1 January 2021
Series: Rise Up
Topic: identity

Remember Whose You Are

Bible Passage: 1 Peter 1:13-21

Rise Up: Remember Whose You Are

How do we Rise Up in 2021 after the most devastating year in many of our lives? It’s time to remember Whose we are!

See Our Discussion Guide: Hopeful Exiles

1 Peter 1:13-21

I’m hard to make stop.

I will generally fight to the finish even when fighting to the finish is a bad decision! HA! But 2020 even took a toll on me. I mean, for 18 years we have labored to lead this church; most of it crawling on our hands and knees in gravel trying to drag the church up out of the religious swamp that has sucked so many churches in this region into a slow and ugly decay.

For 18 years we clawed for every inch to finally see real momentum! We were averaging right up around 700, working on plans to upgrade our children’s area, build a youth center, and get started on plans to put satellite campuses in Lincolnton and Cherryville … then BAM … COVID!

We are having to start Venture Church all over again, again, AGAIN!

But, the cool thing is we get to start it with a couple of hundred people who love Jesus and are bought into the vision. We ain’t rich but we got some money in the bank and we got a building. So it’s a pretty awesome situation to be in to have to start over again, again, AGAIN!

BUT, I ain’t going to lie, the thought was still exhausting and somewhat dreadful. Part of me just wanted to go get a job in the cooperate world and lead a Bible study at my house or something. To just forget the New Testament local church mission of being a movement of the Gospel to turn our world upside down for His glory. I’ll just lead a few people to love Jesus in a weekend Bible study and do something less stressful with my life!

I’m sure many of you have felt the same way about things in your life. COVID or no COVID you have likely been there in your life as well! Whether it’s a death in the family, loss of a job, business setbacks, a tragedy that occurred… there are all kinds of things that have nothing to do with COVID that can leave us feeling like we are better off just living by ourselves somewhere and give up on doing anything great in the Kingdom of God or even in the Kingdom of this world. That will just make say, “ahh forget it. I’m just going to go to work, get a paycheck, and go home and live my life in the shadows.”

Likewise, there are things in life that just leave us spiritually defeated. They leave us feeling like living a life of pursuing Christ just isn’t worth it. So we quit! The effort and spiritual striving of pursuing Christ just doesn’t feel like it’s worth it sometimes.

For some, all it took was just getting out of the habit of going to church because of COVID.

So we are going to spend the next eight weeks looking at some of the most motivational passages in the Bible. They will equip us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to rise up out of the funk, to rise up out of the political and social hysteria. To rise up out of the confines of this world and live the life that Jesus Christ has blessed us with! Laying down and quitting or living a life of spiritual complacency is not what Christ died to give us! He has called us to spiritual abundance… to ETERNAL LIVING NOW!

So to begin our series, I want to take you to 1st Peter. Peter is writing to a group of people living in exile. We are not really sure if he is talking about Jewish Christians who got kicked out of Rome, Christians in general who got kicked out of Rome, Jewish Christians forced out of Judea, or just Christians in general. But the characteristic is that in the context of society, they are exiles. They are outcasts, people who are not accepted and thus not wanted! And as such, they are tempted to quit.

So Peter says you are exiles and outcasts in this world for sure, but remember what else you are.

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)

Therefore, who you are is defined by whose you are. You have a purpose. It’s time to get out of the slumber, the doom and gloom, the feeling like a failure, and RISE UP TO BE WHOSE AND WHO YOU ARE!

You need to rise up and proclaim the excellencies of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light — the one to whom you belong forever!

But how do we rise up?

It’s one thing to get excited and say it but it’s another thing to do it?

Well, earlier in Peter’s letter he gave them three challenges based on whose and who we are. These are key to being able to rise up and proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness!

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

In 1 Peter:13-21, Peter challenges those living in exile to remember whose they are and thus rise up in three different ways.

Rise up and get your HOPE right. (1:13)

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action (get ready to Rise Up and do something!), and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Peter here uses an oriental expression referring to the act of gathering up around the waist, the long, loose eastern robes which would impede one’s progress in running or other exertion. The recipients of this letter are reminded by the apostle in 1:1 that they are strangers, those who have temporarily settled down alongside of a pagan population, and also pilgrims as well (2:11). As such they should always be ready to move. The Israelites had orders to eat the Passover with their loins girded, their shoes on their feet, their staff in their hand, ready to move on a moment’s notice (Ex. 12:11).
1

If the purpose of girding up the clothing was to put out of the way that which would impede the physical progress of an individual, the girding up of the loins of the mind would be the putting out of the mind all that would impede the free action of the mind in connection with the onward progress of the Christian experience, things such as worry, fear, jealousy, hate, unforgiveness, impurity.
2

Hope is that thing that says what you’re doing is worth it. Hope is that thing that says everything is going to work out. Hope is that thing that says no matter how bad today is, my future is brighter.

Listen, people have been hoping for 2021 as if it can’t be worse than 2020. I promise you this year is going to be MUCH worse for some of you. Some of you will experience the worst year of your life. Others may experience the best year of your life! But most, if we are honest, will exchange the trials and difficulties of last year for new ones this year. Nothing is really made any different by the date on the calendar… minus the amount of arthritis in our joints!

Some things are worth striving for, but you have to understand their limitations.

If your hope is to have a great marriage, even the greatest marriage is a burden to some degree and will let you down.

If your hope is in your children, even the greatest children are a burden to some degree and will let you down.

If your hope is a career, even if you get it you will find it will eventually leave you unfulfilled, hoping for something else.

If your hope is money, well, it can buy you happiness but you better have a lot of it because happiness wears off fast! There is nothing wrong with money and it’s a good thing to make it, but it can’t give you hope!

Peter says to rise up and get ready for action by setting your hope not on anything whatsoever in this world, but rather in all that you have in Christ.

All that is coming to you as a result of the grace of Jesus Christ has made you one of God’s Children. You are an heir to the Kingdom of God. Your hope is not in what you can inherit in this world, but in the inheritance that you will receive fully at His coming.

So stop feeling all defeated and doom and gloom! Stop living in the drama and hysteria of a drunk. Sober up by getting your hope right.

What you got coming can’t be defined by or even adequality described by anything in this world. If you set your hope on what you got coming in CHRIST then you will always have a reason to keep rising up. What we have in Him is guaranteed and it’s immeasurably awesome.

Rise up and get your CONDUCT right. (1:14-16)

14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

As children inherit the nature of their parents, so a child of God is made a partaker of the divine nature, which nature always impels to the act of obedience. It is natural for a child of God to obey Him.3

Parents train their children to be obedient, so that obedience is second nature to children. Obedience is expected from children but not from strangers. Peter literally calls the recipients of his letter “children of obedience.”4

To be holy is to be separated out or different. We are different from the people of this world. We have been separated out for an eternal relationship with GOD as our father who is eternally DIFFERENT in character, love, conduct, values, etc. than this world.

We have been literally adopted as His children. We were not His children but now we are. As such, we are expected to act like it!

Once people who have been abused get set free from their abuser, they have to be mentally set free from their abuser. Otherwise, they will continue to function as if they are still being abused. As if they are subservient to that abuser. Women who have been beaten tend to return to abusive relationships if they don’t see themselves as a person worthy of being treated with respect.

So Peter says stop letting your conduct be ruled by the passions of your flesh. When we were enslaved to sin, our god was an appetite for sex, power, money, pleasure, and praise.  Let your conduct instead be a testimony of one who is set apart from the reign of sin! Stop letting sin (jealousy, envy, greed, sexual immorality, hate, bitterness, drunkenness) be the description of your CONDUCT. Instead, let righteousness and holiness be the description of your actions (love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, self-control, long suffering, etc.).

This is the description of both whose you are and who you are now.

You have been separated out. You have been made righteous. You are holy! So, rise up and conduct yourself as Whose and who you are because He is holy.

Rise up and get your ATTITUDE right.

17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile

Outward appearance, wealth, culture, social position, family background, education, beauty, intellect, all things that more or less sway the opinions of man, do not count with God when it comes to appraising a person’s character or worthiness.5

The New International Version has rightly translated the word fear by qualifying it with the adjective reverent. The relationship between God and his child is not one of dread but of respect.6

“This fear has been defined as follows: “This fear is self-distrust; it is tenderness of conscience; it is vigilance against temptation … It is taking heed lest we fall; it is a constant apprehension of the deceitfulness of the heart, and of the insidiousness and power of inward corruption. It is the caution and circumspection which timidly shrinks from whatever would offend and dishonor God and the Savior” (K. S. Wuest).7

Stop fearing man’s view of you. Not just in the sense of being scared of man or shaking like you are about to be hurt. But more so, stop worrying about man’s approval of you.

Stop working hard to make sure a lost society loves you and values you. That’s fearing man. It’s saying if I don’t meet the expectations of a lost society, the people you go to school or work with, then they are not going to accept me. And if they don’t accept me then I’m doomed!

I’m not suggesting we don’t love people as Christ loves us. But don’t live your life to be loved and affirmed and exalted by others. That is absolutely exhausting and makes no sense!

Peter says to stop that nonsense! Stop worrying about if people accept you. It is not man you will stand in front of and be judged by, but God. Unlike man who has invested very little if anything into you, God has invested His Son into you. He has spent an ETERNAL FORTUNE to LOVE YOU. He has given you everything.

18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

“In our Christian vocabulary, unfortunately, the word redeemer is not so common as the word savior. We readily acknowledge that Jesus Christ has saved us from the power and destruction of sin. Of even greater significance, however, is the truth that he has purchased us by shedding his precious blood on Calvary’s cross. Of the two terms, therefore, the expression redeemer deserves more prominence than the word savior.8

Peter is writing to people who are exiles. They are not welcomed where they live. They literally don’t fit in. They are outcasts, exiles to society.

He encourages them to RISE UP. Not to start an insurrection or rebellion against society, but to refuse to allow exile to be their identity. Don’t give in to defeatism. Don’t dig a hole and hide. Never give in or conform to the world’s values and expectations.

He’s telling them to RISE UP, not just demand to be accepted. That’s finding your identity in the people who don’t like you. If you’re living life demanding others love you then what you’re saying is my life is not fulfilled unless YOU accept me. My value and worth is based on how YOU treat me.

Peter says, no!

To all those who claim to be followers of Christ, I’m telling you to RISE up.

Live not to demand the affection, attention, and respect of a lost world, but to embrace the affection, attention, and sacrificial love of GOD who gave everything for you to be His! To be one with the one who is eternal love. Be one with the one whose love is holy and pure and righteous.

Challenge:

So what does the effort of your hope, conduct, and attitude in life say about whose and who you are?

If you’ve given up or keep finding yourself constantly quitting in life, then your efforts are not driven by the hope we have in Christ, but something else. What you’re proclaiming to the world is not the excellencies of the one who called you, but rather the hopelessness that you were called out of.

If the effort of your conduct is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, then you are not proclaiming the excellencies of the one who called you. You’re exalting the death and destruction of what you were called out of.

If the effort of your conduct is to receive the affection, approval, affirmation, and applause of men, then it’s time to change.

Rise Up and proclaim the excellencies of the eternally awesome, holy, magnificent, and powerful God who called you.

Venture Church
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Footnotes

  1. Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 11, pp. 34–49). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
  2. Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 11, pp. 34–49). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
  3. Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 11, pp. 34–49). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
  4. Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, pp. 58–76). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
  5. Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 11, pp. 34–49). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
  6. Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, pp. 58–76). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
  7. Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 11, pp. 34–49). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
  8. Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, pp. 58–76). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.