The Campus House Podcast is our collection of Sunday teachings, meant to encourage and equip you in your relationship with Jesus. Campus House invites you to listen, dive deeper into the Word, and catch a glimpse of God’s ongoing work in your life and in our ministry.
“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”
The end of all things affects the present reality. We know how the story ends.
That completely affects how we think, how we hope, how we live out the story, how we reflect the power and presence of Jesus in a world that perpetually rejects Him. Peter calls the church to be fully aware, in control of what we’re thinking, to align with what is true, to live in the reality of the Resurrection and to set our hope on the fullness of grace that will be realized when Jesus returns. The purpose of this ‘clear-mindedness’ is so that we can pray more effectively, more specifically, more attentively, and more continuously; to have rhythms of prayer, to be reflexive with our prayers, and to pray for open doors for the Gospel.
This week we revisit 1 Peter 4:2 and explore the concept of discerning and aligning with God’s will; weeding out some misnomers and cultivating a pursuit, a biblical and prayerful approach to determining God’s desire.
Much of 1 Peter addresses how Christians can live in hope and grow in holiness even when facing adversity. In 1 Peter 4:1-6, Peter says there are only two ways to live in this world: either (1) doing the will of God (4:2) or (2) doing what pagans do (4:3). We face the choice of either taking the path of least resistance, going along with values and norms and practices our society expects and accepts, or we can take the path of obeying God even if others ostracize, judge, or criticize you for your Christian faith (4:4). Christians must decide if they will meet God’s expectations or society’s. But how? In this sermon we discover how we live for God’s will in our society. Because Christ Jesus suffered for sin, we too would rather suffer for sin than participate in it. We arm ourselves with the same resolve as Jesus, for this is the only way to live for God instead of our appetite to achieve comfort and acceptance in the way our society expects.
A theme that runs throughout Peter’s first letter is one of encouragement to believers who are suffering. As Christians we live in this world as exiles, people living in a place that is not our true home and so we may meet resistance to living God’s way. As we become a people of mission, Peter calls us, as exiles to LIVE WELL, BE WILLING, and TRUST CHRIST. To live well within the family of believers Peter encourages us to "be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” (1 Peter 3:8) He also encourages us to live well among those who do not follow Jesus and to be sure not to repay evil with evil but actually repay evil with blessing. As exiles we have a willingness to suffer for doing good (verses 14 & 17) by not fearing man (verse 14), but revering Christ in our hearts (verse 15), accepting suffering as blessing. We are also willing to share the reason for the hope that is in us (verse 15). Christ suffered and died for us, but was made alive again (verse 18) and now all things are under submission to Him (verse 22), so even though we suffer in this life we can trust Him and share in His ultimate victory over this life to have eternal life with Him.
The living hope frees us up to love and receive love, to find our significance and identity as image-bearers called to reflect the holiness and grace of God. As we are called to a new, hope-filled humanity, this affects all of our relationships, but especially marriage. This passage gives us a context to talk about the differences and equality of men and women, submission to each other, and God’s good design and purpose for our relationships.
Having established our identity as the people living hope, now the question: “How do we live in this world? What are the ways and means, the priorities and purposes? Peter reminds them and us that we are sojourners, dual citizens of heaven and earth with our hope and inheritance housed in heaven and our ‘every good endeavor’ being played out in the stuff and everydayness of earth (academics, work, relationships, stewardship, etc.) This connects to the discussion on holiness as well - our purpose is essentially to reveal who God is and what He has done by showing a new way of being human that translates to every part of life. If Jesus is our authority it frees us to honor everyone, to submit or giving ‘grace-full’ respect to people in positions of power and to suffer their ridicule because we are walking with Jesus, the one who Himself submitted to suffering and death in order to bring us life and freedom.
How do we grow spiritually? Peter answers this question in the early parts of 1 Peter 2 by giving three images that describe our growth in the salvation God has given: spiritual milk (2:2), spiritual house (2:5), and spiritual sacrifices (2:5). Peter seeks to show us how the hope and holiness described in chapter 1 are integrated into our lives as God’s people who’ve received his mercy and salvation. He shows that salvation is less like a train ticket to heaven and much more like how children grow into adulthood. Salvation is something you grow in, and ultimately we grow through desiring God’s Word, receiving God’s Honor, and offering God’s forgiving love to others. Rather than perpetuating the ill will, lying, fakeness, envy, and slander that characterizes our attitudes, thoughts, feelings, behaviors and actions, we live to extend God’s honor to one another. We honor one another as God honored us — though we rejected him, he accepted us.
In light of our identity as Chosen Exiles who have been promised a Living Hope and eternal inheritance, Peter begins to address how we live it out and gives four initial commands or imperatives: 1) set your hope fully on the grace of Jesus, 2) be holy, 3) love one another earnestly, and 4) crave what nourishes your new life in Christ. Our actions, behaviors, and habits always follow what we desire. When our hope was set on things of this world, our motivations and actions (selfishness, self-promotion, self-pity) would follow suit (conform to the world), but when our hope is anchored to the One who is Life, all other desires wain and/or find their alignment and fulfillment in Him and His promises. Holiness paired with trust (not simply duty) is the response to His love and redemptive work on the cross. Faith is the anchor that holds us to the hope and faith deepens, gets refined and reframed in the midst of suffering, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, as we continue to taste and see His goodness, as we continue to grow toward maturity through abiding in His Word.
This is the intro of 1 Peter and our theme for the year, specifically that our hope is grounded in the reality of Christ and the Resurrection. It is a hope that is anchored, so we can have confidence, joy, and purpose; even in the midst of suffering and hardship. This is a letter about the identity, calling, and holiness of each believer as well as the church community, about cultural navigation and engagement, about the essence of faith and the Gospel. As Chosen Exiles who have been given a Living Hope, we are called to “Set your hope completely on the grace given us.”
The beginning of a new school year is upon us. Many of us are heading back to class, into new jobs and new relationships, or seeking to continue on in what we already have in light of a new year. What’s important to focus on this year? What will happen? Who will we become? Jesus’ disciples are at a turning point with Jesus in Mark 8-10. They know who he is in general, but understand him specifically. They don’t understand his focus, why he must die. Yet he persists in telling them who he really is, what the foundation of life ultimately is, and how to be true disciples. Maybe the best thing we can focus on this year is understanding who Jesus is so we can know who we are and, therefore, know how to live this life he’s given us. Jesus defines true life as (1) salvation and (2) discipleship. In Mark 8:34-37 we are invited by Jesus to have both. It’s not like any understanding of life we’ve ever had before: following Jesus turns our lives upside down, but gives us a glorious life we could never have achieved for ourselves.