If the title of this sermon shocks you, it should. In preparation for Christmas we consider the ‘theology of Christmas’ — elsewhere in God’s Word we are told the historical facts of the first ever Christmas, and the purpose of Christ’s first coming. In this beautiful passage we the attitude Christ displayed in His coming.
This glorious passage was not written to fill books with theology about the nature of Christ. It was written so that we might worship Christ vigorously and wholeheartedly, and specifically so that you and I might have the same selfless and humble attitude as Jesus.
The Christian life is a violent war – as believers we are assaulted by the devil and his spiritual forces. The devil is against you and will do all that he can to stop you living God’s way. It was well said by the English pastor, Charles Simeon, “A man armed with a helmet, feels himself ready for battle: he fears not to meet his adversary, because he has defense which, he trusts, will prove sufficient for his preservation. Thus a man with a hope of salvation enters into the combat with holy confidence. He is not intimidated by the frowns of an ungodly world because he knows in whom ‘he has believed, and that God is able to keep that which is committed to Him.’”
Simeon said that such a hope of salvation prepares a saint for the fight, sustains him when the battle is fierce, and brings him victorious through his conflicts.
1 Peter 1:1-5
All unbelievers are dead in their trespasses and sins, blind to the glory of Christ, and unwittingly follow the ‘prince of the power of the air,’ the devil. The devil spreads lies and deceit throughout the world. The devil seeks, by means of a society opposed to the rule of God, to lead believers into sin. Believers are charged to stand against such schemes of the devil, by means of the armor which He has provided. At conversion we take up this armour and enter into a struggle against the evil one — this sermon looks at four pieces of armor you must keep on and make us of, if you are to stand.
Believers, being loyal to Christ, are constantly under attack from God’s enemy, the devil, and have to endure the onslaughts of his hostile schemes. Here are three warnings to Christians that are essential if we are to be kept from being defeated. We are not to try to discover all the ins and outs of Satan’s spiritual forces, not to fear the devil, nor go on the offensive against the devil. But we are to flee to the One in whom there is protection and victory, and avail ourselves of the means of withstanding, which He supplies.
All our work, not only paid employment, should be done wholeheartedly as unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Our heavenly Master is concerned about how we work, such that our heart motives and attitudes are vital, and He gives us a great motivation; there will be a day when Christ Himself will judge His people and recompense each one of them for whatever good they have done — such a truth should encourage us to do our best in all that we do, with a humble heart, in the power of the Spirit, to the glory of God and the honor of Christ.
Whether they plan to or not, all parents indoctrinate their children — by their lips and their lives they teach their children what is important, what to value, and what to avoid. Fathers, in particular, have a daunting and dreadful responsibility to bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. This sermon gives four instructions for Spirit-filled parenting, and in particular urges fathers to teach their children to treasure Christ.
With regards to obedience there are not two ways to live, but three. There is disobedience, sullen obedience, and joyful obedience which comes from a heart transformed by the Holy Spirit. True obedience comes from a heart that treasures the One we obey, such that obedience is our desire and our delight. It is possible to go through life apparently keeping God’s commandments — being a good Christian and an obedient child — but all the while being spiritually dead! This sermon is a call for “inside-out” obedience.
In the same way… (Eph 5:28). In this passage of God’s Word we have three more ways a husband is to be like Christ in the way he loves His wife — dutifully, tenderly and faithfully.
Paul is not addressing just anyone, but saints, those who are in Christ Jesus – those who have been graciously redeemed by the blood of Christ, who gave Himself up for them, and who are empowered by the indwelling Spirit of God. It is because the recipients of this letter are believers who know God and His love that they can fulfill their duty to love their wives in the same way.