1 Peter, 1:13-16

A New People for an Old Message: A Study in 1 Peter, 1:13-16, Preached @ Harambee Church by Pastor Michael Gunn on April 5th, 2009

“There is a twofold problem in the heart: what we think or trust and what we desire and worship. Sin happens when we don’t trust God above everything (When we interpret in the wrong way) and when we don’t desire God above everything (When we worship the wrong thing). Sin happens when we believe lies about God instead of God’s word and when we worship idols instead of worshipping God.”
Tim Chester

We have spent the last few weeks seeing the greatness of the Gospel and the greatness and faithfulness of God in the working of the gospel into our hearts. Salvation is truly a work of God’s mercy in our lives. It is in the gospel that we can rejoice in spite of our trials (Which are inevitable in this life) knowing that Jesus took on the ultimate suffering (The wrath for our sins) so that we could have great hope in this life and beyond into eternity.

It is the centrality of the gospel in our lives that we begin to gain our identity (In Christ) and our life map (Based on the works of Christ on our behalf). We are called out to be with God, and a people for His own possession so that we’d join with Him in His sufferings for those that are oppressed by sin.

This morning we are going to take a look @ two of four commands that Peter writes as a result of work of Christ on the cross in our lives. He roots these commands in the gospel and our identity in Christ, and he sets up in contrast with a futile mind of unbelief., encouraging us to “Prepare your minds for action” as the starting point for change. The four commands are first to “Set your hope on the grace” secondly, “Be holy in all your conduct,” thirdly, “Conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,” and lastly, “Love one another earnestly through a pure heart.” Peter also gives us five reasons why he exhorts us in these directions, which are the fact that we are children of God (v. 14), because God is holy (v. 15), because God does not show partiality (v. 17), because of the great price of redemption (v. 18) and because they had been born again of an immortal seed (v. 23).

Again we are going to take a look at the first two commands and reasons today.

From the Head…
Verse thirteen begins with the word “Therefore,” which is summing up much of what he had written in the first twelve verses, that dealt primarily with the mystery of salvation. He begins this passage with two participles exhorting the people to “Prepare” their minds (Thinking) for action, and to be “Sober minded.” They are not in the imperative, but they assume something about the believing mind.

First, we can actually prepare our minds. The word “Prepare” is actually the word/metaphor to “Gird up.” The idea of the metaphor is one that the Palestinian mind would understand well. To gird up meant a process that involved taking their long flowing robes and tuck them up under their belts/loins in order to work or travel. The robes would cause an impediment to the dexterity of the person, and the girding up would free him to do the work without restraint. Our text literally says “Gird up the Loins of your mind,” expressing the custom to gird up their robes around their loins/belt. There is an action that we are part of to make this happen. The participle is in the “Middle Voice,” which means that the subject can participate in the action.

Secondly, while this is not a command, it is the prerequisite to making the rest happen. Simply put, unless we are working on our issues from a thought process, we will not see change in our lives.

The word for “Mind” (dianoias) is a word that means to “See through” and has the idea of the faculty of understanding. It is used in Matthew 22:37, which exhorts us to love God with that same mind. What do we believe about ourselves, God, salvation, etc?? These things matter to how we make choices, and how we deal with circumstances in our life. If we really struggle to believe that our heavenly Father is different than our earthly one, and that He is perfectly good, just and sovereign, we will struggle when life’s earthquakes hit. It is too easy to be entertaining Satanic thinking, while assuming we are thinking God’s thoughts (Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:23). It can motivate us to act in a way that we perceive to be righteous, while in reality we are acting on behalf of Satan. When God judges us, He literally gives us over to our vain imaginations and evil thought life (Romans 1:28). As believers though we are called to “Set our minds on the things of the Spirit,” and not on the flesh (Romans 8:27), and we are ultimately “Transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2). In the book of Proverbs we are consistently told to guard our “Hearts,” which is the “Well Spring of life (See Proverbs 4:18-23; 27:19), because for the ancients the “Heart” was the seat of both our thinking and our desires. They were interrelated. Our desires are truly connected to our thought life, which in turn is demonstrated in our actions and behavior. “Behind every sin and negative emotion is a lie”” that we choose to believe. Sin is a result of the fact that we don’t trust or worship God. As Tim Chester writes, “There is a twofold problem in the heart: what we think or trust and what we desire and worship. Sin happens when we don’t trust God above everything (When we interpret in the wrong way) and when we don’t desire God above everything (When we worship the wrong thing). Sin happens when we believe lies about God instead of God’s word and when we worship idols instead of worshipping God.”

Another thing that we need to see in this first verse is the fact that when we “Prepare/Gird” our minds, it is for “Action” (Purpose). Today we will see two aspects of this action:

“Set You Hope Fully On the Grace (1 Peter 1:13-14)
This grace is a particular grace. This grace is ultimately delivered “At the revelation of Jesus Christ. The idea of “Revelation” here is most likely referring to Christ’s second coming (See too 1 Peter 1:7; 4:13). But the phrase “Brought to you” is in the present, passive, which indicates that this is a process that is also happening to us. This is something that we continually do in order to fully prepare our minds, and we do so according to Peter because of our identity as a “Child” of God. Peter roots this command in our identity as an “Obedient” child., which changes the motivations and desires of our heart (v. 14). The word “Passions” here is the word for “Desire” (epithumia). Desire can be either good or evil in scripture. We are to desire to be with God (Philippians 1:23), but desires can also be evil and destructive (Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:5). It is here that most of our actions are constructed. They are our motivational center that drives our thinking and our actions. If our hope lies in something different than God and His grace, then we will become “Conformed” to our evil desires. Note that verse 14 reminds us that there is a connection to our “Desires” and “Ignorance. The former desires (Evil Desires are implied here) are a result of “Ignorance” of the truth of the gospel.

“Be Holy In All Your Conduct (1 Peter 1:15-16)
Secondly we are commanded to be Holy (hagios); or set apart. Peter then refers us to Leviticus 11:44 for the reason for the command; “You shall be holy because I am holy!” God saves us, and sets us apart for His purposes. How is God’s holiness transforming all of your conduct? Where are those areas that we have not desired to set apart? Lies we choose to believe and actions that we believe will bring us joy, worth or happiness are the root of our sin, and unhealthiness. We can conduct ourselves as “Holy” (Set Apart) because God is Holy, and He has saved us to set us apart for His reasons and purposes in His kingdom. We are made new, and been given a new identity (Child of God) in order to re-wire our motivational structures in order to truly praise God from our hearts and our minds!

…to the Heart
If our problem is that we don’t trust or worship God, then we need to examine our desires and worship God instead of idols (Repentance) and trust God instead of believing lies (Faith/Belief). “Repent and believe” is the foundation of the gospel, and it is the foundation for ongoing growth in the gospel. We walk by faith in God, and allow God to define what is wrong with us, and what path to choose, and we trust Him for His guidance, and repent of all desires to take control of our life. Are you struggling to believe that God is good? That He is sovereign? That He loves you and is in control of your life? If so, these are the seedbed for discontent, and the foundation for our fear and anxiety. A Changed life comes from a changed belief structure and a belief that God and His gospel is sufficient for all life and godliness (See 2 Peter 1:3-9).


2 comments so far

  1. Gabrielle on

    I really like this sermon this week. I think it is good to keep a open perspective on what else is going on in the world outside of my hub of friends and activities. On the flip note to this thought I think its important to realize we don’t need to step far off from our porch to see people hurt and wanting help. mmmm…this is my first time responding so what do you guys think?

  2. sermonrant on

    Thanks for the note! I agree, and actually think the poverty is worse in some ways here in our own back yard, due to the spiritual/emotional poverty that is evident in many people in our own country. EW lack contentment, and that leads to a lack of real love I think!! Thanks again!

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