North Anderson Baptist Church
Living as Servants of God
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  • North Anderson Baptist Church
    2308 N Main St, Anderson, SC 29621, United States
    Sunday 10:30 AM
God’s Word is so relevant for today! Peter knew his times and the people of God. I wonder though, if some who claim the name of Christ today have ever read His Word and have sought to follow His dictates? There are many in this Republic and all over the world who live in a country in which they seek to change their land through other processes than civil disobedience; their desire is to become violent and destructive. Peter speaks forcefully to the believer to submit to those in authority over them. To act in a way to bring honor and glory to the Lord God, through one’s actions as well as one’s words.
There are some people throughout our society and particularly in the area of politics that claim the faith of “Christianity.” Yet, in their words and actions they are quite opposite of what Jesus said and did. Their lives do not point to Christ at all but are truly more of the world of satan than the world and family of God.

Having said that, to begin this message here are the three thoughts we will consider today:
1. Abstain from sin - v. 11-12
2. Submit! - v. 13-15
3. Servants of God - v. 16-17
1. Abstain from sin - V. 11-12

Take a look at what Peter talks about in 2:1 and 2:11. They are similar aren’t they?

Peter seeks to remind us about getting rid of and abstaining from sin that will destroy our lives and witness for Christ.

Once again we see he is addressing those who are aliens and strangers. Don’t get mixed up with labels of today about people; these words just meant that they were not of that pagan culture but citizens of heaven. Then Peter reminds them that they need to, with his “urging,” to get rid of “sinful desires.” Are sins and sinful desires the same? If you have a sinful desire is that sin? What do you think? …

Committing a sin and just having sinful desires surely aren’t the same. You might say, “I didn’t do anything that was sinful, I may have thought something but I didn’t act upon it.” Is this a proper Christian analysis of this issue?...

From the perspective of Scripture, both are sinful. One doesn’t have to act on the sin in one’s heart for it to be sin. Just that desire causes sin in one's life. Peter tells us that we need to abstain from those desires. How can you do that? Purify your heart with the Word of the Lord and seek to have your mind stayed upon Christ. Be careful what you watch, what you listen to and what you read and think about. Satan desires to take a hold of our thoughts as well as our actions.
What do you think Peter means by “sinful desires, which wars against your soul?”
Paul speaks of this same thing in Romans 7:23,
There is a war always going on in our lives. Satan wants to destroy us through any means he can and therefore he will send some temptation to us that will cause us to consider and maybe accept the temptation. There is a spiritual war there. I don’t want to do it and yet there is something in me that wants to do it. A war is going on in my life just like Paul talks about in Romans 7:14-20,
If we yield to these sinful appetites, then we will start living like the unsaved around us, and will become ineffective witnesses. The word translated "war" carries the idea of "a military campaign." We do not win one battle, and the war is over! It is a constant warfare, and we must be on our guard.
Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) - New Testament - The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 2.
We are all on a spiritual military campaign, we are soldiers of the cross and therefore we are to be mindful of the enemy and what he can do but we have a General who leads us by His Holy Spirit and we have the power in this battle to overcome any temptation that comes our way. “The Christian is called upon to enlist in the army of Christ and to engage in that warfare.” TIBExp

Peter goes on to say that we are to live our lives in such a way that the pagans can not accuse us of wrongdoing and dismiss us and what we say about the Lord Jesus.
We do not witness only with our lips; we must back up our "talk" with our "walk." There should be nothing in our conduct that will give the unsaved ammunition to attack Christ and the Gospel. Our good works must back up our good words. Jesus said this in Matthew 5:16,
and the entire Bible echoes this truth.

Do you walk the walk and talk the talk?
Are your actions pointing to Christ and His love?
Do people look at you and say, “He or she is a person of their word?”
Or, are you one of those who people talk about regarding the church and say, “There are too many hypocrites in the church?”

Now with that said, if we are living that good life for Christ, people can see your good deeds and then glorify God, what are the results?
Do people receive Christ because of you?
Do people glorify God because of you?
Particularly, do lost people glorify God because of you?

I will tell you that if you have been a witness to someone about Christ and they come to know Christ, they will truly glorify God because of your witness to them about the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So, as I see it there are two things that can happen when you live your life in front of the world:
1) they can glorify God because of your faithful life and witness to Jesus in words and deeds,
2) they can die and go to hell because of the negative witness you gave, through life, deeds and words, which left a sour taste in their mouth because of who and what you were in the world.
Which would you rather be?

One commentary spoke of this thought, Peter encouraged his readers to bear witness to the lost, by word and deed, so that one day God might visit them and save them. "The day of visitation" could mean, that day when Christ returns and every tongue will confess that He is Lord. But I think the "visitation" Peter mentioned here is the time when God visits lost sinners and saves them by His grace. When these people do trust Christ, they will glorify God and give thanks because we were faithful to witness to them even when they made life difficult for us. Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) - New Testament - The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 2.
In the summer of 1805, a number of Indian chiefs and warriors met in council at Buffalo Creek, New York to hear a presentation of the Christian message by a Mr. Cram from the Boston Missionary Society. After the sermon, a response was given by Red Jacket, one of the leading chiefs. Among other things, the chief said:
"Brother, you say that there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the Book?

"Brother, we are told that you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbors. We are acquainted with them. We will wait a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again of what you have said."
Interpreter's Bible, The - Exposition - The Interpreter's Bible – Volume 12.
2. Submit! - v. 13-15

Christians were to take the authority of the land seriously. Even in that day when the government did not like the Christians and even persecuted them, Peter wanted them to understand that they could give a great witness to all if they followed the laws and submitted to the authorities of the land.

Regardless of the persecution, Peter thought that a witness to Jesus by abiding by the law and authority would be the best way for believers and it would stop foolish and evil talk against Christians and the church. Rome already wanted to have any reason to persecute Christians and Peter didn’t want to give the government any reason to think they could automatically accuse Christians of doing wrong against Rome.

Did you know that you can silence people with good behavior? When you live rightly by God’s help, people have nothing they can accuse you of. At this present time we, the Church of Jesus Christ, are following the “law” given by the authorities in South Carolina to, with caution, worship in our church buildings within restrictions given. Therefore we are not being accused of doing wrong. But, if they do accuse a church or Christians of wrongdoing it will be because they follow God’s law and live by His love.

For instance, I read an article just today (Monday of this week) about the mayor of Chicago sending police to the door of a church on Sunday, pounding on the closed front door, for having church and specifically to tell them to stop the service. This body of believers worshiped with the blessings of God and the city authorities sought to punish them.

Also, John MacArthur’s church in California has been meeting regularly and because they have, they too have been accused of wrongdoing. Just like the Acts experience with Peter and John, these churches are standing for what God says is right and not what the people in authority says is right. Acts 4:18-20,
During these days I have read of many of these kinds of experiences churches have had.

Let me make it clear, we, like many of our sister churches, are doing what is expected of us regarding our government’s regulations during this coronavirus. But, if the police stood at our door pounding on it demanding that we shut down and yet still letting the department and liquor stores stay open, then we would have a problem with the authorities. We are willing to follow the law and have a good witness within the community for the sake of the Gospel and yet we will still be as Biblical as possible.

“When the civil government moves from the assurance of its conduct for the good of all to unjust motives against members of the society and particularly the church, then it is the Christian citizen’s responsibility to be the conscience of the state and point out its error.” (The Broadman Bible Commentary)
3. Servants of God - v. 16-17

Our primary responsibility in this world is to love the Lord and then love our neighbor. Within those responsibilities we are to share Christ and make known the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to all people. We are free people, Jesus has made us free and to whom the Lord has set free we are free indeed. But we willingly become the slaves of Christ! Our freedom comes from Him and He gives us the right and privilege to live as His servants to glorify Him. I choose not to live an evil life, just because I can. Our freedom is not to sin and live in sin but to serve the Savior.

Verse 17 has so much in it that we can see Peter wants the believers of his day to live a righteous and honorable life before God and before men and for Him. To do that we are to:
Respect those around us.
Live a life of humility and
Treat others the way God desires.

In a time like the believers were living, one of the great advantages they had was the “Christian brotherhood” between believers. Loving one another was a great benefit to the church. People were coming out of the world of hatred, evil and idolatry, they needed that physical and spiritual relationship with others whose life were built on the special love of Christ coming from new brothers and sisters. It would give them hope to know others loved them.

I have spoken to many people who seemed to say during this time of the COVID-19 there are many who find themselves isolated and alone, with no one around. How dangerous is that! People who are believers ought to love one another and make sure that they know that their brothers and sisters love and care for them and that they are not alone. How are you doing that for those you know who are alone? Jesus said that His followers ought to love one another as He loved them.
Why would Peter say that believers ought to fear God? Fear here is the thought of “revenant awe” of God. We love and fear God because of who He is. When we cease to fear God there will be trouble. The lost ought to really fear God. The Bible says it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of God.
Peter finishes this thought by saying that believers ought to honor the king. Really? Who was the king then? No king ruled Rome but there was a Caesar, he was Nero who reigned from A. D. 54-68. How could Peter say that the Christians were to honor the king when Nero was the one persecuting them and saying that they were responsible for burning down Rome, when the evidence pointed to Nero, the ruler who did it. (He became infamous for his personal debaucheries and extravagances and, on doubtful evidence, for his burning of Rome and persecutions of Christians. Encyclopaedia Britannica)

The great apostle wanted the believers in the area of Asia Minor to not give Rome any reason to cause Christians troubles. But as a part of the theme Peter is using, Christians were to respect authority and honoring the king (or emperor) without worshiping the king, was the right thing to do. A Christian could bow before the king or the emperor out of respect and honor but then would draw the line at worshiping them or calling them lord, which basically meant that they were to worship the one they called lord. Who do you bow down to and worship, who do you call Lord?
Invitation

God calls every heart to Himself by the Holy Spirit. Is God calling you today by that still small voice you hear in your mind and heart? He desires that you surrender your life and heart to Him and give everything you are to the Living God through Jesus Christ.

How do you do that, you say? Personally ACCEPT that you are a sinner and need to be forgiven of your sin. BELIEVE that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He came to this earth to forgive our sins and redeem us for God through the Cross of Calvary. CONFESS that Jesus is Lord and that He is who He says He is. CONFESS that through His death on a cross and His burial and His resurrection on the third day, He will give to you eternal life and you will live forever more with God in heaven.

If you do this and truly believe it in your heart, then the Bible says that you will be saved and never be put to shame because of your testimony of salvation.
You can’t be saved on your own, it only comes through faith in Jesus and by the grace of God, only!

Invitation

Dear friend if you are reading this by way of the internet please know that you are loved and cared for. If you have no relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son, then I invite you to trust Him by faith and receive Him as your personal Savior. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sin of everyone in the world that they may have eternal life. All of us have sinned and all are guilty before Almighty God who made us to have fellowship with Him. But sin broke that ability to have a relationship and Jesus has restored the possibility to know God personally through His sacrifice. Please know that if you will seek God and turn from your sin and pray He will respond with His love and give to you a personal relationship through your belief in His Son and the sacrifice He made just for you. He will call for a change in your life too. He wants you to follow Him, not the world, not your own desires, but to follow Jesus. That brings a life change when you turn from sin and self and by faith believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. There is no Savior without Him being Lord of your life. Your willingness to change by following Him daily in your life will be the proof of your faith. When life throws its curves your way and you have found yourself broken by others or by the world let us introduce you to the only One who can help you…Jesus! You can write or call the office and we will follow up by contacting you. Office phone number is 864-225-2575 and the website address is www.northandersonbaptist.com and the physical address is 2308 N. Main St., Anderson, SC 29621. Dear friend if you are a believer and you have been touched by the Lord and you would like to talk to someone at the church just contact us in one of the ways you see above. If you are a believer and would like to talk about the church and your interest in being a part, please call and we can set up an appointment for you and get to know you. It would be a great pleasure to share our Lord’s love with you. This is a loving church and you are important to us, so please let us know what we can do for you in the Lord.Pastor Bill Rigsby

http://www.northandersonbaptist.com