We’re in the middle of a sermon series on 1 Peter, a letter the apostle wrote to Christians who were struggling to figure out how they were supposed to relate to an increasingly hostile world. Like them, we sense a change in the cultural tides against the practice of historic, orthodox Christianity, and sometimes we’re confused about who we are and how we’re supposed to live.
What does the world think when they think of Christianity? Their opinions might be shaped by what they see on late-night talk shows, or YouTube, or Instagram, and what they think may or may not be accurate.
But more importantly, what do the people in our spheres of influence think about Christianity when they think of us? We really can’t do anything to change the “world’s” views of Christ–that’s much too overwhelming to even consider. But we can live out our faith in front of the handful of people with whom we have a measure of influence.
Notice Peter’s challenge: he tells us never to give up on the perpetual struggle against the “passions of the flesh” and to remember that the “Gentiles” (i.e., non-Christians) are watching us. Many of them won’t respond well to our faith; we’ve got to expect that. But some of them will be drawn to Christ because God uses something in us to stir a spark of interest in them.
In this sermon, I hope to challenge our congregation to take their faith seriously, particularly in how they live it out in front of a curious world.