This is an excerpt from the second sermon in my 1 Peter series at Fairview Baptist Church. To listen or watch the whole thing, visit our website.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:13-16
In this passage, Peter calls believers to live a holy life based on what God had already done for them in Christ. In other words, the indicatives (what God has done for us in Christ) are the basis for the imperatives (how we should live our lives in response). So, what God has done for us precedes what we are called to do with Him.
Because we have been given a great hope, we are called to proclaim and reflect that hope as we live our lives. Our new identity inevitably shapes how we interact and engage with those around us.
The call “To prepare your minds for action” (gird up the loins) was a common expression of that time and related to a man gathering up his long garments in order to work or run unhindered. In our day, it means to roll your sleeves up and be on mission.
But we must do so with a sober-mind. In other words, Christians must learn to reflectively think about what it means to be on mission with God in everyday life. This does not happen automatically.
As exiles in a foreign land, you would want to reflect the characteristics, expectations, and qualities of your Father God. Therefore, you would not want to conform to the passions of the broken culture around you like those who live in ignorance of the truth.
But note, being holy does not mean that you isolate yourself from culture or those around you. Being holy means to reflect the Father in the culture, and to those around you. All throughout the Bible, while God is set apart from the world, He is also involved in the world – pursuing the lost and rebellious. We are called out of the darkness to the light, but we are then called to go back into the darkness to reflect that light.
Imagine you woke up one day to discover that you were a missionary in a foreign land? In that context, the first thing you are going to do is try and understand and connect with people around you. Preparing your minds for action means that we need to rethink how we engage those around us on a day-to-day basis with the good news of Christ.
When it comes to sharing the good news, think of it in the context of a relationship, a long-term investment. How can you do ordinary, everyday things, with gospel intentionality? Informal sharing of the gospel most powerfully happens as the church is scattered in the world among other people.
Simply put, we need to think like missionaries. Our hope in Christ motivates our mission to the world. The hope of the church shapes the life of the church.