What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Bible Book: 1 Peter  1
Subject: Maturity; Growth
Introduction

What do you want to be when you grow up? Well, I must admit, for a while I wanted to be Superman! One Christmas I received a Superman cape, and I tried out my supernatural powers by jumping off the front porch - only to discover that my cape malfunctioned, because I landed face down on the ground. I got up and looked both ways before dusting myself off and walking back into the house to retire my Superman cape.

Later, I wanted to be a policeman or fireman because they had nice-looking uniforms. Then there was the military and cowboy stage, where John Wayne, my hero, encouraged me to fight for the cause.

In a later period of my life I wanted to be an attorney. I enjoyed the television courtroom dramas that led me to believe, falsely, that lawyers spent all their time winning cases before a judge and jury.

In the summer before my senior year in high school, I felt God's touch on my shoulder, as Peter Marshall once described it. I knew the Lord was calling me to preach. Since then I have had the privilege of preaching in many churches, serving as pastor for 29 years, and for the last ten plus years, of being a state missionary.

Studying the Bible is a joy for me, especially the New Testament. I love the gospels, the writings of Paul; and I also enjoy the writings of Peter. I sympathize with Simon Peter because he, like I, fails and trips all over his ego. Yet the Lord uses him in a most significant way despite his flaws and foibles. In Peter's first epistle to his fellow believers, the Lord speaks through him to encourage his contemporaries and those of us today concerning the living of the Christian life. He really is trying to help us understand what we should be in antagonistic culture and society. Peter's God-inspired counsel is as relevant today as it was in the first century. Hear and heed the perfect wisdom of all ages as it applies to our day.

"What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?"

I. AS A FAITHFUL FOLLOWER OF CHRIST BE RESPONSIBLE (vv. 13-17)

A. This calls for diligence.

"So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready... ."

B. This calls for obedience.

"As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into the way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness."

C. This calls for persistence.

"...he's a responsible Father, and won't let you get by with sloppy living."

The late Viktor Frankl once said America needs a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast to balance the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast.

Christians need responsibility in the midst of our liberty.

II. AS A FAITHFUL FOLLOWER OF CHRIST, BE REFLECTIVE (vv. 18-21)

Reflect continually on what Christ has done for you!

A. Reflect on the price God paid (vv. 18-19).

"He paid with Christ's sacred blood ... ."

B.. Reflect on the plan God prepared (vv. 20-21).

"He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. ...God always knew what he was going to do." Travel down memory lane and reflect upon what Christ has done for you!

"What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?"

III. AS A FAITHFUL FOLLOWER OF CHRIST, BE RELATIONAL (vv. 22-25)

"... love one another as if your lives depended on it."

The soldiers and marines fighting in Iraq have to learn to love each other like family because their lives depend upon it.

A. We are living a life conceived by God.

"...your new birth comes from God's living Word."

B. We are to live a life consumed by God.

This is our magnificent obsession!

IV. AS A FAITHFUL FOLLOWER OF CHRIST, BE REDEMPTIVE (2:1-3)

A. Make a clean sweep of what does not honor God.

"Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk."

B. Mature into the kind of Christian who honors God.

"Then you will grow up mature and whole in God."

I was visiting in the home of a fine young couple. They seemed to have everything going for them. A beautiful home was theirs to enjoy. The husband had a lucrative job. I wondered about children. Then I heard footsteps; and before the parents could offer an explanation, a little girl with a squeaky voice came into the room. She was very short. I thought she was five, no more than six, but actually this young lady was in her teens. She had a rare congenital disease that impaired her growth. She would never be normal in size, and she would never be normal in her lifestyle.

"What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?"

I left that home saddened to the point of tears. Then my mind began to think about her situation as a modern-day parable of Christian maturity, or better yet, immaturity.

Perhaps the greatest tragedy of all is for Christians to remain "babes in Christ." We are called to maturity following our conversion. So what does Christ want us to be? In a word: MATURE.

Christian maturity means:

We are to be responsible.

We are to be reflective.

We are to be relational.