Today from Chuck Swindoll. Whether you even realize it or not, you are in bondage to your desires, to your impulses, to your nature, which is sinful and alienated from God. Someone needs to come and pay the ransom for your soul. Christ did that at the cross with His blood. No one escapes the haunting lure of temptation. Whether it's something like resisting a chocolate-covered cupcake or fighting the temptation to cross a moral boundary, all of us are acquainted with this relentless condition. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll is teaching from the book of 1 Peter chapter 1. In this study, we get acquainted with the insidious one who's often behind these mortal enticements, and Peter offers the spiritual remedy to survival. From the classic Hope Against series, Chuck titled today's message Hope Beyond Temptation.
The lap of the wicked one. It is the system that operates apart from or at odds with God that provides a background for Peter's remarks in the first chapter of his first letter, which is a strong challenge to be different, to think different, being sucked in, or as he puts it, to be holy. Therefore, gird your minds for action.
I'm reading 1 Peter 1.13. Gird your minds for action. Keep sober in spirit. Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts, which were yours in your ignorance. But like the holy one who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior. Because it is written, you shall be holy for I am holy. And if you address as father the one who impartially judges, according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth. You shall be redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. Let me point out three things that I see in these verses I just read. First, the whole idea of living our lives in holiness is set forth in verses 13 to 16. Living our lives in holiness. In fact, I love the way 14 begins as obedient children.
Isn't that affirming? You're obedient children. Don't be conformed.
What does that remind you of? Romans 12. Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed. Don't let it suck you into its system. Being conformed to it means that you adopt the former lusts which were yours, and that was when you were in ignorance. You didn't know there was another way to live. Have you been in Christ so long you forgot what it was like to be without him? How many live thinking that's the best the world offers? And for them it is.
There's a better way. Like the holy one who called you, you be holy, because it's written, I am holy. You must remember now that children pick up the nature of their parents, and that's Peter's comment here. We have a father who is holy, and he says we're to be like our heavenly father. What does it mean to be holy? The term in its basic sense means to be set apart.
To be set apart, and in this case to be set apart unto God's glory, or for the honor of God. We have a name for marriage. It's called holy matrimony. When I was 8,000 miles away from my wife in the military, and there was nothing around to check up on me as far as my holy matrimony was concerned, I had only the memory of standing before God and a couple of preachers who said the right words so that Cynthia and I were pronounced husband and wife. I had the memory of being exclusively set apart unto my wife, and she exclusively set apart unto me throughout life. It was a holy setting apart of our lives to one another.
To go into another life and to be intimate with another partner is to break that holy relationship. That exclusive oneness when we were set apart and that helped keep me faithful. The reminder that my matrimony was, that my marriage was a holy setting apart to one another. The ordinances when they are observed, the ordinance it is often called of holy baptism or the holy sacraments or the holy elements. The set apart unto the glory and for the purpose of our God. Same word is sanctify. Look over in chapter 3 verse 15. He uses it here, but he doesn't use it as holy.
He uses it in the terms of sanctify. But sanctify Christ, we're in 3.15. Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. I love that. Set him apart as Lord in your hearts.
What a way to live in the cosmos. I began the morning by saying Lord, I set apart my mind for you today. I set apart my passion. I set apart my eyes. I set apart my ears. I set apart my body.
I set apart my motivations. I set apart unto you my disciplines today. I set them apart unto you for Christ will be Lord over my life. That's the point of 1 Peter 1 15 and 16.
Like the holy one, the one who is set apart called you, you and all your behavior set yourself apart unto him. Now, another secret of living this kind of strong life in a world that's not living like that back in 1 Peter 1 is found in verse 17. Conducting a walk in the fear of God.
We don't hear much about the fear of God. Let me read the verse again. If you address as father the one who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth. I believe he has reference to prayer.
If you're going to pray to him, if you're going to address him as your father, if you're going to have a one-on-one relationship with him in fellowship and in prayer, conduct yourself accordingly as one who talks to him and as one who walks with him. Please observe that he refers to doing this in fear. Conduct yourselves in fear. Maybe the word reverence would be easier to picture in your mind. Hold him in high reverence.
There is a sense of fear knowing that you will someday account for your life. In fact, if you've got a pencil handy, let me give you some verses to put in the margin of your Bible. Romans 14, 12. Each one of us shall give account of himself to God. Romans 14, 12.
Here's another one. 2 Corinthians 5, 10. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. 2 Corinthians 5, 10.
We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Now you've written down Romans 14, 12 and 2 Corinthians 5, 10. I want you to hold your place in Peter and go back to 1 Corinthians chapter 3.
This is a little bit more lengthy, but it's so vivid. I know some of you will feel it's familiar ground, but for others you haven't looked at this section of scripture perhaps. 1 Corinthians 3, 11 through 15. These verses spell out the details of our giving an account.
Now let me give you context. When we die, we are brought before the judgment seat of Christ, God's people in some divine, supernatural manner away from earth and away apparently from others. We will independently account for our lives before God. And he will see us as our lives pass in review and he will reward us accordingly. It's not a judgment to see if we get into heaven.
That's taken care of. It is a judgment regarding our works if they were done in the power of the spirit or if they were done in the energy of the flesh. Now that's the scene in 1 Corinthians 3, 11 to 15. Now listen to this.
This gets exciting. No man can lay a foundation. We're in 1 Corinthians 3, 11. No man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. So that's the starting point.
The way you're going to get to that judgment seat is to know Jesus Christ in a personal, intimate way. That's first. Now then, you've got the foundation. If any man builds upon the foundation, you've got the choice of two different kinds of materials.
Gold, silver, and precious stones. Then the other category is wood, hay, and stubble. Obviously, some are flammable and some will endure the fire. The first category will handle the fire.
The other will be burned up. Verse 13, each one's work will become evident. For the day, meaning the day of judgment, will show it, will display that because it is to be revealed with fire. And the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward.
It's wonderful. Many hymns talk about our reward. Will there be any stars in my crown? I don't know about stars and crowns, but the scripture talks about crowns that are given as rewards and ultimately will cast them before him. But I take it as literal rewards in heaven given for works done in the power of the Spirit.
Now, verse 15 is the other side. If anyone's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss. Loss of what? Loss of reward. Not loss of life, not loss of salvation, but loss of reward.
But he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire. Now, to put it in everyday language, we're standing there and here comes this enormous dump truck. It backs up. And you look and it's piled up with stuff.
It's dumped out in front of you. You and the Lord talk about what that wood, hay, and stubble is all about. As it's piled up and he digs through and he finds, oh, there's a piece of gold. Another piece of silver. And however he's going to do it, he's going to place them side by side.
Wood, hay, and stubble are gone. And here is the area of reward. In other words, you're going to give an account for the deeds done in your body, whether of the Spirit or of the flesh. Summer Olympics 1988, Ben Johnson. 100-meter dash. Sets not only a new Olympic record, sets a new world record. And he outruns our guy, Carl Lewis, who comes in second.
And he goes across the line and he holds up that famous index finger, number one. And everybody applauds and we're all shocked because Lewis gets beaten and it's over and he gets the gold medal and everything's great until the judges take a look and they see in his body an illegal substance. And they took away his reward. They didn't stand him in front of a firing squad and shoot him.
They just took away his reward. He went through the Olympics, he ran a race, but he ran it illegally. And only the judges would know that.
You and I thought he won it. On this earth, all kinds of things are going on. And all kinds of Christians are applauding other Christians and it looks so right and it looks so record-shattering and so wonderful. But God is the judge. He knows the motivation. He knows the reasons behind what's being done. In the final analysis, he will be the one to say that deserves reward.
But that does not. Now, back to 1 Peter 1, verse 17. That's why we walk and conduct ourselves in fear. We walk in reverence, knowing that he is checking for illegal substance. He is the one who knows down deep inside, whether it's pride, we got sucked into the cosmos and we bought the system and bought the farm and carried on our lives with a lot of gusto, but it wasn't in the power of the Spirit and he knows that. He's not walking all over heaven applauding us. He is pleased when our lives honor him. He is grieved when they do not. And people of God remember that. It is his smile we want. It is his reward, not the reward of men and women.
That's a reward that from the surface looks right. But he always judges right during our time of stay upon this earth. James Moffat writes, Christianity is no sentimental religion which encourages presumption and moral carelessness.
This is a tough fight, this Christian life. There's a battle going on, much of which is not seen. Barthaus has a whole book called The Invisible War. It's a great book.
Just reading parts of it again this week, The Invisible War. It's not made up of weapons you can hold in your hand. You don't shoot literal bullets.
There aren't grenades thrown, not literal ones, but there are traps all the time set by the enemy. How easy to fall into them. Peter says, you're to be set apart for God's purpose and glory. And you're to conduct your walk in fear knowing that you will give an account to your judge who impartially judges. We've seen a little bit of that partiality come out in some of the judging in the Olympics, haven't we? And before we get too critical of them, you and I would have a hard time being impartial. I'm not impartial.
I want every United States athlete to win a gold medal, every one of them. And when they don't, I think the judge probably didn't give them a fair shake. I am partial, partial. I can't be impartial, but my and your Heavenly Father is not partial because of anything.
Color of skin, background, size, shape, geography, nationality, anything. He judges impartially. You don't fake him out. Better walk in fear when you know you're going to face a judge like that. Better walk in reverence. Verses 18 to 21. The third technique is focusing your mind on Christ.
One of my all-time favorite subjects. Focusing your mind on Christ. A way to paraphrase the final four verses, 18, 19, 20, and 21, is to remember what your inheritance cost your savior. Remember what your inheritance cost your savior. I'm fully convinced that the battle with this world is a battle within the mind. Our minds, therefore, are the targets of the enemy's appeal.
So there's some things we're to know. Verse 18, knowing you were not redeemed with perishable things. Stop.
Let me explain this. Here we are back in the slave market of sin, lost without Christ. Every person hearing me at this moment without Christ is in that slave market. Whether you even realize it or not, you are in bondage to your desires, to your impulses, to your nature, which is sinful and alienated from God. You live in a condition in which you cannot help yourself or change yourself.
Don't even try. You need help from outside. Someone needs to come and pay the ransom for your soul. Christ did that at the cross with his blood. He didn't pay in silver. He didn't pay in gold. He paid with his blood.
And in doing so, he broke the chains. He opened the door and said, you can get out. You can get away from that slavery. But in order to get out, you have to take his gift, the gift of eternal life, the gift of Christ himself, his death and his resurrection taken personally to pay for your sins. And then you're free to live for him and to serve him.
Now that's the point in verse 18. You weren't redeemed with perishable things like silver and gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers. Oh wow, is that vivid, magnificent truth.
Is life like without Christ? It is a futile way of life. And it's inherited from our forefathers. Anybody who thinks they're going to be saved because they were related to somebody in the past needs only to take a look at verse 18. What you got from your forefathers as far as spiritual life is concerned is a futile way of life.
You inherited it from your father and your grandfather and right on back through your great-grandfather. You want to know what that empty way of life is like? Look at 1 Peter 4, 1 to 4. 1 Peter 4, 1. Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same purpose because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.
Now look closely. So as to live the rest of the time in the flesh, no longer for the lusts of men but for the will of God. What was life like without Christ?
What is it now like? What is this futile life like? For the time already passed is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles. Listen closely.
Having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties, abominable idolatries, and in all this they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you. Well, there's much more that Chuck Swindoll wants to say on this topic. His message is titled Hope Beyond Temptation. Stay with us because Chuck has prepared some closing comments for our listening family. This is Insight for Living, and if you'd like to learn more about this ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org.
And it's possible that you've been following along today and resonating with this biblical wisdom on staying clean in a corrupt society. As you're prepared to dig deeper on your own, let me remind you that Chuck wrote a book that includes a complete chapter on this topic. His book is titled Hope Again, When Life Hurts and Dreams Fade. In the first few pages of his book, Chuck admits this, hope isn't merely a nice option that helps us temporarily clear a hurdle. Hope is essential to our survival. Well, whatever you might be going through, whatever temptation you're trying to defeat, we highly recommend Chuck's book as a helpful resource. It's available for purchase when you go to insight.org slash store or call us.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Well, we're living in desperate times. Our country is divided on so many fronts, and there's a growing cynicism about the role of faith in our culture. In this season, Chuck is determined to remain focused, not on the world's problems, but on our sole mission as followers of Jesus Christ. While saying goodbye to his disciples, Jesus gave us a mandate that we carry to this very day.
Here's Chuck. Have you noticed when good friends say goodbye, some of the most profound statements are exchanged in their final moments together. Imagine what it was like for the men who stood with Jesus just before he ascended into heaven. Scripture tells us that the 11 disciples went up to the mountain where they saw Jesus and they worshiped him. But some of them doubted. Doubted?
Really? Seems incredible that even in that sacred moment, some of Jesus' closest friends were second-guessing him. Well, you and I have the benefit of watching history unfold, don't we? And at Insight for Living Ministries, we're not second-guessing Jesus whatsoever. What our Lord said to his closest friends on that hilltop has become the driving force of my life.
In fact, the Great Commission has caused me to remove the word retirement from my vocabulary. Jesus said, without apology or qualification of any kind, go and make disciples. And his mandate was not isolated to those first disciples or to preachers or missionaries or evangelists. It's for every Christian. In fact, it's for you. For this reason, I'm calling on you to join me in this all-out campaign to make disciples. You have my word. Every dollar you donate to Insight for Living Ministries is stewarded with utmost care and integrity.
And every gift is directly channeled into fulfilling the Great Commission. Can I count on you to do your part? Please, don't wait for someone else to fulfill your role.
Don't be like the individuals who stood in the shadows and doubted Jesus. Pick up that phone or go online or write your letter today. Thanks so much. And here's the information you'll need to get in touch with Insight for Living. If you've downloaded our convenient mobile app, just follow the simple instructions. Or if you prefer to speak with one of our friendly ministry reps, here's our phone number. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. That's 800-772-8888. Or you can give a donation online at insight.org slash donate.
I'm Bill Meyer. Join us next time when Chuck Swindoll continues to describe what he calls Hope Beyond Temptation on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Hope Beyond Temptation, Staying Clean in a Corrupt Society, was copyrighted in 1988, 1990, 1996, 2005, and 2010. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2011 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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