How Then Shall We Live?

Part 4

“I am not a Christian because I was raised to be one (I wasn’t) Nor am I a Christian because I was smart enough to figure it out, good enough to find my way or lucky enough to meet the right people. I am a Christian because the grace of God found me when I wasn’t even looking. I am a Christian because of God’s miraculous intervention in my life.”

Voddie T. Baucham Jr., Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe, Salem Books p.22

Fault Lines at Christianbook

In this series of posts, I have been asking this question posed by Francis Schaeffer over 30 years ago, “How then shall we live?” We are looking at the only two letters from Peter the Apostle.

He began by identifying himself as an apostle. The Greek word translated apostle means a ‘Sent One.’ He is relaying vital information to the church, information inspired by the Holy Spirit to help those who would hear him or read his letters to face what can be best described as perilous times.

Peter succinctly identifies himself by the name that Jesus gave him and adds that he is a ‘Sent One’ with a message. I have never been fond of the phrase “I found the Lord.” In simple grammar, the subject of that sentence infers that I am the initiator of what follows. I didn’t initiate anything. Neither did Peter or Paul or any of the other apostles. God found us.

Jesus drew him in, commissioned him and deployed him into the most hostile environment in history up to that time—The Roman empire under the rule of Nero. His mission was to preach the gospel and to tend the sheep. As he wrote, he was witnessing firsthand what Nero had in mind for the church.

After reminding the believers that they were God’s elect…strangers, scattered throughout a region that would soon be the epicenter of one of the most horrific persecutions in the history of the church, Peter tells them that their inheritance is being

“‘kept’ in heaven (this word was used to describe something precious that was protected by soldiers) 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…” I Peter 1:4-5 NIV

 A few questions occur to me here

  • What is a little while from God’s perspective?
  • Are we in the last time? (the last days…the end of the age?)
  • What kinds of grief are we suffering in our day?
  • How then shall we live?

I have been listening to old sermon tapes and digitizing them so that I can share them on my website. The other day I was listening to a sermon I preached in the Spring of 2003. The week before I preached this message, our church held a very special service at the High School auditorium, Our purpose was to honor all the first responders and veterans in our community.

Many responded to an altar call at the service. The following week, as I began our service back in our building, I wondered aloud what the first week as a Christian was like for those who responded at the High School. I shared my own testimony concerning my very first weeks as a born-again believer.

Please take some time and listen to the message. I think you will find yourself somewhere in the message and God’s Word will speak to you as He did to me and to those who heard the message almost twenty years ago.

Your inheritance is under guard in heaven secure…waiting for you until the salvation is revealed in ‘the last time’. Until then, we are forced to ask,

How then shall we deal with a ‘little while’ in which we experience grief in all kinds of trials?

The sermon is way too long by today’s standards…over an hour. Some historical details may be inaccurate and I suppose I could have edited out some local references, but I believed then as I do today, that it is the job of the preacher to tell God’s people the truth—even if it means making them uncomfortable.

Are you in trouble right now? You might be comforted and encouraged by listening to this…

Oh…and hat tip to Max Lucado for the story of ‘Chippie’ (from his book, The Eye of the Storm)

Click to listen

Or, click the button below to listen along with the written transcript.

Pastor Jim