Living HOPE Series
  • When Jesus asked his disciples. "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" Peter responded "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus promised Peter that upon the Rock of that confession He would build His church. The truth of who Jesus is empowers common man to speak the message that opens the doors of heaven to sinners. Join us to learn strong principles for Godly living and reach new heights in our faith as we work our way through Peter's writings which evangelize the lost and instruct the church.
2. Live in Holiness (I Peter 1:13-2:3)
  • We who have a genuine faith in Christ are to live our lives in holiness because God the Father is holy, and this includes loving one another, ridding ourselves of the impure and unholy, and feeding on God's word.
Sermon Preparation Guide
  • Importance - What are the central ideas of this text?
    • Living hope includes a sober mind, focused on Jesus. – I Peter 1:13
    • Living hope issues in holy living, simply because God is holy. – I Peter 1:15 & 16
    • Living hope derives from total conformity to God’s character and constant feeding on His word. – I Peter 1:22; 2:1-3
  • Implications - What questions should the listener be asking?
    • How can you prepare your mind for action in your spiritual walk for Christ?
    • What does being holy mean to you?  The biblical concept of holiness means “set apart.” How are you set apart generally speaking and in your day to day life?
    • What does it mean to long for and feed on God’s word?  What is the result of doing that?
Talk it Over Discussion Guide 
  • Interpretation - What is the text telling/showing us?
    • What does it mean to prepare your minds for action?  What is the “action” you are to prepare for? (hint: read Ephesians 2:8-10) 
    • What does it mean to “set your hope fully” on the grace to be brought at the revelation of Christ?  What is the time frame involved? 
    • The word “holy” is used a lot.  What does it mean, and what does it mean to you?  When you are to be holy, what does that look like? 
    • Why should you conduct yourself “with fear” while you are on this earth?  Does this mean that you are to be afraid of God? 
    • How were you “ransomed” from your former life?  What did you have to do with being ransomed?
    • Describe how you are to love one another? How can you even do that?  
    • What is “pure spiritual milk” to you?  How does partaking of pure spiritual milk grow you spiritually?
  • Implementation - What should the listeners response be?
    • What can you do to “prepare your mind for action?” 
    • What things do you need to do or to stop doing to no longer be conformed to this world's mold? 
    • What does it mean to you to “live in holiness?” 
    • Why should you be holy? How can you be holy? 
    • Define what it means to be ransomed? How were you ransomed by Jesus? What was the cost of your ransom? 
    • Define love? How should you love your brothers and sisters in Christ? Why? 
    • What does it mean for you to obey the truth? Are you obeying the truth? IF not, why not, and what should you do to change that? 
    • What is pure spiritual milk for you? Do you crave that milk? What are you doing to taste and eat of that milk? 
    • Have you tasted that the Lord is good? What is your response to that?
Sermon Teaching Notes (as compiled by Pastor Dick Murphy)
  • Investigation - What's generally going on in this area of scripture?
Last week's Notes finished on a high note of encouragement to the Jewish believers living in Asia Minor amongst a Gentile, Hellenistic culture that was generally hostile to Christianity. Peter wrote that living hope was theirs in Christ, and it would empower them to live every day for Jesus in obedience to Him and for His glory, taking the “long view” of life, namely that the “best” is yet to come, and hanging in there while living for Him now because He is worth it all. But that was just the start.

Peter's letter is an encouragement, to be sure, but it is more than that; it is a calling to a “living hope” that demands a lifestyle which reflects who one is in Christ, understands both the “now” and the “future” of one's salvation, and underscores the message of the gospel that is to shine forth in one's lives. With the word “therefore,” chapter 1, verse 13 marks the transition to an initial application of the truths of the prior verses. “Therefore” is a word which looks back to what Peter had just written as if to say, “In light of the greatness of God and the salvation He has given you, now here's what you need to do.” And what Peter is about to write is that his readers are to live in holiness. Interestingly, he begins with a call to action, but to action that starts with the mind. Getting ready to live in holiness begins with serious thinking, with understanding the meaning and effect of being born again, and with thoughtful conformity to Jesus Christ and His character.

Living in holiness continues with self control (one translation says “sober-minded” as the original Greek word being translated has to do with abstaining from wine), and issues in “full out” focus on the present reality of the future hope that Peter had just described in the prior verses. In short, the life of the Christ follower is to be one of intentionality and self-controlled focus on living out who one is in Christ. Peter goes on to say that a self-controlled life is one of obedience to the Father, where obedience derives from one's relationship with the Father (I Peter 1:13 & 14). Such obedience is very practical: it says, don't live the way you used to, before you knew better; instead, live as one who is “set apart” by God for His purposes. In other words, live in holiness because God, the Father is holy (I Peter 1:15), and that is now what you are as well. In other words, holiness is not something that is put on like a coat; it is part of who one becomes after being born again and sanctified in the Spirit (cf. I Peter 1:2). So, the follower of Jesus is no longer to be pressed into the world's mold with regard to behaviors and attitudes (cf. Romans 12:2).

This particular injunction from Peter is particularly important to his readers as the culture around them was not at all that way. One commentator writes that the life of the Roman and Hellenist was “dominated by desire and characterized by futility because people could not know God and therefore they lived for the moment and its pleasures.” Such a life, the commentator continued was one of “who cares? If you're a dog who doesn't know anything, then act like a dog and satisfy your desires.” Not so for the follower of Christ, who now calls on the Father who is indeed the impartial judge of all (meaning of believers and unbelievers alike), and who demands that conduct conform to His character (I Peter 1:17). Such conformity is the rule no matter where one lives (I Peter 1:17); such conformity is from knowing that we were rescued by God from our sin and past by Jesus, the Lamb of God (I Peter 1:18 & 19).

We need to be in awe of the God who brought about this salvation, and know fully that His judgment of us is more crucial than the judgment of our neighbors. And as a reminder, Peter notes that His children were rescued, our ransom paid for by God Himself in Jesus) with the “precious” blood of Jesus who gave His life for ours. That salvation, bought and paid for by Jesus, was planned from before the foundation of the world and played out in human history for the sake of those who come to Him in faith to His glory (I Peter 1:20 & 21). All in all, we are to set our minds to live in holiness because God is holy and has set us apart to Him for holiness to His own glory.

Peter goes on; he now connects holiness to love. One commentator (Witherington) suggests that these verses (I Peter 1:22-25) are part of a picture of the “family” of God as Father, and believers as children who obey the Father and love each other. Our obedience to the truth (of our salvation and what it is) purifies us (which is really another way to say “sets us apart” in the sense that we are made holy in contrast to the sinful state we had as unbelievers), confirms our place in God's family, and compels us to love one another. This love is to be sincere (genuine), familial, deep (from the word “earnestly” or “fervently” in some translations in I Peter 1:22b), sacrificial, and from the heart.

Thus, Peter states, living in holiness issues in our relationships and in our loving one another. And all of this is the result of the imperishable word of God (I Peter 1:23-25) which was preached to us (cf. I Peter 1:12). This word of God produced life in Peter's readers, he reminds them in verse 25, which verse is as if to say, “Yes, brothers and sisters, the word preached to you has produced your life in Christ, life in the now and the forever … so live it out!” Again, Peter goes on to speak of the household, or the family of God; the community of faith, if you will. Chapter 2, verse 1 is another application verse. Having just outlined the effect of the word of God on the lives of His readers, and that they are to live in Holiness that issues in love, he says, “put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” Chapter 1, verse 22 has already said that those who are in Christ are spiritual “siblings” and are to love (Greek agape) one another deeply. But what does that love look like?

Well, it is fleshed out by the way we treat one another and interact with one another. Because we are to love one another, all attitudes and actions which are antithetical to such “agape” love must be put off. And further, we must cling to God’s word by which our behavior as Jesus’ followers is set forth. The Greek verbiage is strong; it literally means that we are to desert the old ways, and that such deserting action is to be continual. Malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander are attitudes and approaches that undermine, undercut and destroy relationships. They traffic in evil intent, untruth, pretense and insincerity, selfishness and intentional harm. None of these attitudes are to be present; none. There is no wiggle room. When present, they destroy other persons and undermine the life of the community; they are totally inconsistent with living in holiness. Altogether, there is to be total transformation in behavior, and that total transformation is possible because in Christ, one has been made totally new (i.e., been “born again”).

Instead of the foregoing attitudes and behaviors that manifest from them, the follower of Christ is to crave and indeed feed on “pure spiritual milk,” just as a newborn baby craves and feeds on milk from its mother. But what is this spiritual milk that causes us to grow in our salvation? Quite simply, it is Christ! In sum, feed on Christ – learn from Him through His word, from His call on your life, from His promises, and from His very life. Grow ever deeper in your relationship with Jesus, and spiritual growth will be the result. And the more you do feast on Jesus, the more you will desire to feast on Him, having tasted His goodness (I Peter 2:2 & 3. See also Psalm 34:8). And this feasting on Him will bring about the holiness that you have been called to live because you will be more and more like Him.

The life to which Peter called his readers to is the life to which we are called to live as well. It is a life that is fully set apart to God as His child, thoughtfully and intentionally becoming the holy ones we are, transformed to His likeness instead of conforming to the world. Having been made pure and given this great salvation by the precious blood of Jesus, why would we want to do anything other that be like Him? And why would we not want to live in loving, sacrificial relationship with those around us, in particular our brothers and sisters in Christ, putting away any attitudes and behaviors that would otherwise irreparably damage one another. Instead, we are to be all about Jesus – seeking Him, being like Him, learning from Him, listening to Him, honoring Him, serving Him. We have tasted, and the Lord is good! AS stated in last week's Notes, we have been given the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ; “blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:3) who has brought this about in us. Amen!