Strong Where it Counts

As we wrap up our series, Standing Firm, this week, we find the apostle taking a turn from everything he’s been talking about for the past nine weeks. But then again, he’s not doing that at all. Instead, after spending the rest of the letter telling us how to stand firm in our faith without sacrificing our Gospel witness, Peter closes things out by talking about where we can find the strength we need to do it. I’ll give you a hint: It comes from God, but it isn’t found inside of us. Keep reading to find out what is the source of this strength.

Strong Where It Counts

Some of you are builders and so you understand the ins and outs of building and building materials better than I do. But from my rudimentary understanding, concrete is a pretty good building material. It’s stable. It’s sturdy. It’s strong. It holds up pretty well under a whole variety of weather conditions. It doesn’t degrade much over time. It’s low maintenance. There are all kinds of advantages to it. If you’re building something that requires extra stability and support, though—perhaps because of its size, for instance—concrete isn’t enough by itself. It needs a little bit more to make it up to the task to which you are applying it. Specifically, it needs a steel skeleton. To add this, you build an internal rebar frame inside your concrete mold and pour the mixture over it. With the rebar encased in the slab or structure, its strength is increased many times over concrete by itself. Now, this doesn’t mean that concrete alone isn’t still really strong stuff. It is. But when it has that extra element of support, it can withstand just about anything that might be thrown at it.

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Stand with the End in Mind

As we near the end of our series, Standing Firm, Peter pours a little bit of apocalyptic fervor over the whole thing. Why is it that we stand firm in our faith even when things get tough? Because the journey we’re on won’t last forever. Let’s explore this together today.

Stand with the End in Mind

I want you to do a little remembering with me this morning. Think about the last time you watched a movie or television show that was set in a post-apocalyptic environment. Now, you know what a post-apocalyptic setting is, right? Most directly it is a story setting that takes place on the other side of some kind of an apocalyptic event. Whether it’s a nuclear war or an alien invasion or a series of natural disasters or a horde of self-aware nanites eliminating all electricity around the world or a virus pandemic that turns people into zombies, something happens that causes massive numbers of people to die, and the survivors are left to figure out how to do life in a whole new world with a whole lot less people and no modern conveniences. In most of these shows people do reorganize into some sort of a society, but have you noticed that this society is almost unfailingly way more violent and brutal than it was before the apocalypse? It’s like the apocalyptic event gives people the freedom to give in to their darkest desires and tendencies. It’s like we’re in the wild, wild west again. These are the kinds of things I think about while watching TV. I’m a ton of fun to watch with.

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More Like Jesus

As we draw near the end of our series, Standing Firm, this morning we set our sights on what is the end goal of our efforts to remain rooted in Jesus in spite of the culture’s attempts to pull us up. Any time we are on a long journey, it’s helpful to know where we are going. Peter gives us one of those points here. Let’s talk today about how we can become more like Jesus.

More Like Jesus

Have you ever arrived before? Now, you’re probably sitting there starting to think I’m just a bit off…okay, some of you were probably already thinking that, but this just confirms your suspicions. Of course you have arrived before. You arrived at church this morning and here you are. Duh. But that’s not what I mean. I’m thinking a little bigger than that, like when we finally arrived at my folks house a few weeks ago after having been on the road for almost 36 hours. I can’t remember a time I’ve been so thankful to be out of a car.

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No Good Deed

As we continue in our journey through 1 Peter, we get a reminder today that even though our best deeds often don’t go unpunished, that shouldn’t slow us down on our journeys after Jesus. Instead, the suffering we face for doing good is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to advance the Gospel in ways we won’t otherwise get. Let’s talk today about suffering and serving Jesus.

No Good Deed

I heard a news story the other day about a man named Paul Gaylord. Ever heard of him before? I hadn’t either. That’s okay, though, because he lives in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. Paul has a cat named Charlie. Back in 2014, Charlie went missing for a few days. Now, if you have cats that are not strictly inside cats, you know that’s not so unusual. Cats do their own thing. Outside cats occasionally grace their owners with their presence, especially if they are hungry, but otherwise can sometimes vanish for a little while. Eventually Charlie came back. Unfortunately, Charlie was not quite in the same condition as when he left. His face was swollen up and he was clearly having some trouble breathing. Being a conscientious pet owner, Paul jumped into action. He forced open Charlie’s mouth and eventually figured out that there was a dead, rotting mouse lodged in his throat. I know…gross! Well, Paul got the mouse out, but as a reward for his troubles, Charlie bit him on the hand and broke the skin.

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Faith at Home

As we continue this week in our series, Standing Firm, through the New Testament letter of 1 Peter, it seems like the apostle is going off the rails. He’s been preaching a consistent and powerful message, but here it looks like he’s switching gears entirely. If you look closely, though – as we’ll do in this message – he’s being perfectly consistent with the theme he’s had running from the start. Although it looks like this passage is about wives submitting to their husbands and is thus terribly controversial, it’s about something much more important than that. Lean in with me and let’s see what Peter has to say here.

Faith at Home

You all know what a Chinese finger trap is, yes? A few months ago, I gave one to everyone in the room. Naturally, everyone who was here kept theirs in a treasured spot as you do with all your sermon freebies. I don’t suspect I need to explain to you how they work. You put your fingers in and when you try to pull them out, you discover they are trapped. The harder you pull, the more thoroughly you find yourself trapped. The trap works by taking your natural inclination—to pull harder when you’re stuck—and makes it work against you. The design tightens more the more it is stretched. In other words, when it comes to escaping from a Chinese finger trap, force isn’t going to do the trick. So, what does? Gentleness.

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