The Rich Kids
The Rich Kids
1 Peter 1:13-2:3
Thesis: Rich kids should live like they love their dad!
Welcome to River City! My name is Rodney, and I’m one of the pastors here. We’re just a couple weeks into this sermon series called We’re Not Home, where we’re looking at what it means to live as strangers in a world that’s not our home, by going verse by verse through the New Testament letter of 1 Peter, written to people who are living as strangers in a foreign land.
Slide for texting
I’m pretty sure most of you, if you’re a tween or high schooler or older, you’ve met that kid whose parents have lots of money and give their kids whatever they want. That kid that drives into the school parking lot with a real nice car, but you know they’ve never had a job and there is no way they bought that with their own money, or that kid who always has the cool shoes, clothes, backpacks, whatever, and they’ve had three new pairs of shoes before Christmas, while your mom said she’ll get you one pair that is for school, church, and baseball and they have to last until you graduate. I’m not bitter about that at all, mom if you’re watching – hardly ever think about it.
But we’ve all known that kid, and we say those people have “daddy’s money”. He is loaded and the kid gets whatever he wants. And I guess if you can’t think of a kid in your class who fits that description – I guess it was you.
Last week, we studied what it means to have the gift of new birth, we saw here’s what saving faith looks like:
- God has taken action that brings us to life. He has initiated the new birth. Our being saved doesn’t depend on our performance, our religiousness, our church attendance, etc. It depends on his mercy.
- Your confidence is not in someone who is dead, or on something that can be taken from you, burned down, or breaks down over time. Your confidence is in Someone who is living and active and at work.
- You are being kept for salvation, which means that in the same way you didn’t earn your salvation, you cannot earn it being taken from you. Through trials, through sickness, through even the lowest human experiences, your salvation is never in jeopardy, because…
- Not only are you kept for it, it is kept for you – in heaven! There is an inheritance waiting for you, being guarded for you. Who is going to break into heaven and take it away?
- And that salvation will be fully realized at any second. Whether by Jesus returning, or taking you in death, your salvation is ready. Jesus is just waiting for the word from his Father.
WE ARE THE RICH KIDS
I believe scripture says anyone who has the faith to call out to God for salvation, resting fully in what God has done in that way, has been given a new birth into the family of God. And now, you are the rich kid. You have more available to you, more in your spiritual bank account, than you could ever imagine or comprehend, and the inheritance kept in heaven for you is as good as done. You’ve been adopted into the King’s family, and you are co-heirs with the King’s Son Jesus. You are the rich kid – but the question is, how are you going to live in light of that?
So my outline consists of four words today: GRACE, HOLINESS, OBEDIENCE, GROWTH. These are the four movements we’re going to be looking at today.
Turn with me to 1 Peter 1 where we’ll pick up this week. If you’re new to the Bible, to find 1 Peter, start at the back of the Bible. You got maps, charts, tables, then Revelation. Keep going left a little at a time. Jude. 3,2,1 John, 2 Peter, and then 1 Peter.
Therefore… because of the mercy you’ve been shown, because of this incredible gift of salvation… with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Here’s the first word: GRACE.
And what are we supposed to do with that grace? Set our hope completely on it. And how do we do that?
- It starts in our minds.
- 1 Peter 1:13 – Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded…
- Romans 12:1 – Be transformed by the renewing of your mind…
- 2 Corinthians 10:5 – taking every thought captive to obey Christ
- What are the things you tend to think about the most? A lot of times it involves hope, doesn’t it? I hope this happens, or doesn’t happen. The hope we often think about is wishing that something in the future would happen. I hope I get a better paying job someday that makes more money. I hope I can lose 25 pounds. I hope someday we can afford a bigger house. I hope this person gets in office. Or in a spiritual sense: I hope I’ve done enough to please God. I hope my good actions outweigh the bad ones. I hope he lets me in.
- But Peter says: Set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus. On the grace to be brought to you, that's the future as well, right? Something yet to be done.
- However, flip back to chapter 1, verse 3, where Peter says you are born into a living hope THROUGH THE RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ from the dead. So the hope Peter is talking about isn’t founded on some future event maybe, hopefully, wishfully happening – it’s based on something that is past. Something that already happened. Something recorded and factual and true – the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! So Peter isn’t encouraging you to put your hope in something wishy-washy in the future. He is saying you can anchor your lives in grace. Not religion. Not law-abiding. But grace from a resurrected and living Savior who will return at any moment.
Why is it important to change our thinking? Because what we think has a direct effect on what we want and what we love. Look at Vs 14: As obedient children, do not be conformed (do not be shaped by, or molded by) the desires of your former ignorance.
The ignorance of the way you used to think was to put your hope in other things. You didn’t think you were a sinner. You didn’t think you needed Christian community to have a fruitful life. You thought you needed more money. More vacations. More hobbies. More fun. More excitement. More clothes. A better car. More sex. And that thinking convinced your heart that those things were worth trading some of your life for. Your heart began to crave, or desire, those things, and sometimes at great cost to your finances, or your relationships, or your job. Many of you know people who are divorced because a job or another relationship got in the way. Many of you know families that are split or hostile because work got in the way. It’s because someone’s thinking was ignorant, it affected what they wanted, and now things are a mess because hope was set on the wrong things.
And Peter is encouraging us: You’re living in a world where you will be tempted every day as you go through the routine everyday trials of life to put your hope on something else. SET YOUR HOPE COMPLETELY on the grace of Jesus.
Go all in on grace, but, v 14, do so as obedient children, because, as he continues in 15, But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.
Here’s the second word: HOLINESS
God not only called you from death to life, he has called you to holiness.verse 15: BE holy. That’s not optional. It doesn’t say “if you’re at church or youth group, be holy, but at school be whatever you want. You need to be holy at the Community Group, but with the guys after work or when the moms hit the town on Friday night to release some stress, hey, just have fun. Holiness can wait until the morning. That’s not what it says.
Be holy in all your conduct. Why? Look at the rest of verse 17: If you appeal (or call out to) the Father who judges impartially according to each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves with reverence (fear) during your time living as strangers.
If you are going to call out to the Father who judges impartially according to your work, means sin is sin, no matter who’s doing it. The great prophet and leader of Israel named Moses was kept out of the Promised Land because of sin. You are saved by grace, but God still takes sin seriously. The eternal punishment for your sin is on the cross, so he expects you to live as if it’s dead to you.
Karen Jobes, in her commentary on 1 Peter, says it so powerfully: “Our knowledge of God as Father must not erase our dread of him as our Judge.”
But here is the beauty of the gospel: God doesn’t say, HEY I’M YOUR JUDGE. YOU’D BETTER START BEING HOLY! And maybe if you’re able to, I’ll throw you a bone and show you some grace.
- GRACE Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth.
- HOLINESS He’s still a righteous and holy judge.
- This means the way we live matters! Just like the rich kid at your high school, you can take advantage of your Daddy’s money, the grace you’ve been given, or you can live as if you love your dad, and want to honor him as your Father – who is a righteous Judge.
- And maybe you’re like, oh man. I blew it. I participated in all kinds of unholy activities before and after I knew Jesus. I didn’t know it was wrong! I was just going with what people told me. I’ve had my hope in some messed up things! And let me hit you with some more grace!
- Verse 18 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb.
- When you belong to Christ, your shady past no matter how dark is not held against you! The debt pile of sin and shame and guilt that you had racked up against yourself stood no chance in court where God is the righteous and holy Judge, but his own Son stepped into the courtroom and paid for your shame and guilt and rebellion, not with a stack of cash, but with his own life! HE SERVED THE SENTENCE FOR YOU!
- How can we do anything but live whatever life he calls us to live?
Which brings us to the third word: OBEDIENCE
V 22 – since you have purified yourselves by your obedience to the truth so that you show sincere brotherly love for each other…
Notice that he says “Obedience” to the truth, not “mentally agreeing with” the truth.
- The book of James says, faith without action is dead faith.
- Jesus said “If you love me, keep my commands.”
- Anyone who says they have faith, but doesn’t act on it doesn’t really have faith. You prove your faith by how you live. All of you are sitting in these chairs because you actively expect them to support you. If a person walked in and said oh, I believe that chair will fully support my frame, yet refuses to sit on the chair, how valuable is their faith?
- The gospel is not meant to be sat on like a chair. It’s meant to purify you, to transform you. Make you a different person. People have asked me, how do I know I’m saved? My answer is, how are you different than you were last week? Last month? Last year? Do you see transformation taking place?
And Peter would add to that – Do you treat others differently than you used to? This rescue from empty ignorance not only restores our relationship to God, it is also meant to transform the way we treat others. Continue verse 22, – since you have purified yourselves by your obedience to the truth so that you show sincere brotherly love for each other, from a pure heart, love one another constantly!
Look at how our love for others should be: Sincere. Pure motives. Constantly.
And he gives a reason… because you have been born again, not of perishable seed (not through procreation) but of imperishable – through the living and enduring word of God.
So many times when we get together with friends or meet new people, we immediately try to find common ground. Which is fine! And sometimes we find that common ground in our political beliefs – we complain about the same things, we agree on the same things. Sometimes it’s in how we’re handling COVID – we find people who agree with our sentiments about distancing or masks, and we have a connection. What line of work we’re in, what hobbies we enjoy, sports teams, food we like, what church we go to, what music we listen to… on and on it can go. And sometimes, the motive is to make us feel better about ourselves. “Oh good, that’s what I think too. Oh good, we’re on the same team.”
But listen to me River City: what unites the body of Christ is not whether or not you think wearing a mask is necessary. The common ground we have with each other, in this room, and with believers around the world, is that we’ve been born again by believing and obeying the living and enduring word of God, which is the gospel that was proclaimed to us... NOTHING ELSE.
Why? It’s because the gospel is meant to transcend any sort of cultural boundaries we’ve constructed. It is bigger than any set of preferences or religious institutions or political viewpoints. The gospel is for Trump and for Biden. It’s for people who commit abortions and those who picket. The gospel is meant for Americans and Africans and Australians and Europeans and Asians. It’s meant for those who grew up in church and those who didn’t. It’s for those who raised their kids right and those who didn’t.
Look at verse 24: Skin color, political preferences, anything that is flesh is like grass. Presidents are a horrible place to set our hope, because even if they do awesome for 8 years, they die and are forgotten. To say you’re better than someone because of the color of your skin is to forget that one day you’ll be dead and worms are color blind. National pride is a horrible place to set your hope, because every other nation who had something going for themselves throughout history is just a chapter in a history book right now, and we remember only a minuscule percentage of what they accomplished. All the glory of the United States, it’s accomplishments, it’s influence, look again at verse 24, is like a dandelion in the yard. The yard and the dandelion are soon gone. Blown away like it was never there.
You weren’t born again to put your hope in dandelions. You were born again by the enduring and living word of God, which lasts forever, and that word is the gospel of grace. So set your hope completely on it.
Please hear me out: I’m not saying you should tear down American flags or candidate signs in our yards or never sing the national anthem. I’m not saying after the service, don’t talk to each other about your family or work or something you’re going through for fear we might connect over something that’s not the gospel. NO – But as you have those conversations about politics, about whether you think masks are a good thing or not, how your kids are doing, is work busy, etc, etc… Chapter 2:1, rid yourselves of all malice (the desire to get even), all deceit (the desire to self-protect) and hypocrisy (the desire for power), envy (the desire for more) and all slander (the desire to elevate yourself and bring others down).
Instead, like newborn infants, desire (instead) the pure milk of the word, so that you may grow up into your salvation, if you have tasted that the Lord is good.
The last word is GROWTH
Like babies need pure, healthy milk to grow, the word of God is our food. If you’ve experienced the grace of God, and you rejoice in the freedom and hope that you have, make reading and speaking the good news of Jesus as routine as eating, so you grow up and mature into the salvation that’s waiting for you.
Become who you already are.
And the very thing that makes it possible is the deliverer of Grace himself: The Son of God, Jesus Christ. Who came to earth full of grace and truth. He came to show us what grace is – good news for bad people, through his life of perfect holiness and obedience to his father, even when it meant his death in our place on the cross. And not only did he die for us, through his resurrection from the dead, and the endless power of the Holy Spirit, he is transforming sinners into saints. He is transforming us from empty and ignorant thinking, empty and ignorant cravings, into people who follow him into the hard places of life, for the sake of his name, until the day he returns to set things right once and for all.