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How the Gospel Changes You

Sermon Series:

How the Gospel Changes You

Aaron Lewis
Aaron Lewis

Wayland Campus Pastor

Peace Church Wayland

Main Passage:
1 Peter 1:10-16


So to everyone in the chapel or down in the venue, hello to you as well. And then a special shout out to the Whaling Campus peeps. Super glad you're here. Love being a part of that. And so this morning as well this weekend as we think about Memorial Day weekend and we celebrate the lives of those men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. I just want to take a minute as a veteran who did serve in Iraq, and I just want to remind everyone that this is not Veterans Day. This is Memorial Day. And so we want the complete focus and honor on those who did pay the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. And so when we think about that, and we think about what it means to lay down your lives for the freedom of another, we ultimately think about Jesus Christ. Galatians 5, says that it is for freedom, Christ has set us free. And how did he do that? He gave his life for you and for me. And so we want to make sure that that is what we remember this weekend as we celebrate Memorial Day. And so just to start I want you to know I did not grow up in church. I did not grow up attending church and when the Lord saved me he saved me from deep sin and when he saved me something miraculous kind of happened within me, is that my desires kind of got pulled and ripped away from my desires.

Does that make sense?

Like, I have these two competing sets of desires that one was ripped from, and one is an immediate desire that I have for the here and now, and another is an ultimate desire that I have for later down the road and oftentimes these two desires compete with one another. And so all those years back when the Lord saved me, I began my road to holiness, becoming more and more like the person of Jesus Christ. And so as I began the road to holiness, I would just like to share with everyone now that I have officially arrived. Have you guys been talking to my wife? No, we know that's absurd, right? We know that's not true. It's true that I'm not who I was, but it's also true that I'm not who I should be. And I think the same is true of you. I think there is still more work for the Holy Spirit to do in you and in me. I think one of the scariest statements that I had ever heard in my life came from my daughter, McKenna. So every once in a while, I'll sit my daughters down, sometimes together, sometimes individually, and I'll just ask them, hey, how am I doing as a dad? Tell me what I can't see. Is there something that I'm doing that's causing frustration? Is there something that I'm doing? Just tell me how I'm doing as a dad. And we have gone through this a couple of different times and it's gone well and I've learned some stuff and kind of, you know, figured some stuff out and it was great. But one time, I think she was about 10, maybe 11, so a few years ago, I sat her down and said, hey, hey, Kenna, how am I doing as your dad? And she had that moment, she'd look me dead in the eyes, and she asked me this, she said, how honest do you want me to be?

Ha, ha, ha.

Well, hold on.

I'm not exactly sure how honest I want you to be, now that I think about it. But I'm wondering if we can be honest here this morning. How honest can we be in this space? How honest can we be about the fact that our sanctification process, that is the process of looking more and more like Jesus throughout time, how honest can we be that we are still in process? That the Holy Spirit is not done with you or with me. And we're gonna look to first Peter. So if you have your Bible go ahead and turn to First Peter It's on page 1293 in the Bible if you grabbed one off the table But we're going to look in First Peter 1 verses 10 through 16 to See what Peter has to say About what living a holy life looks like this process of looking more and more like Jesus. So first Peter 1 starts in verse 10 So, 1 Peter 1, starting in verse 10. serving not themselves but you in the things that I have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven things into which angels long to look therefore preparing your minds for action and being sober-minded set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ as obedient children do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance But as he who called you is holy you also be holy in all your conduct Since it is written you shall be holy for I am holy Let us pray Heavenly Father. We thank you for your word I pray that the Holy Spirit would be here, would be present with me as I speak, and would be present with everyone as they hear. And would we be shaped and molded into the image of your son as a result? It's in Christ's name that we pray, amen. So recently, Pastor Darrell and I had the opportunity to go and visit India. Peace Church partners with a mission organization in India, and we had the opportunity to go and kind of see how it all works, how it functions, and see the good ministry that's being done through this ministry organization. And one of the things that stood out to me was the hostile government. In India, the national religion is Hinduism and they have a huge push to kind of bring people back to Hinduism. And so they throw these big celebrations and give away lots of stuff to kind of renounce their Christian faith and come back to, um, being Hindu. And one of the things that was interesting is that they actually have a law called the freedom of religion act, freedom of religion act. And what this law does is it actually outlaws what they call forced conversions. Forced conversions. And so what a forced conversion is, it's not what you would picture of like, you know, by some sort of violent means or force that we would cause someone to proclaim, you know, faith in Christ. What a forced conversion is, more along the lines of like a quid pro quo kind of argument. There was a family that was hungry, was in need, and the church, the local church, actually showed up and ministered to this family, fed them, met their needs, prayed for them, and then over time, they became believers in Jesus Christ. And so what happened was the Indian government actually came in and said, it was a tit for tat, quid pro quo kind of situation. The only reason they're Christians is because you met these needs and so that is against the law in India. And so the pastor of this local church and some of the the elders and leaders of this local church actually ended up in prison as a result of this interaction. And so what this is is in India there's billboards all over the place that talk about and remind people of these anti-conversion laws. And what this particular billboard says is that, and this is a picture of the president and vice president, and what the billboard says is it's claiming that there have been zero conversions to Christianity in this, what is kind of like their state. So they have the country, and then it's broken down into smaller territories. So what is the equivalent of their state? And so they're boasting about zero conversions to Christianity. Now what Pastor Darrell and I know, because we were there and we were talking to Christians and seeing this firsthand, is that this is absolutely false. Absolutely false. And this is pure propaganda. And the Indian government does not care. And so they're kind of engaged in this hostile relationship with Christianity. And so I began having a conversation with this man here. So this is Pastor Daryl and he had the opportunity to speak at one of the churches in India. And so this guy's name is Manuel. And so Manuel and I, we are on a bus and we're going from point A to point B and having a conversation about the persecution of the church and what they face and all the things their pastors and leaders and Christians go through in India. And I just began kind of contrasting their experience to my own. And so I'm sitting there and I tell them, I was like, you know, I am someone I love to be liked. Like I wanna be liked about everything else. I wanna be liked. Not only that, I wanna be liked, but I am also at my very nature, I'm a pleasure seeker. I seek out pleasure. I do not seek out suffering. Suffering is difficult for me. I know it's difficult for all of us, but I'm a pleasure seeker. And so I'm just kind of comparing and contrasting their experience with my own experience. And we're having this conversation and I tell him this, I say, I can't tell you how inspired I am by your faithfulness. And he responded, he said this, We know that all who live a godly life will be persecuted. And man is that real to them. And he continues, it's not just us. It's not just Indians. You know, 2 Timothy 3:12, indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted. Not just Indians, but all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. See, what they understand because it's their lived experience is that persecution and suffering produce holiness. And that's what the Apostle Peter knows too. The Apostle Peter in 1 Peter, the letter we're looking at this morning, says something like 20 times, something like this, like endure suffering, hang in there, you can do this. Don't give up. See, he's speaking to Christians at a time when the Roman Empire was beginning to persecute believers. And not only that, but most of those Christians, including Peter himself, would end up giving their lives for their faith. And this is the context in which Peter is writing this letter. And so Peter is helping them not only understand or endure their suffering and persecution, but he's saying there is actually joy found in the midst of this suffering and persecution. See, and we know this is possible, as absurd as it sounds in our minds, we know it's possible because Christ, before going to the cross, Hebrews tells us that it was for the joy set before him, he went to the cross. For the joy set before him. So we know it sounds nuts and yet it's very possible. It's very possible. And so, you know, we don't have to binge-watch to cope with our lives. We don't have to go all in in a specific activity so that we can ignore what's going on. We don't have to pump ourselves full of caffeine.

There are all the things that we do in order to cope with suffering, cope with persecution, figure out our lives, to be able to cope with what's going on. And so I think what we need to remember is that suffering, and persecution, are not punishments for the Christians. It's not punitive. It's redemptive. God is not punishing us. He is refining us. And this is exactly what we learned in our last series, right? This is what Pastor Ryan was talking about when he said we'd be able to see God more clearly as a result of going through the trials and the tests that God allows us to experience. Refinement. Refinement. And so if you're going through hardship now, I just want to remind you and encourage you, God is attempting to refine you so you to become more like Jesus Christ as a result of what you're experiencing right now. Refinement. And that's what holiness is. Becoming more and more like God. That is to be set apart. To be distinct. To be set apart for a particular use. And that is the Christian pursuit. Is holiness. And this brings us to our main point for today is that Christians are to be holy. We are to be holy, but how do we do this? What does this look like in real life? Monday morning, well I guess Monday morning is Memorial Day, so Tuesday morning when our lives go back to normal and we're just in the routine of what it is that we do, what does it look like for the Christian to be holy? What does it mean for us to live lives that are marked by distinction? Well, I think it means three things that we get from our text, is that Christians live a distinct life by embracing the word, by embracing the word. And Christians live a distinct life by embracing gospel-centeredness, embracing gospel-centeredness. And then Christians live a distinct life by embracing our transformation, embracing our transformation. Embracing our transformation. So first, Christians live a distinct life by embracing the word. So let's look at our scripture back in verse 10. So it says concerning this salvation. Okay, we got a pause right here. Make sure that we know what we're talking about in context. So we need to see who Peter's talking to and what he's talking about. So in verse one of First Peter, Peter addresses who he's talking to. And he says those who are elect exiles. So Peter is talking to Christians, the elect. And then in verse three, he says what he's talking about. He says he is God who caused us to be Christians, to the elect, about salvation to a living hope through Christ. So back to verse 10. Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when they predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.

Okay, so I do want to admit that at first glance this can be a confusing passage for us but what I want you to know is that the writers of the Old Testament are every bit as inspired and authoritative as the writers of the New Testament Peter is Saying that this book is not simply a compilation of wisdom or a self-help manual. This book is the very Word of God. And if we are going to be distinct, if we're going to experience a joy that produces holiness, we have got to know this book. We have to. Peter says that it was the Spirit of Christ in them, meaning that Jesus Christ, the person of the Holy Spirit, took up residence within the writers of the Old Testament, enabling them to write about the salvation that would be fulfilled in the future. And what does that mean? That means that this entire book is about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that salvation is found through him this entire book is about that and points to Jesus and so this is Peter's attempt at bridging the Old Testament in the New Testament that the Old Testament prophets are those who wrote the Old Testament as the Spirit of Christ and dwelt within them and the New Testament apostles are those who wrote the New Testament by the power of the Holy Spirit more and like we understand it today. And he's saying that the writers of the Old Testament are authoritative. They are from God. And we are to search the Scriptures to discern what is true and false. We are to search the Scriptures to, to, or we are to use the Scriptures as the metric, to determine what is good, what is true, what is of God. And Peter fleshes this out in 2 Peter 1. It says no prophecy of scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. So, back to 1 Peter. Christians live a distinct life by embracing the Word. This is verse 12. It says, It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves, but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preach the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look." So it's saying they, the prophets, were serving not themselves, but you. You. In other words, the New Testament or the Old Testament prophets understood the importance of doing what God says and understanding who God is, not because God needs us to obey Him, or because the prophets wanted to be forever famous. They didn't want to be known as Isaiah, Jonah, Daniel, and Habakkuk. That was not the purpose they wrote down what it is they wrote down. But they understood that it would be to our benefit to understand these things about who God is and what he's up to in our world. It was not for them they were writing, it was for us, it was for you. And what was the main point?

The main point was about the grace that was to be yours. The grace that was to be yours was what the prophets were prophesying about. So Peter is saying the main message throughout all the scriptures is the gospel. But what does it look like as Christians we're called to be distinct and we're called to embrace the word. Practically, what does this mean? I think it means that we embrace God's word, but I also think it means that we embrace, the Christians who live a distinct life by embracing gospel centeredness, embracing gospel centeredness. So verse 13 says, therefore, and again, we need to stop. Because every time we come across the word, therefore in scripture, we need to stop and ask what therefore is. Yeah, we got it. What's it there for? So therefore, since you trust the Old Testament prophets in their declaration of the grace that was to be yours, and the New Testament apostles and pastors who preach the good news to you by the power of the Spirit, therefore, prepare your minds for action and be sober-minded Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ What is he talking about here? He's talking about the return of Christ the fulfillment of all things the new heaven the new earth when things are restored. See, we live in a time that the Apostle Paul referred to as the already not yet time in history. We're already saved and yet we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We're citizens of heaven and yet we're sojourners on a foreign land here on earth. What Peter is helping us to understand is that we place our hope in the full grace that we will experience when Christ returns. When we're in the here and now and there's already not yet tension, this is where we struggle. And we wrestle with this tension of already not yet. See, and we know this to be true, don't we? Life is hard, but it's so good. Life hurts, and yet we have beautiful moments of pleasure. There's pain, but there's happiness. There's suffering, and there's joy. And I think most people, we tend to vacillate between extreme highs and extreme lows. We vacillate between one and the other. And so what Peter is saying here is that as you endure, as you experience hardship, as you experience life, these extreme highs, extreme lows, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you. See, extreme highs, oh, the Lord's so good to me. Extreme lows, the Lord's gonna make this right one day. Do you see how this stabilizes our lives and we're not going high and low and high and low? But we get to set our hope firmly on the grace that is to come. I think the apostle Paul models this perfectly with us, or for us, when we look at his life and as people came and they were going to kill him and he said oh you're gonna kill me okay to die is gain oh okay then we're gonna let you live then oh delay I have work to do to live as Christ you couldn't touch the guy he was untouchable and yet it's not because Paul was so awesome it's because God is so awesome and Paul knew and understood this, that his hope was fully on the grace that was to come. I think a recent example of this is Tim Keller. So if you know Tim Keller, follow him. He just died recently and I read these words on Facebook. His son was talking about his final moments and so his whole family gathered and in his final moments, this is what he said. He said, there is no downside to me leaving, not in the slightest. But how can he say something like that? Because his hope was now fully in the grace that would be brought to him. And you and I have that same hope.

We have that same hope. That's the hope we are to ground our lives in as we prepare for action, as we ensure our minds are sober-minded. So Peter is encouraging us, encouraging Christians, that as we go through life, through the hardships, through the persecution, we are to embrace the Scriptures and submit to the Scriptures and embrace a Gospel-first approach to life, we do two things. One is from that hope, we prepare for action. See, we as Christians are not complacent people. The picture here is of a man in a long garment who pulls up the feet of his robe and tucks it into his belt so that he's ready for action, whatever may come, right? He doesn't get tripped up. That is how we are to be prepared for action in the world because our hope is set fully on the grace that is to come at the fulfillment of all things. So now we're ready. Let's go.

This is what the Great Commission is about. We're all to be engaged in the Great Commission. We're all to be ready. We're all to have our robes tucked in, ready to yield to the Holy Spirit when he says go. So I ask you, how are you called to tuck in your garment? What does that look like for you? I think secondly, that from our hope, we are to think clearly. Think clearly. The Greek word here is nepho. And this means to abstain from wine, to be sober or to watch, to be on guard. This is a type of spiritual sober-mindedness that includes the idea of being steadfast, and self-controlled, to have clarity of mind. The sober Christian is correctly in charge of his priorities and not intoxicated with the allurements of the world. And I think we often correctly think of the big things here, right? Sex, money, power. But what about the lesser things that we don't often think about? What about comforts, the ease of life? What about that person that you really deeply care what they think? See, I think we are master manipulators, and the primary person we tend to fool is ourselves. We fool ourselves by thinking we need a boyfriend to be complete, to be okay. We fool ourselves into thinking we need to be better, to be worthy, to be accepted. We fool ourselves into thinking we need to achieve a certain voice in our opinion or be heard. I think as master manipulators the person we tend to fool is ourselves.

And you guys remember Space Jam? Not the LeBron James Space Jam but the legit Michael Jordan Space Jam? Yes, brother. There's this moment where they're getting whooped by the Monstars, right? And so Bugs Bunny goes in and finds, you know, Michael's secret stuff. Michael's secret stuff. And they end up drinking this and then all of a sudden they can play basketball. And I think that as Christians, this is what we tend to do we go throughout our lives attempting to find the secret stuff that works for us attempting to find how in our attempt to find the secret stuff for us that will work but Peter tells us what the secret stuff is Peter says place your hope fully on the grace that is to come and out of that you can be prepared for action and you can think sober-mindedly.

And lastly, as Christians, we live a distinct life by embracing life transformation. Embracing life transformation. Several years ago, I saw a movie titled Three Seasons. And so in this movie, there's this taxi driver waiting outside this hotel and picking up this beautiful girl that walks out of the hotel and brings her home. And so he does this several times and through conversation finds out she actually works at the hotel and she's a prostitute. And so he would wait and bring her home and they form this relationship. And so he ended up through conversation finding out that her greatest desire was just to be able to afford to spend one night in that hotel just on her own doing what she wants to do and sleeping until she wants to sleep. So one day the taxi driver goes to her and asks, can I spend a night with you? And she just said, yeah, this is kind of what she does. And they find out, they end up in the same hotel. And so they're in the room and the taxi driver had gone through the trouble, bought her this beautiful dress to put on. So she puts on the dress and then the taxi driver orders this awesome meal that they come in and just through a good meal and beautiful clothing, they sit and they talk and they eat and they enjoy this meal. And then they end up getting a movie. And so the taxi driver bought this luxurious robe for her to wear. And so he puts this robe on her and they end up, they start watching this movie. And during this movie, she ends up falling asleep. And so as she falls asleep, the taxi driver kind of sneaks out and leaves. And so she wakes up the next morning and she's looking around. She's like, what, what, what happened? Where do you, where'd he go? And so she ends up leaving and, and he goes back to his, his regular life, normal life, back into the rhythm of what he did. He waited outside the hotel. She wasn't there, said, I'm gonna go check on her. Ends up driving to her house and she actually sees him from inside, sees him out the window and she goes and meets him in the yard and as he's walking out, she comes running out with these accusations of what did you do to me? What did you do to me? And he's confused, he's like, what do you mean? What did I do to you? She's like, what did you do to me? It's like, I don't understand. She's like, ever since that night, I can no longer do my job. See, what she didn't know or understand, she didn't know what it felt like to be loved, to be cherished, to be valued. She had never experienced that before. And once she experienced it, she could not go back to treating her body in the way that she treated it before because of her former ignorance. She didn't know what it meant to be loved by a God who loves her. She didn't know what it meant to be cherished by a God who sent his only son to die for her. She didn't know what it meant to be provided a good meal and to be able to worship God's goodness. She didn't understand. She was ignorant of what it meant to be valued. And what this night did is it showed her what it meant to be cherished. And she couldn't go back.

And so that's what Peter is talking about here. Peter is not saying you are dirty, disgusting, and reviled. He's saying that you didn't understand what it was like to live your life in such a way to where you're worthy of God's love. And he addresses them. He says, as obedient children. He says that's who you are. And as obedient children, you already are obedient children. to the patterns of your former life. I think that you and I in our former life and in our ignorance, haven't understood our value. And we have prostituted ourselves. And the Lord looks down, says, that's not who you are. You are my obedient child. That's how I see you. We didn't know. It was the passions of our former ignorance.

I love the way C.S. Lewis says this. He says we are half-hearted creatures fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slums, because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea, we are far too easily pleased. Listen, friends, God is good, God is giving, God loves you, and it is for your freedom Christ has set you free.

Let's pray. Heavenly Father, I thank you for your word, I thank you for your son. I pray, Lord, that the Holy Spirit right now would testify to the truth that you love us, that you sent your son to die for us, to be reconciled to you. Father, we're grateful that this is the reality that you sent your son to die for us, to be reconciled to you. Father, we're grateful that this is the reality we get to live in and it's in Christ's name that we pray. Amen.

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