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"Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." 1 Peter 2:11 (NIV)
Strangers in a Strange Land
1. You are strangers in this world verse 11, "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul."
i. The Bible talks about the Christian as having a dwelling place in heaven
a. John 14:1-3 Jesus said, "Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."
ii. It talks about our Lord Jesus, our King who rules from heaven.
iii. We are called citizens of heaven
iv. And we will join Him there when He returns or when we die which ever comes first.
A. Some of you might be able to relate to being a stranger
i. Perhaps some of you, because you are of Chinese ancestry, feel like strangers here in this country that is predominately Caucasian.
ii. Maybe you have a language barrier and your English isn't as good as you=d like it to be.
iii. Or maybe sometimes, you just don't feel like you fit in.
B. I remember when I went to France a few years ago.
i. Everybody looked like I did but they didn't speak like me.
ii. I couldn't understand anything they were saying.
iii. The customs were different.
a. Most people smoked heavily
b. And the food, it was mostly good, but some of it wasn't.
c. Their way of doing things was different also.
iv. I remember how I didn't feel like I belonged there. Though people were polite, I knew I was different. I felt like a stranger, a foreigner in a strange land. I wanted to come home.
C. As a Christian, you are a stranger in this world. You may be the same on the outside as everyone else, but on the inside you are different.
i. You don't think like them.
ii. You don't act like them.
iii. You don't have the same customs as they do.
iv. You don't have the same goals and desires.
v. When they want to go partying and getting drunk and go carousing, because you are a Christian, you simply don't want to join them... You are different inside. And it shows.
D. The world rejects God and His ways and seeks its own pleasures
i. On television we can see how the soap operas show adultery and casual sexual intercourse between people who aren't married.
ii. Sitcoms are full of coarse jesting and put downs
iii. The News tells us about the murders in our streets and the rising crime.
iv. We hear about abortions numbering in the millions.
v. Homosexuals parade down public streets and are applauded and accepted by the society.
2. But, you are called to separate yourselves from this strange land - You are called "to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul."
A. When Adam fell in the garden, we fell with him. His fall brought to all of humanity, a sinful nature. We are all born with the desire to please ourselves and not God. We want to fulfill the desires of our flesh.
B. We are sinful by nature.
C. However, when you are a Christian, you have the Lord living in you.
i. He has given you a new heart and new mind. You have the mind of Christ.
ii. You are no longer dead in your sins and no longer a slave to sin.
D. Therefore, you wage war against the sinful desires of your flesh. You are called to abstain from those sinful desires
i. Before I was a Christian, I sought the gratification of my flesh. I did what I wanted and did it when I wanted.
ii. But now, my desire is to do the will of God and to abstain from sinful desires.
E. God says that we are called out of the world to be sanctified, to be holy.
F. However, it isn't easy to abstain from sinful desires.
i. Though the Lord is dwelling in me and though I now have the mind of Christ, I still have the sinful nature.
a. Therefore I am at war with myself.
ii. Paul said in Romans 7:15, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." And also, in 7:21-25, "So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God -- through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
G. In war there is death.
H. In war there are usually two sides fighting against each other. Each one wants to kill the other side, to destroy them and conquer them.
I. The war is over only when one side gives up or is defeated.
J. Your sinful nature is at war with your soul.
K. Your sinful nature wants to destroy you and kill you.
L. It resists what is holy.
M. But we can conquer our sinful flesh through the power of the Holy Spirit.
3. Yet, you live in this world.
A. And so, while you are here in this strange land, God wants you to live such good lives among the unbelievers that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
B. God wants you to live good and holy lives.
C. This is for your own benefit - Unholy living can bring such pain.
i. Living a sexually promiscuous life can lead to diseases and even AIDS.
ii. Doing drugs can land you in jail, or broke, or a slave to your addiction.
iii. Being a drunk can ruin your life and cause you to lose everything.
iv. Watching pornography hardens your heart and causes lust and unclean thoughts to take you over.
v. Lying to your family, friends, or coworkers can only get you into trouble.
D. So, if you are living good lives you will be safe from sexually transmitted diseases, drug addictions, drunkenness, pornography, and lying.
4. But perhaps the most important reason for living a good and godly life is that it brings Glory to God.
A. The reason you are to live godly lives is that it glorifies God.
B. The Lord died on the cross to buy your redemption, not so that you could serve yourselves and not so you could be prosperous.
C. Rather, He bought you to be a Holy people for Himself. You are His people and you are saved out of this world because of the cross.
i. He wants to love you and have fellowship with you.
ii. He can't do that if you are full of sin.
D. One day, Jesus will return. He will come in the clouds and every eye will see Him.
E. That is the day when all things will be laid out in the open, all your deeds, your thoughts, your desires, your motives...
D. How will you do on that day?
i. Will your deeds glorify God?
ii. Will your lives reflect the holiness that you are supposed to represent?
Be patient and loving in this world to the unbelievers. Let them see your good deeds so that you may glorify God on the day that He returns. Let that be your goal.
— Source Unknown