You Are Called

You are Called

1 Peter 1:13-21 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your [a]stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with [b]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 [c]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.

THEREFORE- because of the high cost of grace, that even the angels are in awe of what the Lord had done in the shedding of His own blood and giving man the Holy Spirit to live and abide in those who love the Lord; we are to live in a certain way and manner. This salvation being so magnificent, we must cling to it tenaciously, in holiness, in the fear of the Lord as we consider the cost of His precious blood.

Peter tells us, “gird up the loins of your mind and be sober”

Jesus uses this same term:

Luke 12:35 “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning;” where Jesus denotes the faithful servant

Prepare to pursue holiness with vigor, constancy, and perseverance, and to perform the various work which you are commanded steadily to practice. The apostle alludes to the manners of the eastern countries, in which the men’s garments being long and flowing, they prepared themselves for long travelling, and other active employments, by girding them up with a girdle put round their loins, to prevent their being encumbered by them. 

The loins of the mind,  is a figurative expression for the faculties of the soul, the understanding, memory, will, and affections, which the apostle signifies must be gathered in and girded,  so as to be in a state fit for continual and unwearied exertion in running the Christian race, fighting the good fight of faith, and working out our salvation with fear and trembling. Our mind must not be overcharged at any time with lustful desires and drunkenness, or the cares of this life: our affections must be placed on proper objects and especially must be set on the things that are above. Our various passions must be put under control by the truth and grace of God and keeping a sober mind– maintaining a clean and clear mind that is constantly watchful and alert.

Peter uses the term “call” or “calling” seven times in his two letters, it means to “order or command”. In Peter’s letters, our calling, our order and command from the Lord is to live as obedient children of God transforming into Christ. This has nothing to do with our vocation or gifting, but everything to do with being translated into His kingdom as His child. It is a call to SONSHIP, to be conformed to Jesus

1 Peter 1:15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,- called to be holy

1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.- called to come out of the dark into the light

1 Peter 2:20-21For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for [a]us, leaving [b]us an example, that you should follow His steps:- called to suffer

1 Peter 3:8-9Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be [a]courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.- called to love the brethren

1 Peter 5:10 But [a]may the God of all grace, who called [b]us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, [c]perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.– called to His glory

2 Peter 1:3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,- called to overcome

2 Peter 1:10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;-called to be diligent

Notice all these “callings” are to become like Christ as an obedient Son. All these callings have to do with SONSHIP- and none have to do with our gift or talents, or work for the Lord.

Peter addresses the two things that I see as having been removed from today’s American church:

Holiness and the fear of the Lord.

First, you are called to be holy.

Holiness is not a new concept, but an OT command for God’s people. Holiness transcends the ages. Peter here quotes the law of God:

Leviticus 19:2 “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.

Leviticus 20:7 Consecrate[a] yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 20:26 And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.

Exodus 19:6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

I have heard people say, “I am holy because of the Holy Spirit”. This is somewhat true. We can ONLY be holy through the Holy Spirit living inside of us. We cannot be holy apart from the Holy Spirit living in us. But we have to come into agreement with our mind and put our flesh under discipline in order to live holy. Listen to the writer of Hebrews

Hebrews 12:14Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

Without pursuing holiness, NO ONE WILL SEE THE LORD. Holiness then is not just because I am in Christ, we must PURSUE it as well. How? We live in agreement with the Holy Spirit. I had a preacher tell me one time, “I cannot sin because I am in Christ.” I asked him then what does he call it when he lies, cheats, slanders, gossips, is jealous and envious? He replied, “You can call it whatever you like, but it is not sin”. Folks, this is true heresy. My husband replied, “Sir, I can assure you that I can most definitely sin.” The difference is that we as Christians might sin from time to time, but we are not to live in our sin, else we are in danger of being separated from our union with Him.

1 John 3:10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.

The word “holy” in some form is mentioned 645 times in the KJV. I think it is an important principle and doctrine, would you not agree? This is almost twice as much as the word “love” is mentioned. The heavenly chorus is

Revelation 4:8The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy,[a] holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”

The prophet Isaiah records the same:

Isaiah 6:3 And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”

This sounds to me like a very important Scriptural principle. You might want to understand this

“holy” in the Greek is the combination of two words- the first “hagnos” meaning “modest, perfect, chaste, clean, pure” and the second  “ayos” meaning “sacred, religious, consecrated”

The new combination word rightly describes someone who is “clean, chaste and pure and has been set apart or consecrated for sacred or religious service to God”, also defined as a saint of God.

We are called to be holy. Thus holy implies not just who we are in Christ, as His obedient children; but what we do, how we act, how we talk, it encapsulates our whole being. Holy displays how we are to live in an evil and lost world, set apart and how we love the brethren.

This manner of living is as obedient and holy children- which Paul in his two letters to other churches is contrasted with the children of disobedience.

Colossians 3:5-7 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.

Ephesians 5:3-6 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints (holy ones); neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For [a]this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Let no one deceive you. Notice that holiness requires obedience. I am so tired of “Christians” calling obedience to the word of God as “legalistic and religious”, as if those things are bad anyway. Religious is not a bad word. Hopefully you are religious at showering and brushing your teeth.

God is not interested in disobedient rebellious children. God disciplines His children in order to make us obedient. But you can reject discipline. In fact, the word “unclean person” which the apostle Paul uses in his letter to the Ephesian church refers to one who has not been pruned, he is impure and foul. Discipline comes in many forms: the Word, the Spirit, a trusted friend, a word of prophecy, the pastor, the sermon. God uses all sources to discipline us. He is looking for and preparing obedient children.

Again, holiness must be appropriated through a discipline of our flesh and our mouths.

The second thing that is lacking in the American church is the fear of the Lord. “be holy for I am holy” requires you knowing and understanding that God is infinitely set apart from us. He is holy and because He is holy, we are called to fear Him.

I can walk into most churches in America and tell you by the way they operate, the way they dress, the way they worship and preach that they lack the fear of God. My daughter visited a church in Colorado that introduced the pastor by playing a song by the Beastie Boys. She was appalled. Her friend videoed the service, otherwise we would have never believed what we saw. It was a gross display. Where is the reverence for a holy God in today’s church? It is nonexistent.

“Come boldly to the throne of grace”. I have heard this preached as, “Come in and demand that God give you what you want.” “Boldly” refers to authorization. We now have authorization to enter the holy of holies by the blood of Jesus. But as Queen Esther, you better come humbly before the throne considering the high cost of our authorization.

The first Christians converts were called the “God fearers”, this is recorded in the history of the church. The house of Cornelius was recorded in the books of Acts

Acts 10:1-2 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian [a]Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave [b]alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.

This fear is not just “awe or reverence” as I have heard many describe it. The Greek word is  “phobos” where we get the word “phobia” My husband laughs at me because I truly hate and fear snakes. We were at a rest area and it was very hot outside. We were walking around stretching our legs and I said, “look out for snakes”. Quite possibly we were in a state that didn’t even have snakes. But I never walk anywhere without watching where my feet are stepping, lest I step on a snake. There’s a lesson in here

“Phobos” meaning is “to be exceedingly alarmed and fear, terror”. Think me and snakes. These are not words many use to describe the fear of the Lord. It is however the way the NT writers described fearing the Lord.

It as Isaiah proclaimed when he came face to face with a holy God

Isaiah 6:5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am [a]undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”

If you have never proclaimed this same sentiment, I wonder of you are really saved? We are to fear NO ONE but God alone. The great thing about the fear of the Lord is that if you fear God, you need not fear anyone or anything. But if you lack the fear of God, then you will fear everyone and everything.

Jesus Himself tells us to fear God in Luke 12:4-5 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!

Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

When you attack other Christians for preaching truth, where is your fear of the Lord? When you gossip, slander, lie, get drunk and party, forsake the gathering and treat your brother in Christ with contempt, when you treat the house of God like a den of thieves—where is your fear of the Lord? I am convinced the church needs to repent for treating God and His holy things as common and not considering His blood.  17And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your [a]stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with [b]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

Here is the good news: there are multiple blessings for operating in the fear of the Lord

Psalm 25:12-14 Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall [a]He teach in the way He chooses.
13 He himself shall dwell in [b]prosperity, And his descendants shall inherit the earth. 14 The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.

Explain “secret”, covenant, the righteous path, prosperity

Psalm 31:19-20 Oh, how great is Your goodness, Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men!
20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence From the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a [a]pavilion From the strife of tongues.

Security, goodness, protection

Genuine and vital Church growth is produced through the fear of the Lord:

Acts 2:40-47 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this [a]perverse generation.” 41 Then those who [b]gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ [c]doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and [d]sold their possessions and goods, and divided[e] them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added [f]to the church daily those who were being saved.

The early church as they operated in the fear of the Lord- saw miracles, continued in the apostles’ doctrine (contend for the faith is Scriptural doctrine), fellowship, communion, prayers as obedient sons and THEN the Lord added to the church.

Do we want to continue to be a church that sees salvations? I am convinced that the Lord brings people here to be saved because we operate in the fear of the Lord and obediently preach repentance and Scriptural truth. Ask other churches how many people are being truly saved (not some half-hearted confession that leads them back into a life of sin, but a true transformation from death to life). A question was posed to a room full of pastors and none of them could respond favorably, except Ps Matt. “how many of you have seen salvations over the past month? This is a sad, sad state of a weakened and diseased church. More people are afraid to offend people than they are of offending a holy God.

Do you want to see many come to salvation? YES?? I have been praying for miracles for FVC for 19 years now- I want to see God’s people healed, redeemed, delivered, restored and mode whole. As we operate in the fear of the Lord as His obedient and holy children, and as we continue to preach good and true doctrine, through prayer and loving and taking care of the brethren, we will see miracles and God will add to the church. The gates of hell will not prevail!

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