Listen to audio above while following along below to the transcript (also available for download in ?Word from www.biblestudyministriesinc.com)
Welcome all. We’re happy to see you, and we remind you all that our Lord really does delight in you, and we can’t hear that too many times. Before we look in the Word, I’d like to share a verse actually from Proverbs 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of Life.” Literally, the Hebrew is, “In all your keeping, keep your heart.” If you’re wrong there, you are wrong everywhere. Out of it comes the issues of life. Your heart affects your tongue and your hands and your feet and everything, and your mind. Let’s commit our time to the Lord, and in a special way let’s look at the issues of the heart.
Father, thank You for gathering us again and thank You for such a long time ago inspiring this epistle of Peter. We pray that the indwelling Holy Spirit who lives in us now would take the written Word and unfold it and show us the Lord Jesus in a fresh way. Lord, we always want to see Jesus. Thank You that we can trust You for that. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Once again welcome. We’re looking at the Lord Jesus as the Holy Spirit proposes Him to us in this wonderful epistle of 1 Peter. Let me just state once again as a review the heart of 1 Peter, the prevailing revelation of Christ in 1 Peter is that He is the pilgrim after God’s heart. It’s Jesus who is the ideal Pilgrim. Now, it’s true with a little “p” that we are also pilgrims. We don’t live in this world. We reside here, but it’s not our home. 1 Peter 2:11, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers,” and KJV says “pilgrims”, “to abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.” “We are not qualified,” Peter says, “to be pilgrims.” There’s only one who is qualified, and that’s the Lord Jesus. He lived as a Pilgrim when He was on the earth, and now He has come in our hearts to live again the Pilgrim Life. What He did in His incarnate body He now does in His mystical body.
1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” The living hope comes from the Living Savior. He is alive and He is alive in me. 1 Corinthians 15:17, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless and you are still in your sin.” Everything depends on the Living Christ. Without His Life I’m a dead man. With His Life I have hope, a Living Hope, the resurrection and the Living Christ.
Although Peter speaks of the pilgrim life, as you go through 1 Peter, he is not tracing the path of the pilgrim. He’s not showing us how to navigate this life. Are you familiar with “Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan, his two volumes? Volume one is how he came to the Lord and volume two finally ow his wife and children came to the Lord. I don’t know any other uninspired writing that I have read more times that the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” and I like to read it in the original because it has all the verses, as well, the Bible verses as he goes along.
“Pilgrim’s Progress”, let me say a word about it. It’s both like 1 Peter and unlike 1 Peter. It’s like 1 Peter in that it is the fruit of suffering. We wouldn’t have “Pilgrim’s Progress” if John Bunyan didn’t go through a pretty hard time. Mr. Bunyan found Christ as his life. He was connected with the formal Church of England, and he became a non-conformist, and they didn’t like that. At the Church of England they said, “You’ve got to conform to the way we do things,” and it was mostly ritual, and all. So, when he was preaching Christ one day during one of the services they came and had him arrested, and they arrested him on the grounds of an unlawful assembly. Does that sound familiar? And he was told not to preach Christ anymore, but to conform to the Church of England.
He had a hard decision to make, but he was true to the Lord. The reason why it was a hard decision, he said it was the hardest he ever made, was because he had a wife and six children, and one of his children, Mary, was blind, and he was so concerned about his blind child. So, when he made that decision, they imprisoned him, and he stayed in prison for 12 ½ years. It was during that 12 ½ years that he wrote the “Pilgrim’s Progress.”
So, I say that it’s like Peter in that it’s the fruit of suffering. He traces out the path that the pilgrim faced, from the time he gets saved until he gets to heaven, and very graphically. I don’t know if you’ve read it. I’m giving you this to encourage you. He’s very allegorical. It begins in the City of Destruction, and a man named Evangelist comes and shows the only way out of the City of Destruction, and he’ll guide you to the Celestial City, and all of that. It’s very, very wonderful. He described the places that the pilgrim stopped along the way. It’s easy reading because you can identify with that. We’ve all been saved from the City of Destruction, and I think we’ve had our burden rolled off our shoulder at the hill called Calvary, and I know I have spent some time in Doubting Castle, and how many of us have been in the Valley of Humiliation and the Slough of Despond? He goes through all of these places.
We’ve also been in the Interpreter’s House. I’ve been enticed at Vanity Fair. He describes all of these places. We’ve been delighted at the Delectable Mountain, and I love that particular section. We’re heading toward the Celestial City. Anyway, he traces the path. Peter doesn’t do that. He does something a little different. And along the path the pilgrim meets different people, like he meets Mr. Worldly Wiseman, and so you can guess how John develops that, and then there’s Mr. Legality and Mr. Talkative, and Mr. Hypocrisy and Mr. Timid, and so on. Then he meets somebody named Faithful, and Prudence and Chastity and all of that. When his wife and kids take the same journey, there are different places that they stop, and they meet different people. His wife met somebody who was named Feeble Minded and Ready to Halt, and all that kind of thing. Anyway, John Bunyan traces out the path, and Peter traces out the pilgrim heart, the direction of the heart. It’s very much different to see the direction of the heart.
When we left off, we were discussing the increased vision that Peter had of Jesus from the gospels thirty years earlier to how he sees Jesus now, and his vision had greatly increased. When we left off, we were in the process of looking at chapter 1, and it’s all about Jesus, well, everything is all about Jesus, but in chapter 1 he shows how Jesus relates to the Godhead, and how Jesus relates to angels, and how Jesus relates to Christians, and then how Jesus relates to the world. We didn’t get that far, but Lord willing that’s where we’ll be today.
In our discussion we’ve completed the first three, almost. In His relation to the Godhead, Christ is central in the Godhead. All of God’s dealings with you must come through Jesus. All of my dealings with God must go through Jesus. In God’s revelation of Himself to man He has made Christ central in the Godhead. And then to angels, we saw 1 Peter 1:12, “Things angels desire to look into,” and it had to do with the prophets prophesying of Messiah and Christ, and His suffering and His glory, and the angels desired to look into that. Hebrews 1:6, “When He brings the firstborn into the world, He says, ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him.’” Trillions of angels, and everyone was bowing before the manger worshipping the Lord Jesus when He came into the world.
In His relationship to Christians, and we ended up with that, we were showing how He relates to us intimately and progressively, but He comes in as a seed, and He produces after its kind. Every seed produces after its kind. My guarantee that I’ll be like Jesus, His seed is in me. His Son is in me, and it must produce after its kind. That seed not only produces in me, but here is the transition to the next part, as He grows in me, He becomes a tree of life bearing fruit of the Spirit, so others can feed from me. So, in me He’s the seed conforming me to His image, and then through me He grows a tree of life, so others can receive that. 1 John 3:9, “No one who is born of God practices sin because His seed abides in him.” 1 Peter 1:23, “You have been born again, not of the seed, which is perishable, but imperishable, that is through the living and enduring Word of God.” I’ll pass over verses 6 & 7 at this time.
As the Life of God, the Seed, the Lord Jesus develops in me, I’m becoming more and more like Christ. From the outside it looks like I’m changing. I’m not changing. You are seeing more of Jesus. As you grow in Christ, others will think you’ve changed, but you’re just allowing the Lord to live, and they’re seeing Him. They think you’ve changed.
This second part is that tree of life growing in us. That’s in other places in the Bible. For example, Proverbs 3:18, talking about wisdom as Christ, “She is a tree of life to all who take hold of her. Happy are those who hold her fast.” Proverbs 11:30, watch how He ties it in with others, with soul winning, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.” See, our fruit is the tree of life, and that leads to soul winning. That’s just the transition. The difference between the tree of life in us and the tree of life in the Garden of Eden was that the tree of life in the Garden of Eden was one. There was only one tree of life, but now because he lives in you and me, the tree of life is everywhere for sinners to partake. It’s a marvelous illustration. I like John 14:12 in that connection, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to the Father.” In his new body His ministry is greatly multiplied. When He lived in His incarnate body, if He was in Jerusalem, He wasn’t in Bethany. If He was in Bethany, He wasn’t in Jericho. If He was in Jericho, He wasn’t in Capernaum. If He was in Capernaum, He wasn’t in Galilee. Now He lives in His new body, and He’s in Europe and He’s in China and He’s in Asia. Everywhere there’s a Christian, and any Christian who has learned the Life of Christ, has become a tree of Life, and they’re feeding off of Him. That’s just to get us back to where we left off.
This aspect of manifesting Christ, we call that redemptive living. This morning I hope that by God’s assistance we are able to nail down what exactly that means, that everything is redemptive in my life. We’re talking about the manifestation, the outworking of Christ. 1 Peter 2:9, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” This proclaiming the excellencies of Him, that’s what we’re talking about when we say it’s redemptive. The Apostle Paul worded it this way, 2 Corinthians 4:10-11, “Always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the Life of Jesus may be manifested in our body. We who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the Life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”
Let me now focus on that: Christ related to God, Christ related to angels, Christ related to Christians, and now how does He relate to the world? We’re going to look at this expression, “everything is redemptive,” but I’m not going to be looking right away at pilgrim, little “p”. We don’t want to start with us, with the Christian. We want to look at the Pilgrim with all caps, the real Pilgrim. We want to look at the Lord Jesus. Otherwise, I think we’ll completely miss the point of what it means to live a redemptive life. He’s the One who lives in us to live redemptively. So, we need to see how He did it. If we think living redemptively just means that God allows all of this in my life, and it’s for them, you’re missing the point. It’s more than that; it’s bigger than that.
Luke 10:19, certainly there’s evidence that it’s for them, “For the Son of Man is come to seek and save that which is lost.” We can’t throw that verse out. He came to seek and save the lost. His suffering was clearly redemptive. It was for them. 1 Peter 1:18, “It was for us, knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished, spotless, the blood of Christ.” Our redemption came through His blood. It was that He suffered redemptively so that you can sit here today. 1 Peter 2:22, “He committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth. Being reviled, He did not revile in return. While suffering, He uttered no threat, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously, and He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the cross.” He suffered for us, redemptive. His suffering was for others. 1 Peter 3:18, “Christ died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” So, I can’t say that Jesus didn’t come for people. He did. He came to seek and save people, but if that’s as closely as we look at it, we miss the direction of His heart. The direction of His heart was not for people. We need to understand that.
The goal of His heart, of His suffering, if we think it was missions, soul winning, evangelism, to win the lost, I think we’re missing what the real Pilgrim life is, and what redemptive living is. Please pray as I attempt to share this next principle, that the Holy Spirit would really open our eyes. This becomes such a vital principle. What we’re looking at is the Pilgrim, the real One, Jesus, and I showed you that He lived a redemptive Life. He suffered, and we know that it was vicarious and was for others, but to conclude, therefore, that His goal was souls, missions, evangelism, is to miss a great emphasis in the Bible, and in 1 Peter. We know He came to redeem, and He came to save and He came to deliver and He came to rescue and He came to recover and He came to reconcile. We don’t say that didn’t happen. We know that, and there are plenty of passages to show that, but here’s the question; as He lived on the earth, what was His focus? Redemption was the end, but was that His focus? What was the means? When He lived in His incarnate body as a perfect Pilgrim, what was the direction of His heart? Ultimately it ended up as redemption, but that was not His focus.
Let me dip into the gospel record and try to set this before you. My reference is something Jesus said to His disciples when He was at the well in Samaria with the Samaritan woman. Remember that they went into town to buy food and they came back after He had discussed salvation with the hungry woman. John 4:32, “He said to them, ‘I have food to eat you do not know about.’ So, the disciples were saying to one another, ‘No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and accomplish His work.’” That was the driving passion of His heart, “My food, my meat, my diet is to do the will of My Father.”
In John 5 the Jews were seeking to kill Him because they thought He was blaspheming by making Himself equal with His Father. John 5:30, “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge. My judgment is just. I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” That’s how the ideal Pilgrim lived, “I do nothing on My own. My meat is to do His will. My food is to do His will. I’ve come to do His will.” Watch the direction of His heart. John 6:38, “I’ve come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” Once again, He’s addressing grumbling Jews there, and He said, “I want you to see the direction of My heart. I came to do His will.” What I’m trying to show you is, yes, His Life was redemptive, but that wasn’t the direction of His heart. The direction of His heart was always toward the One who was living inside of Him, His indwelling Father. He said, “All I want to do is to do His will.”
Recently, a book has been published and has swept through the visible church. It’s called “The Purpose Driven Church”. I don’t know if you are familiar with that, but it suggests what the purpose should be. Brother Warren in his book focuses on “if you want a growing church and a vibrant church, the purpose should be others, the great commission.” I know there’s a place for that as a by-product, but that can not be the goal. Jesus was not driven because He had a passion for souls. He was driven because He had a passion for the will of God. He had a passion to please the One who lived inside of Him. John 8:29, “He who sent Me is with Me, and He’s not left Me alone. I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” That’s where the heart of Jesus was. That’s the zeal that ate Him up. That was His food. That was His diet and His meat. This passion, “All I care about, the One that lives inside of Me, what does He want, what pleased Him, what satisfies Him, what is His will, I want to obey, I want to follow, I want to do what He says.”
When He was one day away from redemption, the cross, you remember that it came to a climax in Gethsemane, Luke 22:42, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from Me, yet not My will but Thine be done.” He submitted to the will of the One, and then that became redemptive, but redemption wasn’t the goal. The goal was that He would satisfy His Father. 1 Peter 2:23, “While being reviled, He did not revile in return. While suffering, He uttered no threat,” and notice this next part, please, “He kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.” How did Jesus live? Whatever came into His life, all of the undeserved suffering, He just kept trusting the One that lived inside of Him. He said, “All I want is Your will, all I want is Your pleasure, all I want to do is what satisfies You, and I’m going to trust You,” and when suffering came in, He said, “Lord, I accept it. I give You thanks.” Every moment He lived on earth, that is the direction of His heart, and the issues of His heart. His life was redemptive because He didn’t focus on being redemptive. He focused on satisfying the One who indwelt Him.
Then what do we read? Listen to 2 Corinthians 5:19, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses.” You say that Jesus reconciled the world. God inside of Jesus was the One reconciling the world. Jesus’ focus was toward God, and God’s focus was toward the world. We need to see that. That’s how He lived. He lived to please the One who lived in Him. God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. God is the One that was reaching out. God was in Christ reconciling the world. You see, Jesus just lived to please the Father, the Father in Him. He said, “I do nothing on My own initiative. I don’t go anywhere unless He tells Me to go.” The One who lived inside Him told Him where to find the leper. He went in obedience to the Lord, and that’s why He must needs go through Samaria, because God the Father had made an appointment with Him to meet the Samaritan woman. He’s not looking for the Samaritan. He’s looking to obey God, and God told Him where that Samaritan woman was, and God told Him where that demon possessed man was in Gadaria, and the nobleman, and the centurion, and the woman of Canaan. He just said, “Where do You want Me to go today? Okay, I’ll go, I’ll go.”
Things happened in His life, and He just said, “Thank You, thank You, I just want You pleased, I’ll just do what You say, I’ll go wherever You send Me.” His life became redemptive, not because His goal was missions, or His goal was evangelism. His life became redemptive because His focus was on the One who lived in His heart. We’ll never know what it is to appreciate what it means to live redemptively, or the sufferings of our Lord Jesus, without seeing His focus. All through His life He accepted whatever was God’s will, and that became redemptive. Isaiah 53:4, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried, yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”
He didn’t take those sufferings from sinners. He was “smitten of God.” It was from the Father, because God knows that will be redemptive. God allows it in my live because He chooses what is redemptive. Isaiah 53:10, “But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief…” Who put Him to grief, and who crushed Him? The Romans, the Jews, sinners? It was the Father. It was His cup, “Shall I not drink the cup the Father gave Me?” That’s how He lived. He lived in that union with His Father. Acts 4:27, “Truly, in this city there were gathered together against Your holy Servant, Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.” They did it and they’re guilty, but He did because He knew it would be redemptive. So, Jesus just said, “Whatever You want to bring into My life, You bring that in, and I’ll just submit to You, and I’ll keep entrusting Myself to You.” Zachariah 13:7, same idea, “’Awake, oh sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man, my Associate,” declares the Lord of hosts, ‘Strike the Shepherd, that the sheep may be scattered.’”
Who did it? We say, “Christ died for me,” and He did. Christ died for sinners, and He did, but Christ died for God. That’s who He died for, in obedience to the Father. He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. His death was in obedience to the Father. Why? It’s because of the Father’s love for the world, and for sinners. They were at enmity with Him, and He loved them so much that He was willing to sacrifice His Son. Because the heart of Jesus was set on the Father’s pleasure, His heart was also set on sinners, because that was the Father’s pleasure.
I’m not suggesting that Christ doesn’t love you, and that only the Father does. The opposite is true. Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church.” He loves them, too. He loved the church. Ephesians 5:2, “Walk in love, just as Christ loved you and gave Himself up for us an offering, a sacrifice.” I attempt to show you how the Pilgrim, the real Pilgrim, the ideal Pilgrim, the divine Pilgrim did it, because Peters says, “That is your example, that’s your model.” When we say all things are redemptive, we’re not suggesting that our focus should now be on others and ministry and all of that, and programs. To live the pilgrim life, well listen to John 6:57, “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me will also live because of Me.” “My meat is to do the will of Him who sent Me.” What’s your meat? We need to feed on Christ, the same way. He’s the One who indwells us, the same way He depended on the One who indwelt Him. John 20:21, “Jesus said to them, ‘Peace be with you, as the Father sent Me, so send I you.’” You see how I did it? Now, you are a little “p” little pilgrim.
1 Peter 2:21, “For you’ve been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.” His life was redemptive because His focus was up and not sideways. There’s a lot of confusion today when God allows certain things in our life, trouble or sickness or tribulation or some kind of stuff. There’s a lot of confusion. It’s a great mistake, and it’s very, very popular, “Why did this happen to me? God must be trying to teach me something. I need to learn a lesson. I need to be sensitive. What, Lord, do You want me to know through this experience.” The Lord is not trying to teach you anything. He’s not trying to give you lessons. That’s not why you go through things. He’s not trying to teach you something. No doubt, if your heart is, “I just want your pleasure,” you are going to learn some lessons. There’s no question about that, but He’s not allowing things in your life so that you can learn a lesson. Your goal must be Him, not anything else. Redemptive living is an outworking of a relationship, of a union. It’s got to be a by-product. Ministry is a by-product. Never make a goal out of a by-product. If you make a goal out of a by-product, you are going to lose the by-product and the goal. You are going to lose it all. We lose our focus when we take our eyes off of Jesus and put them on other things.
Jesus didn’t wake up one morning and say, “I wonder who I can win today. I need to be redemptive today.” We need to follow the Lord’s example, because if we start on others, we’re going to fall into worldly wisdom, and the worldly methods, I’m tell you that through the church it’s very sad. Our method doesn’t become spiritual just because a Christian does it. You can baptize worldliness, but you can’t Christianize worldliness. When we make others the goal instead of the Lord, the One who indwells us, we’re going to end up in this psychological approach, “My goal is others. Now, we don’t want to offend anybody. We need to make friends and influence people, so never offend anybody. When you are talking to them, never tell them that they are wrong. You’ve got to make them feel important. Make sure that you remember their name, because you’ve got to win them to the Lord. Show some interest in them and find something in common. If they have a dog, then you have something to talk about. You need to find something in common. And always be open to the other person’s point of view. You’ve got to be open to their point of view, and try to put yourself in their shoes, and try to enter into what they are doing, and don’t cut across the grain.”
I heard a story one time. After church somebody met the pastor and said, “Pastor, you stroked the cat the wrong way.” And the Pastor said, “Well, turn the cat around.” That’s exactly right. But this psychological approach, we talk to somebody and say, “Oh, you’ve got a block, you had some conflict when you were a kid, you weren’t nursed and you were abused,” and blah, blah, “Let’s find what that is and we’ll identify the block and then you’ll be able to adjust and finally get on with your life,” and all of that kind of thing. I’ll tell you how to make friends and influence people, my apologies to Dale Carnegie. I’ll tell you how to win friends and influence people; keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep focused on the Lord, seek His honor, His pleasure. The world is out there languishing for somebody who will live by the life of Christ, and just obey the Lord and live in union with the Lord.
It sounds spiritual to ask God, “Give me a burden for souls.” That’s not in the Bible. You don’t want a burden for souls. Give me a burden for Jesus, for the Lord. That’s how He lived. Ask God to give you a burden for Christ. Just in chapter two alone, I won’t quote the verses, but verse 13, “For the Lord’s sake,” verse 15, “for the will of God,” verse 16, “Bondslaves of God,” verse 17, “Fear God,” verse 19, “for the sake of conscience toward God,” verse 20, “find favor with God.” It’s all about our relationship with Him. Jesus was the perfect Pilgrim, and He showed us how it’s done. He lived day by day that way, and because He lived for the pleasure of God who lived in Him, He became redemptive.
There’s no greater gift you can give your neighbor, or the world, or your family, than to have a passion to live for the glory of the Lord, to live for the Lord. He left us the example. It was because Paul said in Philippians 1:21, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” that’s why he could say, Philippians 2:17, “Even if I’m being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.” My life will not be less redemptive because I focus on Christ. Your only hope for living a redemptive life is by keeping that focus. Pay attention, and give diligence to your heart, because out of it flow all the issues of life. We need to keep our eyes on Christ. The One who lives in me has a heart for them. He wept over Jerusalem, and as you live in union with Him, you are going to weep over Jerusalem, too. He came to seek and save, and you are going to, too.
Christ dwells in us in the Person of the Holy Spirit, and it’s exactly the same. He’ll guide you. Whatever comes into your life, just live for His pleasure. You don’t have to go on a Lydia hunt. You don’t have to go hunting for Saul, and how I can minister to Saul. He knows where the Ethiopian Eunuch is. He’s going to guide you. He’ll lead you to Dorcas. He knows where Dorcas is. You live for Him, He knows the coach He wants to reach. He knows that waiter, that waitress that you’re going to come in contact with. He knows when you are going to meet that nurse, that doctor, that anesthesiologist, that X-ray technician. Don’t you think He’s guiding in that? That comes into your life because He want you to be redemptive, but you just go and relate to Him. He knows all about people that you need to meet. He knows that nursing home attendant, and He know that hospice worker, and He knows the funeral director, and if He wants to reach them, He may use you or me. Don’t think, “I’ve got to find the right plumber.” If you live in union with Christ, you’ll find the right plumber, and you’ll find the right electrician, and you’ll find the right carpenter, and you’ll find the right Uber driver, and you’ll find the right one because you are living to please the Lord. You aren’t trying to win anybody and you’re not trying to change anything. You are just trying to honor the Lord. That’s what we mean when we say, “All things are redemptive.” I seek Him, and He uses my life redemptively.
Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” 1 Peter 2:12, “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you are evildoers, they may because of your good deeds,” the tree of life, “as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” What is the day of visitation? It’s the day when God visits them through you. That’s the day of visitation, and they’re going to come. 1 Peter 1:7, “so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable…” What’s more precious than gold? Commentators says, “Your faith is more precious than gold.” No, no, no, read it. It’s the proof of your faith that’s more precious than the gold that perishes, the evidence, that you don’t see Him but you still love Him. You don’t know what He’s up to, but you still trust Him. That finds favor with God. That’s the proof of your faith that’s more precious than anything.
When we looked at verse 6 before and we emphasized “if need be, if necessary, if you’re going through trials and tribulations,” we focused on “if that need is mine.” If I need it, He’ll bring it into my life, but there’s also an application for them. They might need it. Somebody else might need it, so He’ll bring it into my life to meet their need. 1 Peter 3:15, “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart,” that’s our heart, “always ready to make a defense to everyone who asks, to give an account for the hope that is in you,” that living hope, Christ. You live this way and I promise you that you’ll be beating off opportunities to witness with a broom handle. There is so much opportunity. Every time you turn around, if you are living this way, and they’re going to come and ask you. They’re going to inquire of you. That’s God’s method.
So, how do I respond to what God allows in my life? I don’t try to avoid it. I don’t court it, either. I don’t say, “Give me more suffering.” And I’m not looking for a lesson that God is trying to teach, and I’m not trying to bless the world. How do I respond to what He brings into my heart? I thank Him and keep trusting Him. That’s how Jesus did it, and that’s how He does it again. He lives in me to do exactly that. We have the great privilege to allow Him the permission to bring into our lives anything that He knows will be redemptive and can reach somebody else. It’s a glorious Christian life.
I’m going to spare you some of the graphic details of how Christians have suffered in the past and are still suffering in this world. Just read the end of Hebrews 11 and you’ll get an idea. 1 Peter 4:12, “Do not be surprised by the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.” It’s not a strange thing. This is what God has done through the years. How necessary for us, in the Lord Jesus, trusting the One that lives inside of us. His heart hasn’t changed.
Let me give an illustration. What has been His heart from the beginning? Ezekiel 18:23, “’Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,’ declares the Lord God, ‘rather then that he should turn from his ways and live?’” Ezekiel 18:32, “’For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,’ declares the Lord God, ‘Therefore, repent and live.’” God takes no pleasure in the death of an unsaved person. Let me hold over against that Ezekiel passage Psalm 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Godly ones.” God takes no pleasure in their death; precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Godly ones. The principle, you’re expendable, I’m expendable. He sacrificed His Son for them, for us, and He may sacrifice you for them. He now lives in you. He went to the cross when He lived in His first body. Where is He going now that He lives in your body? He’s going to the cross. Everything is redemptive. He’s out to win the world, but our attitude has nothing to do with that. That’s Him. That’s His work. We just say, “Thank You.” Everything that comes into our life, in everything give thanks. Why? It’s because I know it’s redemptive, and by the time it comes to me, it’s become God’s will for me. We just submit to the Lord that lives inside of us, and we look back and you’re not going to believe how redemptive your life had been, how many lives you touched, how many people have plucked the fruit from your life, off the tree of life and found life themselves. The death of you and death of me, God will sacrifice us.
Romans 8:36, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered, but in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loves us.” We usually try to comfort ourselves when we’re going through stuff by comparing, and say, “Compared to what I’m going through now, when I think about heaven and glory, and all, you know, this is nothing compared to that.” But that’s not how the Bible looks at it. 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore, we do not lose heart, though our outer man is decaying, our inner man is being renewed day by day, momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” Compared to this… No, no, it’s far beyond comparison. In fact, Romans 8:18, “I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to compared to the glory…” Don’t compare it. Don’t say, “Here is so little and up there…” It’s not worthy to be compared. The difference is so great that it’s all contrast, if it’s not worthy to be compared.
Let me close with this illustration. Peter wrote 1 Peter, but he had a secretary. You knew that, right? 1 Peter 5:12, “Through Sylvanus, our faithful brother, or so I regard it, I’ve written to you briefly exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!” Sylvanus is his full name. What’s his short name. Silas. Sylvanus is Silas, and he’s the one that is mentioned with the Apostle Paul in Acts 16:22, “The crowd arose together against them. The chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they thew them into prison, commanding the hailer to guard them securely, and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.”
They were suffering. This is the same Silas that wrote 1 Peter. Silas and Paul knew about suffering. What did they do? You can read the record. Did they curse their persecutor? Did they say, “Well, look at us in stocks and bonds and all these stripes, and we’re still bleeding. I wonder what God is trying to teach us. Let’s see if we can come up with a lesson.” That’s not what happened. Acts 16:25, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” For them, because they had the life of Christ, it was shear excitement. They got beaten and thrown in prison and they had the stocks put on, and they, “I wonder what He’s up to now. This is so exciting. Let’s praise God,” and they started singing, and you remember the story. The earthquake came and the bars opened, and all the chains fell off. Acts 16:29. “He called for lights,” this is the jailor, “and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’” It was redemptive. They went through all of that. So, Peter is going to write, and he chooses Silas, “You be my secretary, because when I tell about trusting the Lord, you know what I’m talking about. You already have been through it.” He’s the perfect one to be the secretary for Peter, because when Silas heard the message, he didn’t question. He said, “I know exactly what you’re talking about because we, also, had that experience.
How does Jesus relate to those who are outside? The answer is that He tries to reach them by allowing in my life stuff, and I just look to Him, and He uses it redemptively. There’s another side to redemptive living that we didn’t touch. Lord willing, I’ll pick that up next week. So, we’re not quite finished with this, but let’s pray.
Our heavenly Father, we thank You for the example of the ideal Pilgrim, and how He always lived in that relationship with the One who indwelt Him. Now, Lord, we’re pilgrims with a little “p”, but we have the ideal Pilgrim living in our place, and we know nothing has changed. So, we want to entrust ourselves, and live for Your pleasure, and we want it to be our passion, our food, our meat, and our desire to just honor You and glorify You, and then, Lord, do whatever You want through us. We ask in the matchless name of our Lord Jesus. Amen.