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Thistletown Baptist Church
February 15, 2009

Philemon 1:6 (ESV)
and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.

I Introduction

1. We are in our final week of messages relating to the theme of our Missions Conference, “Let Your Light
Shine”. The focus of the conference is “home missions”, that is, the fact that missions is not just a foreign activity. There are plenty of people in our neighbourhoods, our city, our country, who need to hear the Gospel. There are plenty of people, I have no doubt, within a stone’s throw of this building, who haven’t a clue what the basic information of the Gospel is. We live in a mission field.

2. So far –
Matthew 5:13-16
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. [14] “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. [15] Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. [16] In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
The main point – Be pure salt. Don’t let the impurities of the world make you unfit for salting the culture the way you are called to do.

1 Peter 2:9-10 (ESV)
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.
Main point – We are a chosen nation … so that we may proclaim HIS light. He is the light and we want people to see and honour Him.

Luke 11:33-36 – “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. [34] Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. [35] Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. [36] If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”
Main point – In conjunction with the baptism of two people last week – make sure you are in the light. The heart is deceitful and it is possible for people to think theyv are believers when in fact they are not.

3. Today, the text we are looking at does not have the word “light” in it. But it is about light. One book I
was reading this week about Philemon 6 specifically mentioned that what Paul says in there is so that Philemon’s light might shine before men and that people would therefore glorify their Father who is in heaven. This text we are in this morning, while not referring directly to light, is a demonstration of what it means to be light in the world.

4. Dear Christian, let me ask you this. Do you want to be light? Do you long to be so used by God that you
shine in the world as a follower of Jesus Christ and some, even if it is only one, turn and glorify your Father in heaven because you showed them your Light?

What we are gong to see this morning is a man who was told how he could do that and try to relate what Paul said to him, to our situation.
II Paul’s Letter to Philemon

1. The circumstances leading up to Paul writing this Letter
a. You can read this in the introduction of any study Bible. The circumstances leading up to the
writing of this letter are well known… .

2. The kind of man Philemon was
a. A Man of faith (5)
i. Paul has heard this about him. Ah dear ones, when people talk about you, what do they say? From time to time people bring me things out of newspapers – an article – and they tell me “When I read this I said ‘Pastor Davis sure isn’t going to like that…'” Sometimes I receive jokes etc.”
ii. Philemon is a man whose heart is set on Christ. He has a concern for the things of the
Lord. He is a genuine believer. In the words of our theme these days: Philemon is the light of the world and the salt of the earth.
b. A man who loved the church (5) – … this MUST mean that Paul has heard that Philemon shows
his love through concrete action. People don’t say that someone is loving simply because they talk nice. They say “there is a loving man – he ________________________________. And they talk about what he did. See verse 7.

3. The Purpose of this Letter from Paul
a. See verse 8 – “Prove it”. Note the first word of verse 8 dear ones “Accordingly”. In other words,
what Paul is saying is “Since these things are what I hear about you I want you to demonstrate those great qualities to Onesimus here. Prove that this is what you are like.”

There is the real purpose of this letter to Philemon, the wealthy, slave holding Christian who has demonstrated faith in Christ and a true love for the people of God. “Philemon”, Paul says “I have heard about your great faith in Jesus Christ. I have heard about your love for the people of God. I have heard how you refresh the hearts of Christians. There is a Christian here who needs to be refreshed and since you are such a man of faith and obedience I know that you will do right by him. And by the way – it’s Onesimus. Onesimus, your property. Onesimus who is one of the reasons you are rich and successful. Onesimus whose labour is necessary for the good of the economy. Onesimus who has no rights under the law of the land. Onesimus who stole from you. Onesimus whom you have the right to beat and execute. I am sending him back to you. I have heard about your love for God and for the people of God. This runaway slave of yours, in the providence of God, was put into my life and I gave him the Gospel and he has been miraculously saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and is now your brother in Christ, though legally he is no different than he ever was. Legally, he’s just a fugitive from justice and deserving of death. But to God, he is a precious chosen servant for whom He sent His Son into the world to redeem from sin. The cross has done its great work and I am sending him back to you for you to receive as a Christian. Philemon – prove that your faith is real. Prove that you love the fellowship of the saints. Do what will make you unpopular with your fellow slave owners. Do what could very well lead to economic ruin, if it should ever catch on. Do what will cause you to lose friends and influence and money and power and popularity. Do what will get you in trouble with the Law. Do what is right in the eyes of God, no matter what the culture thinks about it.”

That, dear ones is why this Letter was written.
b. Verse 10-12 … To let him know why Onesimus has returned
i. Just imagine what is going on in Onesimus’ mind as he walks up the path to Philemon’s
house. Why did O. run away anyway? Perhaps because he had stolen from Philemon. Perhaps because slavery is no Sunday School picnic, and that no matter how well one may be treated by one’s owner, one is still considered a piece of property – and who wouldn’t want to get out of that? And now Paul has sent him back? “O Lord, I am doing this because I believe it is right. I o longer live for the satisfaction of my own desires. I live for you. But Lord, this may end my life if my owner does n ot do as Paul has told him he should.”
c. Verse 15-16 … To tell him how to receive Onesimus back
i. O. is a runaway slave. The law knows very well how he is to be received back. So here
comes O. up the path and Philemon sees him from a distance. He can’t believe it. “That lying little thief is back. If he thinks he is going to get mercy from me, he’s got another think coming”. And he sends out his security guards to pick him up and O. comes in to the house and hands Philemon this letter.

ii. And what does he read? He reads verse
(1) verse 1 – “A letter from my dear friend Paul. Paul found O. and has sent him back
to me. Way to go Paul!!”
(2) verse 4-7 – “Aw shucks Paul, how kind of you. I’ll remember your words the next
time you visit here. Perhaps we can write a letter for you to see if we can help you get out of that awful jail cell. If you ever get out of that jail, we’ll throw such a party … …”. You will get refreshed like no one else has ever been refreshed before.
(3) verse 8 – 9 – “Yes, of course Paul. I will grant you the favour you ask” and
Philemon anxiously reads on.
(4) verse 10 – “My child Onesimus” My child Onesimus!?! My conniving thieving
renegade Onesimus is more like it!!”
(5) verse 11 – “He’s changed Philemon. He’s one of us now. Not a slave or free. Not a
Jew or a Gentile. Not a male or a female. He’s a Christian. A brother in Christ… .
(6) verse 12 – “He’s my very heart Philemon and I want you to treat him as such …”
(7) verse 13-14 “Legally he is your property and that is why I am sending him back to
you, even though I would have loved to have him stay with me and help me in my Gospel work. You have every legal right to do otherwise but you are a believer and I believe that as such you will not insist on your legal rights. You will do what Jesus says is better than the law of the land.”
(8) Verse 17 – “Philemon, I know that if I were to return to you now you would treat
me like a King. That is how I want you to treat Onesimus. In fact, I hope to get of prison some time soon and when I do I am coming to see you so please prepare a guest room for me (see verse 22).” And it occurs to Philemon as he reads that, that if he is to treat Onesimus as he would treat Paul, and he would prepare a guest room for Paul and give him the best of everything, then that is how he must treat Onesimus. The urging in Philemon’s heart is to have O. flogged and dealt with as the law says. And now Paul is saying that, not only should he not do that, he should treat him as a free man. And not only as a free man, but as a free man who is my friend and for whom I would give my life.
Yes, Philemon, that is what Paul is saying.
(9) verse 18 – And finally, Philemon reads that all that O. owes in whatever he has
done that makes him indebted to Philemon, is to be charged to Paul’s account.

III Some Applications to Our Situation

1. Verse 6 – This is what verse 6 is all about. Verse 6 is the key to the whole letter in terms of us being light
in the world.

sharing of your faith – “the fellowship that rises up from their faith” The word here for “sharing” is “koinonia” – fellowship. This is not “sharing the faith” in the sense of giving the Gospel to someone. It is the mutuality that exists in the church that produces a giving of the members of the community to one another. We might better translate the verse “the sharing together of your faith…” . But it is a sharing that is more than having a faith in common. It is commonality of faith that demonstrates itself in concrete action for the good of others in the community. The fact that they have fellowship means that they do good for one another. In the context of this letter, it is doing good for other believers no matter who they are, no matter what they have done to you. No matter how unlike you they are. No matter what their station in life, their past sins, their reputation.

And, it needs to be said – no matter what it costs you. Receiving O. back in the way that Paul said to would cost Philemon friends, money, reputation … . It could cause a revolt in the other slaves that were not yet believers.

We are not going to be asked to free our slaves. But how can we demonstrate the genuineness of our faith so that others may see it and Christ be glorified. For that is what is being said in verse 6.

“Effective for the full knowledge of every good thing…” This means that we fellowship with each other in such a way that our light shines to the world. This is John 13:35.

“For the sake of Christ” – we do it, first and foremost – for the sake of Christ.

How can we do what Paul is asking Philemon to do?

a. Shining your light will be counter-cultural – For Philemon to treat Onesimus as a brother and no
longer as a slave would have been unheard of. The penalty for running away? Death. And not only is Paul saying “don’t kill him” he is saying treat him as you would treat me – Paul was a Roman citizen …
i. We will be I Peter 4:8 Christians
ii. “””””””””” John 13:35 ”
iii. “””””””””” Ephesians 4:1-3 “””
iv. “”””””””” James 2:1 “”””
b. Cross cultural Christianity?
i. True unity
ii. That has no regard for economic differences
iii. Sexual purity
iv. Consistent pro-life
v. A commitment to the arts that Christians are not known for
vi. Working for the betterment of mankind while maintaining a vibrant biblical faith in
Christ that is grounded in the Gospel.
vii. Tithing
viii. Get out of debt
ix. Non retaliatory
x. Racial harmony reflected in:
(1) rejoicing in the variety that God has made.
(2) inter-racial marriage as a good thing
c. A faith that lets the world know what we are doing and why.

Thistletown Baptist Church
February 8, 2009

Luke 11:33-36 – “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. [34] Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. [35] Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. [36] If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”

I Introduction

We continue working our way up to our Missions Conference by focussing our attention on a few texts of Scripture that speak about the concept of “light”. The theme of our conference this year is “Let Your Light Shine” and we are simply preparing ourselves for the conference with this emphasis on light.

This morning we celebrated the baptism of two people. The only requirement for baptism in the Bible is a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. That means that all that is required for someone to be baptized is that they are trusting Jesus Christ to save them from their sins. Before Samantha and Colleen were baptised we insisted that they both take baptism classes. When the classes were done they had to write out a testimony of how they came to know the Lord. They had to read the church covenant and doctrinal statement of the church and agree to them both. After that they had to meet with an elder and one other church leader to be interviewed to see if they were ready for baptism. Why all this if all that is required to be baptized is to trust Christ? We want to make sure that they are sure of what they are doing and that they are really ready. Are they deceiving themselves? Do they want to be baptized for the wrong reasons? (A sense of belonging, to be saved, so they can take communion, because it would make mom and dad happy, make my friends happy …) Do they think that they are Christians when in fact they are not? Do they have light that is dark?

What we made Colleen and Samantha do is the requirement for everyone who asks to be baptized into the membership of this church. And after all that we still have seen people baptized who proved by their behaviour that they were not really Christians at all.

II Jesus’ Warning

We find ourselves in Luke 11:33-36 this morning and we are considering what it means to be a real believer in Jesus Christ.

Luke 11:33-36
The purpose of light – 33…
Healthy light – 34 …
Unhealthy light – 34 …
Warning about dark light – 35 …
The Blessing of healthy light – 36 …

In verse 35 Jesus uses an illustration that simply does not make any sense. “Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness.” How can light be dark? Light cannot be dark. If there is light, the darkness disappears. He does a similar thing when He says in Matthew 5 that if the “salt loses its saltiness…” Salt cannot lose its saltiness. Salt minus the saltiness is air.

Jesus is talking about self deception. This also is a popular theme of his teaching – see Matthew 7:21-23, 23:15, 25:1-13; Luke 18:9-14; (note John 2:23f).

Light is darkness when it is not light at all. What Jesus is talking about here is people who think that they are believers when in fact they are not. People who think that they are in good with God when in fact they are not. People who are sure that God is pleased with them when in fact He is not. People who are sure thay will spend eternity in the bliss of the presence of God when in fact they will not.

And dear ones – the point of the message this morning is for you to know for sure that you are one of God’s children through faith in Jesus Christ and not one who has light that is dark. The worst kind of deception is self-deception and I want no one to leave here this morning in a state of self deception.

III Dark Light

What does light that is really darkness look like?
1) Adding to grace – Mt. 7:21-23
“I’ve been going to church all my life …”
I sing in the choir, I teach Sunday School,
I know the Bible stories
I was raised in a Baptist Church
My father was a deacon/pastor/S.S. teacher
My mother made us get up every Sunday … .
“I was baptized in cold water…”
“I was raised to know right from wrong…”
“I’ve been good all my life. I don’t steal, I don’t drink, I don’t gamble …”
“I walked the aisle, I signed a card” – Of course I’m saved oh don’t you see, I walked the aisle in ‘93, signed the card and raised my hand, so now I’m headed for the promised land. I bought a Bible, it was big and red. Couldn’t understand a thing it said, but I underline it when I go to bed, so I am sure I have nothing to dread.”
This is Pharisaism. It is self righteousness. It is not trusting Christ at all. It is trusting oneself. I have been told every one of those things and more, mostly by people who have come to this church.

Dear one – who are you trusting? What is it that has all your hope? You? That ain’t good enough. Your works? The Bible specifically says that can’t do it. …

2) Holding on to a Jesus that is different from the One presented to us in the Bible – John 20:31
A Jesus who is not the eternal Son of God
A Jesus who is a good moral teacher
A Jesus who died as an example for sinners but not as a punishment for sin
A Jesus who thinks you are fine just the way you are
A Jesus who has no demands and does not care about how you live
A Jesus who lets you decide what it means to love Him
Dear one – is this you? You have put your faith in a Jesus who does not exist? If I told you that Jesus is a plumber living on Davenport Road would you put your faith in him? Of course not. But why then will you trust a Jesus that is different from the One portrayed in the Bible? (Tom Harpur trusts in a Jesus that he believes never existed!) Jesus said – John 17:3 and you don’t know someone if all your facts are wrong … .

3) Belief that is not demonstrated by a changed life – II Corinthians 5:17
The story is told of D.L. Moody walking along with a friend who pointed out to him a man drunk on the street. “Isn’t that one of your converts?” the friend asked. And Moody replied “It must be. It can’t be the Lord’s”.
Still chasing after money. Still want a spouse more than they want Christ.
Couples claiming to be Christian who can live together as man and wife and not be stricken with conviction that this is sin.
People who compare themselves to mass murders and then convince themselves that they aren’t so bad after all.
People who serve in church for years and who know, deep down in their hearts that they do not have what is being preached about and sung about and enjoyed by others but who convince themselves that they did after all get baptized … .
People who heard a Gospel absent of teaching about sin and came to Christ to get fulfilled, or a sense of happiness or to end the loneliness … .
People who do steal and sleep around and live for themselves … .
Dear one, the Apostle Paul was a preacher and when he was giving his testimony before Herod Agrippa in Acts 26, he said Acts 26:19-20. Hear Romans 6:1-4 …

4) Self confidence
Never a doubt that they may be wrong. Never wonder if Christ is truly theirs or if Jesus ever gets unhappy with them. They may acknowledge that they aren’t all they should be, but “Jesus understands. He won’t hold it against me …”
Dear ones, note well the opening words of verse 35 “Be careful”
We have just spent an entire year memorizing verses that warn us about guarding our hearts.
Heb. 3:12f, Jude

5) No conviction of sin. To be able to sin and not be bothered by it is a sure testimony that someone does not know the Lord. Hear Paul in Romans 7:18-25.
“It’s no big deal”
“Everybody makes mistakes” (They are never sins are they? People talk about their mistakes, their shortcomings, their faults, their failures, … but never their sins …)
“At least I’m not a murderer…”

6) Then there are those who think they are such big sinners that God can’t/won’t save them. This isn’t exactly people who think they have the light but it is worth mentioning. …

7) Jesus benefits me
People who like the fellowship of a church
People who believe the lie that Jesus will make them rich and/or healthy
People who make a profession of faith and find a welcome, concern, help, … Who doesn’t want that in a cold and friendless life?
People who know they are on their way to heaven because they got the job. The blood work showed that there was no cancer.
People who have been promised inner peace but were not told about repentance form sin. So they pray to Jesus and find some kind of warmth coming from that and testify that they know the Lord.
And some of you will leave here this morning confident of heaven, of being in tight with God Himself,
not knowing that one day He will say to you “Depart from Me you accursed – I never knew you.”
Dear one listen. Don’t count your favourable circumstances as evidence of Jesus living in you. It could mean that God has given up on you. …

8) Jesus doesn’t benefit me much
People who have so much trouble they just know that it is because Jesus is testing them.
Dear ones; Christians aren’t the only ones to have trouble. The Christian life brings much trouble. The vast majority of the church in the world today is hungry, abused, persecuted, homeless, naked … . But the troubles they have are not proof that they are saved. How they respond to it may be a proof they are saved. But know this – in the Sudan there is great persecution of Christians. And there is great persecution of Animists – those who worship nature. In Serbia in the nineties there was great persecution against Muslims.

Dear one. Are you looking at all the troubles in your life and concluding that since the Bible talks about trouble for the righteous that you must be righteous? Are you clinging to some hope that even though it is rough now it will be better for you in eternity? Having it rough here is not what gives you eternal peace and safety. Clinging to Christ is what you must do. You turn from sin and trust Him to od for you what you cannot do for yourself – pay for your sins.

IV Is Your Light Dark?

“Ken, all these things that you mention – they make me doubt”. My goal is not to make you doubt. But it is to make sure you have the real stuff. I would rather have you doubt now and find that you got right with God than for you to have no doubts now and hear God cast you aside when you stand before Him on the great day of judgement.

Dear one – are you trusting Christ? Are you trusting in dark light?

He lived a sinless life – that is what God requires of you and you don’t do it

He paid the penalty for sin – that is what you deserve and if oyu look anywhere but Christ it is what oyu will receive.

He rose from the dead – that is God’s act of approval, saying that what Jesus has done is completed and death itself is defeated – you will not rise form the dead to life eternal if your hope and trust is not in the living Christ who now reigns over all things.

He offers Himself to you – you must hear His call and respond by leaving behind your sin and trusting Jesus to do for you what you cannot do for yourself.

Come to Christ – now.

February 1, 2009

1 Peter 2:9-10 (ESV)
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.

I Introduction

1) Missions Conference in three weeks. The theme of it is “let your light shine” (Matthew
5:16) and we are looking mainly at home missions – missionary work that takes place in our own city (John Bell), our own province (Open Roads, Kathy Bell …) Our own country (Cherys …).

2) So, for the next three weeks we are going to consider a few texts in the New Testament
that deal with the concept of “light”. The danger here is that one of our speakers may speak on one of the same texts. If that happens then take it as a message from God that this is something you really need.

3) Theme

The reason Peter wrote this letter was to encourage Christians who are having a rough time because of their faith. So – you are suffering because you are trying to remain faithful to Jesus Christ. What will help you?

It will help you to remember who you are –

a) You are a chosen race- the world rejects you – so what? God has chosen you. And don’t forget – it
rejected Christ first – Christ is the Chosen One and you are chosen in Him (2:4, 6) As the chosen One of God Jesus suffered and so will you.

b) You are a royal priesthood – you offer sacrifices to the King as children of the King (2:5) and you
represent God/Christ to the world (2:12)

c) A holy nation – set apart unto God and separated from sin. But a nation – a people who are united in their
call, their purpose, their love for God and one another.

d) A people belonging to God in a way that others do not. It will help you to remember that you are part of
a covenant that God made a very long time ago. Peter here is quoting the OT in things that were said about the nation of Israel. His point here is that what was said about Israel then is true of all the church of Christ now. See Exodus 19:5-6 and Isaiah 43:20-21

Exodus 19:5-6 – Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; [6] and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

Isaiah 43:20-21 (ESV)
The wild beasts will honor me,
the jackals and the ostriches,
for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
[21] the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise.

Israel as a nation is a portrayal of what God is doing in Christ for the whole world. The Exodus is a shadow of a greater reality – liberation from sin through the life and work of Christ.
We could not choose ourselves, make ourselves a royal priesthood, a holy nation, or a people for His own possession. We could not do such a thing and we would never even have wanted to. But here we are with these things said to be true of us. How did that happen? Grace happened. These things are the Gospel dear ones. Every one of the things on this list are able to be on the list because of the plan of God to save us. They can be said of us because of the cross.

So here is Peter telling people what they need to know to encourage them in their tough times and what does he say? “Look what God has already done for you. See the grace of God at work in you.

Here is Peter telling them that no matter what happens they can live for God. Why? Because of the grace of God at work in them. See the last phrase of verse 8

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

THEY stumble – but not you. You won’t stumble. Why not? Because you are a chosen race … .

Dear ones listen – we are called to proclaim the excellencies of the One who called us out of darkness into His glorious light. Here is where it begins. Remember the absolutely mind boggling things that grace has done for you and in you and to you. Peter is reminding them of who they are. Get a grip on what God, in Christ has done for you and why He has done that and you will be the better Christian.

II The Purpose of God’s Grace in Us

1) Those incredible things mentioned in verse 9 all lead to Peter telling us why God did all this for us.

that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light

proclaim – exaggellw – to tell out, proclaim abroad, to publish completely

We have been given the great privileges outlined there by Peter so that we might publish completely the marvelous qualities of God. See Eph 2:7, Rev. 5:9.

2) Now we could stop there and just say “Now go out all you believers and proclaim the excellencies of our
great God who has done great things for us by His undeserved grace.

But how do we proclaim His marvelous qualities?

Are we to decorate our bumpers with fish and verses and little slogans?
Are we to be constantly preaching to others whenever we are within earshot of them?
Are we to end every sentence with a “praise the Lord!” whenever we are speaking to people?

Nothing particularly wrong with any of that stuff I suppose, but that is not the kind of thing that Peter is talking about here.

See what proclaiming the Excellencies of God leads Peter to say next:

1) 2:11-12 – abstaining from fulfilling sinful desires and maintaining honourable conduct among the “Gentiles”. You live your life in the midst of people who do not share your faith in Jesus Christ. Two questions:
Do the non-Christian people you rub shoulders with every day know you are a believer and if they do, do they see that faith in Jesus Christ makes you live honourably?

2) 2:13, 18; 3:1 – Submission
Citizens to rulers
Slaves to masters
Wives to husbands

3) Interpersonal relationships 3:8-12
V. 8 – unity, sympathy, brotherly love, tender heartedness, humility
V. 8 – non-retaliation

4) Suffering – 3:13-4:19

There is nothing in the list above that is natural to us. Bumper stickers and church attendance and Christian music on in the car are all fine. But that is not the demonstration of light that shows forth the excellencies of God. What does is transformed living. Living that does not come naturally. Living that goes against the grain of the culture’s understanding of things. Living that can only be explained by grace. Living that earns the opposition and disdain of the culture’s way of thinking.

It is living abstaining from fulfilling sinful desires and maintaining honourable conduct among the “Gentiles” with joy because we know verse 9 is true of us.

It is submission without the griping.

It is suffering with an Acts 5:41 attitude

Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.

This is proclaiming a great God to a needy world. This is being thankful for God bringing us into His light.

III What Light?

But note this well. We are concerned with people seeing Him, not us.

The purpose of evangelism is people who are smitten with God wanting others to know how marvelous He is. See Eph. 2:7, Luke 2:14, Rev. 5:9.

Now then – let’s go back to the theme of our Missions Conference. “Let your light shine”. Peter says here that our purpose is to proclaim the excellencies of the One who has brought us into HIS marvellous light. Let your light shine does not mean that there is something about US that the world needs to see. What Jesus was saying when He said “Let your light shine” was not – oyu are a great light. He was saying “you have received a great light. It lives in you and the world needs to see that light. The light dear ones – is Him. “Let your light shine means “Show the world Him”

Don’t go into yourself and try to produce light. The light in you is Him. Tell of Him. Show forth Him. Give Him glory. We do not want people to say “what nice people”. We want them to say “What a God they serve!” And they will not if the good we do is what anyone else can do. We need to live in the world with a supernatural light – living good when everyone else is not.

2 Cor. 4:6-7 – For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. [7] But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

John 11:9-10 – Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. [10] But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

1 Thes. 5:5- For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.

Dear Christian. We have been blessed with marvelous light by grace. We are a chosen race … . We are now IN His light.

Dear ones – let it shine out. Let people see it. Live in the power of His grace, for His glory.

And as the hymn says
“And may they forget the channel, seeing only Him.”

Matthew 5:13-16

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
[14] “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. [15] Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. [16] In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

I Introduction

Last week we noted from I Peter that our calling in this world is to suffer unjustly. This is explicitly stated in 3:9(Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing). Part of this unjust suffering is the treatment Christians may sometimes get when they do not participate in the sinful activities of their peers, family members, workmates etc. (4:4). But it would be wrong for us to stop there and simply imply that this is all the Christian life is or that suffering is all our calling. Do such texts as I Peter 4 imply that the Christian life is to be lived as an endurance against opposition? Will we constantly be reacting against the wrong that is done to us? Are we to simply get up in the morning and put our armour on knowing that we are going to get a beating from the unregenerate? Surely that is not what the Christian life is all about. No, it is not. Part of Peter’s point in I Peter 4:1-4 is that the reason there is opposition is because we are busy doing other things.

Today I want to focus on the positive side of living the Christian life in the midst of ungodliness of all kinds; in the midst of opposition and persecution; in a world that would not be sad to have the Gospel of Jesus Christ disappear off the face of the earth. (They would miss it if that did happen but they would not know that it was the Gospel that they were missing.) Christians must not get into a defensive mind set. Jesus Christ will build His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Mt. 16:18, Mt. 11:12.

When I was in grade eight, I arrived at my home room class one morning and took note of the fact that everyone of the 13 and 14 year old students in the room were as grumpy as sin. There was not a smile, a “hello”, a greeting of any kind. And I said to myself “Self, this is wrong. You should not come into the day like this. From now on I am going to enter this classroom with a smile on my face and a cheerful hello to everyone.” And I did. And it worked. It helped me and it cheered up the others. The point? You can grumble along with the rest of the world or you can do something to make your corner of the world a little brighter. You can allow the world to determine how you are going to live or you can resolve to live right, no matter if no on else on the planet goes there with you. You can spend your life reacting to what happens to you or you can resolve to live right no matter what happens. You will not allow yourself to live your life as a response. You will be proactive. You will make the first move and you will make it for the exaltation of a great God. Your life will not be marked by responding to what happens around you. It will be marked by initiative, proactiveness. You will not wait to see what will happen before you decide to do what needs to be done. (This does not mean that you see a need at your work for new furniture so you just go out and buy some , or … or … .)

So, this morning we are in the Sermon on the Mount and we are in the early parts of it where Jesus is setting the foundation of everything else He will say.

General outline of the sermon on the mount
1. 5:1-12 – Faith in Jesus Christ
The beatitudes amount to a description of those who know Jesus Christ. We see it in each description of those who are blessed … .
2. 5:13-16 – The Mandate of the Faithful
While we live here we are given the task of being salt and light. As salt we act as a preservative upon the decay that sin brings to a culture, a society, a people, indeed the whole world. As light we show the way to God, we demonstrate His glory – we live to declare, from the heart, in word and deed, the magnificent worth of God. It is important to note that this salt and light mandate from God is for those and those only who are described in verses 2-12. To start considering the instructions of this message of Jesus’ without basing it in the foundation of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, is to base the good works of this message in oneself. And that is where most of the world is and that is where very strong elements of the Church in the west are as well.
3. 5:17-20 – Jesus, the Fulfilment of the Law
Jesus takes great pains to point out that the purpose of all the OT Law was to point to Him. He is the fulfilment of all that the Law was about. From Genesis 3:15 onward the whole OT Law is pointing us to Christ. The whole OT points us to Christ. Christ is the point of the calling of Abraham and all that we see unfolding in the OT story. Since Christ is the fulfilment of the Law we had better listen to Him. We do not look back to the OT Law to see how we are to live. We look to Christ. We hear Christ. The Pharisees are trying to keep themselves in God’s good graces by obeying the Law. And Jesus points out here that the righteousness of the Pharisees does not even begin to allow anyone the right to live with God forever. So, the beatitudes are about salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. And this section is about obedience to Christ – see verse 19. (“These commands” = the commands of Christ.) The people He was preaching to would think that being salt and light meant keeping the OT Law. “No, no” Jesus says, “I am the point of the Law. Here is what it means to be salt and light”, and He starts explaining what citizens of His Kingdom live like. That is the salt and light.
4. 5:21-7:12 – Fulfilling the Mandate Given by Christ
After Jesus points out that His commandments are to kept, He starts giving them. Here are the commandments of Christ. Here is what the OT Law was really about. Here is the One in whom we dwell telling us how we are to live. Its foundation, its basis, its power to obey, is all found in Christ and the salvation that He so graciously grants all those who have faith in Him.
5. 7:13-27 – Closing invitation and Exhortation

Having said all that by way of introduction to the Sermon on the Mount we go back to the verses that we are focussing on this morning – verses 14-16.

II Salt and Light

Verse 14 & 15 – You are the salt of the earth/light of the world

1) “You” is the word that gets the emphasis in the Greek. YOU – and no one else are the salt and light. You
only … You who are persecuted for righteousness sake; you who are poor in spirit and meek .. When the world says be the opposite … ; you are what this world needs. Dear ones if we sell out there will be no light, no salt. It is up to us. If you don’t preserve the world will rot even faster than it is. If you do not shine then it will be dark. Note that if the salt is not performing its duty of preserving then preserving will not happen. Christianity is the only salt that God provides. Christians are the only salt that God provides. The influence of Christianity on a culture is what keeps that culture from rotting altogether. See the connection here with the piece of Scripture we were in last week. I Peter 4:4 “… they are surprised …”. That surprise is because you are shining your light before men so that they can see your good works and glorify God. See this in relation to I Peter 3:15 … . Why would people ask about your hope? Because you are living and reacting to the circumstances of life in a manner that demonstrates hope. And the point here in verses 14f is that those who know Jesus Christ are the only people on the planet who can make such a demonstration. There is no option here. You cannot have Christ and not be called to salt the society with Christian living. God does not say to those who know Him “Now then, would you like to be salt and light or would you just rather be on your way to heaven while being just like the rest of the world?”

2) Salt is a preservative. No one listening to Jesus this day has a freezer full of food. They do not can things
and bottle things and add chemicals to it that keep it from going bad forever. They do one thing – they salt it. And the salt keeps it from going bad. Dear ones, hear the words of the Lord Jesus Christ here. Believers in Him are a preservative on the cultures in which they live. It is believers who keep the society from living in the full demonstration of their depravity.
It is one thing to look with disdain upon a culture that is godless, (and don’t we love to do that), but as we do we need to remember that our job in this decaying culture is to live in it in such a way that it is preserved from decay. If the culture is getting worse and worse it is not our fault – but it should at least make us ask “Have we been the salt and light that we have been called to be?” Has a godless world seen that there is a better way to live? Have they heard from us that there is a loving God who is merciful and forgiving and receiving and comforting and ever present to guide … ? Isn’t it at least worth doing a check to see how well the salt has been acting as a preservative?

3) Jesus is plain here that sometimes the salt may not do its work of preserving – see verse 13 “…if the salt
has lost its taste…” How does salt lose its saltiness? Salt can not become less salty. So what does Jesus mean here?
While salt does not lose its property of saltiness it can get so polluted with impurities that it is useless. The salt has so much sand and dirt and poisons in it that it is useless to put it on anything because it will do more harm than good. The application is obvious. You are either a solution to the problem that exists in our culture today or you are part of the problem. And there is no middle ground. You can’t preserve something without remaining free from impurities. Dear ones, we need to take this very seriously.
I want to be useful to the Lord as a servant of Jesus Christ. But hear His words in verse 13 “…It is no longer good for anything …” Useless. Useless because I was so full of impurity and similarity to the world that God called me to preserve that I am only fit to be thrown away and trampled on under their very feet. Dear ones, how we need to hear this very serious warning. How this needs to grip our souls. We are in this community as a church to declare the glories of God to it. We are here to show a marvelous Saviour to a dying community I how we speak and how we live. But if we are marked by its impurities we cannot do it at all. But we shall not just be useless. We’ll be less than useless. We will be a hindrance to the Gospel having any attraction at all to them.

Meat that goes bad is simply behaving according to its nature. When you bring the meat home you know it is your job to put it in the freezer. If you do not it will be unfit for human consumption. Dear ones. You are what this culture needs. You have the Gospel and you have the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to bring you to live in such a way that they will want what you have. You have a heart that will not be satisfied at what sin has done to the world. You are here for its good. You will look for opportunity to speak the Gospel. You will get up in the morning eager to alleviate someone’s suffering. You will try to make someone smile. You will show patience and give the benefit of the doubt. You will have a meeting with your spouse and talk about how to have a more God glorifying, Christ exalting, Spirit filled marriage that makes people sit up and take notice – because the glory of God is at stake in this. You will listen to people when they want to talk and you will offer to pray with them. You will make yourself a serious student of the Scriptures because you know that it is what the people you rub shoulders with all day really need. You will not be vengeful. You will be a man of oyur word. You will seek to demonstrate Him and not yourself. You will not chase after money like the rest of our society. You will not ignore your sins while focussing on the sins of others. You will be salt and light.

4) How much salt? How much light? Ezekiel 22:30. …
5) You can’t preserve something without coming in contact with it. We are not called to separate ourselves
from a godless world. We are called to separate ourselves from the godlessness of the world. The Christian’s life is not finding a holy huddle of people who are afraid of the dark and singing together until they feel better about how dark it is out there. Not at all. The Christian’s life is marked by faithfulness to Christ in fellowship with other believers and marching in to a world that He came to save without fear and in great holiness and taking it captive for Jesus Christ.

6) But how do we salt the earth? How do we shine the light of ourselves in the world? How do we charge into the world and take it captive for Christ? Those may be well sounding words. They may excite and inspire but there is no substance to them. “Go take the world for Jesus”, the preacher yells – and then he stops!! What are the people to do now? Jesus did not preach this sermon like that He told them See Mt. 5:16 – good works. And what would these be? The rest of the Sermon on the Mount.

III How are we Salt and Light?

See in 5:21 – 7:12 how we are to be salt and light in the world.

See the salt and light in:
5:21f – what angers us and how we show our anger
5:23f – how we deal with someone when we have been in the wrong
5:28-30 – how we deal radically with our own sin …
31-32- our marriages
33-37 – being people of our word

All the rest of the sermon that Jesus gave that day is what it means to be salt and light.

It is not difficult to find books and conferences and seminars and seminary courses on how to make the church and individual believers more effective in penetrating the culture with the Gospel and influencing it for good. But the first thing that is needed is not a strategy. It is a commitment to holiness. When Jesus says that we are the salt of the earth He does not proceed to talk about getting more political power. He says nothing about forcing whole cultures into the waters of baptism at the point of a sword. He completely neglects to mention that what the church needs is cultural influence. He says “I am the fulfilment of the whole Old Testament, of all the Law. I am the culmination of every jot and tittle. Now then, go out and shine and preserve.” Take up your cross and follow me – and be amazed at how I will use that to bring in even more into the kingdom that oyu are demonstrating to them.

Dear ones – this is what glorifies God. See verse 16. People who are saved by grace and prove it by the lives they lead. Being salt and light is not rocket science. It is simple obedience to Jesus Christ.

IV Application

Dear one – how are you doing? Has your Christian life been a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit at work in you so that people see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven? Or have you lost your saltiness?

Are you able to preserve through your obedience to Christ and shine the glory of the Father to the world or have you become so full of worldliness that there is no saltiness there to preserve with.

Is this because you do not really know Christ at all? Have you a faitj that has not changed you? That is not real faith in Christ. It is a horrifying counterfeit. And you don’t have to just have a counterfeit. You can rally know Christ and the power of His resurrection in you and you can have One in you who is greater than he who is in the world. You need the faith reflected in the Beatitudes. And you can … .

You really are a believer, but you have allowed the world to shape you into its image? Isn’t it time to make things right with Him again? He will receive you. He will forgive you …

Let us pray.

Thistletown Baptist Church
January 4, 2009

I Peter 4:1-11

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, [2] so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. [3] The time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. [4] With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; [5] but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. [6] For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. [7]The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. [8] Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. [9] Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. [10] As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: [11] whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies-in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.


Martin Luther – for a man to stand true to the faith in everything except in those areas where the predominating pull of the culture takes him is to be faithful in nothing at all.
Those areas of life that the culture demands we surrender up the teachings of the Scriptures, become the areas that most define us, whether or not the Scriptures emphasize them as much as other things. In other words, where we are tempted the most to forsake the teachings of the Bible is the most crucial issue of the day.
In our day – Two primary areas of contention 1) Jesus Christ – who He was/is, what He did, did He exist, is He the only way to God, what is His Gospel, … 2) Marriage and family life – the definition of gender, gender roles, definition of marriage, divorce, remarriage, role of mother and father, role of the family versus the state in the rearing of children, sexuality – when sexual activity ought to take place, with whom, sexual activity in and outside of marriage, abortion, … . In these areas of life we need to be particularly careful to be faithful to the teachings of Scripture or, as Luther pointed out, we are not being faithful to Christ and the Gospel at all.
This is where the rubber meets the road. It is far too easy to gather in here on Sunday morning and not have it effect us tomorrow. Sing here and sleep with the boyfriend/girlfriend tonight. Pray here and watch the porn on television tonight. Enjoy fellowship here and completely ignore what the Scriptures say regarding your role as a husband and father to lead your home. The examples can go on and on. The point? Being a believer in Jesus Christ necessarily means being counter cultural in the areas of life where the culture is most likely to tempt us to forsake the Scriptures.
The point of the message this morning is to encourage you to live, in 2009, a consistent Christian life of holiness in the area of life that suffers the most from a lack of it in our culture.

verse 1 – Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of
Suffer with the same attitude that Christ had – It can never be said that Christ deserved to suffer in any manner at all. We are called to suffer with Christ, first of all, in attitude. And His attitude was that He was willing to suffer unjustly.
Since Christ suffered, you should have the same attitude – that it is better to suffer for doing what is right than to sin. This was the attitude of Christ. This is what we see in the garden of Gethsemane on the night He was arrested. “Take this cup, nevertheless …”. In other words “What I want more than anything is to be in your will and if suffering is part of that, then that is what I would rather.” The question that this causes to arise is – which one do you fear the most?
6. One of Peter’s great concern in this whole Letter is that if Christians are to suffer, and
they are, then they ought to suffer unjustly and not because of anything they have done that is wrong. Dear ones, we are called to suffer unjustly. 2:12, 19, 3:9, 14, 17 – Rejoicing in the Christian life is tied to its cause. If you do what is wrong and suffer this should not make you happy. But if you suffer for doing what is righteous then you can rejoice … .
7. The notable thing in this is that we are exactly the opposite. We complain when we suffer
unjustly and feel somewhat better when we deserve it. Dear ones – we should never deserve to be opposed, to be maligned, to be persecuted. Suffering at the hands of others should never be our fault. And suffering justly should never make us content. And suffering unjustly for the cause of Christ should never make us unhappy. But in North American Christianity when an injustice is committed against a Christian because of his faith in Jesus Christ we don’t rejoice because we are counted worthy to suffer for Hm. No!! We do what the world does. We sue. What we do not do is 4:19. A Christian is found guilty of violating the human rights code when he refuses to print a flier promoting something in the gay community related to the gay lifestyle. How much rejoicing went on in the Christian community when that happened? None. What did happen was cries from within the Christian community talking about a) the end of Christianity as we know it, b) people saying it was a sign of the end times, c) counter suits, d) the unfairness of it … At no time did I hear anything even approaching someone saying “we should rejoice because to this we were called.” Consider Hebrews 10:34.

Verse 1 – whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin
This verse is not teaching that we are saved because we suffer. It is teaching that we suffer because we are saved.
1. There is a clear choice put to believers here – suffering or sinning. See verse 2. Suffering
is a given for all believers. Suffering is the default position. This is just simply the call of the Gospel – Take up the
cross, Love me more than father or mother, give up everything you have. … The Bible is crystal clear – where there is no suffering there is no saving faith – Romans 8:16f, II Tim. 3:12
2. But it is not just suffering. Everyone suffers. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus,
atheists – all suffer. All people suffer. This is a given – Job 5:7 is as true now as it has ever been- sparks still fly upward … . Peter is not talking here about disease, accident, … . All people suffer those things. (He talks about that in 1:6) What he is referring to here is the suffering that specifically happens because you are a believer. Again, God sends the sicknesses, accidents, setbacks … upon His children for their sanctification, and in that sense all suffering is because of our faithfulness to the Gospel. But we are talking about suffering opposition from others because we are seeking to be faithful to the Word of God.

verse 2 – “… no longer for human passions…”
1. They used to live like this – what happened? They got saved. Saved people do not live
like verse 4 – period. A Christian is a person who no longer lives for human passions. These passions are contrasted in this verse with “the will of God.” You either live for God or for human sinful passions.

verse 3 – The time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.

1. It is time to stop living like the world – but what does that have to do with suffering? The very question
reflects a problem. This is what the problem is with the North American church. It cannot make the connection between faithfulness to Christ and suffering for Christ. The New Testament could not be plainer – faithfulness ot Christ and easy living/pain free living/opposition free living – are mutually exclusive. You simply cannot have opposition free living and faithfulness ot the Gospel. The two will not, cannot, and are ordained of God that they will not – co-exist at the same time in the same heart.
I Peter abounds with words that prepare us to suffer for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Why then does it surprise so many believers?

verse 4 – ” … they are surprised…”

1. They are surprised because you used to do these things – verse 3. But you do not do them anymore. They
are surprised that with all the problems in the world that anyone would make an issue of sexual morality, abortion, gay marriage, adultery, drunkenness … . Dear ones, get this. A Christian simply does not live like this. The surprise of the world is not so much that we believe certain things (although that is certainly part of it). It is more that we live according to what we believe. It changes us. II Cor. 5:17. Dear ones – can God speak to you referring to your sins in the past tense like He does to these people Peter was writing? …

2. They are surprised because issues such as adultery, common-law marriage, sex before marriage,
homosexuality, drunkenness, abortion … … are just accepted ways of life today – and you don’t want to be the odd man out do you? But the sad truth is that these things are far too acceptable among believers as well.
3. So, you are the only one in a conversation at work who believes that divorce and remarriage is wrong
and you dare to say so – now look at the last three words of verse 4 – “they malign you”. Has that ever happened to you dear ones? If not – – – – WHY NOT!!? Was it because you just didn’t want to be the odd person out?
4. Consider this very carefully dear ones. There are many ways to live the Christian life that
do not surprise the unconverted world. The fact that you do not support murder is not surprising. No one is particularly surprised when we teach that Jesus … or … or … . Christian charity works are known the world over for their alleviation of suffering. This is a good thing. It is a great thing. Then in what situations does this verse prove itself to be true in our experiences?
5. What gets them surprised is when people they have come to respect prove themselves to
be less than what they expected. You are nice to work with, you help people … . then one day the subject of same sex marriage comes up at work – you are known to be a nice person … and in your nice way you say, without any rancour or ill will ….
6. Make no mistake dear ones – living and speaking the Christian Gospel is not going to be
popular. Many Christians in north America live in the delusion that we can be respectful and talk the language of the people and .. And … And people will respect us and just agree to disagree and everyone remains everyone else’s friend. That is a lie. Living for Jesus Christ is going to bring opposition. The Bible is crystal clear about this.
I have not been invited to give the prayer at Barack Obama’s inauguration this month. I know that is a shocker, but it is true. But an evangelical pastor has been invited to give it. His name is Rick Warren. He is famous for the “Purpose Driven Life” book. If there were only two candidates for giving the inaugural prayer – Rick Warren and me, Warren would get it hands down. He’s nicer. He popular. He is what a lot of believers say an evangelical ought to be. When he speaks people listen. He gives to the poor. He has a relief work for people with AIDS in Africa. He’s hip, cool, with it and knowledgeable about what is going on – and a believer too. There couldn’t be a nicer man to be asked to pray.

“Rick Warren still hasn’t learned which way is up–or rather, which way is the decent, Christian, and humane way to be–that is, give all Americans equal rights and stop fomenting prejudice and hatred against people you don’t agree with.”

Progressive groups are decrying the choice of Rick Warren to deliver the Invocation at the Presidential Inauguration as “disappointing” — but it is far more than that. It is an act of spiritual violence against lesbian and gay American citizens and a profound betrayal of the philosophy of inclusion and unity espoused by President-elect Obama.
I am no great fan of Rick Warren, but the point here is that someone as nice as him can get roasted the way he does because he disagrees where it is not allowed to disagree. Don’t think that you can win the approval of the world at large. The only way to do it is to surrender or shut up about the issues that matter to the world at large.

Verses 5 & 6 – but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
1. Why join in with those who are going to have to answer to God for their wickedness?
You want to be judged like them? All people will be judged but Peter’s point here is that if you behave like them, you will receive the same judgement as they do.

verse 8 – “Above all”
– above all?? This is the most important thing he is going to say? This, in a text of warnings about sexual immorality, drunkenness, idolatry … Peter can say “above all”??
2. This does not mean that loving one another is more important than worshipping God,
or more important than purity … It means that if we are going to obey the injunctions of verses 3f we are going to have to love each other, because it is impossible to live a transformed-from-the-world life alone. Just picture this – you go to work and get ridiculed for your faith, maligned for your stand for truth, considered a prude … . And then you come to church and find no welcome, no encouragement, no “we are praying for you”… That is a recipe for disaster. It is a sure method to going back to the lifestyle that Peter is warning them to stay away from. This is why Peter says “above all”.
3. The cure for immorality … is Christian love/fellowship. How often do we find
ourselves shaking our heads and wondering what in the world went wrong that someone left the church and returned to his/her old lifestyle. And it is a wonder – but we need to be open to the possibility that we could have been more loving, more interested in their lives …
4. The solution for immorality?
V. 7 self control
v.8 love
v.9 hospitality to one another
v.10 use of gifts for the common good
v.11 all for the glory of God.

Dear ones. Let us go into 2009 more holy than we have ever entered any year yet. Let us not be marked by the predominant sins of the world and let us, above all, be a loving support to one another in our quest for holiness.