A Cross Before a Crown
This is our last message out of the book of 1 Peter together. It’s been good for us to be here because of the content of what this book is about. Very relevant to where we are today, though I’ll say in the first century, they faced much more difficult circumstances than we’re in but regardless, it deals with how to walk in life, especially in times of adversity, when things change for us and we try to adapt to a new sense of normal, 1 Peter is a very relevant book for us.
We’re going to look at the last four verses of 1 Peter 5, so if you’ve got a Bible with you… I do want to remind you if you download our app, the Alpine Bible Church app, we have sermon notes there and you can click on in the sermon notes, the actual verses that we’re going to be talking about and look at the verses while we go through that. Or, you can get sermon notes at our resource tent, as well as we have bags there for our kids during the message, if your kids… you would like for them to have some things to do. We have some snacks and activities and kids’ bags at the resource tent.
1 Peter chapter five, and just to give us a crude formation to how 1 Peter is shaped for us, if you look through the book, Peter starts in a very similar way most of the New Testament writers do in the epistles and that is, they lay a foundation for the identity of God, and that becomes important because before you’re told to do anything in response to who God is, you need to understand who God is because God lays the foundation for our worldview. We don’t live for ourselves. I know sometimes our society like to tell us that life is all about us and the reason you exist is solely for you, but you weren’t created for that purpose.
You were created for a purpose bigger than you and you find the purpose of your existence outside of you because someone else made you, and so understanding who that person is, or the identity of this person that we speak of being God, chapter one, 1 Peter starts there. He goes chapter one, who God is, chapter two, your identity in God, chapter three becomes how you’re able to influence based on your position in this world no matter where you are. Chapter four talks about the adversity that you face and chapter five identifies the head of that adversity, talking about Satan.
We mentioned last week that he roars around like a lion seeking whom he may devour, but he’s not the real lion. The real lion is Jesus and there is a way to see Satan really on a leash in a way based on what Peter says in the beginning of chapter five and now we’re going to come to the end of the book. This is like the so what, the summation or the wrap it up of everything. Now, we’re going through this whole picture of what Peter is writing to the early church in the midst of persecution relating to us today, now we ask that important question, so what?
Peter is going to give us the conclusion to how we are now to respond in light of all of this and we’re going to pick it up in verse 12 and I want to go back up and read the two verses previous to that but we’re looking in verse 10 to verse 14 today. In verse 12, this is what he says to us, let me give you just the summation of this. He says, “Take your stand.” If you’ve got the notes this morning, that’s the first blank at the top. Take your stand. In light of all of this, now is the time to root yourself into something. He says to us, “Take your stand.”
I’m going to show you in this passage where we get this from, in 1 Peter 5:10, he says, “After you have suffered for a little while the…” excuse me, wrong verse, verse 12, “Through Silvanus…” which is Silas, Paul had a companion they travel with. You might be familiar with second missionary journey Silas, also translated as Silvanus, “Through Silvanus our faithful brother for so I regard him, I have written to you briefly exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God,” and look at this, “Stand firm in it.” Stand firm in it. The HCSB is where I got take your stand. That’s exactly how they translate it. Take your stand.
I’ll talk about why the HCSB says take your stand instead of stand for a minute but it’s the same idea. Stand firm. Peter, how do we respond now that we’re getting to the end of the letter here? What do we do? He says, “Okay, everything that I’ve just said to you based on the grace of God, now stand firm in it, take your stand.” This is an important thought for us to just let our minds rest in for a minute. Take your stand. What does that look like for us today? Take your stand. Now, for any of us that have an animal or a pet in the home, probably more than likely at no point in your experience with your pet have you ever discovered any interaction with your pet, where your pet is searching for meaning in life.
Pets tend to not be the type of creatures in this world that just get depressed because they can’t find meaning. You have a pet, you give them a certain amount of room in life and freedom and people, and they tend to enjoy life. They’re not the type of being that are looking for a place to take their stand or find some sort of meaning, but the way that God has designed us as creatures is, we tend to be a little bit different that we’re the only creature I think out of God’s creation that we tend to get depressed when we might live a life of purposelessness or lack meaning.
When Peter talks about taking our stand, he’s very much emphasizing this need within us as human beings, to live a life of meaning and we should consider the purpose for which we strive, the purpose for which we live. I think the question that we can ask ourselves in looking at this statement, philosophically, if we just backed off of it for a minute is, how in the world can a person possibly reason an ultimate purpose in life without God? Where do you go to find worth and value and meaning and purpose? I’ve heard people try to reason life without God. C. S. Lewis, if you’re familiar with him, he spent his early years of life against the idea of God, and then the more he started to think about it, he realized that in his life, he had these certain complaints towards injustice.
In fact, he used those as an excuse not to believe in God, that there were injustices in this world, and he lived a life with a certain level of morality. Then C. S. Lewis started to ask himself, “How in the world could I believe that there’s something wrong with the injustice unless I have something to measure it against?” Meaning, for me to arrive to a point where I agree that there is injustice, I must therefore be arguing that there is a need for a universal justice giver and therefore, there must be a God. Or when I argue that things are immoral or not right, I’m arguing the case that there must be a moral law giver or someone that is designed to make things right.
C. S. Lewis began to realize from his own argumentation, his own life, though he denied God, that he was actually arguing for the existence of God by the basis that he was arguing against God, that in order to say that we should all have morality in life and live by a certain code of morality, we’re arguing the case for a moral law giver. Therefore, we pose the question again, how can you possibly reason an ultimate purpose without God? Some people will say, “Look, there is no meaning, and there is no truth,” of which you can simply turn the question around and ask, “Well, is that question true and does that question have meaning?”
I remember watching a debate with Ravi Zacharias and he was in this open forum and he provided the audience an opportunity to come and ask questions and this lady comes forward, who does not believe in a God, and from her worldview she makes this case and her case followed the logic of her worldview but she comes up more in an accusatory type question and she says to Ravi Zacharias, “Who told you life had to be coherent and life had to have meaning?” Ravi Zacharias responded and said, “I’ll answer your question, but do you want, when I give you an answer, do you want it to have meaning and to be coherent?” By asking the question, he already answered her pursuit from her worldview, she’s making the case that without a God really life has no purpose.
That’s Richard Dawkins’ stand. He says, Richard Dawkins, from his own mouth, not believing in a God, that all life is just pitiless indifference. Meaning if there is no ultimate purpose, it really doesn’t matter what you do, it’s based on just you as an individual, and that’s what this lady is arguing. From her worldview, there is no coherency, no need to make things meaningful or purposeful beyond the individual but then Ravi Zacharias makes the case, “Well, do you want my argument to be logical and meaningful?” Why ask questions at all if none of these matters? Why look for purpose of life? This is what Peter is arguing for us in this whole case. He’s saying, “Okay, now that you understand the basis for things, it’s a time for us to take our stand.”
One of the things that’s interesting about our culture is, by abandoning God, we have stunted our ability to provide any ultimate basis for logic, reason or purpose. G. K. Chesterton, years ago wrote a book called Orthodoxy, and he wrote about the modern man. It tells you a little bit how old this is because today we would be writing books more about the postmodern man, not the modern man or postmodern woman, but G. K. Chesterton, listen to this, several years ago this is what he says, “The new rebel is a skeptic and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty, therefore, he can never be really a revolutionist and the fact that he doubts everything really gets in the way when he wants to denounce anything, for all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it.
As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life and then as a philosopher, that principles as a philosopher…” excuse me, “… principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself and wasted his life. The man of this school goes first to a political meeting where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts, then he takes his hat off an umbrella and goes to the scientific meeting where he proves that that practically they are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist being an infinite skeptic is always engaged in undermining his own minds. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality and in his book on ethics, he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore, the modern man and revolt has become practically useless for all purposelessness of revolt, by rebelling against everything, he has lost his right to rebel against anything.”
What G. K. Chesterton is saying is, look, our society lacks a basis for anything that we’re doing because we’ve rejected the one who gives us a basis for doing what we do. It becomes essential what Peter is saying here, “Take your stand.” “Take your stand.” When I think about that phrase though there is, I must admit, a level of concern that rises up within me. When we take our stand, what exactly are we talking about as Christians? What do we think about when we hear those words, take your stand? Now, I think we should not take a stand for what we think is important but rather, when we talk about taking a stand, we’re talking about taking a stand for what Christ says is important. Meaning, our loyalties aren’t surrendered to us, our loyalties are surrendered to him.
When Peter says this, he’s acknowledging it’s by the grace of God that we’re able to do this so stand firm in it or take your stand and not based on ourselves, not based on what we value, but based on what Jesus values and the reason I say this is because sometimes as Christians, I think it’s worthy to just pump the brakes over issues sometimes. Now, that’s not to say that the topics aren’t important, but sometimes the idea of topics become so polarizing that we forget to help people shape the very foundation that leads to the answers of these topics. You know what I’m saying? Let me just give it like this. In our society today, we’ve become very black and white in polarizing over issues, and I’m going to just step in it for a minute.
I hope you give me a little grace in this, but I want to give us some examples just to reason through. I’m not going to make the issue itself, the primary point but just to reason through this, because what’s important before we ever determine an issue, the answer to an issue, isn’t the issue itself, it’s the worldview that shapes the foundation for which you determine the answer. So many times we set our roots down on issues and then we argue and fight over it as if whoever yells the loudest will end up winning the day. But in so doing, you lose the heart of the individuals that might be against you, heart of the individuals that might be shaping their own worldview, heart of the individuals that Jesus wants you to seek after, but rather than seek after that heart, we choose polarizing issues to stand over and we isolate ourselves from them.
When Peter is talking about taking our stand, he’s not saying, “Look, go fight people.” He’s not saying, “Go, look, make enemies of people.” He’s not saying that at all. He’s more interested not in what you’re doing, but who you’re becoming. Does that make sense? Who you’re becoming is about shaping your worldview and when you shape your worldview the results happen off of that. You know what we call that as Christians? Get this, make disciples, make disciples. That’s what he’s saying. Help people shape a reasonable worldview and do you know what the result becomes of that? The fruit of having been shaped in Jesus. If we start on the foundation of, how can I know God, love God and in so doing, love others, it will begin to work itself out and even if we don’t settle on the same answers together, we learn how to treat each other along the way and that is honoring to the Lord.
It’s not just about choosing this hot button issue and standing on it, but helping people understand how we arrive at that. God is more interested in how the heart gets to that direction than just standing on something. Look, I stand on things. I stand on plenty of things in life, but is it more important over the issues that we stand on, losing a soul for eternity, or that the soul finds Jesus and then allows Jesus to shape their life? God is doing a work on all of us and all of us are not perfected and all of us are a work in progress, but all of us need someone to reach into our lives and to help us discover what it means to walk with Jesus. This is what I’m saying, guys, when I say the words like take your stand, I’m not saying go into every relationship where you have, and just be as polarizing as possible.
What I’m saying is, look, if you come from a family, God is very much interested in your family and if you’re there and you can influence, God is more interested that you disciple that heart than make sure everyone in your family knows where you stand on every issue. It doesn’t make the issue not important, but it does make discipleship center to life. Do you know when Jesus started his ministry that’s how he started? He goes to James and John in Matthew chapter four and to Peter and Andrew, and he says, “Follow me and I will make you…” what? “Fishers of men.” Jesus ends his ministry in Matthew the same way. He looks to his disciples after his resurrection and he says, “Go into the world and make disciples.”
If you want to know how our country is so messed up, it’s not because we’re not getting on Facebook and telling everybody what they need to do, it’s because we don’t give people a foundation for which to believe. Is because the church doesn’t make disciples and in making disciples, he changed the world. Is it pro-choice or is it pro-life? Is it a second amendment rights or is it not? Is it black or is it white? Are you for cops or are you against them? Do you wear masks or do you not? Let me give you just an example here for a minute. Having conversed in these arenas in life with people and wanting to help people shape worldviews that are biblical, godly, and honoring to the Lord and one another, I’m not perfect at this. I don’t claim perfection in this but I want to strive to walk with Jesus in this, but let me just throw out some arguments that I hear in some of these cases.
Let me just… one example, pro-choice pro-life. If you’re familiar with the argument, the pro-choice argument, “It’s my body, my rights. I can do what I want. Don’t you infringe on me. It’s about me. Life is centered here on me and you can’t tell me what to do with me.” That’s the argument for pro-choice. Pro-life is, well, there’s a bigger picture here and there’s more than just your life that we’re dealing with, God and from a biblical worldview is the creator of life and if He gives life you don’t want to just take life but the argument is, “My body, I do what I want.” Now, if you have a Christian that is pro-life that makes that argument, let me just throw in another argument for a minute. What about masks?
If Christians that don’t believe in masks, and by the way, I’m not taking a stand on this in any degree, but a Christian who doesn’t believe in wearing a mask and what’s the argument for not believing and wearing a mask? “My choice, my right, my body, you can’t tell me what to do. You tell me what to do then what’s next? What are you going to take from me next?” The irony of that argument, it’s the same argument that the person who is pro-choice uses, it’s just you’re making it for masks. I’m not saying you need to wear a mask or not wear a mask. I will let you work before the Lord on settling that issue and the significance of God and human life and how to help one another and love one another and best care for each other. Jesus is more interested in where your heart is on that than how that stand directly affects you.
But I’m just saying this, it’s kind of interesting, isn’t it? When you think about the arguments that we make, that we can become hypocritical or even contradictory maybe even and arguing if you’re pro-life against someone who is pro-choice or if you’re saying, “It’s my rights, my life,” and then we look at masks the same thing. I’m not trying to polarize or argue, I’m just saying, how do we get to a conclusion here? How do we determine what’s right? Here’s what I’m saying, it’s not the issue. It’s the worldview. It’s the worldview. You’re communicating something much deeper than just the stand that you’re taking. How do you even derive to the answer to that. When Peter talks about taking a stand, I love that he roots it, “Because of the grace of God.”
Because what that’s saying is, look, it’s not been about you, but it’s about God’s mercy that’s been poured out into your life and now take a stand on that because it’s not a God that goes out and fights against people, but it’s about a God who goes and fights for people. How can I best show my concern and the presentation of the gospel in this world for the human beings around me? How can I communicate the grace and goodness of God that wants to reign His mercy down in their lives to give them freedom in Him and life forever? How can I represent that King in what I’m doing because that is my stand? When I think about anything in this world that I can stand for and all of the opinions that people might know that I have, by far that supersedes all of it. That matters more than anything because that is what makes the difference at the end of the day.
If people know everything else I stand for but they don’t know that, the question is, am I really living for the King of kings and Lord of lords? This is where Peter comes and he’s saying, “Look, church,” church, we got to understand, when we look at the world around us and we don’t like the way things are going, if you want to make a difference, it’s not about just getting all emotionally charged up and just making a statement and puking things on people but it’s about making a disciple, it’s about pouring into the heart of another. Look, I know sometimes that sounds overwhelming because there’s a world out here and I’m not telling you we need to go make a difference in the world, but you can make a difference for the people around you right now in the way that you represent Jesus and how you pour into their lives.
It’s not difficult, not complicated. I can tell you in my home, if you just want a picture of that, most nights of the week, not every night, we go up into our kid’s bedroom, we open God’s Word and we just read four or five verses and we talk about it together and we use books that we work through together. I’d be happy to point you in some of those things, but here’s what I find, when we talk about God’s Word together, most of the time, my kids, right after that, have a question that has nothing to do with what we just talked about and then we get to talk about though in that worldview. Their mind starts thinking about something else when we’re reading a passage of scripture, we just go down that road and talk about the Lord together in whatever that road is doing and what are we doing? Shaping worldview and we’re centering it, not on me, not on us but on Him. Take your stand.
If we would take our stand and make disciples, and I know we’ve got a wonderful church with people that love others and so I just want to keep encouraging us to stand in the ground because that makes a difference. The world may fall apart but stay faithful to Jesus. Take your stand. This grace of God seeking to build up and find new life in Him and then he says this, at your next blank, expect a cost. 1 Peter 5:10, “After you have suffered for a little while,” I’ll let that resonate for a little bit. Peter’s not saying, “Look, some of you may suffer for a little while,” Peter’s actually saying after you suffer for a little while and 2nd Timothy 1:8 in our Bible reading yesterday, we do a yearly Bible reading, which only has, I think 60 days left in it, but in our yearly Bible reading, and we’ll start that back up in the fall when kids’ school year starts back up so, if you want to do a yearly Bible reading, we’ll announce that.
But 2 Timothy chapter one, what we looked at last week, and he just says this in verse eight, he says, “Suffer for the gospel.” Suffer for the gospel, as if it’s just what Christians are supposed to do. Now, look, I’m not telling you to go out and make your life hard. Don’t do that. That’s not going to be helpful. Don’t go make enemies for no reason. Don’t make life hard for no reason. Be intentional. There is a sacrifice in following after Jesus, because you want to give towards what you think is important and Peter assumes that in life of the Christian here, after you suffer for a little while there is a cost. I mean, Jesus said, “He who wants to follow me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow after me.” It even tells us in John chapter six, when Jesus made such statements like that, the crowd left him, the crowds abandoned him. It was the disciples that followed after him, the ones that wanted to be shaped in the worldview of what it meant to follow after Jesus.
The crowds abandoned Jesus, but the disciples continue to pursue though they didn’t completely understand everything, the disciples stayed with Jesus and there is a cost meaning guys, I don’t think it’s too far to make this statement and I’m not making this flippantly but if your Christian life doesn’t cost you something it’s worth asking, is this even the Christian life? Because there are so many statements in scripture that said there is an expense to following after Jesus and if all it’s been is just being comfortable, we just got to stop and ask ourselves, “Am I really falling after Jesus?” I mean, there’s got to be a giving of time, effort, energy, and some way to pursue Jesus because pursuing Jesus is saying that he is Lord, which means he matters more than anything else in life.
There is this dedication of laying down myself, putting the old life away and following after him in this world so expect for us a cost and in doing so, I just want to point your attention to a couple of things, beautiful things I think for us in scripture. When you look at this passage of scripture, you understand what it means to… that there is a cost in following after Jesus. What he’s saying to us is, “Look, there is a crown to come. There is glory to come. There is a crown to come, but there’s always a cross before the crown,” just like with Jesus, there was a cross before his crown and I put in your notes this morning, if you want to look at it, something called the Old Roman Creed.
The Old Roman Creed is a beautiful history for us as Christians. Sometimes I don’t think that we’re real familiar with Christian history and this is just something significant to look at because, what this Old Roman Creed became was the Apostles Creed and then it became the Nicene Creed, and the Creed of Chalcedon. What I want to say is, the Old Roman Creed came in the early second century. Christians from the very beginning started to write down in a concise way, the theology in which they believe because it was where they took their stand. In fact, the Old Roman Creed is where Christians before they were baptized, they would actually recite these creeds, these early creeds in the early church to declare to the world what they stood for as they were baptized because more than likely, following after Jesus, not only was it going to cost them but it could very easily cost them their life.
In fact, during the same time period that the early Roman Creed existed, there was a man by the name of Polycarp, early church father. He was actually discipled by the apostle John. If you go back at church history, the beautiful thing is you can look at early church fathers discipled directly by the apostles. We don’t have this separation in church history where we don’t know what happens. Church history is recorded for us. Polycarp was a first-generation disciple and church leader after the apostles, discipled by the apostle John. He was a pastor in Smyrna. If you know Smyrna, it’s in modern day Turkey, book of Revelation talks about this church. He was a pastor there at 86 years old, in the middle of the second century, 86 years old, soldiers show up to his house to arrest him, to take him before the Roman Proconsul.
The soldiers were so appalled by the fact that they’re arresting an 86-year-old man that they for a minute almost didn’t even arrest him. They thought they must be making a mistake that we’re here to arrest this 86-year-old man and the charge they’re arresting him is because he’s a Christian. History tells us that when they show up to arrest him, it’s so late that Polycarp says, “You know what? I’m kind of older and I don’t want to make that journey. How about we stay here the night, I’ll feed you, in the morning you can take me.” Polycarp serves the people that comes to arrest them. He actually feeds them and the next morning he leaves with them and he goes before the Roman Proconsul for charges of being a Christian. The actual charges said that he was an atheist and the reason they said he was an atheist, because in the first century, Roman people believed in so many gods, they thought it was odd that the Christians only believed in one God that they called them atheist.
Three times they said to Polycarp, “Renounce your faith and we’ll let you live,” and finally, the third time they said, “Look, renounce atheism, say away with atheism…” since as a Christian, they called him an atheist, “… away with atheism and we’ll let you live.” Polycarp looks to all the individuals that are there at his trial and he turns to them and says, “Away with all the atheists,” and he maintains his faith and Polycarp is taken and martyred for his belief in Jesus. When I think about early Turkey where 1 Peter is written, I think about people like Polycarp who took a stand, I think about first century church of individuals who wrote down this Old Roman Creed, the foundation of their faith, their belief, what they held to, their identity that shaped their worldview to make a difference in this world in the hearts of people around them, expect a cost.My heart today rejoices because of their faithfulness. Expect a cost.
But the follow-up is this, expect a cost but a greater reward, and that’s the last point there, point two, but a greater reward. Notice what he says, guys. He’s honest in verse 10, “After you’ve suffered for a little while.” There is some sacrifice to following Jesus, but you get to demonstrate your value of Jesus above all things in that. He even says in verse 13, “That she, who is in Babylon chosen together with you, sends you greetings.” Peter even says in verse 13, “Look,” he’s not going to say I’m writing from Rome because he doesn’t want to identify the Christians. He uses this pseudo word. He says, he refers to Babylon. “We’re writing from Babylon,” which is the way of saying in Peter’s modern day, “We’re writing from Rome, but we don’t want to tell you that because we don’t want to put a target on our back unnecessarily.”
The church is underground here at this point, as they’re living for Jesus, there’s not making a spotlight on themselves even though they’re proclaiming Christ. There is some sacrifice, but there’s also a reward and look what he says here, “The God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory in Christ…” look at this, “… will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” What he’s saying is this. Look, when we talk about going through hard things, I know what the response is. Anytime you think about anything that’s going to take some sweat equity, you stop and think to yourself, “Can I do this? Is this in me?” Before you could even start looking at you to see if this is within you, Peter says, “No. No. No. No. No. Look to Him. Look to Him.” It’s not about what you do in your strength, it’s about what He does in you through His strength. The God of all grace, He will. He will.
What does he say? He gives us four words. He gives us four words here. He says, “He will perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” This is what he means. Perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish, you’re saying. “Okay, well, God, if You’re going to do that, what’s that going to look like?” Well, this word perfect, it comes from the same word of mending. When Jesus called the apostles in the very beginning of Matthew 4, it tells us, he goes by their boats and they’re mending their nets and he says, “Follow me.” They’re doing that mending. They are perfecting. They’re restoring what was lost. Jesus is saying, “Look, you’re going to go through this world and you’re going to get bumps and bruises.” Jesus was honest with us. In John 16:33 says, “You’re going to have trouble in this world, but rejoice because I have overcome.”
I mean, Jesus he’s straightforward with us in that, you’re going to go through life, there will be bumps and bruises along the way. There will be adversity and hardship. It’s going to be there but Jesus mends, Jesus restores, Jesus perfects it. Jesus makes things. When you go through this word and you’re like, “I’m broken and we have lost,” and Jesus says, “No, I’m going to restore everything the way it should be.” I know this is a little superficial, but I’m getting to that place in life where I’ll look in the mirror and it seems like every day I grow a new wrinkle and a new gray hair, I start to count those things and like, “What’s going on in the sides of my head here?” I cut my hair shorter so you can’t see the gray but then you reverse is like this and you’re like, “But Jesus, Jesus is going to restore me.”
I know that’s superficial but you think beyond just the outward appearance, I can’t see what’s happened to your soul, the struggles you faced and the way that’s marked your life. I mean, you could watch the outward appearance of our lives diminish over time maybe, or maybe that’s just me but there’s also in the internal part of us as well that you just can’t see on the outside. I think when Jesus talks about this, mainly, he’s holistically talking about all loss, everything we’ve gone through in this world. He mends it. He perfects it. He confirms it, which means not only that but he roots you in something. It’s like, if you ever lay a deck and you want to put the pillars in the ground to put your deck in and it’s like he firms you up. He confirms you in that ground as if this is your place, this is where you belong and that’s what he’s saying to you, he confirms you in this way.
Then the next word is he strengthens you, which means, if you think about when you build a house, there’s a difference between a house and a home. When Jesus confirms you, He’s laying this house, but it still doesn’t make it a home, you’ve got to fill it, not with just possession, but also the memories that make it what it is, that place that you long for. Jesus saying, “Look, that’s what I’m going to do with you. I’m going to make what’s broken new and restore it and I’m going to affirm you up, build that house, but not just leave it there, I’m going to fill it. I’m going to fill it with the things that just make it complete, that make you understand that this is your home.” Then he says, “I’m going to establish you forever,” which is, he’s saying, “This is going to be the way it will always be because of what I am going to do.”
It’s that prize that we long for and look toward in Him. This is why you stand because this, this world is temporary but what you have in Him is forever. Forever. He says, “Expect a cost, but a greater reward,” and then in verse 11, as if the mic dropped here, he says, “To him, be dominion forever.” Meaning, His rule will not end and so the reason that you know you have that is because it’s promised in Him and God doesn’t lie and because there is no end to Him, His dominion is forever, thus, His promises are true for you forever, which makes His promises more valuable than any promise in this world. I try to think about what this looks like mentally in my mind and I think of September 11th.
It’s hard for me to believe that today there are kids graduating high school that weren’t even alive when that happened, but September 11th, if you remember watching the TV screens, if you could even think for a moment, what it would have been like to be on ground floor, to September 11th when that building’s hit and you’re running away. All of a sudden, you hear this loud noise and this puff of smoke just engulfs you and you turn around to look back and you’re hoping that what you’ve just experienced isn’t about to be true but when you turn around and you wait for the dust to settle, what do you see? It’s gone, it’s all gone. Brought to rubble.
What Peter is saying in this passage is this exact opposite, that this world may feel like a giant bomb being dropped on your house, but in Jesus, when that dust settles, the house stands and it remains. It’s there. It endures all that you have in Christ forever with him. Expect a greater reward and then in verse 12 and 14, let me just read the very last section here, all of us together. He says, “Through Silvanus or Silas are faithful brothers for so I regard him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand for a minute. She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings and so does my son Mark. Greet one another with a kiss of love, peace be to you all who are in Christ.” Now I’m not even going to touch that last verse with a 10-foot pole in COVID-19 there. We’re not practicing verse 14 today.
But he’s saying something important to us and this is what he wants us to recognize, guys. When we talk about living this way, what he’s saying is this, don’t stand alone. When you talk about take your stand, Peter is so important in just saying to the church going through a hard time, “Look, you’re not going through this alone. There’s Silas who’s with you. There’s Mark who’s with you. All the church and Babylon’s with you. I’m writing this letter to you. I’m with you.” It’s important that we not go through this alone. This world is broken and you can’t directly fix everything that people go through because you don’t have all power in this world but you know the one who does. Sometimes people don’t want you just to show up and try to fix everything, they just want to know that you care and that you want to present with them.
That’s what Peter is saying in this passage is, “Look, we can try to continue to mend this broken world, but ultimately this world is going to come to an end and we know everything’s going to be perfected in Jesus but while we walk this journey together, look, it is important that we do not do this alone.” In fact, when you see that phrase, take your standard or stand firm in it, the reason some translations say, take your stand and some just say stand firm in it, is because they’re trying to emphasize two things in the Greek that they can’t fully captivate in just a few words. The translations that say take your stand, what they want us to understand is, look, he’s not saying this to an individual. Take your stand is written in a plural form and so that your becomes important. This is for all of God’s people collectively.
He’s not saying this to an individual in the church, he’s saying this to the whole church. Look, church, take your stand, root yourself here. It’s important that we understand that we need to stand firm, but it’s also important that we need to stand firm together. That’s why I think when we consider in our minds making disciples, one of the greatest gifts that you can do on a Sunday morning is to come with the mentality of, I’m going to serve Jesus in these moments by being an encourager to the community. In fact, when Peter writes about Silas, what the Bible tells us in Acts 15:32 of Silas, it says this, “That he encouraged and strengthened believers.” The mark of his life, of which Luke records in the book of Acts in chapter 15, what he says of Silas is, he was an individual that encouraged and strengthened believers.
I think that’s why Paul took him on his missionary journeys. It’s like, “Look, we’re going to go all over the place and people are going to go through some hard things.” Sometimes the church is just… they’re getting martyred for their faith. What kind of individual do I need when we walk in a world that isn’t always roses? I need someone to encourage and strengthen because when we talk about being a people that take a stand, what do you need? Well, you’re going to get bumps and bruises. We need God’s people to encourage and strengthen. I think that’s how we disciple and shape worldview. Encourage and then strengthen. When I think about this passage of scripture, it reminds me of a story of Peter in Matthew 17, where Peter goes up on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus and he sees the glory of Jesus made known in Matthew 17 and the Father speaks in those moments in the glory cloud, the presence of His spirit is there and Peter makes this statement to Jesus. He says, “Master, it was good for us to be here. Rabbi, it was good for us to be here.”
Peter knew how much the presence of God had changed his life just being there in those moments and then Jesus looks to Peter and he agrees and he says, “Now we got to go back down into the valley.” The point of all that to say is, guys, when I read 1 Peter chapter five, my soul says, for us as a church, it was good for us to be here. It’s good for us to be here because we get a glimpse of the goodness of who our God is. But here’s the reminder too, and in being filled up in the goodness of our God, we need to go down to the Valley, meet people where they are and encourage them in Jesus. Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, was alive in the 1600s and died in early or mid to early 1700s. During her life, her father was a minister, a Protestant minister, and actually loses his position as a Protestant minister because of laws made in England against Protestant ministers.
She grew up in a very difficult circumstance, rough life. She ends up having 17 children, two of which were John and Charles Wesley who started the Methodist Church, and you know some of that story but when she died, her epitaph, though she lived a difficult life, I mean, 17 kids, that woman’s got some energy, but it says this on her epitaph, it says, “In sure and certain hope to rise and claim her mansion in the skies, a Christian here, her flesh laid down, the cross exchanging for a crown.” I love that. It’s a beautiful story. It’s acknowledging both the hardship of which she faced in this world and the glory which is to come. We, in this book together, I think that’s where Peter’s heart desires for us to be. Not to ignore the fact that life’s got adversity, but to simply say to us, but there’s something greater that has shaped your life in Him, and it changes all life and it can forever make a difference. That difference is the gospel.
Can I just tell you, if you’re here today and you feel lost and you wonder which way is up in these moments, we find that we experience that often in church. I mean, I’ve walked that path in life. There is a God, the only God who loves you. He created you to know Him. He created you to have your life surrendered to Him because what He wants to offer you is greater than anything this world has. But the problem is, in our lives we’re also sinful, which means before God, He is perfect and we’re not and to enter into His presence, we must be perfected of which we can’t do in our own nature. People try, they create a religion and law, but we can’t do it and no matter how hard you try, and no amount of trying can undo the wrong that we’ve done so here’s what God did, He became flesh and died for you in your place.
God took on flesh 2000 years ago and went to the cross and took the punishment that you deserve, that you could find freedom in Him if, if you give your life to Christ. God will substitute His life for yours if you want Him, if you embrace Him, but He won’t force it. Friends, that’s the cry of scripture. Jesus shaped my life or not. Honestly, believers, that’s the life that we live every day. Every day you have the choice, autonomy or the Lord. When we walk in His path, we walk in the promises of all the goodness that is to come.
This message has been brought to you by Alpine Bible Church in Lehi, Utah. If you’d like more information, please visit us firstname.lastname@example.org.