Today is not only Christmas, but also communion Sunday here at the Global Vision Bible Church in Mt. Juliet.
We are only covering one verse in our continuing series on 1 Peter. Our pastor does not deviate from his expository series on Christmas, because it always works out that wherever we happen to be in Scripture, the very thing we need to hear will be there.
Regardless of where we build our lives, storms will come. Whether you are saved or not, you will receive the same amount of storms. The question is, how will you weather the storms? With Christ or without?
Peter is reminding his audience that they are now the people of God. We have the same anointing as the Jewish nation did because Jesus broke down the wall between Jew and Gentile. We belong to almighty God. We are His children.
Rules without relationship will always lead to rebellion. God understands this. He wants to build us up in the faith because He has some difficult things to tell us.
1. God balances instruction with affection. We will receive instruction better if He shows us deep affection. God isn’t just trying to take the fun out of life by giving us commandments. We get to do a great deal more as believes than not. There are simply some things we are to avoid. God only handed down the Ten Commandments after delivering the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage.
We are strangers and pilgrims as believers. We are not of this society. We are strangers even in the bodies in which we live, being full of fleshy lusts. Our focus is on things of eternal value, not on things of temporal value. We are only here for a brief time. The rest will be spent in eternity.
2. We are born in this world but we do not belong to this world. We have to learn how to live here but we are not to be consumed by what this world is. The world will pass away along with the lusts that it contains.
The moment you are born, you begin to die. Our bodies break down and fall apart. But our bodies are just “housing units” that we someday get to leave.
3. Spiritual growth is a choice and the choice is yours. So often we choose ungodliness; we give into the will of the flesh. We know the places we should not go and the things we should not do. Jesus did not die just so we could live life any way we jolly well please. People are filled with lust, and not just of a sexual sort. We also lust after money and material things, etc.
Unfortunately, Christmas has become a reason for more, bigger and better, and we seem to have completely lost the message of Christmas.
There are going to be temptations in life. The devil wants us to get down and discouraged.
Our hearts must be made pure because we are naturally not pure.
4. Life’s greatest battles will be fought from within you. Take your thoughts captive or they will take you captive. Yes, we sometimes have to fight external battles, but the hardest ones are fought with ourselves. We are at war with our own flesh. We don’t struggle with other people’s thought life and anger. We struggle with our own. When we lash out at others we are really only feeding the beast within us. The devil doesn’t make us do anything. Yes, he is a deceiver and a liar, but we are to blame for our own choices.
I am my own biggest enemy. Even the apostle Paul admitted that the things he did are what he didn’t want to do, and the things he wanted to do he didn’t do. We have to choose spirituality. We only get the fruits of the spirit after submission to God. We have to choose to serve God over ourselves. There will be no crown-bearers in heaven who weren’t cross-bearers on earth.
Jesus came to make us holy and give us victory over temptation. This is the greatest Christmas message that can be preached.