Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sermon 3-11-07--Faith Changes Our Relationships on All Levels--1 Peter 2:12-3:7

Sorry for the slow post week. A member of our congregation died late last week and there was much to do and many to meet with. Please continue to be in prayer for the family of Harrison Eller--pray that the comfort and hope of Christ will strengthen them.

This message covers some difficult passages, particularly in the family relationships. I hope it helps in establishing our understanding of Christ's place in our lives.

Faith Changes Our Relationships

1 Peter 2:13-3:7

A major research institution has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest chemical element yet known to science. The new element tentatively has been named... "Governmentium."

Governmentium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 11 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since governmentium has zero electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of governmentium causes one reaction in excess of 4 days to respond when it would normally take less than a second.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 3 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a restructuring in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each shuffle, so to speak, will cause some morons to mix with neutrons, forming isodopes.

One of the greatest problems we face as believers in this world is how we should live, behave and respond to people and how we relate to situations in this world.

The world has certain rules, certain attitudes and expectations in relationships. The world thinks it’s OK to…

Complain about the government while trying to subvert the laws for your own benefit, believing the laws apply to others but not really to you.

The world thinks it’s OK to do things that may not be illegal, but are still ethically wrong—as long as you don’t get caught.

The world tries to convince us to get as much from your employer as possible while giving as little effort as possible.

Youth, the world tells you that it’s OK to cheat on a test, to lie or to torment someone else, especially after you had to put up with it in the past.

Last week we finished with 1 Peter 2:12 and the importance of living good lives among the pagans so that they may see your good deeds and glorify God. In other words—Peter wants your life in a hostile world to reflect the character of God and draw people to faith in Him. In such a life, you must relate to people on several different levels, your Faith must change your relationships. With Christ as our King, to whom we have pledged our loyalty, everything has changed. Even how we relate to each other.

Faith Changes Relationships—2:13-3:7


No human government will ever be perfect. It will make mistakes, it will at times be unjust, you may not agree with everything it says or does, but your relationship with the government must be changed because Christ is your real King.

Peter calls us to Submit ourselves…vs. 13 “to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by Him to punish those who do wrong and commend those who do right.” Live by the law of the land unless that law contradicts your relationship with God. Just like Peter and John did before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem when they were told not to speak any more about Jesus. They replied with… Acts 4:18-20—“judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.”

Just because you don’t like something is not good enough reason to break it, but if there it is a clear teaching of Scripture that moves you to stand your ground, then by all means, do so keeping in mind there may be consequences to your stand.

The reason to live as good citizens is “For the Lord’s sake”—as a believer, you do not want to do anything that will malign His Name and be used against the true Kingdom of God.. Your behavior doesn’t just reflect on you and your character, it reflects on His character.

Doing right and doing Good generally avoids the punishment arm of the government and can elevate Him by their commendation.

But History has shown us, even the nightly news that sometimes, living the Christian life brings the gov’t down on you.

There are people in this country who make all kinds of accusations against Christ—who want to remove faith in Jesus from public life—your good behavior can, not always, but can, silence the negative and ignorant talk about you and against the cause of Christ.

V. 16--You have freedom in Christ—not so you can get away with stuff, but so that you can serve God with all your heart soul mind and strength.

Our freedom, our salvation, our security, our surety of forgiveness should never be used to justify getting away with fudging our taxes, breaking the law, shoplifting, or anything else. We respect the gov’t when we follow Jesus’ words to “Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”. one of those things you give and offer God is your integrity.

We must Show Proper respect to everyone, even politicians you don’t like. We must Love and support believers above all, show honor to the king or gov’t, but fear and respect and keep God in the right place above all.

Vs. 15—lets us know that in living good lives among the pagans, we have the chance to silence the foolish and false accusations against Christ because there were many in that day—ranging from public disorder, crimes against humanity, and cannibalism.

Be a model citizen which means, where you have a voice, you’d better share it or someone without Christ will. Where you have a vote, you’d better find out who the people are and then vote with your Faith leading your decision.

Faith changes how you relate to the government authorities. If you live as a passionate Christian and a good citizen, even government may see your good deeds and glorify God.

Slaves—Workers—vs. 18-25

In this country we do not live as slaves, nor do we have them anymore. Slavery was and continues to be a blight to humanity in various parts of the world.

Slavery was accepted in the biblical world and change came slowly. Early Christianity grew quickly among the slave population

This passage may seem distant to us, but that does not mean that it has nothing to say to us.

While we are not slaves, most of us do or did work under the supervision of someone else. As believers we are accountable to show up on time, work hard, not take advantage of perks or inattentive supervisors. Most of all we are to show our integrity. In all we do we must do it unto the Lord. How we work reflects on our Lord.

Colossians 3:22-24—“Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor and to win their honor

Show respect to your bosses—vs. 18—not just the good ones but the harsh ones, the incompetent ones, even the crooked ones as well. They may not deserve it, but you are expected to give it. You may be smarter, more qualified or better than they are, but as a Xn, your goal is not to get ahead, your goal is to Proclaim the Name of Jesus. You must let the love of Christ direct your steps. That will not always be an easy life or choice to make, but in all ways, even beyond reasonable, show respect whether they deserve it or not. That means no making fun of behind their back, no taking advantage of them. Students, the same can be said of teachers.

Your conscious in your relationship with God helps you to put up with harsh or unjust treatment—

Peter says when you maintain your cool, your respect even in those wrong situations you are acting commendable. But you are not benefiting yourself, your family, or the Kingdom and Name of God if you rightly get in trouble or receive a reprimand or demotion, or as vs. 20 says, “receive a beating”—the harsh reality of slavery, for doing wrong.

You were called to endure wrongful and unjust suffering and follow the example of Christ. Too often our punishment and suffering is justified.

The world and the devil is going to make your life as difficult as possible by heaping up undeserved wrongs and situations. Christ conquered these situations because He endured them and was steadfast to the greater cause of God. He wasn’t just interested in His rights, His self-interest. Jesus wasn’t making a name for Himself, but for God. Imagine if He retaliated to His insults or made threats. Imagine if Jesus defended Himself and refused to endure unjust sufferings. Jesus suffered and vs. 24 “bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness.” Now you are following a new Shepherd. Your faith and willingness to follow Christ should change the way you work—to make you work harder, work better, and work with integrity on every level.

But more important than your relationship with the government, more important than your work, are the relationships within your homes. Your relationship with your husbands or wives and families should be changed more by Christ than the others, because here is where your faith, and your family’s faith is truly built and expanded. When Christ is your King, your marriage is supposed to be better.

Marriage Relationships

Family is the basic unit of society and is not exempt from the change of Christ

How we treat each other as husband and wife says more about the change Christ has made in our life than anything. But what kind of message are believers sending when the same problems, abuse, fighting, divorce, insults, cheating, persist in our marriages? Has Christ made you a better husband, a better wife? Christ is supposed to change you from the normal pattern of this world to the godly pattern that more reflects His original design. Only when husband and wife are both committed to Christ can a marriage be what it is supposed to be—only in Christ do you have the power to do so.

Peter first addressed the wives in the marital relationship. READ 3:1-6.

Following the leadership of the Spirit, Peter says it is important for a believing wife to be “submissive to your husbands”. Show them how much you love them and respect them by your support, encouragement and faithfulness. One reason this is necessary is because the male ego really needs the encouragement.

This is especially for those who don’t have husbands who are believers. This is important for the reason Peter gives—“so that…” In Peter’s day, They would not have understood Xity as a Pro-Family faith the husband and father usually chose the faith for the whole family so if the wife chose Christ without Him, society and the husband may say that she is being rebellious and against her husband and family. . This caused problems for the woman—who could have been thrown out and the Name of Christ. If she used her new freedom and salvation in Christ as a reason to break her vows or disrespect her husband, then such charges would be true.

If you are a woman married to an unbeliever, how you live and relate to him, whether he deserves it or not, can make a difference in how he evaluates Jesus. It won’t be the only factor, but it will be a big one. He will be watching to see if the fruits of the Spirit are alive in you—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

He may not know these are the fruit of the Spirit, but he’ll recognize a growing change in your life because Christ is growing in you. Christ transforms you into something more and more beautiful. But you may suffer unjustly for it because he is not a believer.

The hope is that he will believe. This is important because spiritual mismatches in marriage are hard to live with. It’s hard to be “one flesh” and completely open and intimate with someone who does not share the most important relationship in your life, your relationship with God.

That’s why Scripture teaches it wrong for a believer to knowingly get married to an unbeliever, but if you did, or if you became a believer after marriage or for you wives who thought you were marrying a believer but whose husbands just lost interest and don’t think Christ and the Church is worthwhile, this verse is your hope and your mission. They may be won over by your behavior.

That’s why it’s so important to Show purity and reverence in your life. Your beauty must be from the inside, not the outside where Christ is at work. Outward beauty may get you noticed, but it is your heart that makes a marriage work. READ 3-4.

Young ladies, don’t marry a guy who is only interested in your looks, don’t try to attract him solely by your looks. If you want to show something off make it your integrity, your faith, and the beauty of your character. The one who is more interested in this part of you is one worth your time and will make a good husband and father.

Ladies, you are supposed to let a gentle and quiet spirit define you. This does not mean that you don’t have a mind of your own, or never share your opinion. It means you are not looking for a fight or an argument, that you have the peace and trust of Christ alive in you.

When your heart can maintain a calm spirit in the midst of crisis or strife, then truly Jesus is making a difference in you—and this is of “great worth in God’s sight”—vs. 4. it is easier to win an argument than it is to be pleasing to God?

Submission and a gentle quiet spirit is contrary to the world’s message which is trying to get you to take hold of and demand your rights. That says you’ve got to be the one in control of your life because your the only one you can trust. Inherent in the world’s mindset is fear—vs. 6 The world reasons that Men, including your husbands, cannot be trusted, or will not and are incapable of having your best interests at heart. So the message of the world, the message of most TV shows, women’s magazines, is most of all a message of fear not of power.

Peter reminds that your faith calls your relationships to be changed. It may be difficult, but in Christ you must not give way to fear (v. 6). When Christ is the Lord of your and his life, you can trust your husband in spite of his mistakes and weaknesses. Don’t give into fear, but give him over to the Lord.

Young ladies, Don’t give way to fear by thinking that a guy won’t be interested in you unless compromise your purity. Do not give in to fear by marrying a guy just b/c you’re afraid he’ll be the only one that shows interest.

Do not give way to fear, but give way and trust that God is taking care of you and that God desires to make your husband into the best man for you.

Husbands, you need to realize that how you treat your wife can help or hinder your relationship with God. READ 7. Your failure to be the kind of husband God has called you to be has serious consequences for them… and for you.

Hinder—to impede their course by cutting off their way

Considerate—knowledge of needs, concerns of dreams

If you are disrespecting, abusing, taking for granted and not respecting your wife, not giving and sacrificing to serve her, then even your prayers will be hindered.

If you are not serving as the spiritual leader in your home, then you are not growing in your faith. A harsh or unthinking Christian husband could cause a hindrance to the family's spiritual growth.

You must be considerate—you must hold their needs and concerns above your own b/c she is looking to you. You must give up your rights to what you want in order to serve your wife and provide for her completely—and I’m not talking just about money. That means she is much more important than your favorite team or program.

You are to serve her in a way that sets her free to fulfill who God has called her to be.

The role of service and sacrifice for another is the way that Christ treated His Bride—in fact, Jesus cared so much about His bride that He was willing to die on the cross to keep her pure, to protect her.

That’s how Paul put it in Ephesians 5:25—“husbands love your wives, just as X loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

For a society that denigrated and denied the basic humanity to women, Christian men are to be different and “treat [their wives] with respect”. Where many cultures, even today, would not allow women to inherit the family estate, the Xn faith teaches that women are just as much heirs of the salvation and greatness of God as men are.

Ladies, you are not second class citizens in the Kingdom of God. Attitudes of superiority, dominance, abuse, or the idea that she exists to serve you should never define a Xn husband.

Real men love and serve their wives. Real men live an example of Christ’s sacrificial love before their wives and children.

One person put it this way—“if a man has enough horse sense to treat his wife like a thoroughbred, she’ll never turn into an old nag” Real men make their faith the #1 priority in their lives, b/c when it’s important to you, it will be important to your wife and children. They will then be free to fulfill God’s calling.

Jesus is your King—you must submit to Him—you must serve as He served.

Jesus changes your relationships, changes everything. The changed life of Christ is supposed to be an enticement for the unbelieving world around you. Is your life enticing to those without X? Would anyone look at your motivation for living, and give glory to God? Would they see how you respect the law, work hard and have peace in your marriage and ask you what you’ve got that they don’t?

Maybe you’re reading this and you know Christ has never changed you this way. Call out to Him in faith and He will.

Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life,


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