Grace Fueled Action

October 1, 2023 Preacher: Michael Clary Series: First Peter

Scripture: 1 Peter 1:13–21

 Good morning, church. It is great to see all of you here today. My name is Michael and I'm the lead pastor here and we're doing a series through the book of first Peter.

We started it a few weeks ago. One of the big themes of the book is hope in the midst of suffering. And, I just want to highlight again what Alex talked about before I get started. I've been just reading through this Who’s Your One booklet and there's a bunch of them in the cafe beside the cake.

There's a bunch of these back there. Grab one of these and it's, it's very straight forward. You can have a person's name and then you go through and. You read a text of scripture and then it has a blank and you pray the prayer that is prescribed there It's a great way to just train yourself to pray for people that don't know the Lord so It's not too late.

We still have at least a month to go, so grab one of those on your way out and jump in with us. So today we're going to talk about how grace fuels action in the Lord. Grace doesn't mean that, well, we're saved. So, I guess we just sit on our hands and behave ourselves until Jesus comes back or until we die.

You know, that's, I think that could be a common mentality that people can have about the grace of God. But actually... Grace is something that God does in us at the moment of salvation, but it also is something that God produces in us by the Holy Spirit of fruitful action, things that we do, that we, we change and we, we do things.

So, the grace of God is merely the starting point of God's work in us, but it, it continues on until eternity, and even in eternity, we are still being transformed in God's grace from one degree of glory to another. So that's what we're going to look at today. Let's dig in. We're in 1 Peter chapter 1, 1 Peter chapter 1, and I will read our text for us, and we'll just go through this, through a few verses here, one at a time.

Let's listen to God's word. “Therefore, preparing your minds for action and being sober minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance. But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.

Since it is written, you shall be holy, for I am holy. And if you call on him as father, who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile. Knowing that you were ransomed from the feudal ways inherited from your forefathers. Not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.

Like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you. Who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory. So that your faith and hope are in God.” This is God's word.

All right, let's just go back through these verses one at a time. And so, we'll start with verse 13 and we'll focus on setting our hope fully on grace here. Therefore, well, we'll stop. We'll stop right there. What he's referring to is what just came before it, which started in verse 10. And in verse 10, he refers to this salvation, which is something that we've received 

And as we talked about that Sunday, that the salvation that he refers to is something that we possess presently, and it is something we anticipate in the last day. So, salvation is a present reality and it is a future hope. And so just to recap what Peter has taught thus far, that is hinging on this word, therefore.

Verse three says that God caused us to be born again. God has given us new life through faith in Christ and in his death, his burial, and his resurrection. Verse four, God has promised to give us an inheritance. It is being kept in heaven for us and he describes it as imperishable, undefiled, and unfading 

Verse five, it says God is guarding us. He is keeping us in the faith. He is guarding our faith. And then verse six says that God even uses trials to test and to purify and solidify our faith and to purify it. And then in verse 80 says God also uses those trials to produce joy in us and that joy he describes as inexpressible and filled with glory.

And then verse 10, he says, all of these things have come about according to God's definite plan that was prophesied in the Old Testament. And then in verse 12, he says, the mysteries of this grace are so fascinating and so beautiful that the angels in heaven are leaning out on the edge of their seats.

Just, just fascinated and longing to catch a glimpse of what God has done. Therefore, because all of that is true, verses 1 through 12. Therefore. Preparing your minds for action and being sober minded, set your hope fully on that grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. So set our hope fully on this grace.

Live completely in this grace of what God has done. It is the work of God. And do that until Jesus returns. And so this phrase here, “set your hope fully”, it's a command. It is a command. That is the imperative here. Set your hope fully. And it simply means Believe the truth of the gospel to set our hope fully on that grace means that we believe the truth of the gospel with our whole being.

And this is an important thing to remember as we talk about obedience. It's something that we need to be reminded of time and time again. It is that the commands of God are always rooted in the grace of God. God's commands are given to us as a people who have been saved by his grace. So, what God has done is the basis of what we should do.

So, we do not obey to get God to love us and to take us to heaven. That's legalism. That is not how God works. Rather, we obey because God loves us and because we have set our hope on the fact that he will take us to heaven. So that is the fuel, the grace that fuels the action that we take. And our obedience then is a hopeful response to the work of God that has already been accomplished in Christ.

So, we look to God. We believe in His promise. We see the salvation that we have in Christ and we fix our hope on that reality. Now Peter says there are two ways that we do this. One, preparing your minds for action.

In English, in this translation, it reads as a, as a part of simple preparing and being, but in the original language, it has the force of command. So, he's telling us prepare yourself for action and be sober minded. That is the force of what he's saying. So, let's look at these. Prepare your minds for action.

So, the same God who has done big things for you, wants to do big things through you. Because God has done big things for you, he wants to do big things through you. So, prepare for that. Prepare for action because action is what God wants to do. He wants to produce something in you. So being saved. That's just the beginning.

That's just the starting point. God has to save you before he can use you the way he wants to. And so then, how do you prepare your mind for action? What is the mental state of a man or woman who is ready to take action? That's the second one. Well, they're sober minded. If your mind is ready for action, then you're going to be sober minded.

Well, that's a bad looking arrow. Let me try that again. You're going to be sober minded. Your mind is prepared for action, and that means your mind is sober, sober minded. So what does sober mean? Sober is the opposite of drunk, right? If you're sober, that means you are, you are, uh, of, of a sound mind. You are self-controlled.

Drunk people aren't very good at taking action, or at least if they try to take action, they'll stumble around. So sober minded means that your mind is disciplined and focused. This same word, sober minded, Peter repeats it a few chapters later. So, to give us an idea of what he has in mind here, let's look at 1 Peter 5, verses 8 and 9.

Here's our word, be sober minded, and then he repeats a command here. And whenever you see two commands like this back to back in a lot of times in the way that Hebrew people thought the second is a repetition of the first with, with some additional detail. So be sober minded means be watchful, be sober minded is, is here being watchful is a way that you are sober minded.

Why? Well, it's because we have an adversary. Your adversary, the devil, he prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, and you don't want that to be you. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

So, why be sober minded? It's because the devil He's on the prowl. He's out there. He's, he's hungry and he's looking to devour someone. So, if you were out on a camping trip with some friends and then you're out far in some remote place too far where you could get back to your vehicle and then you heard a report that there's a hungry, violent lion nearby killing people.

How would you sleep that night? Well, you probably wouldn't sleep. You would probably spend the night awake, watchful, being very sober minded. You wouldn't be sitting around the campfire, sipping bourbon and having a good time. You're going to be watchful because there's danger lurking about and you want to be prepared to take action when or if that danger crosses your path.

Sober minded people, they are realistic. Right? Sober minded people are clear headed. They're clear headed about, about God ultimately, but they're clear headed about themselves. They're aware of their temptations. They're aware of their vulnerabilities. They're clear about clear headed about other people.

They're clear about the world. They're clear about what, what, what is going on around us and what might be the temptations that would come across our path. So sober minded people, they are alert and focused. Other translations of this same word, sober minded. self-controlled or self-disciplined. Bottom line is this.

God saved you in order to use you. God is doing big things. God has done big things for you so he can do big things through you. Therefore, be sober minded, have your minds prepared to take action. My dad was in the Navy years ago. Before I was born, before he was married to my mom originally.

And so, when he was in the Navy, he would sail around the world and it was during, he wasn't in Vietnam, but it was, he was in the Navy during the Vietnam era. So, he's a Vietnam era veteran, but he was in the military and they were trained, you know, we're on the, we're out there on the ship. To be watchful at all times and just to be prepared at all times.

It's like there's never a moment when they're just totally relaxed, totally at ease. And even when they're off duty, they still need to be prepared to take action if something happened. So, when his ship would dock in Norfolk, Virginia. Then he would literally he would do this. He would hitchhike from Norfolk, Virginia wearing his Navy outfit All the way to Genoa, West Virginia, which is where my mom was and if you were to drive that today It's an eight hour drive and he would hitchhike that for a weekend and go and spend I don't know what how like 10 hours or something with my mom and then have to hitchhike his way back.

And my mom tells me that, you know, whenever he would do this, he, if he told her that he would be there at a certain time, even though he was hitchhiking, she could walk to the door and open the front door and he would walk up right at that time. He was that dependable, but that was the way he did it.

So, whenever he was, whenever he was on shore leave, that means that he's off duty. And when you're off duty, you can do what you want. You know, if you, if you want to go get plastered drunk somewhere, well, that's your business at that time because you're on leave. And when you're on leave, you don't need to be watchful.

But when you're on the ship, you're always watchful. Even when you're off duty, you're still watchful. You're still being alert when you're on duty. Now, here's the thing. As Christians, we are never off duty. We are never on shore leave. We must always be ready. And this is something that we see the scriptures repeat time and time again in the New Testament. 

If I were to sum up what's wrong with the modern church, it would be simply this. We act as though we're on shore leave. We act as though there's no danger lurking about as though there's really nothing to be worried about. And yet the New Testament tells us, get this five times, be ready. Two times, be watchful.

Three times, be sober minded. Two times, be on guard. Five times, stay awake. Twelve times, beware. Two times, be strong. How are we doing? Are we doing that? Is that how you would describe the modern church? I wouldn't describe it that way. What I see in the modern church is that we are unguarded, we are unprepared, we are ill equipped, and we're passed out in a drunken stupor.

We're not paying attention. We don't know what time it is. And so, as a result, the devil is getting fat, devouring people left and right. Because we're all, we're all on shore leave. We're not paying attention. The devil is devouring individual Christians. He's devouring marriages. He's devouring children.

While the church, we're, we're falling asleep.

And the devil is devouring the church itself too. The devil is devouring the church through division and murmuring. And through a “serve me first” style of consumerism. We're not paying attention, we're not alert. But sober minded Christians know what time it is, right? Sober minded Christians are aware of the threats that are around us.

And so they're prayerful, they're vigilant, they are watchful, they're discerning. Sober minded Christians don't dull their senses spiritually with wishful thinking, with, with pining, pining after some idealistic, utopian dream. Sober minded Christians face reality as it is. We have to see reality as it is, be able to look out with our eyes and with a heart full of faith and a trust in God and a hope in His sovereign plan and knowing that there is a hope stored up for us in eternity.

Even then, we have to look squarely at reality. And knowing this is what time it is, this is what things are like in the world right now, the devil is out there devouring people left and right, and we must be sober minded for that very reason, we're told in first Peter five, so we must be prepared for action.

We must be eager to spring into action whenever our number is called and whenever God says it's time for you to take action. And we step out and hope that God will, for what it's worth, I think our church, Christ the King is more sober minded than we've ever been before. And that makes me very hopeful and thankful.

But there's always, there's always room to grow. And there's always things that we can be more sober minded about. But this is a consistent drumbeat throughout the New Testament. But I'm encouraged by, by how we are now, but let's not let our guard down. Let's keep, let's keep preparing our minds for action and keep being sober minded.

All right, next, next few verses, verse 14, as obedient children do not be. So, here's a negative conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you as holy, you also be holy in all your conduct. Since it is written, you shall be holy for I am holy. So we have a negative. Oops, lost it there.

We have a negative,

and then we also have a positive. You also be holy. So, the negatives do not be conformed. That's the negative. And then the positive is you also be holy. So, he's now describing the sort of sober minded action that characterizes a hopeful Christian, a Christian who has their hope set fully on God. So, the negative one is do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance.

The word passions here, this, this word passions is the same word that is translated elsewhere as lust. It means a sinful desire, but positively he says, as he who called you is holy. You also be holy. So, holiness is the action that God calls us to. As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.

And then he repeats it again. Since it is written, you shall be holy for I am holy, God says. So holy is definitely the emphasis here. So, what does that mean? Holiness, it refers to a state of moral purity, of righteousness, of being set apart from the world. And holiness, it's, it's not about mere rule keeping.

That's often maybe what comes to mind for some of us, is we think of it, it's about rule keeping. So, it's, here's what, what you're allowed to do, and here's what you're not allowed to do. And if you maintain these rules, then congratulations, you have achieved holiness. But that's, that is not what, what we see here.

What we see here is holiness is rooted in God's character. Holiness is about being transformed into the likeness of God. So, and that's the point of this, this little phrase here at the end, you shall be holy for I, God himself am holy. That's a quote from the, I believe it's from the book of Leviticus.

We said you shall be holy for the rationale for your holiness is the fact that God himself is holy. It's not you shall keep rules because I am holy. It's like, you shall be holy. You should, your life should be characterized by an increasing likeness unto God himself. God is holy and we should become more and more like him because that's why he saved us.

He saved us to transform us and to make us more and more like him. So true holiness does not come from having some encyclopedic grasp of endless directives and prohibitions. That's not to say rules are bad. We, we need rules. We need laws because they, they help to point us in a direction and let us know when we're crossing some boundary. 

But holiness is not reducible to a set of rules. Holiness reflects God's own nature. God's very nature is holy. He is completely other. He is perfect. He is pure. He is set apart from us. That's the point of the, of the, uh, Old Testament. The tabernacle and the, and the temple that God, he is a holy God, but he is going to dwell in the midst of a profane people.

So there needs to be some things that, that are set apart for God. So, the utensils and the altar and the sacrifices, they all had to, had to reflect some sense of them being set apart. Also, you see this also in Isaiah chapter six, the very famous text of scripture where Isaiah goes into the temple. Right, so he's in the temple, if you're familiar with this story, and as he goes up as rocker, and he's looking up at this image of, of God being surrounded by seraphim that are surrounding him and flying around him with wings.

And what do you, do you remember what they're saying? The seraphim, which are like kind of an angelic sort of being, they're, they're, they're crying out to God. They're saying, holy, holy, holy. Over and over again. That's the only attribute of God in the entire Bible that is raised to the third power. God is righteous.

God is just. God is love. All of those things, but holiness, we see it repeated. And in Hebrew, that's like underlined, italics, bold, highlighted. That is like, this is really important when it is repeated. And you don't see anything in the Bible raised to the third power. You'll see some things repeated once.

But to see something three times stated. That means this is the most emphatic that it could be communicated. God is holy. That is who he is. And that text from Leviticus that Peter quotes here. You be holy. Why? Because God is holy. You become like God. Now again, we cannot manufacture holiness ourselves. You can't just produce it on your own.

It is something that God produces in us through his grace, right? God does it by grace. Grace breaks the pattern of the world, the pattern of sin and rebellion against God and God transforms our hearts by his grace and being transformed by grace. We are now filled and empowered by his spirit to pursue God himself, to pursue God and his holiness and to allow his holiness to change us.

As a result of his grace, God transforms our hearts by grace and we now become more and more like him and God is holy. God is holy, holy, holy. And amazingly, I mean, it's fascinating. God says we can become holy like him. Paul says something similar, 2. He says, therefore be imitators of God as beloved children.

Now, he doesn't mention holiness here, but he's saying that as a general idea, we can become like God. We are, God wants us to imitate him, to become more like him. And so true holiness is the pursuit of God himself, such that the nearness of God and our nearness to God changes us to become more like God.

Verse 17. And if you call on him as father who judges impartially. According to each one's deeds, here's a command. Conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.

The fear comes from two ways that we know and experience God. We know God as a father, and we know God as a judge.

So, if you call on him as father, who judges impartially according to each one's deeds. Therefore, Conduct yourselves with fear. So, let's look at these. We'll start with the judge. What does it mean that we encounter God or experience God as a judge? Well, God will administer. This is at the return of Christ.

God will administer rewards to his people, the Children of God, Christians, and we will be rewarded for faithful service to God and his judgment is impartial and his judgment is fair. So, we don't have to worry about God being capricious or arbitrary. It's his judgment is righteous and good. And so, whenever Jesus returns, he tells us that he himself will be the active agent in the judgment.

Jesus Christ will be the judge and he will judge the world in perfect righteousness.

According to each one's deeds.

So at this judgment, when Christ returns, there'll be unbelievers, people that don't know God that are not Christians. They will be judged for eternal punishment. So, Christians, we're not judged for eternal punishment, right? We're not judged for eternal punishment because Christ took our punishment for us.

That's what the cross was. The cross was Jesus receiving in his body, the due penalty for our errors. So, Jesus took our punishment, Jesus absorbed the wrath of God when he went to the cross. So that's not, that's not what we fear. Nevertheless, God's grace doesn't eliminate accountability. So, there is still accountability, and God will judge every man's actions, whether good or bad.

And that's what he's talking about here. He's telling us, hey, conduct yourselves with fear, knowing that this judgment is coming, and that we will participate in this judgment. So, we're not afraid that God will send us to hell. But we are, there is some fear that he's talking about. This fear, he's saying, conduct yourselves with fear.

That, that's not a meaningless phrase. So, we conduct ourselves with fear. According to each one's deeds, what are the deeds he's talking about there, whether good or bad? And the thing is this, like, as, as God's children, as Christians, believers are judged as sons. That's where the father part comes in. He is not some distant, detached judge that we don't know and have never met before.

He is both a father and a judge. So, the judge is our father, who is gracious to his children. And he judges us as sons for the degree of faithfulness or obedience that we demonstrated in this life, and he will reward us. That's the inheritance that we're awaiting. There will be differing degrees of reward according to how faithfully we lived in this life.

So, in that day, all of our deeds will be laid bare. Uh, we're all Christians, so I know we don't have to fear God's, God's punishment, but I don't know, I can't say I'm looking forward to that, you know, maybe you're different than me, but I'm like, you know, no, it's like, there's a lot of mixed motives and all that kind of stuff in my heart, so, but, that's what's gonna happen, all of our deeds will be laid bare, because God sees all, He sees perfectly, and He's perfectly righteous, perfectly holy, and He will see all of our deeds laid bare, and He will see All of our thoughts, all of our actions, all of our motives, and he will then render his verdict.

And for those who are Christians, the verdict will be, that's my son and that's my daughter, that they're mine, and I'm going to pass over their sins because that sin has been paid for by Jesus Christ. And since they are in Christ, they are a son, and since they are a son, they're mine, and they will receive an inheritance.

If you're not a Christian. Then you will experience God's judgment for eternity, and you will be separated from God in, in hell. But as a father, we are God's children, right? God loves us. God, He saved us. And we saw earlier in the book of 1 Peter that He's prepared an inheritance for us. You don't get an inheritance unless you're a son.

And that includes daughters also. Men and women are either one, if you're a man or a woman, you're all a son, because you're all in Christ, the Son of God. So, it's not a, it's not a preferential treatment for men. It is like, we're all in the Son. which is Jesus Christ. We all receive the inheritance that the son receives.

So, God is merciful and gracious to us as sons and God as our father, he's given us his spirit as a down payment on that inheritance and he helps us in our weaknesses and our failures and then we have this hope, this anticipation of eternity with Christ where we are being rewarded forever. So, God is both judge and father. 

We do not fear that God will condemn us. If you're a Christian, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then the fear that Peter is talking about here is not a fear of God sending you to hell. So, what is the fear? Whenever God pronounces the verdict of your life, you're already justified, right? You're, you've already passed from death to life.

God has already pronounced you righteous in Christ. So, then what is this fear? What does it mean to conduct ourselves with fear? What is there to be afraid of? And I'll tell you, the one thing Christians should fear is despising God's love. We should fear taking advantage of God's grace. Christians do it all the time.

We can never even begin to comprehend the mystery and the wonder of all that God has done for us in Christ. We can't even begin to comprehend it. And since Jesus has given us everything, I mean, Jesus has given us his life. He laid down his life so that we can be forever united with him. He's given us everything.

How could we not, in return, surrender everything to him? Jesus paid it all. All to him I owe. But we don't live that way. We think, well, yeah, we're saved, so sit on my hands and coast it out. Hit the cruise control because I feel comfortable. I feel secure, you know, and I'm not going to, I'm not going to let this grace produce anything in me.

I'm just going to take it. We should fear that. We should fear allowing that to be the reality of our lives. We should fear despising His love. We should fear God's displeasure when we take advantage of grace. Whenever we take His love for granted, we should fear squandering the opportunity that God has given us to magnify His grace and all the blessings and the gifts that He's given us.

We should fear failing to display to the world the transforming beauty of God in our lives and the fruit of obedience. We should be afraid of that. We should pray, God, let that not be my story. Let me not enter into heaven with the one talent. God, I'm, just a consumer. You've given me grace and that's, I've just taken it.

And I've not, I've not multiplied it. I've not, I've not produced anything with it. I've not done anything with it. We should be afraid of that. We should conduct ourselves with fear that we will not take advantage of God's grace and just disregard the wonderful things he's done. Because God is the reference point for our lives.

This has been a transformative lesson for me over the years and recent years especially. And it's, it seems so obvious, but I think I knew cognitively the obvious truth, which is God's the reference point. But once it started to really sink in and I started to really feel and to contemplate, What this means, that God is the reference point for my life and that the fear of God should, should motivate me in the way that I'm describing here.

It's changed, I mean, it's changed, caused a lot of change in my life. Because I don't want to, I don't want to be, I don't want to enter into that day of judgment and be seeing all kinds of people around me that are, that are just being rewarded and lavished with all these riches of God's grace. And I'm just like, well, I, you know, kind of, kind of slacked off Lord, uh, sorry about that, but I'm glad to be here.

It's like, I don't want that to be my story. It's like there was a sense of fear that, that I'm squandering something beautiful that the Lord has given me and I've not improved it. I've not multiplied it.

And it's natural to look to ourselves and other people as the reference point. To think, to think that, well, to not really, it's like we believe in God, God is out there. But whenever we're thinking about our Christian life, then we sort of put ourselves as the reference point and we see how we're doing compared to everybody else.

It's like, well, at least I'm not as bad as old Frank over here, and he's a total loser. You know, I'm not, I'm not that bad. So, Lord, I'm doing okay. Because we're thinking of other people and we're measuring ourselves against other people. So you think like, and sometimes we can even think of ourselves as the reference point to where even.

The spiritual disciplines we engage in, we do it for our own sake, but not in a good way. Let's say we do it as a self-improvement project. So if you think about this, , you know, I've, it's been my habit for a long time. I try to read through the Bible every year.

Why do I do that? If, if you're, if you, if you have a similar habit, why do you read through the Bible? Why do you read the Bible at all? I want to say it's because I want to know the God who saved me. I want to know all about him. I want to know the stories of him. I want to see how he's worked in other people because I love God and God is the reference point.

And whenever I come to the scripture, I'm like, God, I get to know you more today. I get to see you in your grace again wonderfully today. When in reality, a lot of the time I'll read my Bible because I want to be the sort of man who is known for reading his Bible every day. I'm the reference point and reading the Bible is some merit badge.

It's something that I can, I can stand here in a pulpit and say, well, I try to read through the Bible every year. You know, yay me. I mean, that's, that's squandering something that is, that is not living in the fear of God. That is not letting the God himself shape and motivate and strengthen me. It is, it is me looking to myself and using God and using the gifts of God for my own benefit.

And the same thing is with prayer. Why don't, why would we pray? Why would we enjoy time with God? I would imagine some of us might be because we want to be the sort of person that prays. Because we know that praying people tend to be healthier people. It's like meditation. You know, it's like people that meditate.

You know, it's good to just have a, have a quiet time in your day where you just tune out everything and you just be still, but it's not with God as the reference point. It's with ourselves as the reference point, and we're doing it as a self-improvement project. We can easily approach obedience in that way.

But the fear of God means that God is the reference point. And all of our obedience is for his sake because he's worthy because of what he's done for us.

And when God is your reference point, it changes things. It changes your attitude. It changes your motivation. 

We obey God because we enjoy him and we enjoy obeying God because we love him because we want to please him and it's Pleasing God not in a works righteousness kind of way where I'm trying to earn my salvation But it's pleasing God the way the way a kid going down a slide says daddy look and kid goes down a slide and his dad's like, hey, it's great, bud.

Awesome. The kid's just delighting. It's like that, a child delights in the delight of his father. That's, that's a healthy reverent fear. Because a child, the sort of reverence and looking up to his father, that, that is a reverent sort of, that is a fear. Not in a, I'm terrified of you sort of way, but it's like you're big and you're powerful and you know a lot more than me and I want, I want you to notice me.

And that's, that's a healthy kind of reverent fear. We enjoy God because we know that God has given us everything. We know and love and obey God, not to get Him to love us, but because He loves us. That's what it means to conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.

Now, in the verses that remain, I'm just going to read these and make a quick comment. Because where He, where this text goes, He loops back around to make sure we get it. That it's all about grace. Because God, it is God's grace that produces this in us. We do not do these things to get God's favor. We do these things because God has given us his favor already. 

So, verse 18 through the end, just to pick up the context. Conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing, so here's our, here's our, here's the motivation, like, knowing that you were Ransomed from the feudal ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot, he was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you, who through him Through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and your hope are in God.

So, he loops back to where he started. The Christian life is a work of God from start to finish. We don't start it, and we don't finish it. It is not in our power at any point. It is all grace that fuels this response in us. And we were able to do it because Jesus has ransomed us from a life of sin, from the punishment and the penalty of sin, and for that reason we owe him everything.

So therefore, we abandon our futile ways. You know what the word futile means? It means pointless. It means useless. Worthless. And that is exactly what life is apart from Christ. But think about what we have. Think about value. What we actually have received. We have sonship. We have a relationship with God as a father.

We have the hope of eternal life. We have an inheritance that is being stored up for us. We have everything. We've inherited everything. And Jesus saved us from the alternative, which is total futility. That's what hell is. Hell is total futility, meaninglessness. And that is a miserable existence. It is a meaningless life, devoid of hope and purpose.

But Christians, verse 21 is about us. Our faith and our hope are in God. Your life has value. Because God declares it to have value and he set you apart unto himself. God has caused you to be born again. God has given you a new life through faith in Christ. God has raised Jesus from the dead. God has promised you an inheritance that is kept in heaven, that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading.

God is guarding you and God is keeping you in the faith. God even uses your suffering, and he infuses it with meaning, producing joy in your life. All because this was His plan from the beginning. Before you were born, God knew your name. God loved you, and God said, “That one is mine” before you were born. So don't despise His grace.

Don't squander what you've been given. Don't neglect it. Recognize and appreciate what He has done for you. That's what it means to set your hope fully on His grace. Being sober minded. Preparing yourself to take action. That's what Remember, God saved you in order to use you. He's done big things for you so he can do big things through you.

Let's pray. Our father and our God, thank you that we know you as father and not as a distant deity that We're, we're, we're fearing hell, and we have the dread of facing judgment, but we can face judgment with a hopeful confidence that we are your sons in Christ, and that we await an inheritance that is ours, and that you're keeping it stored up, you're guarding our faith.

And so, Lord now I pray for these men and women here today that you will help us to prepare our minds for action and that we will be sober minded and that you will use us and that we will, that we will fear living the kind of life that takes advantage and takes for granted all the good things and blessings you've given us.

So Lord, I pray that you will help us to keep Christ above all as the focal point, the reference point of our lives so that in all things we are surrendered to you fully. And we thank you now, help us to celebrate this and to remember this as we come to the table. We love you. We pray all this in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 


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