Living in an Alien Environment

Living In An Alien Environment: 2017 Study of 1 Peter #12

This is an exposition of 1 Peter 4:1-6. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, July 30, 2017.


I was so excited. For months I had anticipated the departure. I was a bit nervous. After all, we were going a long way from home. We would be gone two weeks even though I was part of a group of 40-50 people I was apprehensive. It’s not that I had not been to exotic places. I had been to Turley, Skidee and Wakinee, Kansas! But the trip to Argentina was full of wonder for me. Things had gone relatively smooth from Oklahoma City to Dallas and from Dallas to Miami. When we boarded the plan in Miami bound for South America things changed. I was separated from the rest of the group. On the flight to Buenos Aries I was surrounded by Spanish and Portuguese speaking people. That’s when it hit me. For the first time I was heading somewhere where I was going to be in the minority. I would be in unfamiliar territory. I would not know the language and would know nothing of the culture. I was going to be the foreigner!

Those were two of the most exciting weeks I have ever known. Yes, I was a foreigner; I had trouble understanding the culture. I saw all kinds of strange things. I saw things that sickened me. I saw things that angered me. Yet it was a vast mission field. Everywhere you turned there were mission opportunities. As time worn on I longed more and more for home. I developed some sweet relationships. I fell in love with the people of Argentina. But Argentina was not my home and I wanted to go home.

As a believer in Christ – this world is not my home. As the old Gospel song put it –
“This world is not my home, I’m just pass’n through.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me to heaven’s open door
and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”

That is how we are to live in this sinful, fallen world. This isn’t it. Our citizenship is in heaven. Our home is there.

That is what Peter is trying to say to those folks so hard pressed by persecution. “Sure this world stinks. Sure you’re getting the short end of the stick – life is hard – but this is not your home. You’re on you way home but you are not there yet.”

This is a relevant message for us. Take a look around you. This is a pagan culture. We are surrounded by people who do not share our values, who openly embrace a way of life that is foreign to us. Our culture is becoming increasingly pagan and do you know why? Because the world is dominated by pagans!

Now, while that is true, we are here for a reason. There is a purpose for our being left on the planet. The question we will deal with this evening is, “How am I to live as a resident alien in this pagan land?”

Text: 1 Peter 4:1-6

Thesis: As aliens in a hostile environment, believers are called to godly living.

What does it mean to live godly? When we talk about godliness or holiness we usually think in terms of lists. We think of lists of “dos” and “don’ts”. And to be honest – those lists are usually pretty superfluous. It amounts to nothing more than “moralism.” What I mean by that is – it does not require faith. It does not require the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. It does require faith in God or even belief in a god – it merely requires a determination to avoid certain things and to practice certain things. Nonbelievers can avoid playing cards and going to movies – and yet a few years back – that was the definition of godliness! Surely to live godly, in the biblical sense, means something more. That is what our text is about.

There are three things I want to call to your attention regarding godly living.

  1. Godly living demands a clear, decisive identification with Christ. (4:1a)
  2. Godly living demonstrates a definite break with sin. (4:1b-3)
  3. Godly living divides the believing from the unbelieving. (4:4-6)

We live as resident aliens in a hostile land. What does that require of us? To live godly. Godly living demands a clear, decisive identification with Christ.
Godly living demonstrates a definite break with sin.
Godly living divides the believing from the unbelieving.

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