Ways To Live For Righteousness
Review of key points in 1 Peter: feed on the Word of God, living as strangers in a foreign land is how we are to be living in the world.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again dear radio friend. How in the world are you?Doin’ all right? Yeah of course I wait for you to answer, I know many of you do. (Laughs) Bless your heart. We talk to each other, don’t we? And together we talk to our heavenly Father, and he speaks back to us through His Word, and through His indwelling Holy Spirit. Glad to be back with you. This is your good friend, Bob Cook.
We stopped as we looked at the phrase, “That ye should live unto righteousness. That we being dead to sins should live unto righteousness.” How do you do that? Well then I referred you to some of the comparative expressions in, in 1 Peter 2. Introduced you to the little word ‘as’. “As newborn babes desire the sincere miracle, the Word.” How do you live unto righteousness? Start feeding on the Word. “As living stones built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, as living stones.” God placing you in the very specific place in all of His universe where He knows you will glorify Him the most.
It’s hard to accept when things are rough, or when you’re lonely, or when you’re ill, or when you’re out of work, or hungry, or hurt. We are the victims of our feelings so much of the time – isn’t it true? Somebody comes and gives me good advice when I’m hurting, or angry or, or perplexed, or afraid… Give me good advice and I think, “Oh that doesn’t help any.” Stick to the facts. “Faithful is He who hath called you who also will do it.” God is faithful by whom ye were called into the fellowship of His son Jesus Christ.
“I know,” God says, “the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of good, and not of evil, to give you a desired end.” God has placed you and me precisely where He wants us as believers. So we’re built up, a spiritual house. And your reaction to the pressures of life, beloved, is part of the way God wants to show how wonderful He is as He builds you into the structure of His eternal plan, that ye should offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God. Does that make any sense to you?
See, it’s one thing to dwell on how terrible I feel. It’s another thing to turn around and say, “God, you put me here for your own reasons. Help me glorify You, help me shine for You.” “That ye should show forth,” it says, “the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness, into His marvelous light.” Jesus our Lord said, “Let your light so shine before men…” ‘Shine’ is the verb, ‘shine’… “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Living stones, built up.
Live unto righteousness. How? First, as newborn babes, feed on the Word of God. Right? And, as living stones build up a spiritual house, acceptable to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. What else? Well verse 11, he says, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims…” Strangers and pilgrims. Do you know what it is to be a stranger in a foreign land – many of you do. Some of you, or else your mother and father, or grandparents, have come to this country from some other country. In traveling across the world in the interest of the Gospel, I’ve had the experience many times, of being a stranger.
Merrill Dunlop and I landed at the airport at Canton, China, years ago. And we immediately were ushered into the presence of the, the official who was in charge of customs, and immigration, and all of that. Showed our passports with the proper visas and, and those were stamped. And then they looked at our luggage. And we tried to explain what we were doing in the country with, with photographic film and all sorts of different kinds of things that we bring along in a trip that would take us clear around the world.
Well he spoke no English, and we spoke of course no Cantonese. Did you ever try to speak Cantonese. That’s a beautiful language with seven different tones. “Cene, cene, cene, cene, cene, cene,” you know, all, all the different tones. Beautiful language. But of course we couldn’t speak it. And he didn’t understand English. Finally, he threw up his hands in despair and pointed to the door, “Get out!” in other words.
All right, that was our introduction there. Now we found that the conveyance which was going to bring us to town was an ancient truck. It had been manufactured many years before and was showing the effects of wear. We however got in with our suitcases and, and I carrying my 4×5 speed graphic camera – that’s what you used in the days when I made that trip, back in the 40’s. And there we were in the bus. Well, we went I suppose a mile or two and all of a sudden it stopped. And coincidental with its stopping the radiator boiled over. And we had to wait then till the motor cooled down, and someone ran to a place where they could get some water, and poured some more water in the radiator. And finally started up again.
We got then to, into downtown Canton I suppose an hour later – something like that. And there we were on the, on the street in downtown Canton, China, not knowing a soul, knowing of course that we were supposed to be met by Erwin Rates, who didn’t seem to be anywhere to be found. We didn’t know how to contact him, we didn’t have a telephone number. We didn’t even have a street address. There was just Merrill Dunlop and I, and Jesus.
Well we whispered a prayer, and we thought, “Well, let’s look around a bit and see whether we meet anybody that, that can direct us. And so we started walking down the street, and to our delight whom should we see approaching but Mr. and Mrs. Rates. They had no idea that we were going to arrive just then, and so we weren’t out to the airport to meet us. But they were delighted to greet us, and they took us into their home and took care of us.
To be a stranger whereyou don’t know anybody, you can’t speak the language, and you haven’t any address or telephone number to which you can refer, is let us say a little unsettling. But God takes care of you. Well, he said, “As strangers…” Strangers. You don’t belong in this world. He said, “Our citizenship is in heaven from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change this body of our humiliation that it might be fashioned like unto His body of glory.” God is going to give you a new body adapted to space travel – hallelujah! (Laughs)
But you’re a stranger in this, in this world. You don’t fit anymore because you’ve been born again. You have that new nature that God has given you through His indwelling Holy Spirit, maintaining in you what the Bible calls eternal life – not simply a duration of life, but a quality of life, a slice of the very life of God implanted in you.
So you’re, you’re a stranger. You don’t belong. And don’t get upset at that. You’re working in an office, you walk toward the water cooler, there’s four or five people killing time around the, the water cooler and telling some kind of a ribald, obscene story. They see you coming, and all of a sudden it gets quiet and they walk away. You feel properly snubbed. Don’t get upset. You don’t fit with obscenity anymore. You see the idea?
You don’t fit with this world anymore. It’s not that you’re trying to be stuck up. It’s not that you’re kind of a religious oddball – although some of us are I guess. But it’s just that you don’t fit. You’re a stranger. You’re, you’re, you’re, you’re a citizen of another country. You talk different, you react differently, your desires are different, what pleases you is different, what dismays you is different. You’re a stranger – don’t fight it. Just know that that’s so, and live for your God.
Then he said another thing that describes what you are, you’re a pilgrim, you’re on your way somewhere. You’re on your, you’re on your journey like the pilgrims that, that took their pilgrimage to Mecca. Or like many of the Christian faith who want to visit the Holy Land. Make a pilgrimage. Well, he said you’re on a pilgrimage, you’re on your way to the, to the heavenly city, the Pearly White City where the streets are paved with gold. You’re on your way.
He said, “Now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face now we know in part, then shall we know even also as also we are know.” We’re on our way. When He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. The, the people in, in the records of faith as, as recorded in the Hebrews 11 – it said, “They looked for a city, looked for a city whose builder and maker is God.” They were pilgrims.
Nowhe said, “Pilgrims and strangers…” You don’t fit because you got a different kind of life now, a different kind of homeland, and a different set of motivations. You’re a, you’re a pilgrim because you’re on a journey. You’re going through life no just drifting on through, hoping to make it to social security and the undertaker. But you’re on your way to the Glory Land. “I’m going to be at a meeting in the air; in the sweet, sweet by and by,” see? “I will greet you over there in the land beyond the sky. Such singing we will hear, never heard by mortal ear. ‘Twill be glorious I do declare; the meeting, the meeting in the air.” That’s the way the old-timers sand it. You know that old chorus? Well that’s what you are.
Now, because you are what you are, he says avoid that which damages your most precious possession – your soul. Avoid that which damages your most precious possession. Anything that’s precious, you take care of it. Back in 19-, whatever it was, 50 I guess, or 51, with the whole family of us, Coreen and the two girls – the youngest had not yet been born, she didn’t come along until ’53. But Coreen and the two girls and I were, were in Europe in connection with some meetings that we had throughout the continent of Europe, following our Gospel teams around.
And we stayed for a couple of days in Frankfurt. Well you know ladies, how you like to shop. And so we walked around and looked in the windows and, and poked around in, in different stores. And finally quite by chance we happened upon a little basement shop that, that had some, some china in it. And there were quite a few pieces of genuine, original Meissen china, beautiful stuff.
Well, we were able to purchase it at a very modest price, I must say. And now what were we going to do with it? “Well,” I said, “I’ll, I’ll take charge of it, dear.” And, and so I wrapped every individual piece of those pieces of china in clothing that we had. Some of it had been worn, and some hadn’t. But every piece of that china was wrapped very carefully in, in some article of clothing, and put into a special suitcase. Now when we stopped at, at the next place, the person that was out to greet the travelers would jump out and say, “Let me take your bags.”
I said, “You can take them all, but not this one.” And I carried that bag literally myself, all the rest of the journey. I took care of it because it was precious. Now all Peter is saying is you got the most precious possession that’ll last for eternity, don’t damage it. We’ll come back to this the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today help us to be wise in following Thee as pilgrims on our way to that heavenly city, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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