Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sermon--1 Peter 4:1-11--Faith's Call Not to Fit In

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Faith’s Call Not to Fit In

There is great pressure to fit in. As much as many youth want to stand out and be noticed, there is an even greater pressure to fit in. They want to stand out, but not too much.

This pressure wants to make us find out what the Normal is and match it—for the most part. The problem is, the world’s definition of normal is not the best one to be living for. It has many unintended consequences.he World’s Normal—1 Peter 4:3

This is a description of someone Living For Self—complete Self Indulgence. It’s the part of the world that says you cannot have a good time unless you’re drinking. That you don’t have a good sex life if you’re committed to one person for your whole life.

I remember in 1994 during the World Cup Soccer tournament—Brazilians in CA didn’t need alcohol to celebrate which totally confused the Americans.

Peter has strong words of condemnation for the World’s View of Normal—

Debauchery—sensuality—HCSB—unrestrained behavior, unbridled lust, excess, outrageousness, shamelessness

Lusts--desire for what is forbidden


Orgies—drinking parties

Carousing—a parading around of the fact that you’re a part of the party crowd-- parade through the streets with torches.

Detestable—abominable--contrary to law and justice, prohibited by law, illicit, criminal

idolatry—the worship of false gods, idolatry --of the formal sacrificial feats held in honor of false gods

This type of idolatry was the idolatry of self—what I want, what makes me feel good without any real concern about the effect on anyone else.

Tell me if you don’t see this? If you had come up and driven around the block of the church last night—you would have seen this verse in action.

The desire for a life without restraint—without consequence, free to do whatever, whenever, with whoever—There is no society of human beings that does not possess the idea that this is how you have a good time. It is the world’s sense of normal and life to the fullest.

It is so normal for the unbelieving world—it becomes as a religion—a means of idolatry. It describes those without God in their life or thinking—vs. 3 sets this context within the understanding of Evil Human Desires.

Human Desires—What are they? What makes them evil?

It doesn’t matter if you are a life long pagan, if you came to Christ as a child and spent your whole life in the church—you have had and will have struggles with your desires.

Desires are meant to satisfy a need—you are thirsty and desire an icy lemonade, you are hungry and the anticipation of lunch makes your mouth water with every word of this sermon. You desire a good job so you can provide for yourself or you family. You desire love and affection because we were never meant to be alone.

The problem in the world today is that our desires are affected by our fallen world. Sin occurs when the good thing that God has given us is abused, distorted or misapplied. What makes a desire evil is how it takes us away from the good things of God.

Being thirsty is not wrong, but satisfying it with alcohol to the point of drunkenness is. Being hungry is not wrong, but a pattern of baking, then eating a whole batch of cookies by yourself demonstrates gluttony.

Noticing an attractive person is not wrong, but allowing your thoughts to dwell on someone can quickly lead your mind to the wrong place.

Sex is not bad, but fulfilling that desire outside of an exclusive marriage relationship violates what God created it to be.

At the heart of all of this is idolatry—the rejection of God and the taking on of something else. And this taking on and indulging of your flesh

Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

32bthey not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Only those who participate in these things with them really ever merit their approval. Only by living the same way will you ever be considered normal.

This kind of behavior is so normal and expected that they expect you to join in with them. And here begins the conflict.—vs. 4

Vs. 4—They think you are strange—for not jumping right in. When you say “no” when offered a beer or a drug—they think—“what’s wrong with you?” When you avoid certain places, certain behaviors certain jokes or movies, because your conscience won’t let you, your past struggles say stay away—they think it strange

Astonished, surprised, shocked—“well who’s ever heard of such a thing?”

Some reactions you see will be like…

· if you’re on the internet

· if you’re at work

· if you’re at home…

You don’t go to the bars and get trashed? That’s not natural. You don’t cuss up a storm—well why on earth not? You mean you plan on waiting until you’re married? You really won’t consider cheating on your husband, your wife? Come on… live a little, indulge yourself.

Flood—excess—outpouring, overflowing,

Dissipation—negative coming from the word meaning safe—so essentially the same unsafe activity, reckless

When you refuse—“they heap abuse on you”—you are then blasphemed--to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate, blaspheme--to be evil spoken of, reviled, railed at.

How many of you can look back at times when a friend, even a family member criticized you because of your faith in Christ, because you made a decision that didn’t make sense, b/c you refused to go along with something that was questionable, that they thought was fine

1 Corinthians 2:14—“ The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

It’s especially hard for people who knew how you used to be and how you are now. Most of us have things in our past that we’re not proud of. I know there are people from high school, if I ever go to a reunion, who will laugh when they find out I’m a pastor.

In some way or another, each of us has “spent enough time in the past doing what [they still] choose to do.”

In some way or other, whether you indulged a little or a lot in that kind of lifestyle, living for yourself—you have spent, you have wasted enough time doing these things. Such a life promises to make you happy, but it leaves you empty. It has no lasting or redeeming value.

Such a life of self-indulgence has consequences.

Galatians 5:19-25-- The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

May You Be Judged Strange—vs. 4

Contrast that with what it is to live for God.

Living For God—vs. 6—live according to God in regard to the Spirit.”

1 Peter 4:1-2—“ Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires but rather for the will of God.”

Now that you are in Christ—you have died, just as He died—in your baptism, you were buried and raised just like He was—so sin no longer has a claim on our lives, even though we let it.

Our faith Calls us to a Life that is bigger, a life that is greater, a life that is more important than our own. It is a life that is beyond the “earthly” but is eternal. And it is quite a contrast to the World’s Normal.

Galatians 5:16-17-- So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

Romans 6:12-13—“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.”

READ 1 Peter 4:7-11

Prayer—prayer requires some things for it to be effective. A Clear Mind and Self-Control. Without these 2 things, your mind can wander, your heart is distracted. Praying for others, praying for yourself, praying to hear the will of God.

Love—directed toward those who share your faith—the reason why this is so important is that even those sitting next to you still struggle with sin and selfishness. They will continue to do things from time to time that upset you, that hurt you. So true love, empowered by the Spirit of God is going to “cover over a multitude of sins”—unlike the world which will hold on to every hurt, every slight, every insult and wait for the opportunity to inflict pain of its own.

Hospitality-- generous to guests—without grumbling—muttering, a secret debate, a secret displeasure not openly avowed

Service—whatever your gift, whatever you enjoy doing, whatever your talent, ministry, or skills—use them to serve others—because through you, God is giving grace—He is comforting, He is encouraging, He is teaching, He is leading into worship.

Through the strength God provides—realizing that all you accomplish in life is because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

Romans 12:6—“We have different gifts according to the grace given us.” Prophesying, Serving, Teaching, Encouraging, contributing, leadership, mercy.

12:11—“ Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

The Will of God—vs. 2

For His Glory—vs. 11—so that—God is praised—for His glory

When God is at work in our lives, we will see the evidence of Him…

GAL 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

The Attitude of Christ—Philippians 2, 1 Peter 4:1

The attitude of the World

Are you living with the attitude of the World’s Normal—do you fit in well? Or does the world think you’re a bit strange? You have permission from God to be strange. You have God’s direct call to live, to pray, to serve each other---for His Glory

Now the hard part—will you commit to being strange in the eyes of the world—but still loving of those in the world. Most of them are just deceived, not evil. You have to show them another way—you have to reach out to them in love, not shun them or criticize them. Maintaining your strangeness without compromise, but being evangelistic about it is one of the great challenges you as a believer will face—that’s why you need prayer, that’s why you need the strength God provides because it is all for His glory.

Will you commit to pray and reach out to those who are deceived?

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