Attracting Others While Passing Through

Bible Book: 1 Peter  2 : 11-12
Subject: Evangelism; Christian Living; Testimony; Witnessing
Introduction

The context of 1 Peter 2 is that of a church under attack and criticism.

Christian apologist Wilbur M. Smith observed that the world has opposed Christianity ever since Jesus’ day and believers should not expect things to be different today.

“At first one would think that a religion which exalts and seeks to follow the only perfect and righteous man who has ever lived on this earth, who never harmed anyone, whose words delivered from superstition and fear, whose works redeemed from pain, and demons, and death, and hunger, whose life was as a great shaft of light shot into the murky darkness of the Roman world, in that sensual and skeptic century, who died because He loved us, and who always sought to bring men into communion with God, to bestow upon them eternal life and a home in heaven, one would have thought that such a character, and the religion which His life and work on earth established, would have been welcomed with open arms the first moment it was announced, and would, by its very message, the good works which flowed from it, and the hope which it established, never know opposition, or attack, or denunciation, except from the demons of hell, and Satan, who is a liar and murderer from the beginning. But such has not been its history. In fact, the New Testament, itself, from the records of the birth of our Lord down to the end of St. John’s vision of the era of anarchy and persecution to come, testifies in the most startling way to the fact that Christ Himself was most viciously and constantly attacked, that His apostles suffered the same opposition, and that it was predicted by these very apostles that Christianity would continue so to suffer, down to the end of this age.”

Peter’s challenge is pointing in 2 different directions.

1. It is after the scandalous conduct of so-called Christians that provides fuel for the critics and skeptics vicious accusations.

2. The godliness of true Christians does the most to silence Christianity’s opponents.

Alexander Maclaren, “The world takes its notions of God, most of all, from the people who say that they belong to God’s family. They see us; they only hear about Jesus Christ.”

3. Matthew 5:16:  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Peter contends, live godly lives, which is the single most effective foundation for making the gospel attractive and believable.

I. THE INSPIRATION FOR CHALLENGE 11

“as sojourners and pilgrims” – these words describe someone who is only a temporary

resident in a place and whose home is somewhere else.

Hebrews 11:13: “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”

We are “resident aliens” who have our citizenship in another country, heaven.

Philippians 3:20: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,”

“Sojourners” – beside the house; alongside the house. Denotes a person who lives in a country not his own and is therefore a sojourner. The term fits Christians who do not belong to this world system but live alongside those who do.

“Pilgrim” – refers to a visitor, someone traveling through the country.

Does this truth inspire you? Yes! It affects my living, my giving, my serving, and my leaving. As E. V. Hill said in this pulpit, “You can’t stay.”

II. THE MOTIVATION FROM THIS CHALLENGE 11

It motivates us to have a personal godly discipline that is inward.

A. The Saints Ability

“abstain from fleshly lusts” – “abstain” signifies that saints have the ability by the new life and the indwelling Spirit to restrain the lustful flesh even in a culture dominated by sensuality, immorality, and the likes.

We have to abstain, because the fallen nature whose power was broken when he was saved is still there with its sinward pull. When you were saved it produced a new disposition with holy longing, that new life force remains incarcerated within the old, unredeemed human flesh, precipitating an ongoing battle between the spirit and the flesh.

“fleshly lusts” – cravings, strong desires that hope to form strongholds. These desires give a person temporary physical satisfaction followed by guilt, shame and fear.

B. The Saint’s Battle

“which war against our soul” – an army trained and equipped, at attention, ready to launch the attack. Fleshly lusts are personified as if they were an army of rebels or guerrillas who incessantly search out or try to destroy the Christian’s joy, peace and usefulness.

Our real battle is not with people around us, but passions within us.

D. L. Moody said, “I have more trouble with D. L. Moody than with any man I know.”

If we yield to those sinful appetites, then we will start living like the unsaved around us, and will become ineffective witnesses.

3 things happen when we lose the battle:

1. Hurts the Believer’s Sense of God.

He/She loses their sense of the presence and power of God.

2. Halts the Believer’s Service to God.

Satan’s inflecting wound severely restricts the believer’s service to God.

3. Hinders the Believer’s Soul before God.

“soul” – the part of us that survives the biological death.

III. THE CONDUCT IN THIS CHALLENGE  12

A. Conversation

“having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles” – speaks of outward expression of our character; your whole way of life. Derived from a word meant “to steer”- to turn to a new direction.

Our lifestyle should be distinctively Christian so to serve to encourage others to follow our example.

“Gentiles” – (heathen) refers to nations or the unsaved world.

The direction which the believer’s life has turned is to be “honest” (honorable). Honorable implies much more than telling the truth and doing what is right. It carries with it the idea of beauty; that which is admirable, virtuous, or profitable.

There should be nothing in our conduct that will give the unsaved ammunition to attack Christ and the Gospel. Our lifestyle should be distinctively Christian as to serve to encourage others to follow our example.

B. Accusations 12

“that when they speak against you as evildoers” – to slander.

Living and demonstrating the validity of the gospel.

Whether we like it or not, every believer is an advertisement for Christianity; by his life he either commends it to others or makes them think less of it. The strongest missionary force is the world in a Christians life.

1 Peter 3:15-16: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.”

Titus 2:7-8: “in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.”

1 Peter 2:15: “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men...“

C. Observation 12

“they may by your good works which they observe” - checking us out; to gage. Others observe a godly life and a loving witness.

D. Visitation 12

“glorify God in the day of visitation” – God’s visitation is one of grace and mercy whereby non-Christians accept the offer of salvation and glorify God in thankfulness for salvation.

When these people do trust Christ, they will glorify God and give thanks because we were faithful to witness to them even when they made life difficult for us.

J.B. Phillips, in “Letters to Young Churches” translates “visitation” as disasters. Believers and unbelievers alike must face the disasters of life: sickness, financial losses, poverty, death; which result in broken hearts, shattered nerves, and distressed minds. When disaster strikes, the believer has Christ to whom he may turn and find immediate help. (Hebrews 4:14-16). But frequently when an unbeliever, who has been under the influence of a Spirit-filled Christian, meets disaster he will turn to the Christian for help, providing him an opportunity to lead a lost soul to Christ.

None could escape the holy influence of a consecrated follower of Christ.