Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, July 25th. Who are you influencing? The answer, everyone you meet. Let's continue the study of First Peter to see how your life contributes to someone else's understanding of God. How much influence do you have on the people you want to have influence on? Whose life is your life influencing?
Is it a good influence or a bad influence? So I want us to look at this passage under the theme of the power of a godly influence. Now listen to what Peter is saying, writing to these people now who are undergoing persecution already.
It's getting ready to heat up on them. And our whole theme of this book is living triumphantly through trials. And they are entering them and they are already suffering them and it's getting ready to increase. And so he says, as a caution to them, first of all, he says, here's the first challenge. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lust which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles or the pagans, the unbelievers, so that in the things which they slander you as evildoers, which they are already doing, they may on account of your good deeds as they observe them glorify God in the day of visitation. So the first challenge is the challenge here of separation.
Listen. He says, I urge you as aliens and strangers abstain from fleshly lust. Now, what is the nature of this separation they were to experience? He says you are to abstain from fleshly lust. Now, oftentimes we want to categorize that merely as some form of sexual lust. But look, if you will, in Galatians chapter five, because this is the work of lust. This is the flesh. When he says in verse nineteen, Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are immorality, impurity, and sensuality, idolatrous, sorcery, and enmities, strife, jealousy, outburst of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, Indian drunkenness, and carousing. So when he says abstain from fleshly lust which wage war against the soul, that is from anything. Now, when we talk about fleshly lust, fleshly lust which wage war against the soul. What is the flesh but merely the lifestyle? For example, if a person is living a fleshly life, they're living a life that is characterized as life without God. That is, when you're living a spiritual life, we're talking about a life that is the result of the overflow of the Spirit of God within us.
So that if we go back to a fleshly kind of life, we are attempting to live the kind of life we lived before we had God in their lives. So he said, undergoing persecution, people are watching you. He says the first challenge is to abstain from fleshly lust, which war against the soul, waging war. That is, Satan and all of his forces are waging war against the soul. Now, that does not mean just one segment of man, but the truth here is he's talking about your whole life, your body, your soul, your spirit, your mind, your will, your emotions, all of it. That is, Satan is waging war.
That is, it isn't something we just fall into or happen to face once in a while. He says, but there is a force, there is a power, there is one who is literally and determinedly waging war against us. He says abstain from those fleshly lust, which he says wage war against the soul. That's the private life of us. Now listen, verse 12.
Here's the public part. He says, not only abstain from fleshly lust, but guard your behavior. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, the unbelievers, so that in the process of doing so, in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. Now, what we have to remember is this, that in the society in which they lived as Christians, it was totally unlike our society. And sometime one of the reasons we have difficulty interpreting the Word of God correctly is because what we do is take the passage and put it into our society and interpret it.
No, we're to interpret it in the society in which it was written and then take the principle and apply it to our own society, which I want to do here in a passage that may give you a little different perspective on something. So when he says, when they slander you as an evildoer, now what they were saying was not true, but that's, listen, that's the way the unbelieving world saw them. When they slander you as evildoers, he says, you are to so live in such a fashion that on account of your good deeds as they observe them, they will glorify God in the day of visitation.
Now, that word visitation here, some people translate that when Jesus comes. But I really believe you could equally translate that or to interpret that rather to mean that on account of your good deeds, they may observe them and glorify God in the day that they are confronted with the gospel and they're saved. Now, what did Jesus say in the Sermon on the Mount? He says, let your light so shine before men that they may see your what and glorify whom?
Your Father, which is in heaven. So Peter is saying, listen, in these days of persecution and you're being slandered from every direction and all the things they're accusing you of, he said, first of all, you keep your private life like it ought to be and your public life, you guard that so that when they slander you on account of the good that they see you do, your good is going to prove their slander, incorrect, evil, untrue. And as a result, they're going to end up glorifying God for getting saved. So that, he says, in these slanderous days, these days of persecution, we have an awesome opportunity to greatly influence the unbeliever because here's what happens.
And it's almost as if God does it this way. He sets the righteous up and what happens? The unrighteous attack and they attack and they attack. Now, if the righteous are able to respond correctly, what happens is this. They attack and attack and attack and attack and before long, what's happened? They've become one of us. So he says, now, when they attack you, you don't fight back.
You let them say anything they want to say, do anything they want to do, but by your good deeds, they're going to see them and before long, you will have overcome them. You see, whenever God's people live godly lives, we can let the world say anything they want to say, do anything they want to do. Listen, the more they attack us, what happens? The more contact we have with them.
Isn't that what we want? The more they attack us, the more contact we have and the more they attack us, the more they intricately look into our lives to watch us and the more they see of godly conduct and of righteous behavior and finally begin to realize in themselves that they're not telling the truth. The more of that they do, the more susceptible they are to getting saved. So what should we do but praise God when persecuted? Praise the Lord, because when we are attacked, we have our greatest opportunity to influence for godliness those who are attacking us. And so this is what Peter's saying. He says, don't get discouraged.
He says the more they hate you, the more they attack you, listen, they may on account of your good deeds as they observe them glorify God in the day of visitation. So first of all, the challenge is the challenge to separation. Separation unto a godly life and the end result is highly influencing them for God. Now, a second way we exercise that influence is the challenge here, the challenge of submission. Look in verse 13, submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution. Now, to governments, for example, and children ought to submit in the home, wives that submit in the home.
We're to submit in the church to those whom God has placed in authority over us, spiritually, to the government. Authority in this day is highly in question. For example, speaking to two or three school teachers, here's what they said this past week. It is so much more difficult to teach school today than it was 30 years ago. And the problem is not that children cannot learn. They can learn just as fast and oftentimes faster. The problem isn't in the learning ability of the children. It is in the lack of discipline, their lack of respect for authority. And so we have a generation of children today who say, I don't have to obey you.
And we have a generation of parents who are worse, who say to the principal of the teachers, that's right, my kid doesn't have to obey. So we have a society that is reaping the rewards of a humanistic approach to life that says there is no God. Man is sufficient within himself. Therefore, we have the right to rebel against what we don't like. And we have the right to gratify all of our desires, all of our fleshly desires. And it's nobody's business how we live but ourselves.
And I'm here to tell you, society is getting unfit to live in. And it is the result of rebellion. And when you have rebellious parents, listen, when rebellious parents rebel against God, what do they do? But they grow up children who are rebellious against them. And since they don't want to assume responsibility for their rebellious children, they send them off to school where their public schools are private schools and they rebel in the schools. And listen, since mom and dad are not in the habit of submitting to authority, their children are not used to submitting to authority. And when somebody wants to discipline them in some fashion, don't mess with my kids. As if they're protecting the children. What they're doing to the children is not protecting them but destroying them. What they're saying by their example, their lack of authority, they're saying there is no authority. Son and daughter, do what you please in society. And if somebody doesn't like it, oh, mom and dad are going to protect you. And then whether we like it or not, that's the society we've got. Listen, probably the folks in this country need to be prayed for as much as anybody in the world of school teachers.
Imagine walking into a room of 60 rebels on Monday morning who know that authority is in great question and they don't have to do anything they don't want to do. Now, thank God for godless, strong principals and teachers who don't put up with it. Where did it all come from? Has it always been that way?
Nope. When they close this book, no Jesus and no Bible. What you have is the natural outflow of no authority. You have rebellion and anarchy.
And so that's what we are facing. Peter said to those undergoing persecution, it's not enough for you to be challenged to abstain from flesh to lust in your private life. It isn't enough for you to have to guard your behavior daily among the people around whom you live.
But he says there's something else. You must submit yourself for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as one in authority or to governors, that is, as sent by him, that is the king, for the punishment of evildoers and praise of those who do right. So God is acknowledging authority and he chooses that you and I acknowledge authority. Now let's look at something here. When he says submit yourself for the Lord's sake to every one of these.
Now what does it mean? Let's look at this in the day in which it was written. In those days there was one kind of authority.
What was it? The king or the emperor and they were absolute dictators. They had final sovereign authority over their particular domain. So all they could do is yield and submit.
Now here's what you and I have to remember. Oftentimes we read these passages and we say, well, that's exactly what it means for us today. Now to some degree that's true, but there's another side of that.
I'm not talking about the side that says, I am to yield to those in authority over me until they require of me to violate a principle of Scripture and then I choose not to adhere to the government authority and assume the penalty without rebelling and without being critical. That's true, but let's look at another side of this. In our society we do not have a dictatorial form of government in America. We have a president, we have senators, we have representatives and so the truth is all of us are involved in the rule of this nation. We do not have one man who has final and ultimate unquestionable dictatorial authority, sovereign authority over America.
We don't have anybody like that. So when he says we're to yield ourselves to authority, we are to submit to the rules and the laws of the land. But as a Christian I have another responsibility, not only to yield to authority but I have a responsibility to get involved in the authority making process. I have a responsibility to get involved in the lives of those men and influence godly men in places of authority so that they will make the rules and pass the laws.
Listen, they're not only good for the whole nation but protect our rights of freedom and worship in this country. So you see as a believer I can't just walk back and say, well, you know, my Christian responsibility is just to submit to authority. Whatever the president says, whatever Congress says, whatever the mayor says, whatever the government says, that is my responsibility but I have another responsibility and I think it is equally as much required that you and I who have the right in this nation to be a part of making godly laws, we get involved and we motivate and we pray that God will raise up godly men in places of authority to pass laws that are in keeping with the Word of God. I think of all the knowledgeable Christian men and women who have the courage to do what needs to be done, sitting in church pews listening to sermons saying, oh, yeah, I want to submit to authority.
Friend, if we submit, we need to get involved and be a part of the process and you don't do that 30 days before a presidential election, you start getting involved now. Now, he says, submitting to authority now. Listen, verse 15, for such is the will of God. What's the will of God that we submit to those in authority over us? What's the will of God? Such is the will of God that by doing right, you put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. He was saying to them, by submitting to the authority of those above them, he says, we put to naught these slanderous statements made by these foolish men because when they look, they'll see that we are godly men and women submitting to those who are in authority above us. Such is the will of God.
What's the will of God? That you and I submit and we get, listen, because we have the opportunity as salt and light because every single one of us has influence. You say, I don't have any influence. You see, you do have influence, but the issue is, are you exercising the God-given influence that you have, or is it lying dormant? And for most people, it's lying dormant. But I can tell you this.
I thank God that that's not true of everybody. He says, now, act as free men. Though you're under authority, act as free men. Do not use your freedom as a covering for evil. That is, we're to be free, but that does not give us the right to be rebellious.
But use it as a bond slave of God. That is, under the leadership of Almighty God. We're to be free. They were to be free in that sovereign society, a dictatorship. One man had the right to execute or not to execute.
He had sovereign domain, as it were. He says, you are not to live like free men. Under submission to the rules and principles that God has given to us as bond slaves of God, our submission, first of all, is to the Lord God. He says, by our conduct, we're to honor all men. We're to love the brotherhood, the Christian brother. We're to fear God, and we're to honor the King. That is, our behavior is to be above reproach. And as it is above reproach, here's what He says will happen. He says in verse 15, we will be put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. He says in verse 12, as we live our lives submissive to Him, that on account of our good works, the unbelievers will observe these good works, and many of them will get converted. So that in the society in which Peter was writing, he says these days of persecution are days of tremendous powerful opportunity to influence for good those who are evil. So I want to ask you again, whose life is your life influencing?
Is it for good? Is it for evil? Does your life carry with it an influence that's ongoing with eternal consequences for good? Or are you trying to sort of wrap yourself up in a cocoon and you just don't want to get involved in anything? Did you know that that in itself is a bad influence? You see, as believers, we're going to have one of two kinds of influence. Everybody does.
It's either going to be good, it's not going to be good at all. Jesus said, you are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. Is there any place in the Bible where he says, put your light out? Does he ever say that?
No. Does he ever say crawl back in the box is salt, close the lid? Doesn't say that. He says that you're not of so live that men may see the fruits of our labors, but as a result, not look at us, but look at God and want the same God who's transformed our life. You think very soberly about the power of your influence, its reach, its depth, and the effect it's having on other people. Thank you for listening to The Power of Godly Influence. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-20 01:58:56 / 2023-03-20 02:06:46 / 8