PHBC December 21, 1997

Series: First Peter, Ser. #34

A PLEA FOR PURITY AMONG PILGRIMS


TEXT: 1 Peter 2:11-12 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

INTRO: Having reminded these pilgrims that they are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and Godís own precious and special people, the inspired apostle proceeds to issue to them a plea for purity. He calls on them to abstain from world lusts and to conduct themselves before the pagan world in a manner that would eventually redound to the glory of God.

I would remind you that Peter is writing as he was moved along or born along by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, that which he writes is an entreaty from God himself, not just from the apostle.

I read a statement several years ago by some preacher who wrote, "The greatest scandal of this generation of Christians is the low-grade of Christian living." I suspect that is the reason we find in the word of God so many admonitions, pleas, commands and entreaties to live as we ought in this world. Jesus called it "letting our light shine before men. Paul called it walking "circumspectly." He also admonished that we follow that which is good with all men.

THE BASIS OF PETERíS PLEA FOR PURITY

The wonderful things concerning them and us which he had just enumerated serve as a basis for this plea for purity.

We are a chosen people who were chosen that we should be holy and without blame. Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.

We are a royal priesthood and are to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God, something we cannot do if we do not abstain from fleshly lusts. 1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

We are a holy nation and a holy people will be under siege from Satan and the world in an attempt to bring us down, therefore, we must be constantly pursue holiness. Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

We are a special and precious people to God and must be zealous of good works. Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

We are a beloved people regardless of how the world may feel about us.

We are the objects of Godís people.

Peter used this term of endearment with these saints. 2 Peter 2:11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. 2 Peter 3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance. 2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. He even used it of Paul, who had once withstood him to the face for his conduct. 2 Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you.

Paul used this term of endearment with those to whom he wrote. Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 1 Corinthians 4:14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. 1 Corinthians 10:14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 1 Thessalonians 1:4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

James was another who used this term of love for his brethren. James 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. James 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

Jude also used such terms of endearment. Jude 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.

John was a frequent user of this term. 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 3 John 2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

Even more important and wonderful, we are beloved of God. Romans 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 9:25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. Romans 11:28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

We are pilgrims and not of this world and fleshly lusts are of this world therefore we should abstain from them as good citizens of heaven. 1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

We are in a war and fleshly lusts war against our very soul so must be abstained from. 1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.

We are being observed by others who are not saved and must, for their sake and the glory of God abstain from fleshly lusts. 1 Peter 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Many in the pagan world of that day would speak evil of Christians as they do in the world today.

Some of these would later, perhaps, be graciously and savingly visited by God thus, what they had spoken of hatefully would become a cause of praise to them and glory to God.

James tells us that the trouble Christians and churches have among themselves are caused by these fleshly lusts. James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

The love of material things will war against the soul. 1 Timothy 6:9-10 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Donít ever doubt it; there is a war to fight if we are to abstain from fleshly lusts. Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

THE CONTENT OF THE PLEA FOR PURITY

The plea beseeches us to abstain from worldly lusts.

Paul defines some of the things after which the flesh lusts. Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Paul makes a similar plea in his letter to the Roman Christians. Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We do not owe the flesh anything that would obligate us to satisfy its lusts. Romans 8:12-13 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

John warns of this deadly enemy called the lust of the flesh. 1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

The plea calls on us to conduct ourselves honestly or honorably before the world. 1 Peter 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

The word translated honest is from the Greek word kalos {kal-os'}.

It is an adjective and is translated good 83 times, better 7 times, honest 5 times.

The word means beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable, praiseworthy, noble, morally good.

Peter instructs wives that they may win their husbands by living godly lives before them. 1 Peter 3:2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

We are admonished to put off the old man with his lusts. Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.

HEADING THE PLEA FOR PURITY HAS GREAT EFFECTS

Those who now speak evil of us may eventually look at us in a whole new light. 1 Peter 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Some may even come to admit that God indeed dwells in us. 1 Corinthians 14:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

Jesus taught a similar lesson. Matthew 5:13-16 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

We must always bear in mind that we are to be lights even in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Philippians 2:15-16 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

CONC: This is another of those messages where I feel I have barely scratched the surface in setting forth what may be found in Scripture on this matter of living pure and holy lives before the world. One never knows when his or her godly life may be used of God instrumentally in the salvation of a sinner.

 

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