Intro: In our passage today, we must remember Peter knows how easy it is to fall into the temptation of denying Christ’s power—the Living Word—who makes us holy. Peter denied Christ three times while trying to save himself from death; he immediately suffered in his soul for doing so. However, once Peter experienced the resurrection of the Lord, he was no longer afraid to die. Peter was suddenly motivated to boldly live for Christ in the grace provided; eternal life became his new focus.
Peter writes to the Jews who were driven from their homes in Jerusalem; they were fleeing death. He encourages these early Christians to keep their hope firmly planted in Christ and the grace he offered at the cross. Peter wants these disciples to be prepared for the second coming of Christ by getting their minds ready for action: they are to be self-controlled, remain hopeful, and walk obedient to God. He tells them they must deny their flesh and its desires, so they can be holy in all they do. Notice Peter redirects these disciples; he encourages them to take their focus off from what they have lost and place it on what they have found that is so much greater in Messiah—a holy eternal connection. To be holy is to be totally devoted to God, set aside for his use, as well as set apart from sin.
You and I cannot make ourselves holy, but we can choose to invite the Holy Spirit to make us holy. We are becoming holy when God’s love empowers us to love one another—the family of faith—deeply. There is no room in our lives, gatherings, or relationships for deception, hypocrisy, jealousy, or unkindness. The world desires to feed on that garbage, but God calls us to a holy menu of fruit: “Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control “ (Gal 5:22-23). Call on God’s power today, to help you live as a devoted disciple of Christ. Have a wonderful weekend! Hope to see those of you living in the local area this Sunday; let’s worship the Giver of eternal life who raises us from dead living as we trust him.
1 Peter 1:17-2:1 (NLT)
17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.
21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.
22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart [a pure heart].
23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say,
“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
But the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.
2 So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for this amazing day and for the love you have poured into your children. Continue to love us into well-being and wholeness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.