A Plea to the Pilgrims
1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims…
Intro: We are coming into the week of Thanksgiving. I love this time of year! I have been thinking about the history of Thanksgiving and the people that made this tradition.
In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the “New World.” After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. I have thought of the stories I heard as a child of Squanto, the Pilgrims, Governor William Bradford and chief Massasoit. – History.com
For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
As I read the Bible, I find that the people of God are called “pilgrims” on several occasions.
In the book of First Peter, the apostle Peter had a message for the people of God.
Let’s notice the
I. Reminder of our Identity
A. Who they were – vs. 9a
- chosen generation
- a royal priesthood
- an holy nation
- a peculiar people – Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
- now the people of God
- strangers – NOTE: We were strangers TO God before we were saved. (Eph. 2:12, 19)
- pilgrims – one who comes from a foreign country into a city or land to; reside there by the side of the natives; a stranger; sojourning in a strange place, a foreigner
SEE Hebrews 11:13; 36-38
B. What they were to do – “…show forth the praises of Him…”
God saved us to do something very specific – show forth the praises of Him.
How well are we doing that??
C. Where they were – vs. 9b, 10 – “…called out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
- Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
- 1 Thessalonians 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
II. Restraint from Impurity – vs. 11b
A. He talked about their Temperance – “…abstain from fleshly lusts…”
TEMPERANCE: self-control (the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, esp. his sensual appetites)
Temperance is one of the many fruit of the filling of the Holy Spirit – (Galatians 5:22, 23)
ABSTAIN: to hold one’s self off, refrain,
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
- 1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
NOTICE: 1 Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
B. He talked about their Temptation – “…which war against the soul…”
- James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
- 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
- 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
C. He talked about their Testimony – “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles…”
CONVERSATION: manner of life, conduct, behaviour, deportment
Honest among the Gentiles – they are watching; they are looking to see if we are genuine; real.
III. Results of our Integrity – vs. 12 “…whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
Mark it down – the world will speak against you.
It is important that whatever they say against you as an evildoer is false.
Look over at 1 Peter 3:
- 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
- 17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
Once they see our good works, it will bring God glory.
- Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Conclusion: We are strangers and pilgrims in this world. We cannot forget that.
Trying to fit in is counterproductive to what God called us to do.
Trying to win the praise and favor of the world is not our objective.
Our job is to show forth the praises of Him, and to bring glory to God.