Exhortation to Christian Living
1 Peter 2:11-12 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Peter addresses his readers “beloved” which is a popular term applied for Christians. Christians are well loved. The term “beloved” were written at least 63 times in the NT. Since we are beloved by the Lord, we are sure to go to heaven. We are just strangers and pilgrims here on earth. We have a
heavenly home and our citizenship is in heaven. Because we are citizens of heaven, we should live like one who is a citizen of heaven. I see the value of this verse by the word “beseech” which means to call, desire, pray. It’s not only Peter but the Lord Himself that wants us to follow this exhortation
since Peter is writing through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
I. Basis of the Exhortation. (1 Pet. 2:9)
A. We are a chosen generation
B. We are a royal priesthood
C. We are a holy nation
D. We are peculiar (purchased) people
E. We are strangers and pilgrims here on earth
II. We are engaged in spiritual warfare
A. The word “war” carries the idea of a battle, conflict, or struggle.
B. The NT uses image of war for the Christian life. (1 Pet. 2:11)
C. We not merely walk the Christian life but we are engaged in spiritual war.
D. This war has no neutral ground. It’s either you are spiritual or carnal, good or bad.
E. We have 3 enemies:
1. External enemy is the world. (1 Jn. 2:15-17)
2. Internal enemy is the flesh. (Gal. 5:17)
3. Spiritual enemy is Satan and his cohorts. (Eph. 6:12)
F. The result of this war will be:
1. Victorious Christian living and a life of holiness
2. Or, defeat causing loss of testimony and becoming a stumbling block.
3. Rewards or loss of rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Illustration: Praying for the Downfall Of Pastors
True story. A Christian leader—we’ll call him Steve —was traveling recently by plane. He noticed that the man sitting two seats over was thumbing through some little cards and moving his lips. The man looked professorial with his goatee and graying brown hair, and Steve placed him at fifty-something.
Guessing the man was a fellow-believer, Steve leaned over to engage him in conversation. “Looks to me like you’re memorizing something,” he said. “No, actually I was praying,” the man said. Steve introduced himself. “I believe in prayer too,” he said. “Well, I have a specific assignment,” said the
man with the goatee. “What’s that?” Steve asked. “I’m praying for the downfall of Christian pastors.” “I would certainly fit into that category,” Steve said. “Is my name on the list?” “Not on my list,” the man replied. (Common Ground, Vol. 10, No. 7)
III. People are observing us
A. Some of them speak evil of you
B. By following this exhortation, those who speak evil of you will possibly glorify God
C. The day of visitation:
1. The word “visitation” here is used also in Lk. 19:44, and actually the same as “bishoprick” in Acts 1:20.
2. A bishop is an overseer, and the idea here is God is coming as an overseer to diligently inspect the actions of both believers and unbelievers.
3. The result of this visitation is either judgment or blessings.
IV. The real issue:
A. Abstain from Fleshly Lust
1. Abstain means to hold yourself back, or to refrain.
2. Lust is a strong desire; longing. The Greek word translated lust, epithumetes, is also translated “covet” (Rom. 7:7), “concupiscence” (Col. 3:5; 1Th. 4:5), and “desire” (Lk. 17:22; Ph. 1:23; 1Th. 2:17; Heb. 6:11).
3. Fleshly lusts are carnal appetites. It is our fallen nature.
4. The lust spoken here are not only sexual lust but also attitude sins like envy, jealousy, deceit, hatred, malice, hypocrisy, resentment, malice, lies, etc.
5. God wants us to avoid fleshly lusts (Acts 15:20, 29, 1 Thess. 4:3, 5:22, 1 Tim. 4:3).
6. Lusts originate from Satan. They are the desires of the Devil. (Jn. 8:44).
B. Have an honest behaviour.
1. “Conversation” here means behaviour or conduct. How we live our daily life.
2. “Honest” here means beautiful, good (literally or morally), that is valuable or virtuous (for appearance or use).
3. Our conduct here on earth must be honourable, good to look upon that the evil words of our enemies may be proven as false or not right.
4. Before the critical eyes of those who slander us, our good behaviour can glorify God (Mat. 5:16, 1 Cor. 6:20) and win others to Christ.
Illustration: The Briefcase
Last winter, a lowly-paid waiter in a major city found a briefcase containing cash and negotiables in a parking lot—and no owner in sight. No one saw the waiter find it and put it in his car in the wee hours of the morning. But for the waiter, there was never any question of what to do. He took the briefcase home, opened it, and searched for the owner’s identity. The next day he made a few phone calls, located the distressed owner, and returned the briefcase—along with the $25,000 cash it contained!
The surprising thing about this episode was the ridicule the waiter experienced at the hands of his friends and peers. For the next week or so he was called a variety of names and laughed at, all because he possessed a quality the Bible holds in high regard: integrity.
Will you behave as a real citizen of Heaven? Does your behaviour proves that even others spoke evil of you, you can prove them to be wrong? Do you glorify God in your life? Why not come to Christ and be a blessing to people around you?