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What are some of the strangest foods that you crave? What odd acquired tastes do you have? Are there things that you absolutely love – but everyone else thinks you’re crazy for eating that stuff? What strange foods do you crave?

Isn’t it strange how we can grow love certain foods that other people couldn’t imagine eating – let alone enjoy eating! But yet, somehow, somewhere along the line, for some reason, we grew to love it! Maybe at some point, we tried it for the first time, then we tried it again, then we tried it again, and before too long, we decided that we really like it! And now, we crave that food! We seek it out! It’s like we’ve trained our tastebuds to love that food!

And I was just wondering this week, I wonder if you could do that with any food? Can you train your tastebuds to love any food – even a food that you maybe hate right now? For example, I really don’t care for mustard at all – but I wonder if I had a taste of mustard every week for a year – would I grow to enjoy mustard? Would I even grow to crave mustard? I don’t know – maybe!

But most of you know how adventurous I am with food, so of course, this is not an experiment that I would ever try – but if one of you want to try it, I’d sure be interested in hearing your results.

But I bring all this up because in our passage today, Peter talks a little bit about our cravings. Not our cravings for coffee or mustard or hot peppers or anything like that, but our cravings for something much more significant.

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Living In Love

Today we are getting back into the book of 1 Peter. We took a bit of a break from Peter last week, as Mike brought us a message from the book of John, but today we’re getting back at it and my goal for today is to finish up this first chapter so that we can start chapter 2 next week. But in case you’ve missed the last couple messages from Peter, let me give you just a quick recap.

In this letter, Peter is writing to Christians who were really going through some really difficult times. At that time and in that part of the world, being a Christian was really not a popular thing. There were social consequences, (if not physical consequences) for pledging allegiance to King Jesus.

And we don’t know specifically what kind of trials these folks were going through, but we do know that it’s not too long after writing this letter that Peter himself is put to death for his faith. So it’s not hard to imagine some of the challenges and struggles some of these Christians might have been experiencing.

And so Peter is writing this letter with two purposes in mind. First of all, He writes to encourage those Christians as they experience these hardships and difficulties. He reminds them of the hope and the joy they have in Jesus. Peter talks about the priceless inheritance that they have to look forward to – and how they are dearly loved by God – chosen by Him to receive endless joy in his presence forever. And so that’s how Peter starts off this letter – with that encouragement.

But his second purpose for this letter is to instruct them on how live in this world until they receive their promised salvation in full. Peter mentions frequently how they are exiles or foreigners or temporary residents – and perhaps some of Peter’s original audience were literally exiled from their homeland because of persecution, but certainly every Christian both then and today – no matter where we are in the world – we understand that this world is not our home. We are citizens of heaven – and thus we are all exiles and foreigners.

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Living in Holiness

Last Sunday we began looking at the book of 1 Peter. By way of introduction, we learned that this book is actually a letter written by the Apostle Peter to Christians living in exile in five Romans provinces in what is now modern-day Turkey.

Now we’re not entirely sure why Peter refers to these Christians “exiles or foreigners”. It could be that they were literally exiled from their homes around Jerusalem – forced to flee the persecution that broke out around the time of Saul… Or it could be that Peter refers to them as “exiles” simply because they are Christians – because they are citizens of heaven and as such, this world is no longer their home.

Either way, Peter is writing to encourage them in their state of exile. As we read through this letter, it quickly becomes obvious that these Christians are going through some difficult trials in life – and so, in the first few verses, Peter reminds them of the hope and the joy they have, because God, in his mercy, has given them salvation through Jesus Christ. Peter talks about a priceless inheritance that God is keeping for them in heaven – and how God is protecting them through their faith, until they receive their salvation in full! And that’s why, even though they must endure many trials in this present life, they can still be filled with joy because they know three key things:

    1. They have been chosen by God and are dearly loved by him, 
    2. Their trials are only temporary – whatever they are going through – “This too shall pass” 
    3. Because of their hope in Jesus, there is wonderful joy ahead on the day when God rewards them with their salvation in full!

So with those three encouragements in mind, Peter is going to continue (as we are going to see today) to exhort them or urge them to live as exiles in some specific ways.

Peter wants them to know that the Christian life isn’t just about the reward we will get one day in heaven – but it’s also about how we live on earth today! You’ve probably noticed that God doesn’t just teleport us immediately to heaven upon conversion. He leaves us to live as exiles in this world for a time. He’s got a reason for that – there is a purpose for us living here as exiles.

And so in today’s passage, Peter is saying “In light of our great reward that we have to look forward to, in light of who God is and what He has done for us, here’s how God expects us to live as exiles in this world.”

And then we’re going to see Peter beginning to lay out some of those exceptions for us. Actually, two weeks ago we talked about God’s expectations for us as we looked at that passage in Deuteronomy (if you can remember that far back). Well, the book of 1 Peter really builds on that same idea – as well as giving us some very practical applications for what that looks like. But we’ll get into some of that a little bit later.

For now, let’s begin today by starting at 1 Peter, chapter 1, verse 13.

13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.

1 Peter 1:13-20

So as I mentioned earlier – in this passage, Peter is beginning to lay out God’s expectations for us as as exiles (or as temporary residents) in this world. And it all comes out everything Peter wrote about just prior to this.

You’ll notice that verse 13 begins with the word “so”…. Or other translations might say “therefore”…. And Whenever you see that, you know that whatever you’re about to read hinges on what you’ve just finished reading. 

Because of this…. therefore…. this.

I’ve told you these facts, so…. here’s what you need to do.

And that’s what Peter is saying… Because God has chosen you and adopted you into His family, because God has promised you this priceless inheritance, because you’ve trusted him for your salvation…. here’s what you need to do. Step #1…. He says in verse 13…

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Dealing with Suffering

For the past few weeks we’ve been talking about living as aliens and if you’re just joining today for the first time – that might seem like a slightly odd sermon topic. But the reality is, as Christians, we ARE aliens. We are foreigners, strangers, short-term visitors on planet earth. We will spend maybe 60/80/100 years here and then woosh – we’re off to our eternal home – a place called Heaven. A place where there is no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears, and no more sorrow – Just life as God intended it.

But as you know, we’re not there yet. We are still in a place where there is pain, there is suffering, there are tears and there are sorrows. And as Christians we are not immune from all that.

There are no promises in the Bible that tell us that Christians will be free from pain and suffering. If anything, the Bible promises us the opposite – that there certainly will be pain and suffering for anyone who wishes to follow Christ. Jesus says in John 16:33…

 “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” John 16:33

So how do we deal with that? How do we deal with pain and suffering, not just in the world in general, but in our own lives? Does God have a purpose for our pain (for our trials and sorrows) or is it just part of living in a sin-filled world? I mean, everyone experiences pain and suffering, but as Christians, as aliens in this world, how are we supposed to respond when we go through those dark, difficult times in life?

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The Role of Aliens

Two weeks ago, we were faced with the fact that we are aliens. We read in Hebrews 13:14 that, as Christians, as followers of Christ, this world is not our home. Our real home is heaven and we are eagerly waiting for the day that God takes us to be with Him in our eternal, Heavenly home – where there are no more tears, no more sickness, no more pain, no more death. It will truly be home sweet home.

But that day hasn’t come yet. We are still living here as aliens in this sin-filled world. So what do we do in the meantime? How do we live as aliens in this world until Christ takes us home? That’s the question we set out to answer two week ago as we began looking at the books of first and second Peter.

Now the first thing we discovered, as we looked at 1 Peter chapter 1 was that God wants us to be holy. In other words, God wants us to be different. Why? Because when you’re different, you can make a difference. When we live in the awesome power of God, we will be very different from the world, (we’re gonna stick out like sore thumbs) but that’s exactly what will give us opportunity to make a difference in the world.

So this morning I want to pick up where we left off two weeks ago – kinda on that theme of being different in order to make a difference, because Peter talks a little bit more about this in chapters two and three.

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