Living as Sojourners

We exist as God’s people, as sojourners on the earth.

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A sermon preached on 1 Peter 2:11-17

Listen on podcast here.

Declared and Becoming

Most of our lives are learning how to become and live, with what we already are in our identity.  Take these simple examples:

  • At the age of 18, a boy is now legally identified as a man. And then for the next few decades, this now identified, man, is learning how to live, act, and talk like a man.
  • When you say, ‘I do’ to your spouse, you are legally declared married. And for the next few decades, you also, are learning how to live like a married couple, act within a covenant, and understand what is the life of a married person.

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Is Christ Worth the Cost?

When dying is gain, our fear of death, man, and disease is gone — and Christ is magnified in our death. 

Is It Worth It?

The new iPhone X is now available for pre-order and will be coming out in the beginning of November.  The cost to order is 999$.  The price for one phone is a thousand dollars; and the pre-ordering for this device are off the charts.  In less than an hour of the launch for the iPhone, the wait time for households after the release date is as short as two weeks and as long as five weeks — apparently, the massive chunk of change and the wait have not stopped us from getting this new tech.

This is how we all operate.  We make our decisions on this: is it worth it?  You can say pleasure-driven, what brings satisfaction, joy-junkies, or whatever clever wording you can think of.  The bottom line we have in mind, whether thought out or implied, is this: is it worth it?  Ultimately, this is the question we must keep in mind in regards to Christ, the gospel, and eternity.  Is Jesus worth it?  Is denying myself and killing my sin worth it?  Is entrusting myself to the reproach I will bear, the desires and things I must forsake, and following the hard sayings of Jesus, really worth it?

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Saved to Display Christ

Christian, you were saved to display the excellency of Christ to a self-glorifying world.

We Live to Display

There is not a person in the world who does not display the worth of something.  We have this innate desire to make much of something greater than ourselves and that outside of ourselves.  “Did you see who made the playoffs?” “So, this weekend I went to…”  There must be something of value that we find our value in, that we desire to show as valuable, and something that we so desperately want to invite others in to enjoy it with us.

C.S. Lewis shows us this truth,

The world rings with praise — lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favourite game — praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars…[then they] spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?”

Yet, the things we enjoy aren’t really that outstanding.  Get the new iPhone 8?  You’re going to be outdated with the 10.  Love your job?  It’ll get harder, and besides, your friend’s job is much more interesting.  This is an endless pursuit of self-glory, and nothing holds its luster.  By pointing to ourselves as supremely valuable, we let so many down.  When we tell others that this thing is deserving of the most praise, we lead them astray by overselling and under-delivering.  How sad, selfish, and sinful we are.  We have completely missed true value, ‘our desires are not too strong, but too weak.’

And why do we seek to display what we delight in?  Because we want to find what is most excellent and point others to glory in it with us.  What are we designed to display?  And how do we know?

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Christian, Don’t Follow Your Heart

You followed your heart, he followed the Father’s will.

The Original Instruction

In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1), and all things were created through him and for him (John 1:3; Col. 1:16).  The Triune God existed before creation, God spoke and all things were created through and carried out by Jesus Christ.  The Spirit gave life where the spoken and carried out command of God was given (Gen. 1:2; John 6:63).  So, in Genesis 2 God gives gives the command to work and keep the garden, and that they may eat of any tree in the garden but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they are not to eat or they will surely die (Gen. 2:15-17).

Then, in Genesis 3 before sin and evil exist, human beings did not follow the instruction of God but the understanding of their heart.  Eve tells the serpent, “God said, ‘You shall not eat of of the fruit of the tree [of the knowledge of good and evil]…neither shall you touch it.'” (Gen. 3:3). Eve somehow knew the commands of God, yet she didn’t follow his instruction but her own, and the rest is history as Adam fails to keep the garden and allows his wife to be mislead.  The original instruction of God was poorly heard and followed.

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War and Peace

The Christian is both at peace and at war; peacefully living, warfully walking.

Our Attempts to Bring Peace

Woodstock was originally to establish ‘3 days of Peace’ as depicted on the famous poster of the event.  Over 500,000 – yes, 500,000 – people came to see Hendrix, Joplin, and others come to bring peace to the world through music.  However, during this time of ‘peace’ there was immense chaos surrounding the event.  Drugs were everywhere, three people were killed, and women even went in to labor – all of this going on during these ‘days of peace.’  In an attempt to bring peace and comfort to the world, immense war and chaos was caused as a result of it.

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Remember the Gospel

The good news of Jesus Christ is not the basics we need to revisit but the core of all that we are and all that we do.

This is a Football

One of the most well-known names in all of NFL history is Vince Lombardi.  He is specifically known for coaching the Packers in the 1960’s to five NFL Championships, including winning Super Bowl I and II.  He was known for his strategy, winning seasons, and for the way he ran his practices.  Vince Lombardi held intense practices during the off-season as recorded in his biography.  In the summer of 1961, Lombardi took his professional football team, the Green Bay Packers, walked onto the field holding a football, as the whole team circled around him to listen. He says this, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”

He took 36 professional football players to the basics and to remind them that nobody graduates from what seems elementary.  They needed to be reminded of what they overlooked.  Lombardi would continue to walk his team through the fundamentals of how to block and tackle.  He even took the playbook and started from page 1!

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