The Lord’s Message:  What a Difference Easter Makes – Call Us to

The Lord’s Message:  What a Difference Easter Makes – Call Us to Holiness
Date:  April 23, 2023
Where:  Tilghman UMC
Scripture Reference:  1 Peter 1:13-2:3.

            Anybody recall the song “Cat’s in The Cradle” written by Sandra and Harry Chapin?  The opening lines of the song goes, “My child arrived just the other day.  He came to the world in the usual way. But there were planes to catch and bills to pay.  He learned to walk while I was away.  And he was talking “fore I knew it, and as he grew.  He’d say ‘I’m gonna be like you, dad’ ‘You know I’m gonna be like you.”  I want you to hang on to that phrase “I’m gonna be like you, dad.  You know I’m gonna be like you,” during this message.

            Let us pray. 

            We are in the second message in our sermon series, “What a difference Easter makes.”  Last Sunday, we discovered that because of Easter we have eternal hope.  This Sunday, we will discover that we are called to holiness because we are following in the same footsteps as our Heavenly Father. 

            If you have a Bible, please open it to 1 Peter 1:13-14a.  Peter is addressing Gentile Christians in this passage.  People that have come to Christ not from the Jewish religion, but from worshipping idols.  This is also addressed to each one of us today.  All of us have a past (before we accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into our lives), a present (now that we have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ), and a future ( striving everyday to live so that our lives reflect the love of the Lord Jesus Christ for all).  On Easter Sunday, we had testimonies given on how having the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives changed people.  All of us should be able to get up and give a testimony on how having the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives has changed us.  We all can recall what our lives were like before we accepted Jesus.  All of us have a past, a present and a future.  Paul put it this way in 2 Corinthians 5:17.  “Do not be conformed to your former desires”.  Amen.

            If we are not conformed to our former desires, then we must be conformed to our new desires of living our life for the Lord Jesus Christ.  In 1 Peter 14b-15, every aspect of our lives should be holy.  Why? That is answered in verse 16.  Peter quotes these words from

Leviticus 19:2, because these words came from God.  God’s plan was for His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die on a cross for our sins, to be placed in a grave and three days later rise from that grave, after 40 days on the earth ascended into heaven and one day would return upon the earth. God said this to the Israelites and is saying to all the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

            Peter now issues a warning to all believers for the reasons to live in holiness in

1 Peter 1:17.  Peter is saying to us, we cannot say that we are Christians, unless our conduct proves it.  God does not show favoritism.  In Numbers 20: 8-12, God would not allow Moses to enter into the promised land, because Moses did not obey the instructions of God in producing.  Instead, Moses pronounced that he and Aaron would produce water from the rock.  Neither Moses nor Aaron entered into the promised land.  God did not show favoritism to David, even though God said about David that he was a man after God’s own heart. This is found in the Bible not once, but twice, 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22.  When David committed adultery, God punished David.  First the son that was born to David and Bathsheba died and second there was always turmoil in the house of David.  In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus said that even if you called me Lord, God would not show favoritism.Even though we are saved by Grace, God still does not show favoritism.  As it says in Romans 14:10-12, we will all stand in front of the Lord Jesus Christ and be judged by our actions, because God does not show favoritism.  Our judgment will be different than those who have not accepted Jesus.  Those who have not accepted Jesus will face eternal separation from God, which is called Hell.  All will be judged. 

            There are two reasons why we should live a holy life.  I have just expounded on the first, because all will be judged, God shows no favoritism.  The second reason is found in 1 Peter 1:18-21.  You and I were bought and paid for by something more precious than all the gold, silver, or precious stones in the world.  It was God’s own Son, who shed His blood on the cross on Calvary.  Our sins, though they are many, have been washed clean by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, “the flawless, spotless lamb.” This was all part of God’s plan of redemption for you and me before the beginning of the world.  God did not allow His own Son to be buried once and for all.  God conquered death by raising His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, from the grave.  Our faith and hope are affirmed in this knowledge. 

            As Easter people, we are called to be holy.  We are called to be set apart from the rest of this world.  In 1 Peter 1:22, confirms this.  We are called to be holy, because we have this faith, this hope, this knowledge.  Our lives should be lived in obedience to God and each other. 

            In 1 Peter 1:23.  We do all of this because we have been reborn.  The old has gone and the new has come.  By accepting the Lord Jesus Christ into our hearts, God has planted new seeds that never decay.  They continue to grow in each of us.  This is the theological process of sanctification.  John Wesley called it going on towards perfection.  The more we read the Bible, the more we pray and listen to God, the more we interact with other believers, the more we grow in perfection.  The more our lives show the love of God living in us.  This love will never die.  In 1 Peter 1:24-25a, Peter quotes Isaiah 40:6-8 as affirmation.  This is Good News!

            Peter again warns us not to backslide in 1 Peter 2:1.  In 1 Peter 2:2-3, to keep us or prevent us from backsliding , we are to stay in God’s word.   Now the reality is that everyone of us will at some time backslide away from God.  Our lives will not show the love of God in us.  When this happens, we need to seek forgiveness from God and others.  We need to repent of our sins. 

            As Easter people, God calls us to holiness.  We should want to be like Him.  “You know I’m gonna be like you, Dad.  You know I’m gonna be like you.”     Amen.

April 27, 2023 7:19 am