Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Tim Keller wrote, Modern people like to see freedom as the complete absence of any constraints. But think of a fish. Because a fish absorbs oxygen from water, not air, it is free only if it is restricted to water. Freedom does not mean we have no boundaries. We are free within God's loving boundaries.
They are for our good because God is good. The element in which a fish thrives is water. The Christian's element is in Christ. If you shatter the fish bowl so that everything is possible, the poor fish won't have freedom, only paralysis.
If you shatter this fish bowl so that everything is possible, you decrease satisfaction. 1 Peter 2 16 calls us to live as people who are free. Today is the final part of the message entitled Freedom Through Submission, which was first preached on September 25th, 2022. You see, surrender to God is the only way that you and I will enjoy the exhilaration of the real freedom that he has designed for us. Jesus died on the cross. He gave his life for you and me. And what kind of arrogant delusion is it on my part to come to him and try him as if he's under probation?
I will try you and see if you work for me. We can be that arrogant as humans, can't we? Many are. No, we are called to live as servants of God. We live for the pleasure of the benevolent sovereign. And he is benevolent. I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. There is never a time that he's not good.
He is good. He is my freedom. So that's the root of freedom, surrender. In one word, surrender. The fruit of freedom is the mind of Christ. That's considering others more important than yourself. That's Philippians, as Paul describes in Philippians 2 verses 3 and 4. And he says three things and four things, actually, in verse 17, but I've distilled it down to three because he uses the word honor twice.
Honor everyone, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the emperor. So I'm going to take those back. I do this often, right? I take things backwards, right? Begin with fear of God because that's where it all begins, isn't it? Fearing God.
What does fear mean? It means I live for the opinion of one. Fearing God means I live for his opinion alone. I don't let the attitudes and the ambitions of other people and the ideas of other people, they are not the things that shape and fashion my life. I don't live for their opinion. I live for God's opinion. I have surrendered myself to God. He is my master.
I live for his pleasure. That is wisdom, folks. That's what the book of Proverbs is all about.
That is wisdom. And if that is true, then it will manifest itself in love of the brotherhood. That's the family of God because here's the truth. If I belong to God, I belong to all of those who also belong to God. That is a very, very strong argument for the fellowship of God's people.
A Lone Ranger Christian is an oxymoron, at best disobedient. Love is the church community, is the hallmark of being a disciple. And so if I am living for the opinion of one and what the Bible calls the fear of God, I will love the family of God. John says it very clearly, chapter 5, 1 John 5, whoever loves him, loves who has begotten of him.
It's pretty clear. It's the hallmark of being a disciple. And then if that is true, then that will also outflow in, as he says at the very beginning of verse 17, honor everyone. Honor everyone. The word honors can be translated respect. Is there anyone on the face of this earth that it's okay for you not to respect them?
Not according to 1 Peter 2 17. Some of us might need to amend our social media posts. Respect. Why? Because it is the recognition of human value.
Why? Because they're made in the image of God. You see, this is the fruit of freedom. If we live as people who are free, it will manifest itself this way. So let's get this down now in the context of 1 Peter.
Let's end now with a very, very practical look at this. Fill in the paragraph that you have in your notes here. Here I believe this is what Peter is telling us. Remember the context to which he's writing these believers.
And he says this, when you are captivated by the reality that you have been brought near to God, when you have been captivated by the reality that you have been brought near to God, that you are accepted and loved unconditionally, then and only then are you free to serve others, even if they scorn you. Because your identity and dignity are not matters that you must pursue and protect. That's taken care of.
And I might even add a third D, destiny, right? A good preacher would have done that. Because your identity and your dignity are not matters that you must pursue and protect. You see, if you are the crafter and the master of your own life, you create your identity, your own identity, and you are the one who has to constantly pursue that and protect it. Not in Christ.
And when you are in Christ, you are free. Now let's look at, let me give you two examples of this very quick. And these are scenarios, okay? So bear with me on this. And this done long before today, all right?
Number one. Now put yourself back in first century Cappadocia, all right, or Bithynia, or 21st century Forsyth County. A neighbor reviles you as bigoted and uninclusive. Or a colleague ridicules you as ignorant and unintelligent, because you're a person of faith. You don't deserve this. And what is your flesh doing? It's screaming at you that you don't deserve this. But you are free. You don't need their acceptance because you are chosen and beloved. And so out of your freedom, instead of resentment, you show grace.
And instead of making them pay, you invest in them with kindness. That's living as people who are free. Let me give you a second scenario, the last scenario with a little bit of twist on it. There's a lot of uncertainty today. There's a lot of anxiety in the world today, because people don't know what's around the corner. Something triggers fear in you. And you don't know what is happening or what to expect next. Your flesh instincts wants you to either isolate yourself or lash out. That's what your flesh wants.
Either isolate or lash out. But you are free. You don't need to obsess about your survival. You don't need to obsess about the things that you don't know. You don't need to know everything.
You don't even need 24-7 cable news. Out of your freedom, you take time to identify your emotions. You need that. You need to take time to identify your emotions.
Be honest about it. Out of your freedom, you also take time to assess reality. That requires time to do that.
Take time to do it. Thirdly, out of your freedom, you respond rationally with the mind of Christ. Keeping this big picture in view, which is why I want all of us to memorize 1 Peter 1, verses 3-9.
It's the big picture. It's who we are. That's our freedom. And we are called to live as people who are free.
It's a beautiful, beautiful text. Psalm 119, 45, I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. Let's do this, folks. Let's live as people who are free.
Because we are. Stand with me, please. Father, we are so grateful for your apostle Peter, the one who struggled even in his time before the death of his father, Peter, the one who struggled even in his time before the death of Christ, he struggled. And even afterwards, when he was already a missionary, he struggled. He struggled by the opinions of others, and he did not act according to his freedom.
And even the apostle Paul had to confront him on that. And this is the same Peter who wrote to us, live as people who are free. So, Father, rescue us.
Please rescue us from the opinions of others. Rescue us, Father, from the bondage of lies and delusions. Help us to know, Father, by your spirit, open your word to us, Father, that we will know the freedom that is ours in Christ. He is our element, and in him we are free. So, Father, we want to live as people who are free. And we do so by your grace, by all that you have lavished upon us, Father. We thank you for that. Challenge our idols, Father.
The things that we think we need to hang on to for our pleasure, that are getting more of our attention than we think are getting more of our attention, than our love for you and our service for you. Father, by your spirit, would you please send us out as a free people to live this freedom? And we will thank you for what you have done and what you will do, because it's not by my effort, but through Christ in me. Amen. We're so grateful to be able to be here with you today. We're so grateful to be able to be here with you.
Amen. 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 / 2023-04-21 14:15:42 / 2023-04-21 14:20:12 / 5