January 2, 2022
1 Peter 4:1-11
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.
2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.
4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you.
5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore, be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.
8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
Right now, in our time zone Churches are full of believers, but what is it that they believe in, what is it that you claim to believe in, and if asked to explain why you believe what you believe can you do it and if not, are you aware that you are called to do it?
1 Peter 3:15
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
If I were to pull a random person into our church that was trying desperately to believe but just couldn’t find it in themselves to believe, could you tell them why you believe?
If someone confronted you on the street and challenged you with “facts” about why they believe there is no God and gave you what they considered to be errors in the bible and told you that you were foolishly following a lie, could you withstand the inquisition that they would put you through and when you left their presence would you leave with your faith intact or is there a good chance that your faith may be shaken?
Are you comfortable with giving your testimony?
If not, why, do you use the excuse that you are not comfortable speaking to people, do you say that the circumstances of you testimony are too personal, but in reality, if you were to be honest, you would say that it embarrasses you to speak about your faith?
What if I put one of you on the spot and asked you to give your testimony, would you?
There may be some of you that are thinking that it isn’t right of me to ask someone here to give their testimony without warning but that’s exactly the point if 1 peter 3:15 isn’t it, to be ready at any time “to give the reason for the hope that you have”
If you have Christ in your heart and believe that He has saved you, why aren’t you ready and willing to share that reason?
The purpose of this sermon today is to prepare you for the year ahead, a year in which I hope and pray that God will send not just one or two people into our paths in order for us to give our testimony to, but to speak the Gospel with an unshakable certainty of that which we hope for.
The purpose of today’s sermon is to show you with no uncertain terms that you are being called not only to live a life in the manner in which you are being called, but to once and for all commit to this belief called “Christianity” a commitment that will change the way you act and think and carry yourself through the rest of your life.
If you are prone to be around people who are not Christians or maybe they are “lukewarm” Christians the type of commitment I am talking about will make them wonder what has happen to you that you are not the same person that you were last year, that now you act and speak more like the Christian, you said you were.
Do you know how from time to time we talk about that person that we know or have heard about that no one talks trash around them, or that people behave themselves around because everyone knows they are Christian?
Well, that’s the type of commitment I am talking about today.
One time I gave a message about being double minded and how it was dangerous, and I will most likely do it again, because you know that being double minded is waffling in your Christianity and how that puts you in danger of judgment, So, I am again calling on all of us to be committed in that single mindedness so much so, that you are not only finding yourself closer to God but that you are acting as Christ had acted.
The opening scripture says “since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.” When we take our Christianity seriously and truly make the things, we believe a way of life than we HAVE to be done with un-Christ like things and when we are done acting and thinking like the lost and think and act like Jesus then we will truly be done with sin.
God knows it’s not easy, that’s why the scripture says “Whoever suffers in the body” having the same attitude as Christ towards mankind and life in general is a battle that will cause us suffering sometimes emotionally, sometimes spiritually and even sometimes physically. It may cause some people to mock you, maybe even some in your own family, but you take that mocking in stride because you are focused on eternity and not this life.
The opening scripture says “As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God”
So, what is the will of God?
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
when you love someone like Christ commands us to, you forgive others for ways they have hurt you-
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. – do for someone a kindness without having to be urged to do it and without complaining about it, because look what God has done for you.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, – God has given a talent to everyone, and you may not think that He has but rest assured, He has.
Maybe you just don’t see it as anything special, or maybe you just don’t want to use it, but it was given to you personally by God, in order to serve his Kingdom.
You all have gifts that are God given, what a shame if you don’t use them because in the end it is those gifts that are used to glorify God through Jesus Christ.
This year, maybe we are going to have an opportunity to reach out to our neighbors strangers and hopefully use our gifts to share the gospel with them, if we have the attitude of Christ we will reach out to them willingly and in a manner fit to be called Christians.
Christianity is not a beautiful coat we wrap ourselves in while we remain dirty on the inside; Christianity is the beautiful light that emanates from within us that lights the world around us, it lights the darkness of those we come into contact with, it lifts those who are down and guides those who are lost so that they may be found, Christianity is not a club that gets together once or twice a week to sing songs and feel good about ourselves, Christianity is a rescue squad that is seeking those in need of rescue in a world that’s collapsing and full of hate and doubt.
My favorite modern song is called “We Believe” and one of the lines I like the most says “So, let our faith be more than anthems, greater than the songs we sing”
In other words, let’s show our faith as more than lip service let our faith be shown in more ways than just singing, and coming to church, let us put our faith where our mouth and hands are and put our fears and worries behind us, let us get out of the pews and into the streets so that we are at least a little worthy to call Jesus our Lord and Savior.
We may have another day ahead of us, another week, another month, another year, whatever amount of time God has given us. So let today be the day you understand fully, what God has given you and start living for Him.
Let everything about life change today if it needs changing, live by the scripture that was read here today, don’t just hear the words and do nothing with them, take them home and roll them around in your brain and if you are called to be a child of God, then be a full-time child and not just one when you think about it or on Sundays and Holidays.