In this sermon, Pastor Neil offers advice how to live in this post-9/11 world based on 1 Peter: 13-25 7 and Psalm 11. Here are some excerpts:
How then are we to live in this post-9/11 world?
Peter begins with this in verse 13: “Prepare your minds for action.” The old King James Version (KJV) has a more literal translation of Peter’s words. It says: “Gird up the loins of your mind.” Do you know what that means?
…To put it in terms that are probably more familiar to us, Peter is saying: “Roll up your sleeves mentally. Get your mind in gear, your head in the game. Get ready for action. Don’t fall asleep at the switch. Stay focused. Be prepared for anything.”
…In times like these, when it may feel like the foundations are crumbling all around us, and not just because of 9/11 or events in Afghanistan, we need to get our minds in gear. We need to get our minds and hearts in the game, and be ready for action at any moment. How do we do that? By:
Literally, Peter says: “Stay sober.” It is an admonition against getting drunk or being intoxicated. In Ephesians 5:18, Paul says: “Don’t get drunk on wine, which dulls your senses and leads to all kinds of debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
…Peter’s point here is not confined to the consumption of alcoholic beverages (or the use of illicit drugs). It is way bigger than that. The point is that God wants us to live lives of godly self-control under the direction of the Holy Spirit, and not let our desires control us. Paul includes self-control in his list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, along with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness (Galatians 5:22-23).
…Stay sober and self-controlled, because you cannot serve God’s purposes in such a time as this when you are out of control. You are truly self-controlled only when you are God- controlled.
Notice that Peter does not simply say: “Set your hope on the grace to be given you when Jesus returns.” That would be sound biblical counsel by itself. But Peter goes a step further. He says: “Set your hope fully” on this grace. Fully. Totally. Completely. Without hesitation or reservation.
Where is your hope today? Is it in the economy, the financial markets, your retirement portfolio? The Bible says: “Don’t put your hope in wealth, which is so uncertain” (1 Timothy 6:17). “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone” (Proverbs 23:4).
…Let God speak to you about these things. Take seriously your calling – our calling – to live holy lives in a post-9/11 world. Let Him change you where change is needed in your life. Let His grace and glory be revealed in your life.