This week guest speaker from Mission India, David Chakranarayan, brought our message about having a Kingdom perspective.
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good morning c3 church my name is david chakran orion i'm a good friend of pastor gene especially through our relationship with mission india i serve as the national director for mission india engaging the u.s church to help plant churches all throughout india especially among the unreached so you'll see on the website there mission india.org we are a ministry that reaches india india has more unreached people than any other nation around the world and when i mean unreached i mean that there is no christian in their community no church no gospel presences what we try to do is we raise up church planters that live in the country to go out and plant churches in these areas that have no gospel presence so currently there are about 400 million people in india who have not yet heard the gospel so there's still a lot of work to do in that and i want to thank c3 church for your partnership in making that happen and making sure that these unreached places get to hear the gospel so that people can know jesus christ a little bit about myself real quick i have been married for 17 years i've pastored for 16 years in the cincinnati area and this is going to be the shocker and this is where you need to pray for me i have five daughters okay 14 12 11 9 and 7. so put me on your prayer list i'm going to need it for the next 50 years okay so anyways this morning i want to turn our attention to two passages in the book of first peter uh so you can turn in your bible you can turn on your bible app first peter chapter two we're going to look at verse 11 and 12 and chapter 2 and then we're going to look at first peter chapter 3 verses 15 and 16. and the title of my message this morning is kingdom perspective what does it mean to have a kingdom perspective and here's a couple of the questions that we're going to answer this morning number one is what is my role on this earth as a follower of jesus christ what am i supposed to do in a world that does not like christians that is hostile towards christians and the second question we're going to answer is what will it cost me as a follower of jesus christ these two questions are instrumental in our walk with god to help us understand and gain perspective as we engage our communities and the world with the gospel of jesus christ let me bring this definition a little bit closer when i talk about having a kingdom perspective it's found in colossians chapter 1 verses 13 and 14 that says this about jesus he has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the son of his love in whom we have redemption through his blood the forgiveness of sins there is something incredible that happens when we trust christ as our savior we are taken from the kingdom of darkness where we live for ourselves where we live for our flesh and when god saves us he puts us into his kingdom where our desires are for him and to please him with our lives there's something that we need to understand when we're looking at having a kingdom perspective there is the earthly kingdom there is all the stuff you and i see around us now if you're like me when i look at the world around me it's not very encouraging it's going crazy people are selfish people are into themselves people are wanting to harm others there is this earthly kingdom where people live for themselves but then there is this invisible kingdom that lives in the hearts of christians who lives in jesus presence lives in the heart of the church and we get to tell people about this kingdom that radically changes lives do you believe jesus changes lives absolutely and so that is the kingdom that we need to be focused on that is why i want to go to the book of first peter let me share with you a little bit of context about first peter first peter is written between 60 to 65 a.d uh you're going to try to figure out who the author might be i'll give you a clue it was probably peter okay peter writes this book from rome and he writes this book to a group of believers in what is known in asia minor or what we know as modern day turkey so when you look at chapter one he addresses christians who probably were made up of jews and gentiles that were living in this area called asia minor and the context of this chapter excuse me of this book is is that these believers are living under some difficult circumstances that they're they're basically people who are different from the culture the culture is looking at them and saying hey you're not engaging in the same practices and things that we are why are you doing this and so they're experiencing difficulties they may have even been experiencing persecution they weren't like the church in the u.s you couldn't appeal your religious freedoms to the government they didn't have an advocate that they could go to there were no laws that they could say hey this is what it means for me to have religious freedom no the bible says here they were believers that were under intense scrutiny and persecution so chapter 1 peter says to them he says i want you to understand that you have a great and living hope because of a resurrected savior i know you're going through trials i know that you're going through difficulties but i want you to have a heavenly focus i want you to focus on what god has in store for you you know what's interesting to me is that sometimes freedoms can be a detriment to our faith can they not because we can say you know what we have religious freedom we can go to church we can do all of these things and we end up taking it for granted and yet what we find around the world is that areas that are the most persecuted is where the church is growing the fastest because believers have to stand in the gap they don't have room to compromise they don't have room to go back and forth they are willing to say i am a follower of christ and if it costs me so be it it's what the believers in first peter were experiencing notice in chapter 2 i'm going to look at verse 11 and 12. there's two words that i love that peter uses in this passage and they're so applicable for us today look at first peter chapter 2 and we're going to look at verse 11 and it says this beloved i beg you as sojourners and pilgrims abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul now he's begging them it's not like he's saying he's getting on his knees and crying and saying hey why don't you come back to church we really miss you why why don't you like us that's not what he's trying to say he's trying to encourage them and say this live in a way that reflects the grace of god he says in in this context that you're in you're under difficult circumstances you might be experiencing persecution but i want you to know that you should still show the grace of god when other people simply do not like you for being a follower of christ you know one thing that i've noticed when i read the bible and especially when you look at the new testament when you look at the apostles they're always writing to the church they're not writing to the culture in general they're not saying hey culture in this time why don't you be nice to the christians why don't you stop persecuting them why don't you stop throwing them in jail the writers always talk to the church and say you need to live in a manner that is worthy of the name of jesus so that when people look at your life they will see christ in you it is the same message that the bible has for us today you and i are supposed to live on a level that reflects the life of jesus christ the world around us is going to deteriorate the world around us is not going to like christians but that is not an excuse for us to not live for christ that is even more of a reason why we should be engaged in gospel and kingdom work he says beloved i beg you actually in romans chapter 12 verse 1 it says this i beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of god that you present your bodies a living sacrifice same thing there he's encouraging them he's imploring them and then he uses two words to describe them the first word that he uses is the words sojourners here's what this means some translations say aliens so your bible might say foreigners the word literally means alongside the house well what is the deeper definition of this it was a word that was used to convey a person who lives in a country not his own and is therefore a foreigner this is a term that is used to describe a christian a person who lives in a country that is not his own and they are a foreigner it is a christian who does not belong to the system of the world but lives alongside those who do does that describe you and i absolutely we live in a country we may have a citizenship we may have a passport that says that we belong to this country but when we think about it from a kingdom perspective where jesus is ruling and reigning in our hearts we live in this country but it's not our own and we are foreigners in this land the second word that he uses is the word pilgrims some translations use the word strangers it is a word which is a synonym for sojourners it means someone who is a temporary resident it is a reference to a visitor who travels through a country while pausing for a brief stay do you see what peter is trying to say to these believers he's saying guys i know the culture around you does not like you i know you're experiencing difficult times i know that you're experiencing persecution but i want to remind you of something this land this earth that you're living is is not your home you're just a foreigner you're simply passing through now on the way to naples i had to make a late night stop at a gas station one of the things about stopping at a late night gas station as you have no idea what the area around the gas station looks like right anybody ever been there you know you're driving you're you're on empty and you're like i've got to pull over because that's what the sign on the interstate says and then you pull over and you're looking around you're like something's about to go down and so instead of filling up the full tank you fill up like 10 bucks just to get you like to a nicer area you're glad that you're simply passing through and not making your residence in that area it is the same thing for us as believers you and i need to understand that the time that god has given to us whether it's 70 80 or 90 years we're simply passing through because i'm looking forward to a better country and that country is heaven that is my ultimate home you know as a christian you should never feel at home on this earth you should never become comfortable like man this is where i need to be this is great this feels good this has everything that i want as a believer you and i should never be comfortable on earth why because it isn't our home if you begin to get comfortable here get into the bible because that's not what god is calling us to i love philippians chapter 3 verse 20 it says this for our citizenship is in heaven from which we also eagerly wait for the savior the lord jesus christ yes we might be citizens of the united states we have a passport we have a birth certificate that shows it but when i belong to jesus i understand that my citizenship is in heaven and no one can mess with it you know you look at the word citizenship in philippians chapter 3 verse 20. here's what it means it refers to the place where one has official status the commonwealth where one's name is recorded on the register of citizens if you trusted in christ your name is in the register of heaven and it belongs to jesus hebrews chapter 11 verses 13 through 16 it says this when he's talking about all those incredible believers that we read about in the hall of faith as many references it says this these all died in faith not having received the promises but having seen them afar off where short of them embraced them confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth for those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland and truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out they would have had opportunity to return but now they desire better that is a heavenly country therefore god is not ashamed to be called their god for he has prepared a city for them a kingdom perspective helps me understand that i don't belong here i belong there and that one day i will be reunited with my savior jesus christ i'll be united with him and i will forever be a citizen of heaven that's what a kingdom perspective says jesus how can i serve you as i'm simply passing through this earth notice what else he says in verse verse number 11 he says this he says abstain from fleshly lust now automatically in our minds it goes to something about sexual immorality but it also encompasses everything about humanity's sinful nature look at hebrews chapter 12 verse 1 it says this let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us all of us have some type of clutter in our lives we've got stuff we've got busy things happening and there's there are there are uh things on our schedule there's opportunities there's stuff that is hindering our walk with god sometimes it's sin sometimes it's just day to day peter is telling these believers i want you to abstain from things that take your attention from being kingdom minded do you have to run your kids to ballgames absolutely do you have to take them to school absolutely do you have to go to work absolutely do are there things in life that you have to do yes but when we look at our lives there are things that are consuming our thoughts our affections that could be going towards christ but instead they're spent on the pleasures of this world i want you to think about this one statement whatever consumes your time is what you worship ask yourself what am i worshiping what has my thoughts what has my affections what what makes me stay up at night and think about that thing over and over again whatever consumes our heart and our time that's what we end up worshiping and god desires that we worship him and worship him alone peter says abstain from fleshly lust why look at the next part of it it says this which war against the soul that word war there it is a long-term it needs to carry out a long-term military campaign there is always going to be a battle for your hearts and minds there's always going to be something to distract you the book of james tells us that our flesh sways us right our flesh has evil intent and we want to act upon it but then there's also a spiritual battle that is trying to take us away from fulfilling god's purposes for our lives peter is telling these believers abstain from these fleshly lusts because it is a war against your soul second corinthians chapter 10 verses 3 to 5 says this for though we walk in the flesh we do not war according to the flesh for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in god for pulling down strongholds casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of god bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of christ do all of us have some work to do in that area absolutely but note that there is a battle for your heart and your mind and your affection and your worship ask yourself what is consuming that time verse he says to them he says having your conduct honorable among the gentiles the word honorable there it means rich and varied in significance it is beautiful in outward form it is the highest form of visible goodness sometimes when people make me upset i want to retaliate amen right we want to right like when someone does us wrong we want to do something wrong back to them why because in your mind you're saying they're going to get away with it notice what peter does peter writes to the church in asia minor and he tells them to do something i do not like to do he says this even when you are being mistreated even when you are being persecuted even though you're living as pilgrims and sojourners on this earth let your conduct be honorable come on peter don't tell me that i don't want to hear that but peter says but you're a representative of jesus christ live in a way that reflects his love why is this so important that our conduct be honorable number one redeemed people will behave in a redeemed manner is your life been changed by jesus if so you will react in a way that reflects the love of jesus redeemed people will have behave in a redeemed manner number two redeemed people represent the redeemer people at your workplace know that you're a christian and when tough times come they see the way that you react in our families in our schools in our context that we are in during the week people know that we're a follower of christ and we have to understand that we represent the redeemer you just don't get to put jesus on on sunday morning and then when you get home you take it off and you live for yourself the rest of the week it's a high calling but number three is also important redeemed people want to see unredeemed people one over to the redeemer i want to see people that don't know christ one over to him and god somehow chooses to use me to fulfill that purpose you know one of the things that's absolutely astounding to me is that god could save everyone on his own he doesn't need me right and sometimes i'm like god why don't you just do that this is too difficult just come out here just save everybody you know take us to heaven and we're all gonna be okay but you realize that when we get to play a part in it we get to kind of see what god's done in us and we get to see the transforming work of the gospel in the lives of people all around us god chooses to use me so that i can experience the joy of jesus using me as a vessel to reach people around him i get to partake in that joy he says have your conduct honorable now he says do it among the gentiles you know we know in the new testament the word gentiles was used for people that weren't jewish or people of the world it's a reference to the nations or the unsaved world a couple of things for us to understand number one the world is a mission field and you are the missionary do you realize that pastor gene cannot reach everyone that you come in contact with on a weekly basis but you know who can you can where god has placed you is your mission field and you are the missionary caring about the life-saving message of the gospel that's important number two we are called to be a gospel influence to people whose world view is different than ours are there some strange people out there in our world today absolutely some weird people some hostile people some people that disagree with us you know what jesus is saying to us those are the people i want you to share the gospel with people that don't align with your worldview people that are different than you why because eternity is at stake and we have the compelling message of the gospel he continues here in this verse he says this that when they speak against you as evildoers they may by your good works which they observe glorify god in the day of visitation two important points i want to highlight about those verses number one is that christians will be ridiculed if you expect the world around you to like you for being a christian it's not going to happen as hard as you may try because if you live for jesus and you tell others about jesus being the way the truth and the life you will be ridiculed jesus talks about this in john chapter 15 verse 18 to 20. if the world hates you you know that it hated me before it hated you if you were of the world the world would love its own yet because you are not of the world but i chose you out of the world therefore the world hates you remember the word that i said to you a servant is not greater than his master if they persecuted me they will also persecute you if they kept my word they will keep yours also if you are a follower of christ and you're living the way that jesus has told us if you're living according to the way of the bible and if you're telling others about christ that they need to repent that they need to trust christ as their savior you will be ridiculed why the world is not a friend of god the bible tells us over and over again that there is enmity between god and man the kingdoms of this world are hostile against god and we can expect the same thing christians will be ridiculed but number two this is also important let your testimony silence your accusers matthew chapter 5 verses 11 and 12 says this blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and see all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you when the world looks at you peter is telling these believers he's saying look when they speak against you as evildoers they can have all kinds of accusations thrown against you but they can still observe your life and understand that you are a follower of christ you know william barclay historian has this quotes about the early church here's what he says he says christians were falsely accused of great crimes in the early church pagans said that at communion christians ate the flesh and drank the blood of a baby in a cannibalistic ritual they said that christians agape feasts were wild orgies they said that christians were anti-social because they did not participate in society's immoral entertainment they said that christians were atheists because they did not worship idols but over time it was clear that christians were not immoral people and it was shown by their lives the striking fact of history is that by their lives the christians actually did defeat the slander of the heathen in the early part of the third century celsius made the famous and the most systematic attack of all upon the christians in which he accused them of ignorance and foolishness and superstition and all kinds of things but never immorality if someone was to observe your life would they come to the conclusion that you are a follower of christ how do you deal with tough circumstances how do you deal with difficulties how do you deal with heartbreak you know as human beings we all struggle through these things but yet there is still this underlying hope that this isn't all this is temporary it's simply passing so chapter 2 peter calls them out he says you live different because you're a follower of christ you have a high calling you're a representative of jesus but then he transitions to chapter 3 and he says now if they were to ask you if they were to look at your life how are you going to respond let's look at verse 15 and 16 in chapter 3 and then we'll be done in verse 15 he says this but sanctify the lord god in your hearts you know many times when you're reading your bible you'll see the word but or therefore and usually it connects the thought that was there before he's connecting the word but there in verse 13 and 14 he's contrasting it look at chapter 3 verses 13 and 14 he says this and who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good but even if you should suffer for righteousness sake you are blessed and do not be afraid of their threats nor be troubled basically have no fear of them as you're reverencing christ as lord he says sanctify what does that mean it comes from the same root word as holy you all know this word uh sanctify it means to set apart or to consecrate you know we see many examples of this that are there throughout the old testament but in this context it means giving preeminence to christ in our adoration and worship here's what peter is saying to you i know they're going to persecute you i know that they're going to harm you i know that they're going to say all kinds of evil things against you but even when that happens set apart the lord jesus christ in your hearts matthew henry a commentator says this we sanctify the lord god in our hearts when we with sincerity and fervency adore him when our thoughts of him are awful and reverent when we rely upon his power trust to his faithfulness submit to his wisdom imitate his holiness and give him the glory due to his most illustrious perfections set apart he is holy he is perfect he is just he is righteous sanctify the lord god in your hearts and then he says this always be ready what does that mean believers need to be constantly prepared and ready to respond when it comes to sharing our faith or giving a defense of our faith i'll give you a good example of this if you're having a good conversation with someone at your workplace maybe it's at a ballgame maybe it's at a gym and you start to talk to them about christianity and they're like oh you're a follower of jesus hey i've got a quite a few questions about the bible what you shouldn't do is pull out pastor gene's card and say hey my pastor knows a lot about the bible here's his card why don't you call him and talk to him it's true pastor gene doesn't know the bible right we've had conversations he listens to audio bible every day all the time which is great but do you realize every single one of us as individuals is called to share our faith we are called to know our bibles to know why we believe what we believe peter is telling these believers always be ready why because there's always opportunity and the more we're engaged in the word of god the more we're studying the more we're understanding it's going to provide opportunities for us to share the gospel with those who are asking us questions about our faith what shall be we be ready to do we should be ready to give a defense i love this word defense it is a greek word apologia writer apology however you want to say it it is where we get our english word for apologetics here's what it means in the original form it was used in a courtroom to give a formal defense but it was also the ability to answer questions in a reasoned manner why was this word so important here let me give you some background a cultivated greek believed that it was the mark of an intelligent man that he was able to give and to receive a word concerning his actions and beliefs he was expected to intelligently and temporarily discuss matters of conduct to do so we must know what we believe we must have thought it out we must be able to state it intelligently and intelligibly our faith must be a firsthand discovery and not a secondhand story it is one of the tragedies of the modern situation that there are so many church members who if they were asked what they believe could not articulate what they believe and why they believe it the christian must go through the mental and spiritual toil of thinking out his faith so that he can tell what he believes and why isn't that convicting it's not just pastor gene's job or the person that teaches sunday school or the elder every single believer must be ready to articulate why they believe what they believe to a world that is asking notice the transition that he makes here he says to give a defense to everyone who asks for the hope that is in you you know what was happening in peter's time peter is basically saying when they ridicule you and mock you and persecute you your lifestyle and the way that you react is going to cause them to come up to you and say hey i was persecuting you i was trying to harm you but you responded to me in love and grace what's that all about it sets up a way for you to evangelize you know there are so many countries around the world where christians are being persecuted and those who are persecuting christians are coming to faith in christ because they see the way that christians are responding to them one of the worst things you can have is when a christian is harmed or persecuted respond back in that same unworldly manner peter is saying be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you you know what's happening they're coming to christians a couple of three things here i want to share with you number one people are taking note of our lives they're taking notes you may not think they're watching you but they're watching you number two people are asking the question what is different about them why should i trust this jesus what what is there in this person's life that i would desire that i don't already have number three people will always hold christians to a higher standard have you noticed that christians are always held to a higher standard and we must be ready to engage here's what he says be ready to give a defense to people that come and ask you what for the hope that is in you another word which can be used here is the word account account means word or message and is challenging the believers to speak words which convey the hope of the gospel what is the hope of the gospel the hope of the gospel is christ in us first peter chapter 1 verses 3 to 5 blessed be the god and father of our lord jesus christ who according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of jesus christ from the dead to an inheritance incorruptible undefiled that does not fade away reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of god through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time people are going to come to you and they're going to say you've gone through circumstances you're experiencing illness you're experiencing heartache in your life why are you responding in such a joyful and encouraging and hopeful manner it opens up the opportunity for you and i to say it's the hope of christ in me i haven't had i don't have this all figured out i don't have all the right answers i don't necessarily know even what my next step is but i know that christ holds my life in his hands and it's going to be okay that is the hope of the gospel how many of you have ever heard of a gentleman by the name of polycarp raise your hand polycarp he was a disciple of the apostle john john the one that wrote the gospel of john first second and third john disciple of christ he has an incredible story here and i'll finish up because i want to be sensitive to time he's an incredible testimony about his life now let me read this to you it says this polycarp's greatest contribution to christianity may be his martyred death his martyrdom stands as one of the most well documented events of antiquity the emperors of rome had unleashed bitter attacks against the christians during this period and members of the early church recorded many of the persecutions and deaths polycarp was arrested on the charge of being a christian a member of a politically dangerous cult whose rapid growth needed to be stopped amidst an angry mob the roman proconsul took pity on such a gentle old man and urged polycarp to proclaim caesar is lord if only polycarp would make this declaration and offer a small pinch of incense to caesar's statue he would escape torture and death to this polycarp responded 86 years i have served christ and he never did me any wrong how can i blaspheme my king who saved me steadfast in his stand for christ polycarp refused to compromise his beliefs and thus was burned alive at the stake what an amazing story of someone who was willing to stand in the midst of difficulty i conclude with this peter says this people that give you ask you for the hope that is in you do it with meekness and fear it's all about our tone and mannerism meekness it is a word that can be translated gentleness ephesians chapter 4 talks about this speaking of the truth and love don't let any corrupt word come out of your mouth only what is necessary for edification meekness was also a virtue that was displayed by christ paul talks about this in second corinthians chapter 10 now i paul myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of christ be gentle with people why because you should have a reverence for christ notice what he says do it with meekness and fear when we are responding to someone we do it knowing that we have a deep devotion towards god and his truth and at the same time we respect our fellow man you know one of the things that i've noticed especially in the west and in the western church is that our tone isn't really nice right have you noticed that the way we interact with people the way that we talk to people that may disagree with us our tone starts to get very aggressive it doesn't look very christ-like and we sit there and argue have you ever seen arguments on facebook you're like no one is convincing anyone at this point but they're still going i'm like there's 50 000 comments and no one has agreed on a single thing right we we see this back and forth here's the lesson here and i want you to remember this you might have won the argument but did you win them always leave opportunity always have that bridge to be able to share the gospel how do we have a kingdom perspective understand that we're simply pilgrims and sojourners we're simply passing through but even as we're passing through we have been mandated to proclaim the gospel even when it is difficult let us all take a stand for the gospel and be faithful in sharing christ let's pray gracious god we thank you for this morning lord i thank you for everyone who is here god i thank you for your word how convicting it is that it calls us out of complacency and that it calls us to a higher calling to serve you and to make your gospel known lord i pray for this church family lord the things that are on everyone's heart as they came in this morning you know what they are and father as they're trying to seek you for answers maybe they're going through difficult circumstances it might even be besetting sin in their life lord may you free them through the hope of your gospel and make people come to know you as their savior as a result of this church father i thank you for pastor gene and i thank you for his ministry i pray that you would continue to bless him and encourage him lord may you give him the rest that he needs as he's always as he's away from this church right now with this family and lord i pray that you would strengthen the leadership here the teams that serve and lord i pray that you would fill them with your joy as they seek to make your gospel known in this community lord we thank you for your love and we thank you for your faithfulness for i pray these things in jesus name amen