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March 15, 2022 12:00 am
Our idea of freedom today is often individualistic and autonomous from other people's ideas, values, and problems. Peter had a counter-cultural message that true freedom comes only through community.
Free at this well, you're free.
In reality, really caught up to the reality, you're truly free, no matter how restrictive or how oppressive government, or the culture may be where you been assigned by God at the post doses that respectfully submit to it and just understand that you are actually 41 Bible teaches students and will honoring our commitments as citizens of heaven in first Peter 216 through 17 the apostle Peter spells out seven specific principles regarding how believers are to live as citizens of God's kingdom while still here on. These are important and timeless principles that will help you today.
This is wisdom for the hearts in a lesson called wise counsel for Christian citizens.
Stephen baby explores these principles.
Here's part one of that message right now. Some time ago somebody in our congregation sent me a list of things called the perks of getting older. I'm not sure why they were feeling older.
For the record, I'm not. I'm just getting started.
I sound terrible, I know, and I need to acknowledge that you know what it is spring allergies. When the trees bloom in April so I'm deeply confused by the way, actually, I should be on Claritin start. I usually start the winter and didn't end. So here we are, so I apologize for the rest iterate out some of the perks of getting older 10 when you get on an elevator.
You can sing along kissing all the work that's embarrassing. It I like this one, people will call you at 9 PM but asked apologetically that I wake you. The truth is, whether you're getting older, feeling older or whatever life changes and I think the issue obviously for us as we gather as an assembly is not what I was getting older, but are we living more wisely, especially as relates to how fast our culture is changing around us.
Listen to what one author and evangelical scholar roads by the name of Robert Alden. He said this since 1955 sheer factual knowledge. Here facts have begun doubling every five years. Our generation now possesses more data about the universe and the human body and personality that all previous generations put together. Think of it this way. High school graduates today have been exposed to more information about their world than Plato and Aristotle and the apostles combined in terms of facts alone. Neither Aristotle nor the apostles would be able to pass the college entrance them today." He wrote that in 1983 and things have changed even more quickly than he imagined. A recent report from the education secretary and department forms a fungus that by the year 2000. Technical knowledge was doubling every two years and now get this is doubling every 72 hours. So if you came in here today and you feel a little behind. There's a reason for that. You can catch up that one author intrigued me by putting it this way, we are now preparing college students to hold jobs that haven't yet been created using technologies that haven't yet been invented in order to deal with problems that do not yet how do you get ready for that kind of world especially with the economy all and that you can sing along with the elevator music when you go up one of the amazing things to me about inspired Scripture is the fact that God provides instruction for us regarding the issues of life and his instruction never goes out of date, no matter what culture matter what generation 11. It's still fresh. We don't make the Bible relevant by the way Bible is relevant is the breed word of God. Even though everything around us changes and speeds up technologies change in cultures and countries change in political leaders and governments horizon in the fall, God's word. Not only in words but it continues to be capable of equipping you for every good work in life. Whether you're in the 21st-century of the first century. One of the issues we've been discussing facing the early believers was how to respond with the changing culture and enter their role as citizens in the Empire of Rome while at the same time trying to live faithfully as citizens of heaven, how you respond wisely to the accusations of hating human life a disregard for the values of that culture.
They never quite fit it with the gods and goddesses. Their treasonous attitude. It was slandered because they would burn incense to Caesar and how you how you deal with all of this, especially as Christianity is becoming marginalized and attacked and that's all the rage or asking the same thing that fact questions really don't change how does the Christian respond in our culture, where, for instance, the American Civil Liberties Union joins together with Americans for the separation of church and state in the chorus of so many others that have now rather successfully.
I would say have educated a generation of Americans to believe that freedom of religion really ought to be interpreted as freedom from religion, freedom from any kind of religious influence. Whatever you happen to believe keep it indoors in a keep it in the house and keep quiet about it so your prayers banished the city Council meetings and football games, and any references to God are sort of, you scoured out about the thorium addresses and and copies of the 10 Commandments are you coming down all over the country how you live in a generation that is really at its core, and we understand this but it's trying to erase any conscious elements of the existence of a creator God and some kind of absolute inspired Scripture. I've often.
I've often thought with gratitude in verses of Scripture and acknowledgments of our creator God have been chiseled into the stonework of so many of our national monuments have been glad chiseled literally of the stones of their not so easily brought down. However then again you know they can be sandblasted away in the future and not going to be surprised with the equipment shows up to do it. The question remains, though, how do you respond to a culture like that of first century Christians and 21st-century Christians want to know the apostle Peter is in the process of delivering the answers to some of it in chapter 2 of his inspired letter, rather surprising answers.
We began studying last Lord's day in our last session together, go back to review what the first Peter chapter 2 was where were picking our study backup. Let me get a running start was go back to verse 13 is a just a few things.
We got a lot to cover today, but let's go back where we started and ends regular running start, submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution that is just law the institutional laws come out of it. Codes and ordinances and all the things we looked at that weather to a King is the highest position of authority in the land is the one in authority, or to governors their lesser authorities but still their commission by him.
That is the king for. Here's the job description of government the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right here is good government to punish evil, and they commend what's what's right to submit to for verse 15.
Such is the will of God, that by doing right.
You may muzzle silence the ignorance of foolish men. In other words, live with that kind of submissive attitude to just law in such a way that the slanders against you that your seditious failure. Treasonous that you don't care about your culture and all that you will literally be able to muzzle the snapping and snarling biting foolishness of the culture around maker may not, twice as I was the subject of our last study now for today Peter is going to deliver even more rapidfire instruction for wise living and I sort of divided according to the seven statements were going to cover fairly quickly. Seven different instructions will be paraphrased each one and look at the text.
The first one would be paraphrased. This way, no matter how it feels.
You're actually three. No matter how it feels you are actually three notice for 60 begins by telling us to act as free men at this freemen unit don't look around your free in reality you haven't yet really caught up to the reality. You are truly free and others, no matter how restrictive or how oppressive government, or the culture may be where you been assigned by God at that Embassy post as his ambassador respectfully submit to it and just understand that you are actually the free one thing about been freed from the condemnation of sin from the judgment of God from the penalty forever of his wrath. He been freed from all that Paul wrote to the Romans chapter 6 verse 18 were told the Christ rescued us from the domain of darkness, the kingdom of darkness that is transferred. God is transferred us into the kingdom of his son, for we been redeemed and have forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 113. If this time makes you free if meaning he did since he did then you shall be what friend David John chapter 8 verse 36 you're the one who's free and the bonds you might where our temporary plastic they will soon be replaced with the glory of who you really are and where you truly belong.
And in that day and in his kingdom. The righteousness of God will slide the earthlike waters covering the land to live in light of that day.
Secondly, never user freedom to run while notice in verse 16 actors freemen do not use your freedom as a covering for evil word Peter uses for covering the first of fail. Laura covering of some sort thrown over something to try to conceal it also carries the idea of a mask and others don't see all sinful living.
Don't conceal cutting corners with the religious jargon of hey you just set up three so on freemen free delivery. There is perhaps no other doctrine so easily perverted as Christian liberty and I've seen all kinds of extremes, along the spectrum, which is why think Peter seem so quick to add this caution to the statement that your free but when the apostle Paul did the same thing when he wrote to the Galatians, he warned them not to use their liberty as an occasion for the flash Galatians 513, Peter will warn the believers in his second letter about the fact that there are people who are who are promising others great liberty who are in fact enslaved corruption if you saw their lives. If you somehow saw behind the curtain, we realize are corrupt, they are favorite topic is Christian liberty putting more brightly in our language being free in Christ does not mean party in a no hold, no holds barred anything go forward to the Corinthians to live by that motto. Evidently they had taken the model for this, looking for for their own lives. All things are lawful for me, all things are lawful for me because my part comes along. Verse 2612 and says you know there's another side to that all things are lawful for you, but all things are good for you but expedient beneficial for your Christian experience. I like the way William Barclay summarizes it by saying this he comments on this text that are freedom in Christ. Be careful, it doesn't mean they were free to do whatever we like to do. It means that were free to do whatever we ought is wonderful balance just exactly why think Peter adds even more balanced with wise counsel. Thirdly, the paraphrase of this way. Remember, you've been freed, only to be mastered by right.
Notice what he writes in verse 16. Again, actors freemen do not use your freedom as a covering for evil. Don't hide behind pious jargon to live anywhere you want to live by user freedom as a bondslave or bondservant of God word Peter uses for bondservant is softened translation primarily going back to the 16th century, when we had our first English translations they want to soften it because of the whole concept of slavery which was broiling everyone, and so they translated it into English bondservant, and unfortunately it though. It removes the edges. It removes the nuance that we need to understand slaves defined the lowest level of servitude in the Greco-Roman world for believers. It's a word that describes our joyful freedom because we are now slaves belonging mastered by God and that is the correct nuance are will is and are will our rights are governed by him. We are his holy peers. This is this is the paradox of Christianity and they would've picked up on it, even freed from the bondage of sin and slavery in order to become the slave of Jesus Christ. By the way, though. What a master he best use.
This is actually the paradox of of all of life. When you think about it, everyone is under the mastery of some everyone is a slave to whatever it is, the demands of them the highest allegiance and loyalty to the question isn't are you a slave. The question is who slave are you asked the question you are either a slave to your own will. Your own life your own career your own plans your own desires your own body your own intellect or you have handed the Christ, as it were, your will so that he will have mastery over your life and your career and your plans and your desires and your body and your intellect.
So here's the question who's slaves. Are you today what masters you and in this context I think Peter is implying slaves of Christ make the best citizen over servants of the kingdom of God produce the greatest service to the kingdoms of earth. Listen the best citizens who contribute the best of what can be contributed ought to be the Christians was that when the first century as they begin to change the world.
It ought to be true today. Now that Peter really picks up speed and delivers for very short quick commands that adds to his wise counsel for Christian citizens and is number four in our list for this study. Here's the paraphrase, no matter what show respect for everyone. Notice what he writes in verse 17 honor all people can understand that honor every human being.
Now isn't telling us to honor every thing human beings do. Isn't telling us to respect everything human beings to. He's not saying that he is saying to respect the very fact that there a living human being should deference and compassion, even though in conviction you may disagree to the nth degree.
Why because we happen to believe that every human being is a creation of God within their value center not to be discarded there not to be used not to be mistreated, why they're created in his image.
James chapter 3 verse nine expands on that effective firm to honor, honor would be helpful. Understand, you can render it to treat as valuable. That's what that means to treat as valuable with a sense of respect, knowing that God has created them according to his purposes, and they have eternal value. By the way, this is the same verb Jesus usually preach to the Jewish audience and he said to them, honor your mother and your father savor. In other words, don't treat them selfishly. Don't treat them as objects don't discard them care for their needs. Don't use them for financial gain. Treat them with respect to the simple fact they are your mother and your father knew you may disagree with the way they live, treat her position with respect out. You need to understand that the idea of honoring every human being was a staggering concept to these original readers. Their world had an incredibly callused view of human beings you think we got Stratus in our society move back to the first century and hold your breath. I'm telling you life was she didn't want your baby leave them on the doorstep.
While dogs can carve them away. No legal repercussions from there were 16 million slaves in the Roman Empire.
When Peter was writing this letter writing life was she gospel comes along and it changes the price tag on everything that women are no longer be some bird embedded in the gospel is true that dissolves slavery so your Paul writing a slave owner thing by the way your runways like bring it back in.
Is your brother's to our might matter what someone station was in life, their ethnicity.
There color honor. Every human being the mockery. The slander the Jedi's off-color conversation. None of it is befitting a Christian world. In Peter's day in our day ought to know that when they meet a Christian. They'll apologize for the French never had that happen to you if I need your Christian is all forgive my friend she wasn't French and I've never had French but another was in French but you notice immediately that these were all there ought to be that sent things come to clean up. When a Christian comes around that they can expect you to be respectful of every human being little to give you an illustration I came across.
There's a debate going on between an evangelical and atheist AA scholar and professor from Oxford by the name of Jonathan Glover and and and the believer pose this question to him in the debate I think is a wonderful testament to what Peter is saying here.
He said that he pose this to Prof. Glover. He said if you Prof. Glover were stranded at midnight in a desolate downtown street labor and if as you step out of your broken down car with fear and trembling, dark, it's midnight here in the inner-city and you were struggling to hear the sounds of pounding footsteps and conversation coming up behind you and you turned and you saw the dozen burly young just stepped out of a nearby apartment they were coming directly toward you. What it or what did not make a difference to you to know they were just leaving a Bible study. Praise God from whom all blessings flow right there carrying Bibles an argument wins the day should not make a difference even to an atheist and to make a world of difference, and that this point the reputation of the Christian is that they are specked full of everyone working to do this a little later on only go back to the idea of slavery.
I appreciated Deirdre Hebert's wonderful commentary I've been following along with the 25 others, but he made the comment at that particular command honor every human being. He made the comment that if this was followed this would deal a mortal load to any kind of racial conflict, we would treat no one with scorn. No one in any kind of setting any kind of strata any kind of to mean. One of the most wonderful declarations of the gospel is that we have in the assembly.
People from all walks of life next to my left sitting in the last hours Dr. Israel Indian who is teaching a Telugu Bible study that meets our campus with the matriculated indoor congregation in the audience is Filipino couple who started a Bible study and integrating into this church have their Bible study for Filipinos in that language and food that goes along with it, enjoying that together that's wonderful. We are having.
Frankly the nations moved to our community for the gospel is the solution. Is this a practical message. We can't control or determine how those in authority over us will act, but we can control how we act. Thanks for joining us today here on wisdom for the hearts. This is the Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey Stephen is in a series called above politics and parliaments. He calls this message wise counsel for Christian citizens when we return next time will bring you the second half of this important lesson.
Between now and then. Please take some time and explore our website. You'll find email@example.com. That site contains the archive of Stephen's teaching ministry. Stephen is pastored the shepherd's church in Cary, North Carolina for over 35 years all of those sermons are available to you. We also post each of these daily radio broadcasts. If there's ever a day when you miss our program on your local station, you can go to our website to keep caught up with our daily Bible teaching the archive of Stephen's teaching is available on that site free of charge and you can access it firstname.lastname@example.org sure are grateful you are with us today.
Stephen's desire is to help you know God's word and apply that truth to your life and I hope you found that to be the case. Join us again next time from moralist for the heart