I Peter 1:15-25

(A Bible Study Led by Dr. Larry Reynolds)

June 27, 2013

           

1.      Saw last week that in I Peter 1:14-25 Peter draws a comparison between how life is apart from Christ and how life is in Christ...

--v.14 deals with life before Christ...from that verse we saw that life apart from Christ is characterized by over-desire (“lusts”) and lack of knowledge of God (“ignorance”)...


--vv.15-25 described life 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 which focuses on what God desires for us today...

2.      Notice I Peter 1:15  begins with the word "but"...that’s a conjunction of contrast...as  opposed to being weighed down by “lusts” and “ignorance” as we were apart from Christ, here is what God desires for us now...look at I Peter 1:15-25...(text)...

 

T.S.‑ There are many great truths in that passage and they certainly can’t be fully explored in a single session...however, the main thoughts of this passage are centered around three imperative verbs scattered through verses...in v.15 there is the command to "be holy"...v.17 there is the command to "conduct yourselves in fear"...and in v.22 there is the command "to fervently love one  another"...and from those three imperative verbs want you to see some things which should characterize life in Christ...

 

I.       Life in Christ is characterized by holiness

1.      Realize holiness is not a positive concept every person...

‑‑to many holy nothing more slang word as in the phrases holy  cow or holy smoke...

‑‑to some the word connotes "holier than thou" attitude...say  "Don't call me holy, I'm no saint!"

‑‑to others the word brings to mind religious fanaticism or  emotional excesses...

2.      However, command “be holy" expresses very heart  biblical religion...from Exodus where High Priest instructed wear the phrase "holiness is the Lord" on his  headband  to Revelation where living creatures cry "Holy,  Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty" the concept of holiness is referred to hundreds of times in the Bible...it’s really not a misnomer to refer to the God’s written word as the Holy Bible...indeed the concepts of holy and holiness are at the very heart of its message...and because of that, it is important for us to understand what is meant by the command to “be holy” in I Peter 1:15...

3.      Word is most often translated holy in the NT is hagios...basic meaning not morally pure as  we tend use word, even though that concept is there...basically means to be separate or to be set apart...one writer points out:

‑‑temple considered holy because set apart from other buildings...

‑‑sabbath considered holy because set apart from other days...

‑‑God's people are holy in that set apart, different from other people..

 

1.      To be holy basically means to live in such a way that it is obvious that we belong to God...the world should not have to peek in the windows of the church on Sunday morning to find out who the Christians are...that we belong to God, that we are God’s holy ones, set apart ones, should be abundantly clear by our life-styles, our personal relationships, and our value systems...


2.      Don’t recall where first read or heard it, but remember a story about a faithful missionary who once worked among the people in the Ozark mountains...at first, he was viewed as an outsider and was not welcome there...but the missionary was persistent and for years,  day in and day out, he faithfully proclaimed and lived  God's word before them...all the mountain people became very familiar with his presence among them...and eventually the time came that whenever saw him walking past their cabins, would say as he passed, "There goes the man of God!"...

2.      And being holy means that when people look at our lives are able say, "They are God's people"...life in Christ is characterized by holiness...also this passage tells us that...

 

II.  Life in Christ is characterized by reverence for God

1.   The command in v.17 of I Peter 1, “...conduct yourselves in fear” can be easily misunderstood...over and over Bible tells us that we are to "fear God"...

Psalm 111:10"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

Psalm 112:1"How blessed is the man who fears the Lord."

Psalm 16:6"By the fear of the Lord one keeps away from evil."

Eccl.12:13"The end of the matter is this: fear God and keep His commandments."

2.      It is important to understand that in biblical language fearing God doesn't mean being afraid...the word translated “fear” in v.17 is phobos from which our word phobia comes...itis used three other times in I Peter...in 2:18 where translated respect...3:2 ‑ respectful...3:15 ‑ reverence...to fear God means stand in reverent awe of Him...never forgetting He is God...not being presumptuous toward him...this reverence for God is the foundation of discipleship...

3.      If look at vv.17,18,&19 see Peter gives three specific motivations for reverencing or respecting God—

--Because he is our Father (17a) ‑ Jewish law very harsh on those failed show respect to earthly fathers...penalty could be as harsh as death...if respect  should be given earthly father, how much more  should be given heavenly Father...

--Because he is our judge (17b) ‑ He is the "One who impartially judges according to each person's work"...we are accountable to Him, and ultimately only to Him, for how we live our lives...

--Because he is our redeemer (18-19) ‑ At a great price, with what Peter describes in v.19 as “...precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” God dealt with our sin and brought us back into relationship with Him...when you stand before the cross and when really see it‑‑see what God did for you—you cannot help but stand before Him in reverent awe...

4.      Life in Christ is characterized by reverence for God...

 

III.  Life in Christ is characterized by love for others


1.      In verse 22 is the third command in this passage...we are to “fervently love one another from the heart"...amazing how many times that idea appears on pages of NT...can't read the Bible without seeing being a  Christian and loving each other go hand in hand...  simply cannot separate the two...

·         Jesus talked about it: John 13:34‑35"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another,  even as I have loved you, that you also love one  another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciple, if you have love for one another."

·         Paul talked about it: I Cor.13:1,13"If I speak in  the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have  love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging  symbol...but now abide faith, hope, and love,  these three, but the greatest of these is love."

·         John talked about it: I John 4:20"If someone says, 'I love God' and hates his brother, he is a  liar; for the one who does not love his brother  whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not  seen.  And this commandment we have from him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also."

And on and on could go...Bible filled with references  to Christians being characterized by love...

2.      This passage tells how should love...basically says  love others in same way God loves us...we are to love  "sincerely" which means without hypocrisy or pretense...and we are to love “fervently” which means constantly, steadfastly, persistently...

 

1.      This past Sunday a person I did not know stopped me in the church I attend…he wanted to tell me about his wife and how she was struggling with depression…in our conversation he indicated that he felt no-one really cared about what they were experiencing…that is not the way it should be in a Christian fellowship!...

2.       If Christians are anything, we should be loving toward each other and toward those outside the fellowship...and if we don’t love each other, those outside the fellowship will never really believe that we will love them...

 

CONCLUSION

 

1.      Like way passage ends...gives glimpse into preaching of  NT church...look last part v.25..."And this is the word  which was preached to you..."...what would you hear if  sat in on worship service of church in 1st century?...according to I Peter 1:14-25 would hear that life in Christ is a life of—

--holiness...of being set apart for God...

--reverence for God...

--genuine love for people...

2.      That’s the message God’s people needed in the 1st century...and that’s the message we has God’s people need in the 21st century, as well...

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