Be the Difference
Last Sunday Pastor Juan dug deep into the book of 1st Peter and talked about being different. Peter reaches out to the hurting Xians, who were facing extreme persecution, in Asia minor (or modern Turkey).
In 1 Peter 1:1, he wrote to encourage the Xtians: “This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.”
Peter described them as strangers, and foreigners. Why? Because they were not from here and neither are you!
As followers of Jesus, we are not called to look like the rest of the world. We don’t live like those from here since this world is not our eternal home.
THIS IS HOW WE DO IT: Different values, Different standards, Different goals.
Too many times, we are more acceptable of being told what is right or wrong by news outlets or media then by the Bible or a Pastor. Being miserable has nothing to do with the person who is reminding you of your Christian values, standards, and goals but being miserable has everything to do with our stubbornness.
We live in a world where the consequences of sin hurt people. We must be different. We must be the difference!
We are always going to face trials while we are here.
You might ask, if trials are bad, why would God allow them? You can see it as God is allowing these trials or He’s testing your faith.
It’s all about perspective.
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
If there is a “genuine faith,” there’s also a false faith which we must be watchful of. One of the biggest challenges in churches today is False faith.
WHAT IS FALSE FAITH?
There are different types of false faith. One is Hereditary faith.
This is where you only believe because maybe you grew up in church or maybe your parents believed. You believe based on your history and not on your own personal al relationship with God.
There is Superficial faith. The story of the sower in Matthew 13:7, 22 describes how some can be sporadic in their faith. They listen to truth and maybe even come to church and seek God for a short time but then it is no longer a priority. There are no roots and, therefore, no fruit.
In verse 22, it says “The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.”
There is also Conditional faith. It’s the mentality, “I will believe as long as things go my way.” Many people only have faith until circumstances happen. Once a difficult situation arises, they turn from God.
God uses your trials in many different ways. Trials test your faith!
Trials Reveal your Faith.
“7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine.” 1 Peter 1:7 (Also see Luke 22:31-32)
Peter in the early years was Obnoxious, Impulsive, Cocky, and very inconsistent. In later years, he is described as Faithful, Devoted, Patient and even Bold. The trials he faced, grew his faith.
Take a look at James 1:2-4 Living Bible (TLB) “2 Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, 3 for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.”
There is purpose in your pain! God never wastes anything you go through.
Trials also draw you closer to God. In difficult trials, we need to run to God, Pray, trust and spend time in His presence.
“8 You love [God] even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9 NLT
God promised to save us from our sins, not our trials. Trials help you grow in Christ. They help you focus on what matters most, not just what matters now. Trials helps us be more choosey of our path.
As we grow to depend on God, we will rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy knowing our reward.
We need to base our faith in who God is, not our circumstances. By focusing on God, we can overcome any trial with victory and walk out of any valley with confidence knowing the end result and where we are from.
Join us Sunday for the next chapter in This is How We Do it!! 10:15 am!
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