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1 Peter: Stoke the Fear or Stir the Faith

1 Peter 2:11-25 CSB | Trey VanCamp | October 30, 2022

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In Peter’s day the church in Asia Minor was experiencing mild persecution, mistreatment, and social hostility because of their commitment to following Jesus. As tensions begin to rise in the world around them, they have two options; they can either stoke their fear of the future or allow God to stir their faith in Jesus.

Like the church in Peter’s day, we too experience social hostility. And we too have the same options; we can either stoke more fear about the world around us or allow God to stir our faith in Him.

By looking to Jesus’ life as an example, we see what it looks like to endure suffering and stir our faith. Rather than fighting back against the culture or assimilating into the culture, we allow God to grow our faith when we work to transform the culture through our suffering and submission. The first step in doing this is to honestly ask ourselves, “who am I called to submit and suffer for?”


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I’m gonna read today’s scripture from First Peter, chapter two, verses 21 through 25. It says for you we’re called to this because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps. He did not commit sin and no deceit was found in his mouth when he was insulted. He did not insult in return when he suffered.

He did not threaten but entrusted him. To the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree so that having died to sins, we might live for righteousness by his wounds. You have been healed for your like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the shepherd and overseer of our of your souls.

Amen. Amen. Thank you, Lexi. There was a conference that was happening just a couple weeks ago and I was really intrigued by it because it was the two of, I would say probably the most famous pastors of the last 40 years, especially here in America. And so a lot of us bible nerds were really tuned in trying to see what this conversation was about and what we could learn.

And one question really caught my attention, and he said the following, the interviewer said, as American Christ, How can we begin to prepare for the persecution that very well may be coming? So this question lingered there for a moment, and I think it perfectly illustrated the moment that we are in because.

These pastors couldn’t have had a drastically different answer. The first respected by many, you probably know his name if I’m honest though, he began to stoke fear into the crowd for about 10 minutes. He went on to list the ways we are quickly heading into a world where Christians will no longer be accepted in.

He said things like a governor’s name is the same person personified as King Herod. King. Herod, of course, is famous for the murder of babies trying to kill Jesus himself. He called America the New Rome. He called America the new Babylon. , which I’d probably makes sense to me. But then he goes on to blame certain aspects.

So again, he was stoking the fear within the crowd. And he says things like the megachurch movement are to blame, although ironically he does have a megachurch himself. But he says the megachurch movement is to blame because, quote, they have churned church into rock concerts. And then he goes on to say, he warns us that we are now in a similar state of persecution as we read in the early church, 10 minutes.

Overwhelming anxiety inducing for this non-anxious pastor. Cuz I wrote the book and I thought, Oh no. But then you had the next pastor, and if I had to vote, which pastor I like more. It’s this next one. Just in general, the past few decades, he was sitting there, his feet were jumping, they were sitting down.

They’re both like in their eighties and he just, he had so much energy and you could tell he couldn’t wait to answer the question, so he brought the question back up. And he pointed the by to the Bible in first Peter chapter two, which I hope you’re turning there right now. That’s where we’re gonna be at today.

He turns to chapter two of first Peter and he goes on to say, With as much honor as possible, he looks at the other pastor in the face. He pushes back and says, Quote, What you just did for the last 10 minutes can have the effect of just making people.

Then he said the last thing we want is for Christians to walk out of church on Sunday morning or for us Sunday afternoon. Seething with anger at the culture, seething with anger at their neighbor. He says instead, we should leave. At the sovereignty of God, thrilled at the goodness of God that despite everything happening, Jesus is better.

That’s my line, not his. All right. Amen. Notice the two different dispositions. American Christians are very divided on what is gonna be happening in the coming days. What do we do? And here’s the options we have. The title I message today is to stoke the fear or stir the faith. You cannot do both at the same.

Which one will you do? I pray as we read First Peter two today, that this amper answer is obvious. Of course, we at Passion Creek Church, we choose to stir the faith. Let’s pray. Father, I just ask you, Holy Spirit, that you would reveal truth to us. God, as we open up First Peter two. I’m reminded that the scripture talks about how faith comes by Hearing and hearing comes by the word of God.

And so God, I pray that we would be listening to the Bible today. It even in just the act of listening, may it increase our faith. I’m reminded God that faith is just such a gift. It’s not even something we can necessarily work up ourselves. God, faith in itself is a grace, and we ask you for that grace today, and may it come through the preaching of your word and maybe not just be hearers of First Peter two, but maybe we also do it.

And God, this one’s really hard to do. Would you give us the power to do it? In the name of Jesus I pray everybody. Amen. Amen. First Peter two, starting in verse 11. I think this passes today is a perfect example that the Holy Spirit, God himself, wrote the scriptures because if we wrote it, we would probably write it differently cuz this will make you and I pretty uncomfortable.

Verse 11 in chapter two says, Dear friends, I urge you as strangers. Underline that word, strangers and exiles. Underline that word as. To abstain from sinful desires that wage war. Against the soul. Let me parse a few of these words here. Remember if you were here last week, first Peter two, nine through 10 reminds us who we are in Christ, right?

We are chosen race, a holy priesthood. We are a kingdom of priests. God has called us. It’s all grace. And so he’s reminding us of our identity. And in this. Part of the letter, Peter, is now going from identity to activity. Okay? Now that you know who you are, you’re now gonna hear about what you do in light of who you are in Christ.

And he reminds us, not just that we’re chosen, that we’re royal, we’re holy, we’re treasured now, he says, Now that you know that we are also strangers and exiles, strangers, what does that word mean? Strangers means that the society today thinks we’re. There’s something about us that society as a whole cannot really connect with, and our idea, we talk about a lot at our church, that we are formed by the love of Jesus.

So because his love is what directs our lives, the world can’t quite understand it because the world is driven by all sorts of other affections. So it makes us strange the way we view the world, the way we view suffering, the way we view politics. Everything is different because in light of the resurrection, in light of Jesus coming again, Saint Augustine, it’s one of my favorite quotes.

He says, You have made us for yourself or oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until it rests in you. We are strange because we are at rest. Because of the person and work of Jesus, but also we’re exiles, so we’re strange, but also exiled, meaning we follow a different leader. . The world has many different variations of leadership that they follow.

These leaders define reality. They define which way we’re headed. But Jesus is the ultimate definer of reality. So you and I, we submit ourselves to the scriptures and say, Okay, whatever Jesus says is the ultimate truth, even if I don’t feel like it. So we’re strange because of that, and we are exiled. We don’t really feel at home here.

There shouldn’t be. Political party that we feel perfectly at home. There shouldn’t be anything that’s in this world that makes us feel absolutely at home and said, it’s the kingdom of God, which Jesus says His kingdom is not of this world, but I want us to really zero in so the love of Jesus makes us strangers.

The leadership of Jesus makes us exiles, but the life of Jesus is what calls us to do this next part, to abstain from sinful desires that wage war against your soul. This is where it’s sinful. It’s actually liberty here that the translators add this word sinful. It’s not a bad translation, but the technically the word sin is not in this passage.

What the actual phrase is epitome, which you know of course, right? So epitome literally means over desire. So read it this way, I urge you as strangers of exiles to abstain from over desiring, because that wages war against the. So he is not warning us of like overt sins that I won’t mention cuz the kids are here today.

But it’s things like murdering, stealing all those that even non-Christians are like, Yeah that’s wrong. He’s talking about those things that are good, but they begin to wage war against your soul when they’re either overused or misused. Isn’t that interesting Peter saying, Be careful about that.

Let me give you some examples. Food. Food is good. It’s real good. Jordan, I saw that you got something for past appreciation, wife thing, but split half, right? What’s mine is? Yours is. Yours is mine. And so food is good, but gluttony can destroy you, right? Overeating, sleep. Sleep is real good. It’s good. Good, right?

But laziness will devour. don’t over desire. Awareness is good. Knowing what’s going on in the world is good, but nonstop news will deaden your senses, will destroy your soul. You see it this over desire, taking a desire and having it over and over again, over indulging wages war. It’s this imagery that your soul is literally like falling apart.

The more you over desire. The things in this. CS Lewis, He has one of my favorite quotes. He says, If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world. So when you and I abstain from desires, what are we communicating?

This world is not my home. I love this world. I will serve it, but I’m not going to look to the world what only God can give. Amen. So because of that, you and I choose. abstain. We say it this way a lot at our church. The quickest way to corruption is to be careless with consumption. So something we wanna do in the life of our church all the time is for you to constantly and do it like a time audit.

Like what are you doing with your time, with your eyes, with your ears? What are you engaging in throughout the week? It’s one of the best features on the iPhone. It tells you how much hours you spend per day, but not only that, what you were, what apps you were. But what’s crazy is if you look at one thing, it’s not bad, but when you begin to over desire that thing, it becomes really bad.

So for me, as I was wrestling with this passage, think, Okay, how can I abstain? I wanna practice what I preach. What? What over desire? Something that’s not necessarily bad, but am I overdoing it? Therefore, it’s making me divided, depressed, distracted. And for me, I’ve actually learned, a lot of people think that I love reading.

I don’t love reading. I love. The reason I know that is I can’t read a fiction book to save my life. I just can’t. I try to make myself do it. I can’t. I don’t like reading, but I’m obsessed with learning. And so something I’ve noticed is I look back this past few months, I am over consuming podcasts, YouTube videos of conversations like I am nonstop.

Anytime there’s a silent moment, I think here’s another time I can learn about something. Now, learning is a very good thing. But what it’s done for my soul is it stripped away any silent moments with God. I even found myself on my walks. It’s like the only way I can discipline myself just to be silent.

But I’ve even lately, just not even recognizing it, taking my phone on my walks with me and listening to a sermon rather than just being silent. Now, listening to sermons, it’s not a bad thing, but over desiring, over consuming has a way to wage war against your. So this is hard, but what Peter is inviting us to is to adopt a lifestyle of restraint cuz restraint actually brings true freedom.

We talk about that a lot at our church. We talk about simplicity, we wanna talk about Sabbath thing and fasting. I won’t jump into all that today, but that’s something we’re constantly trying to do in the life of our church, right? What can we step away? In order to step into one more thing me and Caleb were at a conference last month, and it was very much about spiritual formation, the practices, how do we get people to engage, And I think he gave us a really encouraging line.

That helped rewire my brain because I do fear, I tell you guys like all sorts of stuff you should be doing right? And I’m like, I don’t wanna overwhelm them, but living this life without being intentional, it’s gonna destroy you. So I don’t want you to be destroyed. So we’re trying to find these habits to put in your life, which we’re gonna talk about at the beginning of next year.

But I love his invitation. He says, Look, when you’re telling your people about this new way of life, say, we’re not trying to add more on your plate. In fact, we’re trying to take more off. The problem for most of us is that we’re just doing too much. We’re not asking you to do even more. We’re asking you by the invitational Holy Spirit, to look at your life and maybe take away a few things.

In order to make space for the grace of God, are you with me? So I think that’s the invitation he has for us so far. But let’s look at verse 12. Let’s stir our faith here. So he says, Conduct yourselves honorably, among the Gentiles. Gentiles phrase here can mean two things. It means not Jews. That’s oftentimes the context, or, and I think in this passage is just referencing any non-believer.

So conduct yourselves honorably to all those you know that don’t believe in Jesus. So that why when they slander you as evil, do. We are seeing that more and more, right? It’s not just that I disagree with you, but we’re turning from a yellow light culture to a red light culture. We mentioned this a couple months ago.

Not just that faith is fine. Just don’t mention it. As long as you keep it private, it’s okay. We are now finding ourselves in a culture where it’s more and more. Not only do I want you to keep your faith private, but the fact that you have faith in Jesus is hurtful, which is a whole nother paradigm.

So they wanna slander you as evildoers that we are the ones in the wrong. But if we consistently conduct ourselves, live a life of restraint. Live a life of doing good. They will observe your good works and will glorify God on the day He visits. This day is talking about either for that person on his deathbed or also when Jesus comes back again to bring final judgment.

So how we are presenting ourselves, our conduct, he’s saying is what slowly changes the culture. But here’s the three ways you and I are tempted to change the culture. How do we change society today? This is one role of the church. Three strategies. Number one. Some people today are stoking the fear and they’re saying Attack.

Attack the culture. In our history, we have this, you have the crusades, you have people going on verbal tirades, you have language like, let’s take back the hill. It’s so important that we study history and we study our Bibles because there has never been a time where this strategy works well. It works well in the moment, but it winds up destroying the Christian faith.

Why? Because Christianity’s not about coercion. It’s about invitation. You can’t attack somebody into change. That’s why Jesus came to be crucified, not to cruc. So attack is not the strategy, although, to be honest, churches are growing right now by using this type of language, using this type of strategy.

But our question is, what is growth? Even cancer grows, right? Not necessarily growth equals something healthy. We wanna do something healthy here at our church. We don’t want to stoke the fear to grow. We could, I just refuse to. But here’s the second way, and it’s equally a, an opposite side of things, but it’s a huge temptation is just to a.

So the church kinda goes, Okay, let’s just become just like them. And sometimes it’s smart, right? Hey, let’s adopt our music to sound like today. But we don’t change the lyrics, right? But some people assimilate by saying, Let’s, okay, that whole thing about marriage, let’s drop that. The whole thing about, X, Y, and Z, we don’t need to make a big deal about that because that hurts people’s feelings.

Assimilation never works. . What happens in instead of the idea is if I become like them, they’ll eventually become like us. But we know in spiritual formation language, right? When we become like them, we just become like them. It’s not them becoming like us. It’s much easier to pull somebody down from a chair than it brings somebody up, right?

And so how do we do this? Cuz I don’t wanna lead a church that attacks people and has certain people groups that we don’t even want to have lunch with. That’s not. I don’t want us to be a people that assimilates and has the same language verbiage, gets rid of parts of the Bible because it’s offensive.

That’s not us either. What do we do? I don’t know. No, I’m just kidding. Here’s the number three. Number three is transform society. Hear me with your transform soul. Why do I make such a big deal? Hey, digital way of life, man. Read your scriptures every day. Practice Sabbath once a week. Engage in simplicity.

It’s not because like we’re weird and we just like to make you do things, it’s because if we wanna change your neighbor, you first gotta change yourself. And if I want my church to change, then I need to change myself. Transformation is the hardest, but the only way. This transforming where your inner life is that of peace Today on the way to church, I had a weird freak out moment and I was angry and I hit the side of the truck.

I gotta transform that my kids are watching, right? It’s this process where we need to transform and we have grace for each. Man. Our bottom line at this church is that we’re gonna change because Jesus is forming us. Amen. And he’s forming us into his own image. One of my favorite quotes by Ruth Haley Barton, she says, The best gift you can give to the people you lead is your own transforming self that works in marriage all the time, too.

Don’t try to fix your partner. Fix yourself, and you’ll see your partner starts to change along the way. I’ve learned more and more if I look at our. I think okay, if there’s blind spots within our church, just cuz I have a blind spot, so I need to change first and invite people along that journey as.

And I want to remember as we zero back in on this text, Peter’s saying, Conduct yourselves honorably, and by doing that when they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven. This is the same language of Matthew chapter five, Jesus Sermon on the Mount. He says, Let your light shine right so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.

Peter hung out with Jesus. He heard those things and now he’s translating. Himself into his own letter. But I want us to remember, Peter’s the one writing this letter, and we will look back. These are the three strategies that Peter has had. We can show stories in the gospel where Peter attacked. He attacked the guard, right?

That was taking Jesus to go crucify him. What does he do? He chuffed off the guard’s ear. And what did Jesus do? He healed the man’s ear and says no. That’s not how we’re doing this, Peter. My kingdom’s not of this world. We’re not gonna conquer this through the sword. But then right after that moment, what happens, Peter begins to assimilate.

He’s there to charcoal fire. And the lady goes, Aren’t you the one who’s with Jesus? And he goes, I don’t know who you’re talking about. He denies him three times. He thinks if I assimilate, things will get better and it doesn’t. So Peter’s speaking from experience here. He’s saying, Attack doesn’t work, Simi doesn’t work, but transformation does.

And Peter, this hardhearted this, let’s go take the hill, is now this. Old man, and this is the same Peter who heard Jesus say in Matthew. He says, The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest gar of garden plants and becomes a tree so that the birds come and perch in its branches.

Write this down. The kingdom of God is less like a military coup and more like a mustard. It’s slow. It starts really small, but you can’t stop this growth. When God begins to transform your life, we love what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to figure out a way where we begin to set up a podcast for our church where we just interview you.

Like I just want to interview you guys one at a time. I begin to share the story of life change at our church, and what I’ve really noticed is most people love to share the stories of I once was lost, like I was literally blind. Now I see. Or like I was in jail for doing this crazy thing and now I serve in nursery homes.

And it’s what? This is crazy. God is so good. He changed your life and what, When was it? He’s Oh, it’s just one sermon and everything. It’s never that story, it’s like all this one thing. Oh man, We’d love to share those stories. But you know what story I’m more blessed by? I don’t know.

I’ve been showing up for 50 years and I look back and I realize God has changed me slowly but surely slow like a mustard seed. I just, I become more patient. I love my neighbor more. More. I actually cry for those people I used to hate. Now I cry for them and I wanna serve them. This is what the kingdom of God is like.

It’s slow. But it’s sure and you cannot stop the growth. And that’s what I pray. God blesses us for our church. I love the idea of all of a sudden filling this room out. But you know what I love even more, I think is just incremental. One family at a time, But not only that, your own life, God beginning to transform you slowly.

but surely, and we want to be people as pastors that help you along the way. In that, gosh, I have way more to do. Okay, let’s look at verse 13. Peter just kept writing, so we have to keep listening, submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the emperor. As the supreme authority. You have to remember emperor.

This is about to be narrow. Who actually kills Peter? I’ve heard people say, Yeah, but they don’t know our president. We’re not submit. You don’t even, You ever, have you heard of Biden, right? This is how people talk. The emperor was way worse than any American president we have had. In fact, he’s saying to submit, which means to pray for your president, to pray for those in leadership because God is the.

Who put them in place, he says, or to governors as those sent out by him, by God to punish those who do what is evil. That is the government’s function. It is supposed to it’s not necessarily the one bringing about the good, but it is keeping away some of the evil and having the justice system.

And we praise God for those of you in this room that are part of the justice system and to praise those who do what is good. We’re call, we’re supposed to call balls and strike. Christians are supposed to submit and show honor to those in power, and he says, for it’s God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.

I love this verse. He’s saying, This is what God wants to do. Everybody’s asking God, What’s my will? What’s your will for my what’s? Your will for my life is to silence the ignorance of foolish people, but not by attacking them, but by constantly doing. This phrase doing good in the Greek references, like ongoing, never stopping things, perfect imperative.

Is that what that’s called? It’s been a while since I’ve been in seminary. Caleb saying, Yeah, perfect imperative. Keep doing the good, but notice this, Peter’s not assimilating. He knows that they’re ignorant and foolish. See that assimilation goes, They’re not foolish. No. They’re foolish, but we still love them and we honor them and we submit to their laws.

We make it. That, man, it’s so hard to balance, but this is how you begin to stir the faith of a people and actually bring real change. Peter’s saying, This is how you change people. This is hard though. He says, Submit us free people. That phrase right there has been blowing my mind. What a contradictory statement.

Submit as free Smith is Free people not using your freedom as a coverup for evil, but as God’s slaves. This topic of freedom. And liberty is especially hard for us as to be faithful Christians. It’s hard for us to interpret because we are Americans, and so we come with an American framework of what freedom means and what liberty means.

And so for us today, we tend to equate freedom as right. This is my freedom to do. And when you really parse that out and I would say rights is actually biblical as well, right? Where the Imago day, every human has a right to life. Like we believe that, but we also, some of us, we lean so much into our rights, it’s rooted more in selfishness than it is in selflessness.

You see what I’m saying? Freedom. We think, yeah. Free to do whatever I. , but in Christ, Freedom has less to do with rights, though you have those don’t hear me wrong. But when in this language, we’re supposed to direct our mind’s eye not to rights, but to responsibility. So submit as free because you’re free.

You’re now responsible for this gift. Let’s look at the next line. Honor everyone. Love the brothers and sisters. Fear. Honor the Emperor. I’d love to do a series one day on honor cuz that is such a hard thing for us to do today. Look at this line by Edmund Clowney. He has a commentary on this passage. He says, Christians are called to serve, others to go the second mile to suffer injustice without demanding the rights.

Can we just submit how hard this. Knowing that they have an assured status before God and that he will vindicate them at laugh. See, we can deal with our rights giving up because we know the type of inheritance that’s coming down the road. Let me put it this way here. What? What is freedom? The world’s definition of freedom is the ability to do what we want to do, but the words definition of freedom is the ability to do what we ought to.

You ever feel that where you know it’s what you should do, but you don’t feel like you have the power to do it. So instead of submitting yourself and going through the hard work of becoming the type of person that would do that hard thing, you just give up, say it’s all grace and just do whatever you want to do in the moment.

I think this is also a really good definition, men, by the way, of manhood, right? Boys do what they want to. men do what they ought to do, right? So we have to see, okay, When we read in the text, Freedom, Oh, I am no longer enslaved to sin. I’m no longer enslaved to my appetite. I’m no longer enslaved to my desires.

I can say no to what seems as good, cuz I’m saying yes to something even better. This is why we talk about grace all. All right. We need the grace of Jesus to make this possible. What is Peter doing here? Peter is not stoking the fear. He’s stirring the faith. He’s saying, In fact, look, you are going to suffer.

The question isn’t what’s gonna happen. If suffering comes, is it gonna come no Peterson? Let me, let’s be clear. If you’re a Christian, you’re gonna be suffering in some. Peter’s saying in this passage, I don’t think it’s stoking fear at all, but he’s just saying, Life’s gonna be hard, but we stick it out by the way we respond.

So he’s saying it’s not with fear, but of course we have faith. It’s not with hate. We have love. It’s not with a stick, but it’s with sticking it out. We just have to ask ourselves, we gotta get honest with this passage. How can I as a man or as a woman, how can I stop doing what I want to do and start doing what I ought to do?

And the question you keep going down is found in verse 21. Verse 21. It says, For you, were called to this. You called for this moment. God’s equipped you for this occasion because Christ also suffered for you. He’s saying, I’m asking you to suffer because Jesus himself suffered not just for anybody but for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.

We love to talk about how Jesus is our rabbi here. We do everything that he has done. Part of that is not just loving or knowing truth. Part of it is suffering. Next verse, He did not commit sin and no deceit was found in his. When he was insulted, he did not insult re return. That’s very hard to do. When he suffered, he did not threaten but entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.

That is feels impossible for me to do. He himself bore our sins and his body on the tree. This was referencing the cross so that having died two sins, we might live for righteousness. So that’s the key. Because Christ died in our place, We too died to sin. So when we live for righteousness, which doesn’t mean, doesn’t just mean we’re perfect in the eyes of God, but it means we now do.

So this should feel impossible outside of the grace of. But because of what Christ has done through the cross and resurrection, we now have the ability to do these very things that Peter’s asking us to do by his wounds. You and I, we have been healed. That’s referencing Isaiah 53 for you. Were like sheep going astray, but you now have returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls.

Real quick. How is this possible? How can we begin to suffer for our neighbor? How can we submit to authority that we don’t agree with? How do we honor? Everyone around us. This seems so impossible. First of all, we do this because Jesus is our example. That’s what this passage is saying. If he’s truly our rabbi, we do whatever he would do.

If he were us, Jesus himself came to serve, not to be served. He came to suffer so that others wouldn’t have to. So you and I are called to do the same. How is that possible? That’s because number two, Jesus is our healer. His blood redeemed us from a life of selfishness. His blood has given us the. To suffer, submitting, sacrificing, letting go of rights and putting on responsibility.

Hear me, is impossible without Christ Jesus. But with Jesus all things are possible. And I know this feels really scary. What a great family Sunday. , Hey kids, you’re gonna suffer. Welcome to church. You’re like, Can we go back in that other room where there’s a fun tv? Look, my inclination is to think that my childhood was better than theirs is gonna be.

And I hate that. I think the nineties was the best, by the way. I think we, we killed it. It was, it’s downhill from here. But anyways, that’s stoking fear. But I actually believe because of scriptures and Ecclesiastes and just wisdom, I think whenever we believe the past was better, that’s an exercise in foolish.

That is not how we’re supposed to view the world. Let me prove that to you. Carl r Truman, one of my favorite books, The Rising Triumph of the Modern Self. Really thick, huge read. Don’t do it, but it’s amazing. Now, he says this. He says, As for the notion of some lost golden age, it is truly very hard for any competent historian to be nostalgic.

What past times were better than. An era before antibiotics when childbirth or even minor cuts might lead to septicemia. I don’t know how to say that. And death keep going. The great days of the 19th century when the church was culturally powerful and marriage was between one man and one woman isn’t that everybody’s freaking out about?

If we just get back to that when we’re in power and people know what marriage really is, but guess what happened during that time? Little children worked in. And swept chimneys per perhaps the Great Depression. Let’s go back there. Or what about the Second World War? Oh, the days. What about the era of Vietnam?

No. Look, every age has had its darkness and its dangers. The task of the Christian is not to wh about the moment in which he or she lives, but to understand its problems and respond appropriately.

I think it’s Gandolph says to Frodo, right? Don’t worry about the time. Don’t think you wish another time. Just recognize what does this time bring. I’m butchering this quote, but I’m in the Lord of the Rings right now. But Gandolph tells him like, No, this moment has called you to it. I know you wish you lived in another era, but for some reason God has called you to.

Friends, we cannot be nostalgic about the past friends, the CH church, our promises in the future in the second coming of Christ. And we know that we win in the end, but we don’t do it by attacking. And we cert certainly don’t do it by assimilating. We do it by allowing Jesus to transform ourselves. And it’s so tempting as a pastor to stoke the.

Because in many ways, that fills the seats to stoke the fear, cuz sometimes that gets people to finally write the check. But look, here’s what I believe the truth is saying here, look, a crowd feels powerful when it seethes, but the church gets powerful when it suffers. Or the church gets powerful when it submits.

The church gets powerful when it serve. So I want us to really just allow this moment to breathe a little as the music plays. I invite you at this point just to close your eyes. We usually in our message with the practice of Jesus, and you’re gonna be looking at one of those in your together groups this week.

But today I’d rather actually end just with a question for you to submit to God.

I have a few questions I want you to hear. And then ask God which question you should really focus and lean in on.

God, I pray that you’d be in this moment.

Here’s the first question, because of this passage, what desire is God calling me to abst?

This doesn’t have to be terrible thing. Again, it could be a good thing, but give, allow Give a moment here with the Lord because of this passage. What desire, God are you calling me to abstain from?

I got two more questions. I want you to ask all of these to the Lord, but maybe lean in at the end on which one is the one that God is calling you to talk to God. The second question is because of this passage, who is God calling me to submit to? Maybe it’s somebody in your workplace, maybe it’s the government, the way your disposition is towards those in leadership.

Who do you need to submit to at this moment?

The last question is because of this passage, who is God calling me to suffer?

Maybe it’s a people group that you sear at.

Maybe it’s a child that you’ve been fed up with.

Maybe it’s The leaders in your life. Maybe they’ve made some bad decisions, but God’s calling you to suffer on their behalf and.

My, my prayer is that the Holy Spirit really grabs you in one of these, I’m gonna mention them again because of this passage. Is God calling you to abstain from a desire

or is God calling you to submit to somebody

or a fur on someone’s behalf?

Ask that question with the Lord right now. This is interactive. We are talking to God himself, and I want you to get honest and tell God how impossible this feels.

Tell God your fears. If you say yes to this question.

I feel that somebody in this room has the sense of bitterness, or if they agree to do this now their bitterness won’t be dealt with. They feel like they need revenge. They feel like that person needs to say, Sorry. First. I just pray through the power of the Holy Spirit, you’d be released from that burden.

You’d be set free from that.

Maybe there’s somebody in this room who feels a desire and it’s a good thing, but it’s overrun their life, but it’s never been in your mind, this idea that you can let go of it. Maybe you would even describe this desire as an addiction.

Father, God, we’re asking for you grace in this moment for those in the room that feel that. This passage says, We’re no longer slaves to sin, but in fact, we’re slaves to righteousness. We’re slaves of you, God. And so God, I pray that you would show them the reality that they can be set free from the chain of sin in condemnation.

Holy Spirit, we’re just inviting you in this moment right now. God, would you give us this opportunity just to be honest with you, but also, God, may we leave here with so much hope that this is a moment we can mark that transformation in a certain area of life has begun. Lastly, God, I feel led to pray for someone in this room.

He needs to have dinner with somebody that you would just miraculously give them an opportunity to love and serve and to be hospitable to a group of people. They have been despising.

God set them free from the temptation to mock them, to hurt them. To hate them, and we’re just asking for a supernatural grace that we cannot help but respond This week with love, with patience, with gratitude.

Holy Spirit, I’m just asking you that this will be a holy moment for. God, I don’t want us to be an attacking church. I don’t want us to be an assimilating church. I want us to be so honoring to you, but able at the same time, to honor and serve and love and sacrifice for those. We completely disagree with that.

We know that they’re foolish and ignorant, but we still care so deeply about them and God, I just feel like that’s only possible. If you just come down and give us that gift, would you give Passion Creek that gift and abundance? Would you give us favor? Would you overflow us with your love and your mercy and your power?

Ah God, we need you. We ask you to do this. God, as we partake in communion and respond in song, may we hold onto this question. May we continue in this wrestling with you and may you win. May you finally overtake us, God, where we say nothing in my hands, I bring simply to Christ. I clean. Let this be a transformative moment, only because of you.

In Jesus’ name, I pray everybody says amen.

Group Guide

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Meal & Conversation

Open the night with a quick prayer over your time together. As your Group shares a meal, feel free to use the following question to check in with everyone:

What’s something you’re grateful for this week?


Overview of Teaching

In Peter’s day the church in Asia Minor was experiencing mild persecution, mistreatment, and social hostility because of their commitment to following Jesus. As tensions begin to rise in the world around them, they have two options; they can either stoke their fear of the future or allow God to stir their faith in Jesus.


Like the church in Peter’s day, we too experience social hostility. And we too have the same options; we can either stoke more fear about the world around us or allow God to stir our faith in Him.


By looking to Jesus’ life as an example, we see what it looks like to endure suffering and stir our faith. Rather than fighting back against the culture or assimilating into the culture, we allow God to grow our faith when we work to transform the culture through our suffering and submission. The first step in doing this is to honestly ask ourselves, “who am I called to submit and suffer for?”



Read 1 Peter 2:11-12 and discuss these questions:

  1. What experience do you have being slandered, mistreated, or made fun of because of your commitment to Jesus?
  2. How do you usually respond?

Now read 1 Peter 2:13-17 and discuss:

  1. When you think about the idea of submitting to authority, where do you struggle? Think about parents, government authorities, spiritual authorities, pastors, etc.
  2. How would you define freedom? How would your life look different if you redefined “freedom” as the ability to submit to and serve others?

Lastly, read 1 Peter 2:21-25 and discuss:

  1. What comforts you from this passage?
  2. What convicts you from this passage?


Practice for the Week Ahead

This week, we’re going to combine both suffering, service, and submission through the practice of praying for our enemies. Because this practice can be personal and emotionally challenging for some, this is only going to be an individual practice for the week ahead.

Try to mark out 5-10 minutes each day this week to work through the following steps:

  1. Spend a minute or two drawing to mind someone who’s hurt you, mistreat you, or caused you pain. Ask the Spirit to reveal anyone you feel dishonor or bitterness towards, someone you’d consider an “enemy.” If you can’t think of anyone specific, think of the people you tend to avoid, the people you don’t get along with, and the people who make you angry at the culture around you.
  2. Acknowledge your feelings of bitterness, anger, pain, and fear as you think about this person/people. Bring those feelings to God and ask him for healing.
  3. Now, pray specifically for that person/people. Avoid the temptation to pray “backhanded” prayers. Ask for God’s blessing and protection over them, and for their general well-being.
  4. Before you end, ask God to give you the power to forgive them and reconcile with them. If the Spirit brings to mind specific things you can do to reconcile with them, ask for strength to obey.


Now discuss the following questions before ending the night.

  1. What makes you excited or anxious as you prepare for this practice?
  2. What would success look like for you as you engage in the practice this week?


Close the night together in prayer.