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Living Reverently

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(3/8) Introduction

Last Tuesday I had the honor of keeping my commitment to Millie Arbogast and preaching her funeral. As I often do, I rode from the church to the cemetery in the hearse with the funeral director. They always ask if I want to and sometimes it is easier than driving my pick-up truck. On the way to the cemetery, the Funeral director would slow to nearly a stop at every intersection, to make sure that all traffic would allow the procession to go in tact. That drive led into a discussion about respect as the director recalled how, "in the old days," people would stop and remove their hats and place them or their hands over their hearts when a funeral passed. Then we recalled how everyone used to be taught to say, ‘sir,’ or ‘ma’am,’ and you never said, "huh,’ you always said, "excuse me." Pastors, teachers, policemen, firemen, soldiers, were respected for their positions, or office. Men removed their hats when entering a building, and men rose from their seats when a lady entered a room, and younger people always offered their seats to the elderly. And God was respected in our courts, our schools and our government. We don’t see much of any of that anymore, do we?

Paul spoke of this a lot when he wrote the book of Romans. In chapter one for example, he says this in Romans 1:21-23, and 3:18 from Psalm 36:1-4. Paul also refers to such people as, "sons or children of disobedience," in Ephesians 2:2 and Col. 3:6. Peter reminds us here that we who have received Jesus as Savior and Lord are referred to as obedient children because we have chosen to follow God. And we have a unique privilege. We can call the awesome, infinite, omniscient, omnipotent, creator of the universe – our Father because we have been adopted into His family. Jesus told Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples that He was ascending to His Father and Our Father in John 20. He told us that when we pray, we are to say, "Our Father in Heaven.’ But Peter reminds us that, that honor and privilege of being in God’s family calls for at least two responses from us. Look at 1 Peter 1:14-17.

(Deviating from the Outline- my apology)

1. Is Holy Conduct (vv.14-16)– Living our lives differently than when we were children of disobedience. Our desire is to not only be different than we were then, but it should be that everything we do is honor Him- everything (1 Cor. 10:31). There can be no separation of church and state for a true follower of Jesus. There can be no distinction between the secular and the sacred- its all sacred when you are part of God’s family. Our thoughts, our speech, our attitudes, our actions, what we do and what we don’t do should all be to honor God.

2. Is Reverent Conduct (v.17) – "Conduct yourselves throughout your time of stay here in fear." The word fear refers to honorable, respectful, reverence and awe toward one who is esteemed. We are to conduct all of our time between now and our appointment in awe and reverence of God. We will define that further in a moment. There are three reasons Peter states here in the text why we should do that.

• Our Father is Holy (vv.14-16). He is special. Our Lord taught us that when we pray, not just the recitation of this prayer but whenever we pray we should say, "Our Father in Heaven, your name is Holy." One of the reasons why I don’t like to be called Reverend and would prefer Pastor or just Gary is that Psalm 111:9 says, "Holy and Awesome or Reverent is His name. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Peter has just told us that it is written in Lev. 11:44-45, that we are to, "Be holy, because the Lord our God is Holy." He is light and in Him there is no darkness, no hint of any wrong, or shadily dealings, no sin or deception, or trace of evil and we are to be the same.

• Our Father Judges Righteously and Impartially, "And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;" (v.17). The Bible speaks of several judgments that God has or will render.

a. One was when Jesus was judged for the sins of the world on the cross of Calvary.

b. Another will be the judgment of the nations when Jesus returns as the King of Kings. Matthew 25 reminds us of that one when the nations will be divided as a shepherd divides his sheep from his goats.

c. Still another is the Great White Throne Judgment when all the unsaved dead of all time will receive their ultimate judgment and eternal sentencing in the lake of fire with Satan and his anti-Christ will also be forever. Revelation 20 tells us of that judgment.

d. There will be a judgment for Christians. Never will we have to give an account for our sinful life before Jesus because His Judgment for us settled that once for all. But this one is called the Judgment Seat or Bema Seat of Christ. It is a place and a time intended to honor the follower of Jesus for our obedience and Holy and Reverent lives. Listen to these scriptures: 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 4:3-5; 2 Cor. 5:9-10; Rom. 14:9-12, 2 Tim. 4:6-8. Now there are a lot more, like the one our Lord told us of when He will have us sit at His table and will serve us, and Zephaniah’s prophecy that the Lord will rejoice over us with singing. I don’t know the full criteria of this judgment but I think it is safe to guess, that at least 4 categories will make up that criteria.

1) Did we truly love God with all our hearts?

2) Did we love one another as Jesus loved us?

3) Did we do all we could to reach the world and make disciples?

4) Did I do everything to the Glory of God; that is, did I live holy and reverence God in all I did?

Or, was life all about what I wanted? Peter probably remembered when He told Jesus what was or wasn’t going to happen, as if Peter knew better than God in Matthew 16 and our Lord said, "Get behind me Satan, you care more about the things of man than you do about the things of God."

Now, Peter reminds us that, at that place and time to reward and honor His children, there will be partiality, no favoritism, no difference in Republicans and Democrats, race or gender, rich or poor, educated or un-educated. Your honor, your crown, your commendation before all believers and before all the angels of heaven will be revealed, and folks, I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be ashamed. Do you?

• The Third Reason God is be Reverenced and Held in Awe, Because of the Price that He Paid to Bring You into His Family. "…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God." (vv. 18-21). Notice several things with me:

1.) The Word, "Redeemed," is a word that means to purchase the freedom of someone. It was used of paying for the release of a P.O.W. or a slave. It means to purchase out of bondage. The Bible makes it pretty clear that there was a time when you were enslaved to sin, the system, and to Satan. Our Lord said this in John 8:31-36; Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." 33 They answered Him, "We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?" 34 Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Paul says a similar thing in Romans 6:16-23. Peter says, "That we were in bondage to our aimless conduct passed down to us by tradition from our fathers." We inherited an empty, pointless, purposeless life from our parents. Not that our parents wanted us to have an empty, pointless life, it’s just that life, without God, is simply pointless. Solomon wrote a whole book in our Bibles about this called Ecclesiastes. We live for temporary pleasures, and self gratification and eventually we want to ask the Peggy Lee question, "Is that all there is?" One of the biggest questions that people want to know is, "What’s the Point?" What is my purpose? Is it to just eat, drink and be merry, because tomorrow we die? The answer is, "No." God redeemed: that is, He purchased us, in order to set us free from a pointless, purposeless life. He gave us a reason to live, a purpose and that is to glorify God in everything we do.

2.) He didn’t redeem us with things that we deem valuable like silver or gold that itself may take a long time but they are still corruptible and just stuff.

3.) He redeemed us with the most valuable thing in the universe. The death of His own Son. The Perfect, Holy, Son of God took on Human Flesh to die as your substitute. Who would do that? Would you? Romans 5 makes it clear that we might die for those we love, but who would die or give his son to die for enemies? God did. He sent His son to be the Lamb of God, our substitute, to die for our sins, so God the Father could redeem us and set us free to have a purposeful life. 2 Cor. 5:21 says it this way.

4.) Implied is that we were set free from sin, and sin’s penalty, and sin’s power so we could be adopted into God’s Family and know Him as our Father (v. 17; cp. Gal. 4; Romans 8:14-17, Eph. 1:4-8). Even our Lord makes the distinction between Sons and Slaves.

5.) Being adopted into God’s family means we are His heirs and we have the sure hope of the Inheritance Peter refers to in vv. 3-5. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

Therefore every bit of our lives ought to be lived in reverence and awe of an

There is so much more that the Bible says about fearing God, but for now we understand why Peter says He is deserving of our reverence, respect, honor, and sense of Awe.

He is Holy

He is a Righteous and Impartial Judge

He Paid an Incredible Price to Purchase our freedom and adoption.

Some closing questions

• Do you know this God as your Father?

• Are you living your life differently than the world around you?

• Do you conduct yourselves according to the Bible or the world around you?

• Are you passing your time here in awe of God, Or living your freedom for yourself? One day we will stand before this Holy God who paid this high cost, to give an account for what we did with our freedom. Are you ready for that day?

• Billy Graham interviewed by one of the TV news magazines like 20/20, said, "I just hope that when I stand before God, I will hear Him say, ‘Well done." Folks, the Crown, the Robe, and seat, the singing will all be icing on the cake. What I want to hear, is well done, don’t you? Let’s determine today, to live the remainder of our time here in Holy and Reverent Conduct in all we do. Amen? Amen!

Let’s pray

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman