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Be Blessed and Love Life

06.07.20 Nathaniel Wall

  1. A Cross Before a Crown
    07.26.20 42m 38s
  2. Two Ways the Devil Wants to Devour You
    07.19.20 43m 46s
  3. Three Marks of a Godly Leader
    07.12.20 38m 36s
  4. Advance in Adversity
    07.05.20 38m 15s
  5. Five Things We Should Be In Troubling Times
    06.28.20 24m 31s
  6. Following Jesus is Bizarre
    06.21.20 35m 48s
  7. One Cure for Every Injustice
    06.14.20 37m 41s
  8. Be Blessed and Love Life
    06.07.20 41m 52s
  9. God’s Calling For Marriage
    05.31.20 40m 08s
  10. Called for a Purpose
    05.24.20 32m 00s
  11. Government … How Should We Respond?
    05.17.20 38m 43s
  12. Our New Identity
    05.10.20 34m 51s
  13. How to Respond to Difficult Days
    05.03.20 36m 48s
  14. Prepared for Problems
    04.26.20 32m 18s
  15. Finding Victory When You Feel Defeated
    04.19.20 34m 25s
  16. The Day that Changes Everything
    04.12.20 37m 22s
  17. Palm Sunday
    04.05.20 30m 48s

Be Blessed and Love Life

06.07.20 Nathaniel Wall All In Series

Good morning, church family. I’m glad to be joining you this morning to share from God’s word. I’m going to invite you if you got a Bible around you to grab it, and turn to 1 Peter 3 as we dive in a little further into our series together. We’ve been talking about the book of 1 Peter for a while, taking our time through this book, because it’s such a pertinent passage of scripture to consider, especially during the season of life that we find our self in, in 2020.

It has been a crazy year. And 1 Peter is a beautiful book that talks to us about how to walk with Jesus in the midst of trials, and adversity that we may experience. It is a beautiful time to let the light of Christ shine in our lives. And believe it or not, today, we’re going to talk about how to be blessed and love life, all right. So, today’s passage, 1 Peter 3, really starting in verse eight, talks to us about how to be blessed and love life.

In fact, that phrase come straight out of the text. If you were to look in verse nine of this passage of scripture, he says this, for you are called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. For the one who desires life, to love and see good days. So, some translations will literally say to love life and see good days. So, what Peter is saying here is his desires for us to be blessed and really to love life.

That is what this passage is all about, which is a very interesting way that Peter phrases this section of scripture because of where we’ve been together. The most popular words used in the book of Peter more than any other passages in the New or the Old Testament is this word of serving, and this word of suffering. Peter carries both of these ideas into the circumstances they find themselves as a first century church.

If you’ve studied the book of 1 Peter with us, you’ll know that Peter is writing to a people group in what is known as modern-day Turkey. He’s writing to several churches scattered throughout modern-day Turkey, and he’s recording for them how to live life in such a way that honors Jesus no matter the adversity they face. How they can glorify God with the way that they live. And as he discusses it in this passage of scripture, he gets this chapter three.

And like a good coach, he wants to remind us that in life, no matter the circumstance, you can still love it and be blessed. And it’s a beautiful time for him to share this passage because Peter, he’s such a good coach to us in this section of scripture because he knows, I think, the demeanor that we might have leading into this chapter.

If you remember where we’ve been together, Peter has written his letter specifically in chapter two into chapter three, to some people in life that might be really looked at as second class or treated not even as people, but more as property. He’s written to those in chapter two verse 13, they experienced political oppression.

Even government that that might be attacking Christians. And he tells us to honor government, and still serve. There’s a way that you can make a difference from a position, from a lowly position in life, or maybe when people are treating you with ill will. And then he writes to, in chapter two, verse 18, he writes to a slave. And the irony of that is in verse 16, he talks about freedom in the midst of writing about slavery.

And he’s still saying to people that may find themselves in bondage, that there’s still a way to make a difference in life, and for God to use you in that circumstance. And then he writes to, in chapter three, verse one, all the way into verse six, he writes to women, specifically to wives. And the reason that’s so important is because women in the first century were considered in some aspects as property.

They weren’t even allowed to testify in the court of law. And so, being in those types of positions in life where you find yourself being politically oppressed, or even a slave in Rome, or even a woman being treated as a second class during that time period, how can you make a difference? And Peter reminds us that our positions in life, our place to make a difference. It’s not about authority, but rather we need to see it as a place of influence.

That you can still be a leader no matter your position because no matter your position, you can always influence lives around you. Sometimes we live under the facade that just because you have authority means that you can influence, and that’s not true. And there are plenty of people in charge that people just don’t listen to them.

But you can be a person that’s technically not in charge or not in a place of authority, but still be able to be a leader because you have influence, and Peter is communicating to us how we can have influence, and he uses this idea of submission. And his greatest example for us is Jesus because in 1 Peter 2:21, he says, live in this example that was given to you through Christ because he became the form of a servant, and even gave his life.

Jesus never held a political office. He never led an army. He never wrote a book, but Jesus transformed this world, and how did he do it? By being a servant. He met people in their needs, and he knew what their life needed. And they didn’t always agree with him, but his way of serving transform lives. And you can model that no matter where you are in life, you can make a difference. But with serving, Peter reminded us that sometimes there is suffering.

Sometimes there’s hardship. And when you think about making a difference in this world, I think there’s three things that become important for us to be able to do that. One, there has to be a need, right? There’s got to be a deep need to live for, and then you have to have a conviction to fulfill that purpose. So, not only does there need to be a need, but there has to be within that need, a desire within you to fulfill a purpose based on a calling.

I would say for us those three things become important. The need, the purpose and the calling. And throughout Peter, you have seen this just shared with us. Let me just read a couple of verses to you as we get ready to dive into this text a little further, but Peter said this to us in 1 Peter 1:18. For you know that it was not worth with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life.

Handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ. What Peter is saying to us is, look, you were redeemed from an empty way of life, there was a need that God met. He rescued you from this empty way of life, and now, He’s given you a purpose, no longer for an empty way of life, but a meaningful way of life. So, God has called you into living this way, or in 1 Peter 2:24. Listen to this verse.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross so that we might die to sin, and live for righteousness by his wounds, you have been healed. Beautiful passage of scripture, that we might die to sin and live righteousness, 2 Peter 2:24. And what he’s saying to us is this, look, you don’t earn righteousness, but because of Jesus, you can live for righteousness. So, there was this need in our lives, and that need was to have sin covered, and it was covered by Jesus.

And now, He’s given us a purpose that we can live for righteousness. It says greater calling in our lives, and He’s given us a position to live for this righteousness. In fact, in 1 Peter 2:9, we’ve said this over and over, for you have been called for this purpose that God has called you His people that you are holy and royal priesthood called for His purposes in Christ, that before you weren’t His people, but now you are His people.

And so, he goes on from chapter two verse nine, and he talks to different people groups who might say, you know what, I feel powerless. People that are politically oppressed, people who might find themselves as slaves, or maybe even women in the culture that might be treated as more property than a person. And Peter is saying, even in these moments, you can make difference.

And there is this idea of caring service, or being a servant, using your position to influence. And in those circumstances, sometimes there could even be suffering. Jesus called us as His followers to take up His cross. You want to make a difference. Jesus told His people that we would have to take up a cross, and follow after Him. But even in all of that, Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 3:9-10, remember this, that you can be blessed and love life.

And Peter shows us how this can happen as a good coach. He goes to really, Christianity 101 for us. All great coaches start with the basics. You think of Vince Lombardi. He’s got the famous speech to his football players. He says, gentlemen, this is a football. He starts with just the basics of understanding football or John Wooden, the great coach of UCLA.

His first practice every season, the thing that he taught every one of his players, how to put on their tennis shoes. Because he understood they were going to be running up, and down the floor, and they could develop blisters. Then once you get a blister, you can no longer play. So, you need to learn the very basics of even how to put on your shoes.

And that’s what Peters saying to Christians here is like, look, there is some adversity in the Christian life, there is, but if we can just get this right, then in living for Jesus, we can still be blessed and love life. And that becomes foundational to the Christian life. And this is what Peter says to us in the very beginning, how to be blessed. And here’s what’s important, I think, to understand about being a blessing, or just being blessed.

We carry the idea of being blessed in our lives. It’s not according to what we want. All right. So, when I say you can be blessed, I’m not going to tell you go do this, and God will give you everything that you want, right? But rather what I’m saying is God created you for a specific reason. He understands you better than you understand yourself. And we’re not being blessed according to our desires, but we’re being blessed according to the way that God has created us to receive His blessing.

And if we’re designed by Him, and therefore open ourselves up to receive the blessings that God desires for us, and we learn to enjoy the life that He’s given to us according to the way that He has designed us, which is the very way you were created to enjoy life anyway. So, how to be blessed and love life? And here’s how Peter starts with this idea. He says, we should cultivate a godly culture. Peter wants to encourage us to cultivate a godly culture.

And the way that we do this, the way that we’re blessed and love life is that we view what God has called us to as a team. This is a team pursuit in this being blessed and loving life that we’re to do this collectively, that there is no discrimination. It doesn’t matter what ethnicity, it doesn’t matter your age, it doesn’t matter your income, that in Christ, this is God’s community called in this together that we’re to strive for a healthy culture as His people.

That we are in this together to enjoy this in a pleasant way that we aren’t to be takers. But we’ll find in this passage, we’re called to be blessers to one another. So, look at verse eight. Look how he says it. So, if you remember on the backdrop of this, he’s saying this to people in our political leadership, he’s saying this to slaves, he’s saying this to wives and now, he says, to sum up all of you. So, any of us that may feel powerless, any of us that may feel blessed or left out that all of us are called to be blessed in this way.

To sum up, all of you, he then gives us this culture of Christianity already. He says all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted and humble in spirit, not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead. For you recalled for this very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. So, what does this mean when we create this culture to be blessed and love life? Well, if I just broke down these words that Peter is writing to us, he says, be harmonious.

And this word be harmonious means literally, be of the same mind. Be united in the same mind. Now, when we talk about being united as Christians, look, we’re not just saying, sit in the lotus position, humming on your didgeridoo. Being united is not just the idea of being united because we use the word united. There is something driving this unity to God’s people. And what is that unity? We’re united in this cause and believe together.

Meaning, we’re united and Jesus who is both King and Savior, who brings His kingdom and proclaims His word that we believe His word is life giving, and that people are being called to this King, this calls His church together collectively for that purpose. We’re united as one in this calling together that we are pursuing this on team Jesus, as a group of people, no matter where we come from. This is all of our calling as one. And so, we have this central credo belief that we live behind.

And while we do this, he says to do this sympathetically, which means that we’re united, collectively and understanding toward one another, that we’re all coming to this from different places, having had different experiences. That’s the beauty of being in Jesus that we don’t always have to be exactly the same, right? That from younger age to older in age that because of Christ, we’re all one together. And then, we have this sympathy towards one another.

Meaning, that we seek to understand each other from where we’re coming from, and how God has called us on this mission, to live for His glory. And then he uses this word brotherly, that we are a family in him, and that we’re kindhearted. So, when you think about this idea of sympathy and kindhearted, sympathy means that we are with one another in feeling, that we’re walking side-by-side sympathetically. But at the same time, we also have this feeling toward each other, that we just have this general demeanor of just kindhearted as God’s people. And then we are humble in spirit.

In order to serve the way God calls us to serve, we have to have this willingness to be humble. In the sight of humility, it doesn’t mean that we’re less than other people. In fact, true followers of Christ, the only reason we’re able to be humble the way God calls us to be humble, is because of the position that we have in Jesus. Meaning, we’re not looking for our value in this world. But we’re already given incredible value because of Christ, that God has elevated us in His glory and our position before Him.

And so, it’s because of everything that we are in Jesus, that we’re able to serve others. We don’t need others to validate us because we have all the validation that we need in Christ to do what God has called us to. And that idea of humble in spirit is very important because the very next phrase that Peter says to us, he says, not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead. Look, it is hard not to return with frustration to someone that has expressed frustration towards you.

I think its human nature that when someone is maligning towards you that you just want to attack back. And the reason we would do that is because we’re thinking about self, right? When we feel that someone is demeaning who we are, we feel the need to defend ourselves because the most important thing to us is us, and we want to fight for us. But what he’s saying in verse nine is not to return evil for evil, but to give a blessing instead.

How could you possibly do that? You think this is for, he says, verse eight, for every Christian, not return evil in evil, but instead to bless. And you’re thinking about that’s my job, right? Whatever you are in Jesus, like I’m a pastor, so my job is to take evil and bless, to take evil and bless. How could I ever expect to do that? Well, it’s because I don’t need the validation of another human being. I already know who I am in Christ.

Because of that, I rise above the circumstance to live for a greater calling in life. And then, Peter reminds us here’s the reality. The reality is when you live this life, that when you don’t return evil for evil, or insult for insult, but you give a blessing, you were called for this purpose, he says, that you might inherit a blessing. The results of living that way is that you as well are blessed. Now, I love how verse eight and nine puts this together for us.

Because when Peter says he’s summing this up for all of us, this is all of us collectively are called to live this way. This is the culture that Christianity has, right? Sometimes, I think in our culture, one of the terms that really has been communicated in this section of scripture that we often confuse is this word for tolerance.

It used to be in our culture, when we thought about being tolerant that that meant that you put up with someone to the point that you wouldn’t punch them, right? Like, “I don’t like you, but I’ll tolerate you.” Meaning, I’m not going to be mean to you. I just don’t care about you. Now, tolerance means I have to agree with everything that you agree with. Well, neither of those are biblical, right?

In Christianity, what it means rather, is look, we may we may not always agree, but I’m never going to diminish who you are in the image of God because you’re created in the image of God. Meaning, we have worth. And so, to diminish the image of someone else is to malign against God himself because God created that person in His image. So, I may not always agree with you. In fact, sometimes talking about your disagreements is one of the most loving things that you can do because it helps rescue people from destruction.

So, when we think about tolerance as what in Christianity, what it means is that look, we may not agree with people, but vengeance is up to God. It’s not up to me. My job is to stand for Jesus and to be a blessing for people around us. And when we live that way collectively as God’s community, we all live this way, and the passage says, each of us are blessed because of it. It’s a beautiful place for God’s people.

All of us get to experience this blessing. And as I looked about at this blessing, I wrestle with the idea of okay, when do we receive this blessing? Is it one day when we see Jesus face-to-face? Or do we receive this blessing while we walk on earth today? Is that me? Okay. When do we receive this blessing? I think the answer for us is both. You can be blessed in this earth. Maybe not always, but you certainly will be blessed when you see Jesus face-to-face.

And Peter illustrates this for us and saw in the next passage, verse 10. He quotes from Psalm 34. Psalm 34 beginning of verse 1 to verse 16. This is where Peter is quoting from, and this is a very important Psalm because this is where King David is being attacked by Saul. If you remember the story, King David has been anointed as a King. But King David hasn’t assumed that position on the throne. He’s been anointed by Samuel, but King Saul is still on that throne, and King Saul wants to kill David.

And it would be very easy for David, and being anointed as a King to go after Saul, but David sees Saul as the Lord’s anointed, and refuses to hurl evil against evil, or insult against insult. Darkness will never cast out darkness. Like us, and hate will never cast out hate. Love does. And David refuses to hurl the same thing at Saul that is being thrown at him.

And so, Peter, in order to give this illustration of what this looks like in a community to live this type of culture as Christians, he says in verse 10, the one who desires life to love, and see good days, like if that is you, you want to love life, and see good days, don’t become what you see in the evil around you. You want to lay your head down at night knowing you’ve lived for your king of kings and Lord of lords.

So, to the one who desires to love life, and see good days, he must keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. He must turn away from evil and do good. He must seek peace and pursue it. So, the encouragement is, look, don’t go down that negative road in your life, but rather, seek peace and pursue it. And the idea of biblical peace is important for us as believers to understand. Biblical peace is not just simply pretending like bad things don’t exist.

It’s not about finding a cave where no one else lives, and just being there quiet. Just because you’re away from chaos, still doesn’t mean that you’re going to find peace in your life. There are a lot of people that have everything they could want in this world, but still lack peace. And so biblical peace is not simply the absence of trouble. When the Bible talks about peace, it’s this word Shalom, and what it means is wholeness.

That even if you have the absence of trouble in your life, you can still lack because you’re not connected to the Creator who fills you up with everything. You don’t have that wholeness. So, this idea of peace means for us as believers, it means this wholeness, and the only way you find that wholeness is in Christ. And so, when we pursue peace, this idea of peace doesn’t mean be a peacekeeper.

A peacekeeper is an individual that just wants to ignore bad things in this world, and sweep it under the rug. But what the Bible calls us to, and Jesus even says at Matthew 5, in the Sermon on the Mount, I think its verse nine or verse seven. He said, blessed are the peace makers. But God doesn’t call you to keep peace, but rather make peace. And how do we make peace? In the midst of darkness, we live the culture that Peter is describing for us here.

We’re a people that make for peace, that we sympathize, that we have kindheartedness. We may not always be able to fully relate to people, but we want to connect with them where they are, and encourage them in their walks with God. And so, in order to be blessed, and to love life, there is this cultivating of a godly culture that Peter describes. And then, he goes on from there, and he says, and then, in cultivating this type of culture, you reap the reward.

If you carry this demeanor in the midst of adversity, you can reap the reward, the blessing. And in verse 12, he continues to quote Psalm 34 here, but in verse 12, you start to see how we reap that reward. Listen to this, for the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. How do we reap the reward by understanding this?

You’re close to the Lord when you live the culture that Peter called us to. You reap the reward by being close to the Lord, verse 12. He told us that the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and the ears of the Lord attend to your prayer. That you’re the one that walks close to Jesus. The God’s eyes are on you. God’s ears are listening to you. That God has for you. That you walk with Him.

Number two, what he reminds us in verse 13 is life can’t rob you them from enjoying God’s blessing. If life throws evil at you, yet you rise up above the circumstance to bless, there is nothing that life can throw at you that’s going to rob you from enjoying God’s blessing. Look in verse 13. Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed.

You’re blessed. You have the goodness of Christ with you because you’ve demonstrated that even if the world can throw the worst at you, or no matter what the world throws at you, Jesus is your prize. You’ve risen above the circumstance for something that matters more than just this, what this earthly life offers, but now you’re living for an eternal purpose. So, not only are you close to God, but you’re also so connected that this world can’t even rob you from what Christ wants offer you.

I heard a quote that said this once. When you allow yourself to be mastered by your emotions, you voluntarily become a slave to whoever can manipulate them. This is the exact opposite what this verse is saying to us that when your emotions control you, you’re at the whim of whatever your circumstances bring. But when your greater pursuit is Christ, when you live for His glory, it doesn’t matter what this world could throw at you because you’re living for the greater blessing that’s in Him, and you reap that reward.

The third thing that he says is this, and this is where this culture of change doesn’t just impact God’s community, but really, it starts impacting the world, and that’s in this next point that he makes, verses 14 and 15. The latter half of verse 14, it says this, do not fear their intimidation talking about the world, and do not be troubled. But rather, sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that’s in you. Yet, with gentleness and reverence.

And the third thing is you find is that people want to know about Jesus. The reward in living that Christian culture is not only are you close to God, not only do you find out that the world really has nothing that it can throw at you because Jesus is your greatest prize, but other people come to Christ too. And when you look at this verse, I think the big question we can ask ourselves is, how can I live the type of life where people asked me about the hope that’s in me?

How do I do that? And Peter explained it to us in the very end of verse 14 into the beginning of verse 15. He says two things for us, he says this, sanctify Christ as Lord in your life, and do not fear. You want to know why people ask for the hope that’s in them? In the first-century Christians, when they were given their lives for Jesus, here are the two reasons. They sanctified Christ as Lord in their hearts, and they didn’t fear.

Now, let me talk about why those matter for us in this world. If you want to make difference for Jesus, this is why it matters. First thing, sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Meaning, don’t undermine the importance of Jesus because Jesus is the very reason why we have changed [inaudible 00:28:11] to begin with, that he fought for us. We struggle to figure out how we can stand for something, and still love others, even though they disagree, right?

And sometimes in that temptation, we want to undermine Jesus or sometimes, we want to make such a broad statement over Jesus. There’s such a strong statement of Jesus, that we might treat others with ill will. And he’s saying, look, we do this with gentleness and reverence that Jesus met us in our sin, and it changed our lives because He met us humble as a servant that loved us. And we should do the same.

So, we sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts. We don’t diminish from the glory that is Christ, we make much of Jesus. And we do so in humility towards the people around us. We care about them. It’s not about proving we’re right and other people are wrong. It’s about understanding the only reason I found Jesus is because Jesus served me in my sin while I was a sinner. He, the King of Kings became the servant of servants that I could find freedom in Him.

And I am to represent that in this world. I sanctify Christ as Lord in my life. No one understands our needs better than Jesus. And He can redeem us both if we are either we’re the offender or we are the victim. If we are the offender against God, like Jesus died for that sin, He even took on our sin to set us free. Jesus became the offender by taking on our sin. And not only that, Jesus understands the victim.

Where else do you find a God who becomes flesh, to suffer with creatures who are suffering? Sanctify Christ as Lord in your life. Stand for that truth. Ravi Zacharias, in his book, The Logic of God, talks about how important this is in page 12 and 13. Listen to what Ravi Zacharias says, I’m going to read just a link to your paragraph that he writes in his book.

But he says this, with numerous religions in the world, how can Christians claim exclusivity? I’m often asked this question in different settings. But I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that the Christian faith is the only one that seems to have this question posed. The truth is that every religion has its starting point, and its deductions. And those starting points exclude, for example, Hinduism has two nonnegotiable beliefs, karma and reincarnation.

No Hindu will trade those away. In Buddhism, there’s the denial of the essential notion of self. Buddhists believe that the self as we understand it is both not existing. And our ceasing to desire will be the cause of the end of all suffering. If we deny these premises, we deveined Buddhism. Islam believes that Muhammad is the last and final prophet, and the Quran is the perfect revelation. If we deny those two premises, we have denied Islam.

Even naturalism, which poses as irreligion is exclusive. Naturalism teaches that anything supernatural or metaphysical is outside the realm of evidence, and purely an opinion, not a matter of fact. In the Christian faith, we believe Jesus is the consummate experience of God, and the person of His son, and is the savior and redeemer of the world. We cannot deny these premises, and continue to be Christians. The question is not whether these are mutually exclusive.

The question is, which one of these will we deny as being reasonable and consistent? Which one of these will we be able to sustain by argument and by evidence? It is the very nature of truth that presents us with this reality. Truth by definition is exclusive. Everything cannot be true. If everything is true, then nothing is false. And if nothing is false, then it would also be true to say that everything is false. We cannot have it both ways. One should not be surprised at the claims of exclusivity.

How do people get to the place where they ask us for the hope that’s in you as a believer, or in me as a believer? One, you sanctify Christ as Lord of your life. It is apparent who is your king. It is apparent who you believe who sets people free. But not only that, you live in such a way as you do not fear. The reason people ask about the hope that is in you is because as they see you stand for Jesus, you do so even at the expense of what might come your way.

Even when others might intimidate you, you do not detour from following after Christ. Fear can often control us. But in this case, the Christians have something that endures beyond fear. What is fear look like in our culture today? We don’t have martyrdom in America, but what does fear look like? I’ll tell you this that in our lives, when we are afraid, we tend to respond two ways, either in anger or despair.

When we’re afraid, we tend to fight, or we hunker down and just feel hopeless. And what Peter is saying is God’s people don’t respond either way. We don’t get angry at people. We may get angry at injustice, but we don’t express anger on people. So, we don’t angry toward people or intimidated, but rather, we rise above the circumstance to bless. And people in that moment when the normal tendency in human nature is to become angry, or to live in despair when God’s people rise above the circumstance to bless.

The world sees a hope in you that transcends just the momentary affliction, and then they begin to ask you for the hope that’s in you. And then you get to give an account, a defense. This doesn’t mean this word is apologia, which doesn’t mean an apology, but rather a reasonable explanation as to why you would stand for Jesus in that way. And he says to do it this way, with gentleness and reverence. Do it with gentleness and reverence. And why don’t we do this?

Because we understand what it means to be apart from Jesus too. This gentleness and reverence becomes important for the life of a Christian because listen, guys, when we’re confronted with a challenge in life, and the truth can be challenging, when we’re confronted with a truth that challenges us, it’s difficult to change. As human beings, we all have our own biases towards things, and we believe those things to be true, and sometimes they’re not true.

And when we’re challenged with something in our lives that may have confronted a belief that we cherished, when it requires us to change, the people that are presenting that challenge we need to know are for us. Because we’re going to have to depend on them to navigate through those circumstances. We need a family that’s [inaudible 00:35:53] to rise up and bless us. And that’s exactly what Peter says here, with gentleness and reverence.

You want to make a difference in this world, there is a culture to cultivate and a fruit to reap. And the way that we carry ourselves in the midst of those challenging days will communicate to this world hope that we discover that should transcend it. And it’s when we carry this attitude of gentleness and reverence that though people may oppose our position, they begin to listen to the case that we make for Christ.

And in so doing, we find that same freedom in Jesus. I can’t think of a more beautiful place to live this way than in Utah. People need Christ. When we think about what Peter is saying here, it’s not just about the logic that you believe. But it’s existentially, the way that you live. I heard a story once of Ravi Zacharias that said that he went to a place, and I think it was in Europe, and he was given a speech, and a young lady wasn’t a believer, went to listen to him talk.

And she left thinking how incredibly logical his display was. She was a well-educated lady. How logical his argument was? Very persuasive, but you know the next question she asked? I wonder what he’s like in his personal life. And you’ll wonder if the truth that he proclaims matches his life. The world just doesn’t simply need logical truth. I think it’s important that truth be based in logic God has given us. He’s created us with minds, and so what we believe should certainly be logical.

But the world also needs to know what makes a difference. What a tragedy it is when people who claim to know Jesus still look like the things of this world. Gandhi said it was the most repulsive thing to Christianity. He didn’t use those words, but that’s how I summarized it. He said he loves Christ, but he hates the Christians. Because an unbelieving world sees that and sees no difference.

But it’s the one who truly finds Jesus that wants to see change in this world that rises above the circumstance. That is the one that makes the difference. And this is what Christ calls us to. It doesn’t matter where you are in life. And when you rise above those circumstances, to bless, the promises in this passage of scripture, that you also are blessed. And that you get to enjoy life because you live for greater purpose in this world.

As I hope for all of us that we find that freedom that we read about in Peter, through Christ, to understand in our lives that Jesus has redeemed us from the empty way of life. That Jesus in His body on the cross gave His life so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. There’s no greater calling in life for which you live for. But it all starts no matter where you are in life if you surrender to this King.

And if you’re a follower of Jesus, it continues every day as you surrender to this King. No matter where you are this morning, my prayer for you is that you give your life to this King. He desires to bless you and for you to love life. And in your heart, it always starts this way. It’s coming to the cross and saying, “Jesus, I’m a sinner.” Maybe even reading this passage this morning you said, “You know what, I mess up all the time.” I do too, right?

I don’t always live this way. But God does some beautiful things in his people when we do, and it only happens when we die to self to embrace the greater purpose of living for this King. And we come to Jesus and say, Lord, I know I’m a sinner, that you’re Lord and Savior. And God, I want you to be my Lord, and my Savior. Forgive me of my sins, direct my life and your goodness. Jesus, may I be blessed by you. May I love the life that you give.

God, not because I am stuck in this circumstance, but Lord I have been able in you to rise above it, to live for a greater purpose because of the calling that you’ve placed on me. Jesus, thank you for your church. Thank you that we could worship you as our King in this glorious day. Lord, we thank you in Christ’s name, amen. I’m going to invite the band up. And we’re going to close in this song of worship together.

As they come up, I’m going to remind us just this one quote from Ravi Zacharias. When you live for Jesus, it comes out of his book again, The Logic of God and he says this. One may not divorce the content of apologetics from the character of the apologist. How often the so-called Christian, even while proclaiming some of the loftiest truths one could ever express, lives a life bereft of that beauty and character.

The encouragement for all of us as we think about this passage in the midst of days like today, as how can you not emotionally be controlled by the moment, but rise above the circumstance to be a blessing in this world.