"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER" A Plea To Pilgrims (2:11-12) INTRODUCTION 1. Having said that as Christians we are... a. "a chosen generation" b. "a royal priesthood" c. "a holy nation" d. God's "own special people" ...Peter makes a heart-felt plea concerning our conduct before those in the world - 1Pe 2:11-12 2. As we consider this "plea to pilgrims", remember that Peter is speaking by inspiration; i.e., it is actually GOD who is making this plea! [Before we examine the plea itself, let's notice some things mentioned in the passage that serve as...] I. THE BASIS OF THE PLEA A. YOU ARE "BELOVED"... 1. Beloved by whom? a. By Peter, of course - 1Pe 2:12; cf. also 1Pe 4:12 b. By Paul, James, John, & Jude, all of whom used this same term of endearment c. But most of all, we are beloved of God and Jesus!
- cf. Ro 1:7; Col 3:12 2. It is out such human and divine love that this plea is made B. YOU ARE "SOJOURNERS AND PILGRIMS"... 1. You have not yet reached your heavenly home 2. As we will see later, failure to heed the plea will mean you will never reach it! 3. In view of that real possibility, we find this plea made even in form of "begging"! C. YOU ARE ENGAGED IN WARFARE... 1. A war in which "fleshly lusts" wage war against the "soul" 2. The outcome of this "war" will determine whether or not we will reach our heavenly home D. YOU ARE BEING OBSERVED BY OTHERS... 1. Some of which who often speak evil of you (even as they did of Christ) 2. But by heeding this plea, it is possible to cause those very ones who speak evil of you to glorify God in "the day of visitation" a. This "day of visitation" might refer to the Day of Judgment b. In my opinion, it refers to the "day" when God's grace is shown through a presentation of the gospel to them - cf. Lk 19:44 c. In either case, we have an opportunity to bring glory to God by the way we heed this plea [In view of these four reasons, then, God through Peter is making a heart-felt plea. What is this plea? It contains two parts, which we shall now look at closely...] II. THE PLEA ITSELF A. FIRST, THE PLEA BEGS US TO "ABSTAIN FROM FLESHLY LUSTS"... 1. The word "abstain" means "to hold one's self constantly back" 2. From what are we to abstain? a. "Fleshly lusts", some of which are defined by Paul in
Ga 5:19-21 b. Notice that they involve more than just "sexual" sins (such as fornication) c. They also include sins of the "emotions" (hatred, outbursts of wrath, jealousies, envy, etc.) 3. Why must we "hold ourselves constantly back" from these things? a. According to Peter, they "wage war against the soul" b. According to Paul, they can keep us out of the kingdom of God! - cf. Ga 5:21 c. So if we want to succeed in our spiritual "pilgrimage" and reach our heavenly destination, we must heed this "plea to pilgrims"! 4. How can one abstain from fleshly lusts? In his epistles, Paul explains how... a. Keep your mind on the things of the Spirit, and not on the things of the flesh - Ro 8:5-6 b. Grow in Christ, and don't provide opportunities for the fulfillment of fleshly lusts - Ro 13:13-14 c. Should such opportunities arise, flee them (remember Joseph and Potiphar's wife?), and pursue after that which is good - cf. 2Ti 2:22 [By following Paul's advice, we can win the "war" between the flesh and soul, and successfully complete our pilgrimage! But abstaining from fleshly lusts is not the only thing expected of God's pilgrims...] B. THE PLEA ALSO BEGS US TO "HAVE HONORABLE CONDUCT"... 1. The word "honorable" ("honest", KJV) in the Greek is "kalos" a. It means that which is good, beautiful, harmonious, and lovely b. I.e., our conduct is to be something beautiful and refreshing to behold 2. We can have conduct that is "honorable"... a. If on the one hand, we abstain from "fleshly lusts" b. And on the other hand, we do "good works" ("good" is the same word in the Greek as "honorable") 3. We have seen what are "fleshly lusts", what "good works" can we do that are beautiful to behold? a. We can see to the needs of those who are poor, fatherless, widowed, sick, and otherwise afflicted - cf. Jm 1:27 b. We can demonstrate love and hospitality to brethren, friends, neighbors, even strangers - He 13:1-3 c. We can react kindly to those who despise us, speak evil of us, and mistreat us - Lk 6:27-31 4. The effect of such conduct is that it will likely prompt others to glorify God! a. As Jesus taught us in Mt 5:16 b. Even those who at the present may speak against us as evildoers! - 1Pe 2:12 CONCLUSION 1. By heeding this "plea to pilgrims" as found in 1Pe 2:11-12, it is possible to accomplish several things at the same time... a. We can save ourselves b. We can glorify God c. We might even help save those who presently speak evil of us! 2. As the "people of God" who have "obtained mercy" (1Pe 2:10), can we do any less? a. Abstain, then, from those fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul! b. Conduct yourselves, then, in ways that are honorable and a thing of beauty for others to behold! -- In so doing, you will ensure the successful completion of your spiritual pilgrimage! Speaking of the mercy of God, have you received the mercy that comes through the "washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit"? - cf. Tit 3:4-7