Weapons of Mass Transformation – 1 Peter 2

The introductory message in the Happy New You Series.

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Every year, we start the year with a simple phrase: Happy New Year!

Early last month as we were driving somewhere, Haven was singing “We wish you a merry Christmas” and she messed up the following lyric. Instead of singing, “and a Happy New Year” she said, “Happy New YOU!”

Haven often mixes up song lyrics and it’s funny. She also called Thanksgiving “Gifts Giving.” I think maybe she was trying to start a new tradition. As we continued on our drive, I got to thinking, she’s kind of on to something…The best way to experience a Happy New Year is to become a new you.

So today I want to do more than wish you a happy new year, I want to talk to you about becoming a Happy. New. You.We are going to talk about what God’s Word has to say about this, in 1 Peter 2.

This morning I want to ask you to make a simple choice based on which you think will make you happier. Would you rather win the lottery or get hit by a car? You live but you are crippled. That seems like a no brainer, right? Surely winning the lottery will make you happier than getting hit by a car. Dan Gilbert shared that studies have shown people who win the lottery and people who are crippled experience the same level of happiness 12 months later.

We overestimate impact of circumstances on happiness. 

We think if only we had more money, or a better job, or fell in love, that we would be happier.  The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want by Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky  Reports that happiness is 10% life circumstances beyond our control and 40% our own actions or choices. The remaining 50% is whether or not you are a Cubs fan. Just kidding. According to her it’s genetic brain makeup and chemistry.

We underestimate our control over our own happiness. 

So, 2 studies from a strictly scientific approach found that happiness is not what happens to us but what happens within us.

Happiness isn’t about what happens to us but what takes place within us.

The most important factor in your life right now is not any of that new stuff you got for Christmas. It is not your job. It’s not even your friends.  The most important factor in your life right now is the redemption of your life.

However, this is counterintuitive. Paul Tripp points out that even as Christians

“We get more excited about changing the world than we do about the radical changes of heart and life that the gospel promises…”

Honestly, that’s my immediate reaction when reading verse 1.. I think what if the world would Lay aside all
All Hypocrisy – no more being fake.
All Malice – No anger, no hatred, no dislike
All guile – no deception…
All envies – happy with what I have so I don’t want what you have.
All Evil Speaking –

When I point that verse at my own heart, I see there is major need in my own heart and life…in my own thinking, perspective, choices, and actions. It’s obvious I need change. It’s not so obvious how to change.

This series of messages is deeply personal. There are 4 books that I have read in 2014 that comprise much of my preparation material… I’ve read them because I need them, not because I planned to preach them. I’d encourage you to check them out if you would like to dig down deeper into life change in 2015:

How People Change by Paul Tripp
Lose it for Life by Stephen Arterburn (What your eating is probably about what is eating at you.)
Recreatable by Kevin Scott
The Power of Habit by Charles Duig

So How do we become happy and new? This passage of scripture calls us to lay aside some pet sins and it ends by pointing out that this is a war… 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

How do we fight this war? This passage gives us 3 weapons in the fight for change. Because life change is a struggle- a war, because the weapons given to us in this passage are powerful and can change as many lives as come into contact with them and there is not limit how many can experience them…

I’m calling them weapons of mass transformation.

1.Grace

V. 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. This word for taste means to experience. It means to partake. The same word is used in Hebrews referring to Christ “tasting Death” and we believe that he didn’t just merely get close to it but fully experienced it.

Verse 3 is saying, “If you have experienced grace.” When I refer to Grace as a weapon for Change, I don’t mean that hearing a sermon about grace will change your life. I mean that experiencing Grace will change your life. I don’t mean singing about Grace will change your life, I mean partaking in grace, receiving grace, experience grace.

Verse 3 speaks of experiencing grace and verses 4-10 give us a picture of grace. Verse 4 says we come to Him, our rock, the cornerstone and foundation of our lives, but He Himself was rejected by the builders.

Christ came to the world and He was rejected. He was rejected as a threat, He was rejected for being different, He was rejected by those in authority… Those that are in charge, the “they” that everyone refers to when thinking, “What will they say…”

Christ was rejected, yet He overcame that rejection and became the foundation. Verse 5 says that we are also stones that are being built up. God is building a beautiful structure out of rocks that builders would reject…You are a reject, but that it what God is building His church out of…

Grace is God accepting rejects.

For many of us, we come to the recognition of our defects, disabilities, and disqualifications without a recognition of God’s grace. We know that we are rejects and we don’t know that we can be accepted. We are painfully aware of our defaults and thoroughly unaware of God’s ability to restore us. Because of this, many stopping warring for change and start fighting reality. We start embracing denial.

Your greatest weakness is the theater where God displays His glorious strength.

Saint Augustine affirmed this when he said, “In my deepest wound I saw your glory and it dazzled me.”

Verse 5 goes on to say: “acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” You were rejected by all other standards, but because of the grace of Christ, you are accepted. Christ perfectly meets our deficits, disabilities, and disqualifications with His grace.

Stephen Aterburn:
You have to make an admission. You have to admit you cannot handle your sin. You have to admit that God can.

This is not a one and done experience. This is an ongoing experience. We must not view grace merely as something to save us from eternal death and miss out on it power to give us present, right here and right now, life. I need to be saved from hell. I also need to be saved today.

Author Beth Moore says, “Victory is not determined as much by what we’ve been delivered from as by what we’ve been delivered to.”

The Christian isn’t just delivered from Hell, you are delivered to NEW LIFE, NEW CREATION. For whatever reason, we embrace the gospel’s promise of life after death better than we do its promise of life before death! Grace is the oxygen of the Christian life. We need to breathe it in constantly. For this reason, to experience change, you must experience grace regularly. You must practice experiencing God’s grace on a regular basis.

Thank God His word says “Mercy is new every morning.”

This past year I got to go snorkeling for the first time in my life.
It was an incredible experience. The snorkel made it possible to keep swimming. Instead of catching my breath and plunging down, I kept breathing.

Grace is a means of breathing in this world, even though we are in over our heads.

I need grace regularly. So do you. A primary source of this Grace is through truth.

2.Truth

Verse 2 says, as New Born Babes, (Comma) desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby.

That middle phrase is a command. The first phrase is the analogy, it’s clarification. The final phrase is the purpose statement.

Desire the word. Like a baby desires milk. So you will grow.

A baby desires milk because it tastes good,  it satisfies, and it gives life. Babies don’t count calories.

They don’t track vitamins or worry about the food chart. They take in what they can get… God’s Word is good for the soul. Some of you might think it is bland. You might think of it as boring. You might thinking of it as expired, out of date, or stale. Friend let me tell you that your perception is probably based on how the word has been prepared or how you have taken it in.

You could take a beautiful rib-eye and char it and ruin it. You could take a delicious cake and leave it out and let it spoil. When taken in properly, it’s delicious.

Through the Bible you can come to know yourself and come to know God.

This book is about God and it’s about you. God tells dramatic stories.  He puts earthy metaphors to work, so the impact is visceral as well as conceptual. The Bible doesn’t offer a sanitized version of life or our reactions to it. Dark, shocking, and painful stories abound.

The Bible is not about an idyllic world full of noble people who always make the right choice. The Bible describes a world we recognize, where very good and very bad things happen,

It’s good stuff.But it’s not just good. It’s good for you. God speaks earthy, holy words in order to change you, not just to give you more information. God forgive us if we make it about facts and figures but we miss the Father. God forgive us if we make it about doctrine and dogma and we miss the Deliverer.

In 1994, US Skier Tommy Moe won the Gold Medal in the Men’s Downhill. Sports Illustrated described his run as beautiful. He tucked in and held perfect form in turns where other skiers flailed and struggle to maintain control.

After the run he was asked how he had put together such a good one. “He said, I just focused on skiing, not winning. I didn’t think about where I’d place. I remembered to breathe. Sometimes I don’t.”

God’s Word is a primary means of breathing in grace. Don’t get so caught up in life that you forget to breathe in God’s grace and truth.

3. Community

v. 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

You were not a people, but now you are “a people.” The people of God.

Before you were sinners without mercy, now you are sinners who have obtained mercy. You are not a people. You are not a group. You are now a people.

When Christ brings us into the family of God, we are never alone again. – Paul Tripp

Verse 9 calls us more than a people. Verse 9 calls us a priesthood.

Preisthoods typically are made up of people born into them. People trained for them. You were just accepted on Jesus’ merits. You are a priest to everyone else in the group. You can pray for everyone else in the group. You can shepherd everyone else in the group.

Friends are the scaffolding God gives us as our faith becomes sturdy. – Bob Goff

Because this is a priesthood, Christian friendships are not simply about people that we enjoy life with… Christian friendships help dig down into the truths of scripture, they help us experience grace in a deeper, fuller way.

We each bring a unique perspective and experience to our knowledge of Christ’s love. One person has been rescued from a menacing addiction.  Another has been brought through deep suffering. Still another has been sustained by God’s grace in a difficult marriage.

“When we gather to share our stories, we see a different aspect of the diamond that is the love of Christ.” Paul Tripp

The love of Christ is so wide, long, high, and deep ( infinite, in other words) that we cannot see this love or experience it all by our finite selves. We need strength from God to comprehend it and we have to grasp it “together with all the saints” Priest not only help people know God, they help protect the people from evil and temptation.

Sin demands to have a man by himself. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him. ~Bonheoffer

You don’t just need friends, you need Christ following friends, and you don’t just need Christ following friends, you need a priesthood of believers. You need a group of people who live this life and follow Christ with you. You need a group of people who can speak into your life both encouragement and Godly wisdom, because you need both encouragement and wisdom. I believe you can find just that here at Faith Church.

So, which weapon are you missing from your arsenal? Have you experienced God’s grace? Is it something you are breathing in on a regular basis by contact with God’s word? Do you belong to a community of Christ followers who can speak into your life?