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Stop Sinning, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
June 22, 2023 9:00 am

Stop Sinning, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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June 22, 2023 9:00 am

The battle for holiness was won two thousand years ago on the cross. So why do we still struggle with sin today? And what tools has God given us to break free?

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Today on Summit Life, a wake-up call from Pastor J.D.

Greer. Today, Pastor J.D. arms us for the ongoing fight against sin as he concludes our study in 1 Peter called, I'm an Alien. If you'd like to listen to this series again, or if you want to share it with a friend, you can find them all for free at J.D.

Greer.com. For now, meet us in the book of 1 Peter, chapter 4. Here's Pastor J.D. Three things he tells you, 1 Peter 4, 1 through 11, three things he tells you are the reasons you are to stop sinning. He said three things to remember. First of all, they are, remember the resurrection. Number two, remember eternity, and then number three, remember that both of these things are imminent. Begin there with number one, remember the resurrection. Chapter 4, verse 1, therefore Christ suffered in the flesh.

You should arm yourselves with the same way of thinking. For whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. Since Christ has suffered in the flesh, Christ suffered to the point of crucifixion. There was a point in Christ's ministry toward the end where it looked like everything had gone wrong. It looked like God was totally out of control. But we know, Peter says, on the other side of the resurrection, that just when it seemed that God was most out of control was the time that God was doing his greatest work. So he says to these people, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, because many of you are also in a time where it seems like life is out of control, where it seems like God is not on the throne, and where it seems like the bad guys are winning. And I want you to think like Christ thought, because Christ saw through the dark hour to the resurrection and saw that God was in control.

And you've got to learn to think like that. What Peter's saying is essentially, you arm yourself with the same way of thinking that Christ had, because if you look at the cross and the resurrection of Jesus, two things you ought to know about your life. One, you're going to suffer like he did. Number two, God has the last word.

So he goes on, verse 2, look at this. So as to live for the rest of your time in the flesh, no longer for human passions, but now for the will of God. For the time has passed, it suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, which is living in sensuality, passions. Passions means craving. It's a Greek word that means epithumia.

Epithumia means a craving for something. With respect to this, they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you. Peter is talking to people that this used to be their lifestyle.

This used to be some of your lifestyle. And he says, now that you no longer join them in this, they are surprised, and they malign you because they can't understand why you wouldn't do those things anymore. Peter goes on, verse 5, but they will give an account to him who's ready to judge the living and the dead. Peter's like, they don't have the last word, God has the last word. You keep your eyes on that, because that's what fueled Christ in the midst of the cross.

God has the last word. He goes on, well, here's number two, by the way, remember eternity. This is verse 5 and 6.

Remember eternity. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who were dead, that they're judged in the flesh the way people are. They might live in the spirit the way God does.

What he is saying is this, listen. The gospel was preached to people who are now dead when they were alive. The gospel was preached to them when they were alive, but they're dead now. And many of them died, some of them in extreme poverty and in the midst of persecution, just like Jesus died, but now they live in the resurrection like God does.

He's like, don't you think the people that believed the gospel then and are living in eternity now, don't you think they're glad that they chose to follow Jesus and not follow sin? Fast forward your life 100 years and live from that vantage point. What would you wish you had done with your life?

What would you wish you had done with your money? What would you wish you had decided about Jesus? And start to think that way. Remember eternity. Then verse seven, he gives you a third motivation to stop sinning. The end of all things is at hand, therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded. All right, number three, remember that both those things, the resurrection and eternity, both of them are imminent. All right, two things that are imminent.

Number one, your death. You don't know when you're gonna die. For some of you, it may be 60 years from now. For some of you, it might be this afternoon. But there's another thing that he's saying here, and that is the return of Christ is imminent. The end is near. So you ought to live like people who expect to see Jesus any minute. So even though we don't know if it's now or 2,000 years from now, he says live like you could see him at any moment because it might be today. The end is near.

You just don't know. What Peter is telling them is you are to live like Jesus could come back at any moment because he might. You have to maintain this posture of readiness because it's only when you maintain that posture that you are thinking about life rightly. See how it says be sober? Here's the irony of this passage. It is living in light of the imminence of the end that makes you live soberly.

It's when it'll keep your priorities straight. The irony is we always think of people who think the end is near as like crazy people, right? You think of some dude on a sandwich board walking around the campus of NC State yelling the end is near, and you think he's lost his mind.

Now chances are he has lost his mind. But he's saying that it is people who understand that Jesus' eternity is imminence. They're the only ones who ever get their priorities straight. They're the only ones who live soberly. If the knowledge that Jesus was coming back tonight would cause any change in your life, then you are not living soberly. You are drunk right now on the world's distractions. And Peter says wake up, be sober, because eternity is real and it's close, stop sinning.

Don't be drunk, don't be distracted, because that time has passed, you know better now. There's a limited amount of time you've got and eternity will be here before you know it. Start living now like you will have want yourself to have lived when you're there. If the gospel is true, it is the weightiest reality in the world. It means that you will stand before God.

Nothing you've done except what you've done for him, for his glory in his name will matter. It means that there is a destination for every person in the world, heaven or hell, and you and I have got one shot to preach the gospel to them. The gospel, belief in the gospel and the resurrection changes everything. And so Peter tells them in seven verses a predictable message, but he says stop sinning. Open your eyes to the cross and the resurrection.

And if it's true, that should change everything in your life. If Jesus died and rose again, that changes everything. Stop sinning. Then Peter sifts into part two of his message, which is much shorter than part one, it's only four and a half verses. He says stop sinning and start leveraging your life for the glory of God.

So it's not just stop something, he wants you to start something. Look at this, pick up in the middle of verse seven, let's keep moving in this. Verse seven, therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded, look at this phrase, for the sake of your prayers, for the sake of your prayers. As God's people, you have a role that you are to play on earth now. You remember I told you a few weeks ago that one of Peter's favorite images for the people of God is a kingdom of priests? Remember when I said the kingdom of priests, a priest is somebody who represents somebody else to God.

You stand in the gap and you plead on behalf of this person over here to God. And the church is a kingdom of priests, not a few of us, but all of us. And I introduced a concept to you called intercessory faith, which is what we teach at the Summit Church, which is that you and I are placed in families, in dormitories, at workplaces, in our society to believe in God's willingness to save that society and to ask on their behalf. Jesus loves to turn sinners to himself. Jesus loves to change societies.

But Jesus only does that through a kingdom of priests. The image I gave you to think about was, I said, go through the gospels and look at the very small number of miracles that begin with Jesus going into a place and then just picking out somebody by his choice and saying, you, I'm going to heal you. That happens every once in a while.

You know, Zacchaeus, hey, short little dude, I'm coming to your house. That happens from time to time. But usually what happens is Jesus is going one direction and somebody comes and grabs hold of him on behalf of somebody else and takes this power and this compassion of Jesus and directs it toward this other person. And I explain to you that's our role, is you and I are in the place of a priest who comes to Jesus and says, Jesus, this family needs your power.

The reason that God is not working in your family has nothing to do with any lack of compassion in Jesus' heart for your family and nothing to do with any lack of ability. It has everything to do with the fact that there's not a priest in there asking God to do what God said God would do. Verse eight, above all, above all, keep loving one another earnestly since love covers a multitude of sins. Why above all?

Why would he say that's above all? And what does it mean to cover a multitude of sins? That doesn't mean, by the way, hides sins because that would be out of the context of this passage.

Cover here means takes it away. What he's saying is, watch, kindness and love for others is the single greatest power to convincing people of the truth of Christianity. The kindness and love we display, generosity toward one another on display, is the ultimate power that God uses to change cynical hearts to know him. Jesus said that, right? John 13, 35. By this will all men know that you are my disciples by, what comes after that? By your carefully articulated explanations of the resurrection and why only the resurrection of Jesus could explain the phenomena of the first century.

All right? I mean, that has its place, but what really changes the cynical heart is inexplicable love on display in the church and generosity. That's the secret of the church nobody gets. The secret of the church is that the power to change a cynical heart is in inexplicable generosity on display. Romans 2, 4 says, it is God's kindness that leads us to repentance. It is our kindness to one another that leads the world to repentance.

He keeps going, watch this. He says, again, verse nine, show hospitality to one another without grumbling. Again, what he means is we're extravagantly generous to one another and that's what ends up waking up the world. My wife and I love, Veronica and I, we love to give money to the Christian tradition's offering, to give it away to poor people and to people around the world who need to hear the gospel.

But my wife and I realized, in fact, we realized that this Christmas, that we're going to do that. It's been over a year, but we're like, you know there's another group that we're even more committed to and that is the people in the Summit Church who have needs. Because it is them that are to, we are to take care of them. It's not that I'm doing that instead of giving to evangelism, get this, giving to the needs that are right here in our church is evangelism. Because Jesus said, this is how the community will know that you belong to me. Acts 2, I love this. Acts 2 said that they shared everything in common and there was no need. And then Acts 4 says that there was not a single poor person in the early church because they all shared everything. And then it says this, and a great sense of fear and awe came upon every soul and they had favor with all the people and then God added to their number daily those that were being saved.

You don't know what that means? The greatest evangelistic tool that we have for a cynical community is just a healthy church that loves and takes care. When there are no needs in the Summit Church because every one of our congregation members is meeting the needs when they can of somebody else, it's, listen, it's not even that we'll have to send missionaries into our community. The presence of a healthy local church is itself the missionary. That is how we will wake our community up when there are no needs. So yes, give extravagantly to the Christmas missions offering.

Let's give our money in a way to take it around the world. But even more importantly, this is our family. This is our family. And when there are needs in our family, we take care of those needs and we pour it out, show hospitality to each other without grumbling and just pour out your life.

Because when the church is the church, it's the beauty of Christ and it becomes attractive and repulsive, but retractive to that community. You're listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. We hope you've enjoyed this series in 1 Peter and that it's been an encouragement in your daily walk with God. Before we head to the finish line, I want to remind you about a daily resource that can also help you stay connected to God's word throughout the week. Our daily email devotionals written by Pastor J.D. offer insightful reflections on the Bible and practical applications for your life. Each day's devotional corresponds to our current teaching series here on the program, so you can stay plugged into the themes and ideas that we explore here, even if you miss a day. And best of all, it is completely free.

So to sign up, simply visit jdgreer.com slash resources and enter your email address to begin receiving them right away. Thank you for your financial support that makes this resource and the rest of Summit Life possible. Now let's get back to today's teaching with Pastor J.D.

Greer here on Summit Life. First then, as he just received a gift, they had to use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace. God's varied grace.

Here's what that means. God's grace to the earth happens in various instruments. We always think of like God in heaven, like wanting to do work on the earth and like zapping it with his light.

So we pray, God, fix this. And God's like, and he sends down his power, you know, in a microwave beamer, the angels carry it down. That's not how God works usually, right? Paul uses the instrument of the body, okay? This is what Peter is getting at here too, a body, right? So think of the analogy of the body, you with me?

So you got J.D. 's body up here, J.D. 's body has an itch on the left elbow right here. So left elbow sends up a little message, you know, up to the brain and says, I itch, fix me.

All right? So what does my brain do? Does my brain send down magical brain juice down and like take care of the itch? No, my brain sends a message to Mr. Right Fingers and tells him to go alleviate the itch of Brother Elbow. So you know, fingers go over there, scratch the elbow, the elbow is satisfied and the right fingers are gratified, okay?

That's how the body works. In the same way, each of you has received this deposit of grace, that's how God works on the earth. Which is why if you're not connected to a church, you're disconnected from the power of God. Somebody sits in my office and complains about being disconnected from God and they're disconnected from the church.

I don't feel sorry for them. That's like, you know, refusing to eat and then complaining that you're hungry. It's like, well, that's how you get connected to God. Each of you means that God has given a gift to all of you and that you are to exercise this power in the church. He goes on, whoever speaks, let it be as the oracles of God. My speaking that I'm doing to you right now is not a talent I have.

It's not something I do because I can make a living on it because hey, I'm pretty good at it and I can probably make a career on it. No, I take what I do very seriously because I am the mouthpiece of God. Don't hear that, listen, and you can take that the wrong way. I'm not saying I can't be wrong but I'm saying that when I speak, I speak as one who studies the oracles of God and I give them to you. This is God speaking through you. I don't even try to, it's not even when I prepare a message, yeah, I try to study the text and get it exactly right but there's something else I'm doing and that is I'm saying, God, I know this is your word but I want to know what your word is saying to these people this week. And that's why sometimes I'll be like, you know what, there's somebody here that needs this because God is putting this on my heart. Yeah, it's the word of God but it's also becoming the word of God to you and I am preaching as one who is preaching the oracles of God.

I do it, it's very weighty to me. By the way, do you notice that word whoever? It means it's not just the pastor. He didn't say pastors speak the oracles of God, he said you speak the oracles of God. We feel like there's one or two of us that speak the oracles of God and all of you listen to the oracles of God. Peter says whoever because he means that the whole church, a church is a church when its people are speaking the words of God to each other. That's one of the reasons, by the way, we do small groups because in small groups you have the place to speak the words of God to each other. First Corinthians 14, 25, jot that reference down and study it in your small group. First Corinthians 14, 25 says that when a church is a church, an unbeliever comes in, you ever seen this? An unbeliever comes in, the secrets of his heart are exposed and he falls down on his face and says surely God is among you because not the pastor preaches an awesome sermon but because everybody is preaching the word of God to him.

What that means is this church ought to be characterized by people who speak the word of God to each other. I'm not talking about good advice, I'm talking about watch, when the spirit of God puts the word of God in your heart to speak to people to do the work of God in their heart. There are times that people come up to me and they will say something like JD I've been praying for you and as I was praying for you I just felt like the spirit of God put this on my heart. God wants me to tell you that you are not forgotten, he knows what you're going through right now, he is working this for your good.

You are blessed, you are highly favored, God has got a call in your life and God is working this out and God told me to tell you this. Now they do it humbly, they're not claiming to be some weirdo but they're just saying the word of God is alive in my heart and I'm speaking it to you. Church is, watch, the spirit of God using the people of God to speak the word of God to accomplish the work of God.

That's what a church is, it's whoever, it's all of us preaching the word of God that God puts in our hearts to one another because God uses that to do his work. Next phrase, you see what it says, it says whoever serves, let him serve by the strength that God supplies. In the same way there are some spiritual gifts that we serve one another and Jesus actually serves and touches somebody through us. I was thinking about how Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and thinking how awesome that was and what they probably felt like when that happened and realizing that when people serve me in the body of Christ in Jesus' name, I get the same message from Jesus through them where Jesus says I'm the Lord of the universe and I'm serving you. Your service to others, your service to this body is not random, it is, it is God doing his work, touching the world through you in order that in everything God might be glorified through Jesus Christ. Peter says the church is this body where people serve like Jesus in the power of Jesus for the glory of Jesus because to him belongs glory and dominion forever and ever, amen. He says look, God is the one who when you had no hope, he came and died on a cross and rescued you and raised from the dead. He conquered what you could never conquer so now those of us who live should no longer live for our glory and our benefit. We ought to leverage, we ought to stop sinning and start leveraging our talent, leveraging our money, leveraging everything for the glory of the one who died to save us.

That's the whole theme of 1 Peter. He's like hey, are you in pain? Are you in pain? Leverage your pain to bring glory to Jesus. Are you in prosperity?

Has God given you a lot? Leverage that prosperity to bring glory to Jesus. If you understand the gospel that Jesus saved you and you had no hope, that he resurrected and overcame an enemy you could never overcome, then of course you won't live the rest of your life bringing glory to yourself or pouring it back on yourself. You'll do it for the glory of the one who did for you what you could not do for yourself. To him belong glory forever and ever and ever, amen. That's what he says to you. Are you leveraging your life to bring glory to Jesus?

I told our staff this. Imagine you were at a wedding. You're watching the groom. He's up there, the moment comes, the organ plays, back doors fly open, there stands the beautiful bride. You're watching this guy and his best man standing right here. As that bride comes down the aisle, you notice the best man is making eyes at the bride, kind of raises his eyebrows, winking at her, making flirtatious ovations at this bride. Imagine how ridiculous and how even disgusting that is, that here's a best man trying to direct her attention away from the groom onto himself. I told our staff, that's the pastor or the worship pastor who is concerned more with what people are thinking about him or her than they are about directing people to Jesus.

I want the attention of the bride on me. Every one of you has been given a certain amount, and if you understand the gospel, you will direct all of it to the glory of Jesus because he died for you. And God forbid that you and I take one ounce of the talent, the opportunity, the resources, and bring glory to ourselves and create kingdoms for ourselves when Peter says, no, no, no, this is, if the gospel and the resurrection are true, this is all about him.

So start living this way. I've told you before that evangelical Christians, which is people like us, we tend to treat the resurrection like a cool thing that happened. We don't clearly know what to do with it, except should we celebrate it once a year on Easter, hey. We're like, hey, isn't it good that Jesus died, that he rose again, because I guess that proves we're right and everybody else is wrong. And so like, hey, we serve a risen savior, Muhammad's dead, Buddha's dead, but our savior's living.

And so we celebrate on one Sunday and eat chocolate hollow bunnies. That's kind of the resurrection for us. Peter doesn't think the resurrection is one thing to celebrate one time to congratulate you that you're right. Peter says the resurrection changes how you see everything. If I could subtitle this epistle, I would call it the epistle of the resurrection. First Peter, the epistle of the resurrection, how to see your whole life through the lens of what it means that Jesus really rose from the dead. So that's my question for you.

Do you believe that, that Jesus rose from the dead? And if so, has it transformed your life? Trust that God is working in your suffering.

Know that God's approval and his promises in eternity are totally worth it. And with that, Pastor JD concludes our study in the book of 1 Peter called I Am an Alien here on Summit Life. If you missed any part of this series, you can find the entire study at jdgrier.com. I wanted to make sure that you know about our latest featured resource. It's a book called Scent, Living a Life That Invites Others to Jesus, written by husband and wife duo, Heather and Ashley Holloman.

The Hollomans didn't write this book for super Christians. This is for the everyday Christian like you and me. Scent will help you find ways to naturally have gospel conversations with your friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family members. We'll send you a copy as a way to say thank you for supporting this ministry with a gift of $35 or more. You can give over the phone right now at 866-335-5220 or by visiting us online at jdgrier.com. While you're on the website, be sure to sign up for our email list. This is to get ministry updates and blog posts from Pastor JD delivered straight to your inbox. It's a great way to stay connected with Summit Life throughout your week. Sign up when you go to jdgrier.com. Well fellow aliens, I'm glad you stuck with us to the end, and I hope you'll join us again Friday as we begin a new teaching series called Not God Enough here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-22 10:44:01 / 2023-06-22 10:55:02 / 11

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