Behaving For God

Bible Book: 1 Peter  2 : 11-25
Subject: Christian Living; Revival; Witness

Today we are going to look at the subject BEHAVING FOR GOD. I remind you that Peter began this letter talking about us being strangers and pilgrims in this world. We looked at three messages in a series entitled, "Strangers In The Land". Then he proceeded to tell us how we can be holy in such a strange land. Thus, we looked at a series of four sermons on, "Helps To Holy Living." Peter turned his attention toward our position from God's perspective. How does God see us and who are we in Him? He tells us that we are Born of God, Built into God, Belong to God and we are to Behave for God. Today we are going to examine why it is important for us to behave as we should as Christians.

Like the people in Peter's day, we are living in a sinful and rebellious world. The standards and morals of today's society are so different from those of just a few years ago. One man pointed out the fact that 75 years ago women wore their bathing suits down to their ankles. Then they wore them down to their knees. A few years ago they started wearing them down to their hips. One man just back from the Riviera said that now there are some women who don’t even wear them down to the water!

Times have changed. What was accepted a few years ago as proper is rejected and what was rejected then is accepted now. You can get several years in prison for killing certain kinds of animals in America these days, but aborting an unborn child is not only legal, it is encouraged by many. We use to have Scripture reading and pray at school when I was a boy growing up in North Carolina. Today that is a federal offense. You can't talk about the Bible in school these days and if a teacher mentions creation or the Creator, he or she may be looking for work in some other field. Yet, God's name is taken in vain in almost every movie made in this country. Andres Serrano suspended a crucifix in a bottle of urine a few years ago, photographed it and called it art. To make matters worse tax money from citizens helped pay for the exhibit.

We have lost our moral mind! Peter was writing to Christian people living in a time just like this. He was sharing how we are to live in a sinful, Christ-rejecting society. God would have us, His people, to understand that there is a level of behavior which we must make paramount in our lives. We must not succumb to the behavior of our world. When we do fail in any way, we must confess, repent and get back on the path that is right.

As we face a hostile environment as believers, the pressure to go along with the crowd increases. The sense that things we once thought we terrible are not so bad will escalate unless we stay in touch with the Lord and His Word. Peter knew the same was true of the people in the generation in which he lived. He wrote about in 1 Peter 2:11-25. Here we see him calling for them, and for us, to behave in a manner which pleases God. Note with me four things about the behavior of a child of God in this world.


In verse 11 we note that good behavior in the life of a believer is put in the context of a war against sinful desires. If you think that temptation is a battle, you are right! God agrees with you. In fact, God said it would be like this!

A. The Temptation in this War "sinful desires"

The war we are in is one which goes on between the flesh and the Spirit. See Galatians 5:16f. Paul stated that we must walk in step with the Spirit. We must live consistent with our new nature. Paul was talking as much about anger and jealousy as he was about sexual license. The church of Christ has a challenge to keep a spirit of love and peace in our midst. That was one of Paul's major concerns. It is the same with Peter as he writes. The temptation is for us to become like the world in which we live. The church of our Lord must not become like the Jerry Springer television program, with parties fighting and disagreeing in public displays. Likewise, we must not submit to carnal desires like the world does. It is a war, and we must be “in it to win it.”

B. The Target in this War "war against your soul"

The target in this war is the soul. The soul invovles the mind, will and emotions of a human being. This is where we come under attack. In our thinking processes, our feelings and also in our personal will, we must understand that we are under attack from the enemy. If Satan can get our thinking and feeling to come in line with the world, he can get our will to follow. Our challenge is to submit our soul (mind, emotions and will) to the Spirit rather than the flesh. We are going to see why this is so important!


Our behavior is to be a witness to the world. We are to set an example through the display our love and life before the world. We are to reflect the light of Jesus so that the world can cometo know Him.

A. The Object of this Witness "pagans"

The world considers us a sub-culture. On a talk radio program I heard the host refer to evangelical Christians as "religious nuts" over and over again. If he used derogatory terms like that to discuss Jews, blacks, homosexuals, or Muslims, he would be off the air in a skinny minute and in a law suit within days. But it is popular now to make fun of Bible-believing Christians. What should we do? We must go on with our commitment and carry out our duty to Christ. We must remain loving toward a lost world. Our duty is to continue faithfully to be a witness, even when we are misunderstood and even when we are ridiculed!

B. The Objective of this Witness "they may glorify God"

God will visit us!!! Peter was sure of it. Peter looked out beyond the days of Nero and in faith believed that God would come with power to change things. God did just that! It was after the days of Peter, and after much suffering by many believers, that God did visit His people with great favor and blessing

You and I must understand that there is a God in heaven who is yet able to move on the scene in a moment’s notice. Constantine, the Emperor of Rome, was converted to Christ around 250 years after Peter wrote these words. The nation that once vowed to stamp out Christianity became a Christian State. That was not all good, but it did open the door for the Gospel to spread around the world with great liberty. God did visit His people, and the descendants of those who persecuted the Christians became Christians and glorified God.

It can and will happen again! If the Lord tarries, the children and grandchildren of some who mock God's name and God’s Law today will bow at His feet in loving submission. They will become preachers, missionaries, Christian leaders of every kind in the days ahead! Christian, do not lose heart! God will visit us and His name will be glorified, if we will be faithful to Him!


A. The Reason For Obeying His Will

For "God's sake". Look at verse 13. Convenience of acceptance can cause Christians to submit to evil and evil leaders. The faithful refuse to do so simply because they are devoted to a greater and everlasting Leader – The Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus had power to call down thousands of angels and be removed from the cross, but He died in my place and your place willingly. He prayed, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." He submitted to the Father’s plan, and we must do the same. The cost for this submission is not important but our loyalty to Christ is critical.

Remember, when Peter wrote these words, Nero was Emperor. He was doubtless one of the most nefarious, heinous, monstrous, cruel leaders to ever occupy a human throne. Yet, Peter said that Christians should obey the laws of the land.

Now there is a limit to this. We find in Acts 5 that the New Testament believers defied the law saying, "We must obey God rather than man." Here they were speaking of their right to assemble and speak the name of Jesus. In other words, we are never to worship another or allow any government to come between us and our right to speak Jesus' name and to worship Him! But we are to be good citizens of the land in which we live. That will not always be easy. It wasn’t easy of Peter and the other followers of Christ in his day, but they did it. Peter ultimately gave his life for his faith. If that is what God requires, that is what we must do! And, believe me that could be the price for Christians in America in the not too distant future.

B. The Reward For Obeying His Will

See verse 20. We are commended now before God and we will be commended on that great day that is coming! One day the suffering we go through here will pale into insignificance when compared to the glory awaiting us in God’s presence. That will be the day when we stand before our King. He is going to commend those who stood in the time of trial and tribulation. He is going to commend those who refrained from sinful desires, those who submitted themselves to authority even when that authority was not righteous and those who kept the faith till the end.

R.G. Lee, the late, great preacher who preached the sermon, "Payday Someday" right here in this church some 20 years ago, used to tell a story from his childhood. He told of a time when he was a boy lying on the porch watching his mother sew. With his face in his hands, lying on his stomach, he looked up at his mother's aging hands. He asked her, "Mother, what was the greatest event in your life?" He thought she might tell about the time she met his father, her wedding, or maybe even the day he was born. But she began to tell a story R.G. Lee never forgot.

She told of the time her father went off to fight in the Civil War. It was a terrible time of deprivation and hardship. Her mother used to tell her to just wait, one day daddy would come home. Then one day the most awful thing that could ever happen to a family with someone away at war took place at their home. A man came and told them that their husband and father had been killed. Little R.G. Lee listen with rapt attention.

The man told R.G. Lee's mother that her husband had been badly wounded in a battle at Shiloh and was dead. R.G. Lee's mother went on to tell how they cried and cried and prayed to God to help them. R.G. Lee's mother went on to tell how her mother had kept the farm going. They had plowed a mule by themselves and planted the crops. The beans came in and they went out to pick them. They were sitting on the porch breaking beans when they looked up the road and saw a man coming their way. Lee's mother said, "My mother, your grandmother, looked at me and said, 'Lookey yonder, coming up the road, there is a man walking who holds his shoulders just the way your daddy used to. And look, he moves his feet kinda like your daddy used to move his feet. And look how he, ... it don't just look like your daddy, honey, it is your daddy.'"

R.G. Lee's mother told how her mother threw that pot of beans into the air and starting running up the road. She told how she followed her mother. Indeed, it was him. He was alive. There had been some mistake. He had been badly wounded. He had lost an arm and for weeks had been unable to remember much of anything. R.G. Lee's mother said, "That was the most exciting event in my life. My mother just cried and held on to daddy for a long time and then we went into the house together. I cannot tell you how good it felt!"

The world believes Jesus is dead. They see us plowing down here in weakness and think we are finished. But one day, sweet child of God, you are going to look up and say, "That sounds like Jesus, that looks like Jesus coming there! Praise God, that is Jesus." We are going to go up to meet Him and we are going to hold on to Him for a long time and then go in His House forever!


A. The Path to which we are Called

We are called to walk with Jesus! We are to follow Him. Our life is not one of rules but one of a Redeemer. We are not following the law but following the Way, the Truth and the Life. His life is a suffering life and so shall ours be. If you aren't willing to suffer something for Him, it is possible that you are not one of His. Jesus did not retaliate! Jesus did not make threats! He entrusted His case to the One who judges justly. We are called to walk in His footsteps every day.

B. The Provision to which we are Committed

We are committed to the provision made at the cross for us. He bore our sins. He is the sin-bearer. We once were lost but now we are found. We have come home the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. Our souls are under attack, but there is provision for our souls.

Jesus will lead us. He will empower us. He has promised never to leave us. He has sealed us with the Holy Spirit. He has gifted us with Spiritual gifts. He has given us all we need for salvation and good works. Note in Ephesians 2:8-10 that we are saved by grace through faith unto good works, which God planned in advance for us to do. We have His provision!


In verse 12 we read that one day God is going to visit us. Remember, this means that Christ will come with the power of salvation upon the lost. We are called upon to be faithful, God will do the rest. That is the kind of trust that Jesus had in His heavenly Father, and that is the kind of trust we need!

Are we behaving as we should? I talked with an old preacher this week. He and I shared some of the revival experiences we have been part of in the past. He told of a revival in his church many years ago. One night a person stood and confessed his sin openly and honestly. Then another did the same. Suddenly, people were confessing very personal sins openly before each other. That did not leave that meeting that night till midnight. That preacher told me that it was the turning point in his church. From that time forward, an explosion of salvation and church growth began that went on for two decades.

I don’t recommend that everyone share openly the confession of your sins, unless you are truly moved by the Lord. But, I will tell you this, if we don’t get right before God we must not expect much from God. Be honest now, are we behaving as we should? Why don’t we make a new, bold and all-out commitment to our Lord today! Let’s behave for Him and watch Him visit us, our churches and our homes in an explosion of grace. It is what we need – it is the only answer to our times!