Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. God calls His people to live for a higher purpose than we would on our own. As we abide in Christ and the truths revealed through His Word, He begins to change our desires and our attitudes. Our conduct is an outflow of those heart changes, fruit growing from a healthy vine. Today, Rich continues the series, Live as People Who Are Free, focusing on 1 Peter 1, 14-17 and verse 22. This passage calls us to no longer be conformed to the passions of our former ignorance, to conduct ourselves with fear throughout the time of our exile.
And verse 22 calls us to love one another earnestly from a pure heart. Let's listen in as Pastor Rich takes us deeper into this text. This message is called The Conduct of Faith, first preached August 28, 2022 at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Living by faith is liberating because the series, the whole series in 1 Peter is Live as People Who Are Free. Living by faith is liberating.
Do we know that liberty into which Christ has set us free? Living by faith is liberating. So the first part of this series came toward the end where it talked about the basis of our faith. The basis of our faith is the living and abiding Word of God, that imperishable seed. That's the basis of our faith. In other words, God has made Himself known to us. That's the basis of our faith. And then we looked at the object of our faith so that our hope and faith are in God. He is the object of our faith and we looked at three reasons why Jesus Christ is uniquely qualified to be the object of our faith. Everybody believes something.
No exceptions. Is the object of your trust trustworthy? Christ is unique in that category. And then last week we looked at the attitude of faith just in verse 13. Set your hope fully on the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Preparing your minds for action and being sober minded. So it has everything to do with what we do with our minds. Is my mind being informed and transformed by the Word of God? It is why His Word needs to dwell in me richly so that I am transformed by the renewing of my mind. That's the attitude of faith. Those three things being true, now we come to the conduct of faith.
And it comes down to this. He says be holy in all your conduct. Peter is calling believers to a superior life. Be holy in all your conduct. That is the conduct of faith. Now it's presented in two ways in this text.
It's presented negatively and it's presented positively. The negative is do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance. And then the positive is conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile. Be holy in all your conduct. Now that word holy, that can send us for a loop, can it?
Because all kinds of images can come to your mind. God's not calling us to cut our hair a certain silly way. Wear long robes and walk around like this all the time with long face religion all over our faces. If that's your idea of holiness, you've missed it. Jesus Christ is our example of holiness.
So let's look at this. He says he states this negatively. Be holy in all your conduct. Stated negatively, it's do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance. And he states this negatively because there's a contrast in our lives because of God's transforming grace. So do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance.
We're probably familiar with that. Do not be conformed. That's the idea of being squeezed and shaped like a lump of clay. The clay is moldable. And you squeeze it, you put pressure on it and it starts changing shape. And so it is with our lives.
Listen to this, please. Something is shaping you. Something is shaping you.
Everyone is being shaped. Influences, information. What's informing our desires. All of that is shaping us. What's informing all of that?
This is where your choice becomes very, very important. This is part of you being a human. You can think about what you're thinking. No other part of creation can do that. But you can think about what you're thinking, which is why the Bible says to think on these things and be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Something is shaping you.
What is it? That's why he says do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance. The passions of your former ignorance, he's speaking of base and natural desires. If it's natural, how can it be bad? Well, because we're fallen creatures.
We're alienated from God. And my base natural desires are for my self-gratification. Life is about me. That's not what brings success in life.
And by success, I mean operating according to design. That's not what you were designed for, was to simply meet all of your passions in immediate gratification and your desires. You were designed and created for something greater than yourself. But the base passions and desires of the flesh are about me and my gratification.
And the problem with that is it becomes enslaving. That's why Christ came to rescue us. And the former ignorance, what he's talking about here is when we did not know God. When I did not know God, when I was alienated from God. And I did not know him. I could not identify meaning for my life. I had no reference point for my life.
I had no identity other than what I would find for myself. I had no sense of purpose. I didn't know what it was to live for a higher purpose. I had no sense of an ultimate good because I did not know God. I had no ability for transformation. Without knowing God, I did not know righteousness or reconciliation. I was not free to realize my purpose for which I was designed. When I did not know God, I could not be successful. And you say, wait a minute, Rich.
Hold on there. There's a lot of successful people today that are not believers. You might be saying that. I disagree with you. Because it comes down to this. You cannot identify success until first you identify why you are.
You with me? Success is realized purpose. If you can identify why you even exist, then you can begin to identify what success looks like. You were made for one purpose alone, and that's to know God and enjoy him. Apart from that, you don't know success. Jesus said it well. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? If you have not realized the purpose for which you were designed, you are not successful. I don't care how much money you have.
I don't care how many people you influence. You're not successful. You have failed at the purpose of life.
I forget who it was. It just came to me that I read this in a post, and it said, I'm not afraid of failing. I am afraid of succeeding at things that don't matter. You know, our former ignorance of not knowing God is kind of like a pilot flying in the clouds without an instrument rating. He has no idea how to fly by the instruments. And this pilot who doesn't have an instrument rating, he's only flying by what he can see. And if you're in the clouds, there's only one thing you can see, the clouds. That's a problem. Because more times than one, that has happened where somebody just flies straight into a mountain or into the ocean.
Because you might think you're going straight, you're not. I am insufficient to be my own reference point. But this is what happens if I am in Christ, and I go back to the passions, and I'm conformed to the passions of my former ignorance, and Adam was touching on this this morning in his Romans class. You know, is it possible for a believer to sin? Absolutely. In this sense where if you are, you know, we sing Amazing Grace, my chains are gone, I've been set free. That is a truth. That is a truth. But you know what you can do?
You know what you and I can do? I can pick up those chains and carry them. Because I like to hang on to them.
I think they give me pleasure. It's irrational, I know, but sin is irrational. For the Christian. Because it's utterly incongruous with who you are in Christ.
It's diametrically opposed to the character and purpose of God. Which is why he says, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance. And then he states it positively. He says, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.
Rich, I thought you said it was positive. What's this fear stuff? Fear is a very positive thing in the way the Bible uses it.
Of course, you think, well, the word that is used here is phobos, right? It's phobia. What's positive about that? It's being afraid of the right thing. Conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.
Let's unpack this. First of all, God is the point. He is the point. It is his opinion alone that matters. So, here's the definition that I use for fear. It is this, to fear God means to be captivated by his perfections, captivated by the perfections of God and my accountability to him. The perfections of God, his perfect holiness, his perfect love, his perfect power, his perfect goodness, I'm captivated by all of that and then I recognize my accountability to him in this sense when it's all said and done. It is before him and him alone that I will stand.
It's his opinion that counts. That's the fear of God. And if I know God in Jesus Christ and I'm in his grace and have the righteousness of Christ, the thought of standing before God is a delightful contemplation.
But for those who do not know God, it's a very very fearful thing. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's Word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-02 08:05:44 / 2023-04-02 08:10:41 / 5