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Sunday, September 19, 2021

“Be Holy In All You Do” [Matt's Messages]

“Be Holy In All You Do”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
September 19, 2021 :: 1 Peter 1:13-16

“Be holy in all you do.”

That’s in 1 Peter 1:15, and it is also the title of this message.

And it is also God’s direct Word to Lanse Free Church today: “Be holy in all you do.”

How does that command hit you today? How does it rest on you?

What do you think and feel and wonder as you read it and hear it today?  

“Be holy in all you do.”

There is a part of me that thrills when I hear those words. They are thrilling.

I hear an invitation to live a different kind of life.

That’s what “holy” means, right? To be “holy” means to be different. It means to be set apart. Put in a different category. To be special. To be distinct. To be different.

We often equate “holy” with “pure,” and that’s right because what could be more different than the world than being pure?

Sometimes when I read these words, I feel an exciting invitation to live a different kind of life. A life like God’s own life.

That’s where Peter gets this. He says (v.15), “[J]ust as he who called you is holy [God], so be holy in all you do; for is written [Leviticus 19:2] ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”

That’s an invitation to live like God does! 

“Be holy in all you do.”

That’s very inspiring and rightfully so.

But, most of the time, that’s not the first thing that I think or feel when I hear those words.

Most of the time, I feel overwhelmed. I feel defeated. 

Most of the time, my first thought is, “Sounds nice, but I’ll never get there.”

Especially with that word “all” in there. “Be holy in ALL you do.”

I can often feel defeated in holiness before I even start trying.

Can you relate to that?

I hope not, but I expect you probably can.

That’s why Peter does not begin his letter in verse 15.

We’re starting today’s message with those words, but we are not hearing them until the fourth message in this series.

For the first 12 verses of his letter (what we’ve read so far), Peter gives no commands whatsoever. Zero. That very long sentence in Greek? Verses 3 through 12? Last 2 sermons? No commands.

Peter began his letter–not with commands but–with reminders. He began by reminding these precious believers WHO they are and WHOSE they are in some of the most beautiful and powerful words ever recorded on paper.

I’m tempted to read verses 1 through 12 to you again.

About how we are elect exiles. So very loved even though we’re so very displaced. 

And about how we are chosen and given new birth into a living hope, a perfect and safe inheritance that is being kept perfectly safe for us in heaven and for which we are being kept perfectly safe here while we wait for the revelation of Jesus Christ.

About a living hope that is worth rejoicing in even through fiery trials because of Jesus Christ whom we have not yet seen and yet still love and trust and rejoice in and know in ways that the prophets didn’t and the angels never will.

That’s how Peter starts his letter!

So that the holy flows out of the hope.

Do you see that? We’re going to drill down into that idea today.

The holiness flows out of the hopefulness.

And that gives me hope for the holiness!

“Be holy in all you do.”


The very first word in verse 13 is “therefore.”

And whenever you see a “therefore” in Scripture, you know you should always try to figure out, what?  What it’s there for.

This is a hinge moment in the letter. Peter has not given us any commands so far. 

But now he’s going to fire them out at us left and right.

There are like 7 in our 4 verses for today!

And there are a bunch more to come. That’s what it’s there for. Peter has already reached the “so what” of the truth he’s been proclaiming so far. And the “so what” is really really big.

I want to summarize the application today under two main headings:

100% HOPE and 100% HOLY.

#1. 100% HOPE. 

Listen now to 1 Peter 1, verse 13.

“Therefore [because of everything you’ve read in the first 12 verses of this letter, therefore], prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

100% Hope.

The main command in verse 13 is to “set your hope fully on the grace to be given to you...”

Put all of your hope, 100%, on that grace that is coming your way.

Put all of your eggs in that basket.
Put all of your chips on that number.
Put all of your investment funds in that one single stock.

Do not diversify your hope.

Rest all of your hope, 100%, on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed (same exact words in the Greek, by the way as in verse 7, “at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” when Jesus Christ comes back).

What does that mean, “set your hope”?

Do you remember what we said “hope” is in this context? Biblical hope?

It’s not just wishful thinking.

It’s not “Oh, I hope Heather Joy bakes me a Texas Sheet Cake.”

By way, I still have not gotten a Texas Sheet Cake this month.

You know why? Because Heather Joy never promised me one!

It’s just been wishful thinking on my part. The other kind of hope.

But if Heather Joy was to promise me a Texas Sheet Cake, then based upon who I know her to be, I could hope for it in this way.

Because this kind of hope is a confidence in the heart of something certain in the future. A confidence in the heart of something certain still in the future.

The Apostle Peter says that we should put 100% of our hearts’ confidence in the grace that is going to be given to us when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Now, I want you to focus on that word “grace” in verse 13.

Because that’s what we’re supposed to put our hope in. Hope fully in the grace.

What is grace? Grace is unmerited blessing. Undeserved goodness.

Grace is getting something you do not deserve.

Grace is not getting something bad that you do deserve and it’s also getting all the good that you do not deserve.

And that’s very encouraging!

Because the command to be holy in verse 15 comes after the reminder that we are going to be graced beyond belief when Jesus Christ returns. The holy flows from the hope.

We are not supposed to be holy so that we somehow earn God’s blessings.

No! It doesn’t work that way. We are going to get God’s blessings because God is amazing gracious and has promised it to us.

We are going to get God’s blessings because Jesus Christ died for us and came back to life for us and is coming back soon to give us grace upon grace.

This does not say to put your hope in you or your own efforts.

Or on anything else!

It says “set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 100%.

Now, how do you do that?

Well, it’s important to know what is going to be given to you, isn’t it?

And that’s what Peter has been talking about, especially in verses 3 through 5, right? That inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. That’s the grace!

Wrap your mind around that inheritance and put your hope in it 100%.

And you will grow in holiness!

We have so much good coming TO us soon that we can BE good right now.

Peter gives two other commands in verse 13 that shed some light on how to do this (because they are participles that modify the main verb). Verse 13 again.

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled...”

Now, literally, the Greek for “prepare your minds for action” could be more woodenly translated “gird up the loins of your mind.” Which sounds more than a little weird.

You see, the Jews in Peter’s day wore long flowing robes that reached their ankles. And any of you ladies who have ever tried to run in a dress can tell that kind of clothing could be dangerous in a battle. So when it was time to fight, they would hitch up their outer clothes and tuck it into their belts so that they could run. That’s what “to gird up your loins means.” And this says, to gird up the loins of your mind.

Get your mind ready to fight. Prepare your mind for action.

Like when your favorite superheroes say, “Suit up!” They are getting ready to fight.

We need to get our game face on and get ready to fight for hope and for holiness.

How do you do that? You think about truth! You stock up your mind with the truth of the grace that’s on the way so that you can fight the right-now battles of hope.

You can’t hope with your heart unless you think with your head about the promises God has given you in Christ. Fill your mind with the promises of vv.3-12 and the command to hope in v.13 will not be so hard.

Then, “be self-controlled.” The Greek word here has an overtone of sobriety. The CSB and the ESV both have “be sober-minded.”

It means to be sensible. To be reality based. To be vigilant because you expect there to be a fight in your life.
 
Notice, again, that Peter is completely realistic.

Even though he has just described the most wonderful and bright future ever imagined for every true believer in Jesus Christ, he is completely sober about the bleak situation in the present.

These people are hurting, and that is normal.

And that is normal for you and. Christians hurt in the here now.

We are broken and we live in a broken world because we are not home yet to our unbroken homeland.

We need to realistic. We need to be sober-minded. We need to wrap our minds around that and focus beyond the pain of now to the joy of forever.

“Set your hope fully on the grace to be given to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

100%.

How are you doing at that?

I can guess that you are not running yet at 100%. Nobody does.

But what are you hoping in these days?

The stability of your job?
The enjoyment of your “family-togetherness?”
The pleasure of professional or collegiate sports?
The comfort of your entertainment system?
The approach of hunting season?
The brilliance of your intellect to plan out your life?
The pile of money in your bank account?
The government?

What are you hoping in?

“Set your hope fully on the grace to be given to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

It is not here yet, but it is more than enough to empower you to do whatever you need to do to be holy right now.

Because holiness comes from hope!

And that’s where Peter goes next:

#2. 100% HOLY. 

V.14. “As obedient children [who obey this command to hope], do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance [of the gospel]. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” 100% Holy.

Again, Peter is very realistic here. Very sober.

Yes, he says that we need to go for 100% holy, but he knows that it won’t come naturally. He knows that we will have to get ready for action and to resist. Look at verse 14 again.

“As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance...” 

“I know you used to live that way. You used to just give in to those desires. They are natural to you.

You didn’t know about the grace, the undeserved goodness, that you will be getting because of Jesus. So of course you lived that way! Of course you gave in.

You went with the world, the flesh, and the devil.

But now, you don’t have to because of your new Dad.”

Did you see those words “as obedient children”? Remember that you and I have been chosen for adoption and even given a new birth into a new family and a whole new set of desires to follow!

“As obedient children [of our new Father we don’t have to conform...], to the evil desires [we] had when [we] lived in ignorance” back in the day!

We can and must say, “No.” “No” to those desires.

You see how our holiness flows from our hopefulness? We have so much good coming TO us soon because of our Father that we can BE good right now.

If I knew that I had Texas Sheetcake coming later today, I would not eat junk food all afternoon! Because of the good stuff I know is on the way, I could resist the evil desires that wage war against my soul.

And instead of giving in to those evil desires that still linger inside of us, we can be holy. V.15

“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” 100%

Holy, holy, holy.

Now, at first, that might seem overwhelming and daunting.

He’s holy, holy, holy. How can I be like Him?

But of course, that’s the just the right standard and the right motivation, isn’t it?

If God is holy, holy, holy, what other standard would be appropriate for His children to shoot for?

He is holy, holy, holy, but I plan to be dirty, dirty, dirty?

Or maybe dirty, sorta clean, dirty. Good enough?

Remember, this is an invitation to live like God does. To live a different kind of life.

And isn’t it amazing that Peter just lays it out there like it is actually do-able?!!!

Have you ever studied the life of Peter?

Peter? From the Gospels, and Acts, and Mr. Still Getting It Wrong in Galatians?

That Peter?

But Peter knows about the grace that is on the way, and he knows that this “holy” is the perfect standard and the perfect motivation.

I mean, don’t you want to be like your heavenly Father?

“[J]ust as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” 

Just do it.

You won’t do it perfectly, but don’t worry, your salvation does not come from doing it perfectly.

Your salvation comes from Jesus and what He did perfectly.

And you will receive all of that by grace!

So put your hope in that grace and be holy in all you do.

“Be holy in all you do.”

That means all of the time. Not just on Sundays. Not just an act.

“Be holy in all you do.” 

That means a lifestyle of holiness. Some translations say, “Be holy in all your conduct.”

“Be holy in all you do.”

That means there is no sector of your life that should not be saturated with holiness.

Be holy at work.
Be holy at play.
Be holy at school.
Be holy on the roadway.
Be holy in your words.
Be holy in your relationships.
Be holy in your parenting.
Be holy in your neighboring.
Be holy in your hobbies.
Be holy with your money.
Be holy in your entertainments.
Be holy online.
Be holy on social media.
Be holy in your habits.

“Be holy in all you do.”

This is an invitation to live differently than the rest of the world.

We’re going to see this again and again as we study 1 Peter.

He wants us to live differently than the unbelieving world around us.

How are you doing at that?

Does your life look different than the lives of the unbelievers around you?

Or are you just like them?

And I don’t just mean that you aren’t a criminal.

I mean, this is more than just following the outside of the 10 Commandments.
This is living out the inside of the Sermon on the Mount.
This is exhibiting the holy fruit of the Holy Spirit.

“Be holy in all you do.”

Take this to heart. This is God’s direct Word to you today.

Right now, from your heart, I encourage you to ask the Lord to show you areas in your life that are not currently holy as they should be. Ask specifically about your desires, any evil ones, any desires out of control, out of proportion. Ask the Lord to put His holy finger on your unholiness, and then offer that area up to Him in prayer.

Say, “Lord, I want to be holy in all I do. Please forgive me for that thing you’ve put your finger on. I confess it. Cleanse me of all unrighteousness. And help me to change. Because I believe I have so much goodness coming to me soon, I can be good right now. I can live differently. I can live out the family resemblance. I can be holy.

Make me 100%. Get me ready for battle. Help me to be sober about this and how hard it will be, but make me 100% holy.”

What might happen if we begin to actually live like verses 13 through 16?

Setting our hope fully on the grace that is on the way.

And living genuinely authentically different lives than the unbelievers around us.

What might happen?

“Be holy in all you do.”

I think that sounds simply thrilling!


***

Previous Messages in This Series

01. "Elect Exiles" 1 Peter 1:1-2
02. "A Living Hope" 1 Peter 1:3-7
03. "Angles Long To Look Into These Things" 1 Peter 1:8-12

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