Many of the infomercials deal with self-improvement products.  And most of these self-improvement infomercials follow the same pattern.  After describing the product, there are a series of testimonials from various people who have supposedly used the product and had their lives changed by it.  They will talk about what they were like before using the product and then talk about how much better their life is or how much improvement they have made with the help of the product. Often before and after pictures to give credibility to their testimonial.  One of the more popular infomercials is for a procedure called “Lifestyle Lift” which is apparently just a softer name for “face lift.”  Debbie Boone, the daughter of Pat Boone, is the spokesperson for this product. As part of the pitch, incredibly unflattering photos of people are shown before they’ve had the procedure and unbelievably flattering photos of the same people are shown after they’ve had the procedure. It is such a difference, it’s got me to thinking about doing it!

2.      It may surprise you to discover that drawing before and after comparisons is not a new marketing method.  It has been around at least as long as the New Testament.  In our study of I Peter we are going begin looking in this session at I Peter 1:14-25 which uses this “before and after” method.  In v.14 Peter describes the lives of his readers before they came to faith in Christ. In vv.15-25 he describes what their lives should be like after coming to faith in Christ.  Read I Peter 1:14-25.

·         Verse 14 describes our lives before we came to faith Christ.  We are going to focus on that single verse in this session.

·         Verses 15-25 describe our lives after we came to faith in Christ. 

      Only one verse to describe to describe what we were before Christ and 11 verses to describe what we are now that Christ is in our lives.  There’s a significant truth to learn from that.  The Christian life not essentially a life of regret and guilt over past mistakes.  It’s a life that focuses on what God desires for us today.

3.      In our next session we will see that verses 15-25 tell us that life in Christ is a life characterized by holiness, by reverence for God, and by love for others.  But in this session, we are going to focus on what life apart from Christ is like.  Essentially verse 14 tells us two things about our lives before coming to faith in Christ.

 

I.       Life apart from Christ is characterized by lusts


1.      Word NASB translates “lusts” is translated in a number of different ways by biblical interpreters...some translations use the word “passions” others “evil desires” and still others “cravings”...the word is “epithumia”...compound word...first part is preposition which can mean ‘”over” and second part is from word which carries the idea of “desire”...thus the word literally means “over desire” or “too much desire”...”epithumia” is an unhealthy, unchecked, out of control desire...

2.      In the five chapters of I Peter this word is used four times...each time the NASB translates the word “lusts”...and each time the word is used there is a warning attached to it...

--in 2:11 warned “...to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.”

--in 4:2 told “...to live ... no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God...”

--in 4:3 places the word in its appropriate company including things such as “...sensuality ... drunkeness, carousals, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries...”

3.      Point of all that is before they were transformed by Christ, these Christians who were scattered throughout Asia Minor were consumed by the wrong priorities...instead of living for God, they lived for themselves...and what was true for them is true for every person apart from Christ...

 

1.      Unregenerate human nature is always characterized by self-centeredness rather than God-centeredness...that is the very essence of sin--choosing my way, my desires, my will over God... it is easy to look at our culture and conclude this bent to perversion which characterizes much of our world is a new thing... want you to know it is not new at all...actually nothing is going on in our world today which has not always been present in the lives of people who have no regard for God...

2.      In his commentary on I Peter William Barclay points out that—

--in both ancient Greece and Rome homosexuality was so prevalent that the people in those cultures came to view that which was unnatural as being natural...

--marriage was held in such low esteem that Jerome wrote of one woman in Rome who was married to her 23rd husband and she was his 21st wife...

--while poor people were starving the insensitive rich dined on such delicacies as peacock brains and nightingale tongues...

Barclay writes, “It was a world mastered by desire.  Its aim was to find newer and wilder ways of gratifying its own lusts.  It was a desired dominated culture.”


3.      Sound familiar?...unregenerate human nature is the same whether   it’s in the 1st century or the 21st century...and people will never by substantially changed morally by social reformation or by legislation or by any other external means...the only way to change a person is to change that person from the inside out, to change the heart...that’s why the NT doesn’t talk about social reformation; it focuses on spiritual transformation...and that’s where our emphasis should be as well...

4.      2 Corinthians 5:17 says it well:  “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”

 

 

II.  Life apart from Christ is characterized by ignorance

1.      There are many very intelligent people in our world...we are living in the middle of a knowledge explosion…so many new discoveries are being made and technology is advancing so rapidly, it is impossible for anyone to keep up…I read this week that eye experts in Australia implanted a bionic eye in a woman named Dianne Ashworth.  The once totally blind woman is now able to distinguish shapes.  /www.news.com.au/technology/sci-tech/in-science-robot-eyes-comets-and-big-discoveries/story-fn5fsgyc-1226551236578]


2.      And when the Bible says that those who live apart from Christ are characterized by “ignorance” could it possibly mean people so intelligent they could do something like that?...and the answer is yes!...the clear teaching of Scripture is that all people, regardless of their IQ or educational achievement, are characterized by “ignorance” apart from Christ...

3.      Now having said that, it is important for us to understand what the Bible means by “ignorance”...this word does not mean a lack of all knowledge...it is referring to a lack of a specific kind of knowledge...the word is “agnoia” from which we get our word “agnostic”...and in the context of this verse the word means lack of knowledge of God...

4.      It is possible for a person to be extremely knowledgeable in science or math or history or business administration or any other disciplines and still be ignorant in the knowledge of God...and tragically, our world is filled with people like that...

 

1.      I never cease to be amazed at how ignorant and easily misled people can be when it comes to things of God...driving between Austin and Waco a couple of weeks ago I saw a large billboard predicting specific time and date when the world was going to come to an end…

2.      Plato said, “It is hard ... to find the framer and the father of the universe; and if one did find him, it would be impossible to explain him in terms we could understand.”...Aristotle spoke of God as “...the supreme cause, by all men dreamed of, and by no man known.” [From Barclay’s commentary]

3.      But Jesus changed all that...in Christ, God became flesh...He came to our world in a way we can understand...as Paul put it in Colossians, Christ is “the exact representation of the invisible God...”...if you want to see God and to know what God is like, all you have to do is look at Jesus!...and apart from Jesus who is the full and complete revelation of God, every person lives in ignorance of God...

 

CONCLUSION

 

1.      I Peter 1:14 is essentially negative in nature...however, from the negatives we can draw some positive conclusions...if life apart from Christ is characterized by lust and ignorance of God, it follows then that life in Christ is characterized by self-control and knowledge of God...without Him, without Jesus in our lives we will always come up short and we will never experience the best life has to offer...

2.      There’s an old chorus which says it well:

“Without Him I could do nothing; without Him I’d surely fail;

Without Him I would be drifting, like a ship without a sail.”

3.      The teaching of this part of God’s Word is that apart from Jesus we invariably drift into a life of self-indulgence (“lusts”) and a life separated from God (“ignorance”)...

Comments