Based on 1 Peter 1:13-16
Preached on July 11, 2010Introduction
The word, “holy,” has fallen on tough times. It’s not very often that you hear it as a compliment. Usually, you hear it in more as an insult. If someone walks up to you and calls you a “holy roller,” or tells you that you are acting “holier than thou”… you aren’t being complimented. That person is probably not telling you that they admire you or appreciate your pursuit of godliness.
And that’s a shame… because it’s a good word. And it’s certainly a biblical word. In just the New Testament alone, it’s used to describe over 20 different things. Just listen to this list…
The idea of holiness can be found on every page of Scripture. It describes first and foremost who our God is. In fact, there’s no other word used more to describe the character of God than “holy”… and that even includes “love.”
But “holy” is also used to describe who we as God’s children are… as well as how we are called to live in this world. I’ll say more on that in a few minutes. Let’s take a look at our text.
The Apostle Peter was writing to Christians who, in his own words, were “scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…” They were all over the map. And they were scattered because this was a time in the history of the church of GREAT PERSECUTION. Pastor Bruce’s sermon last week described very well the persecution that these Christians were facing under the Roman government. There was great suffering taking place.
And so Peter wrote these Christians, (also called “saints” which means “holy ones”), to encourage them and to tell them to turn and fix their eyes on Jesus and the salvation that comes through him.
Within the first 12 verses he offers these tremendous words of hope to his readers…
 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you,  who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:3-7)
When we’re going through trials and tribulations and seem to be overwhelmed by the weight of our circumstances, Peter is telling us that it’s a good idea to turn our eyes to Jesus and the ultimate hope that we have in him.
That’s how Peter begins his letter of encouragement to these early Christians.
Stay turned for Part 2.
Grace and Truth,