The Cross as an Instrument of Direction

Dustin Folden April 28, 2019 1 Peter 2:21-25
Outline

3 keys to appreciate the direction of the cross

I. Appreciate the Clarity of the Direction

A. The clear example we have

1 Peter 2:21 - For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…

B. The clear description we have

1 Peter 2:22 - …who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously…

1 Peter 4:19 - Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

II. Appreciate the Motivation of the Direction

A. The motivation of the suffering servant who bore our sins

1 Peter 2:24 - …and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

1 Peter 2:22 - …who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth… [Isaiah 53:9]

1 Peter 2:24 - …and He Himself bore our sins [Isaiah 53:4a, 12] in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. [Isaiah 53:5d]

1 Peter 2:25 - For you were continually straying like sheep [Isaiah 53:6a], but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

B. The motivation of our new purpose

1 Peter 2:21 - For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you…

C. The motivation of favor with God

1 Peter 2:18-20 - Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

2 Corinthians 5:9 - Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

III. Appreciate the Result of the Direction

A. The result of our relationship with the Lord

1 Peter 1:25 - For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Isaiah 53:6 - All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

1 Peter 3:18 - For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit…

B. The result of our relationships with each other

1 Peter 3:8-9 - To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 2:17 - Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

Intro: Has anyone given you really bad directions to somewhere and you got lost. Or how about the importance of reading direction on tests or homework assignments.

Have you ever given Directions to a child seeking to teach them how to write with neat penmanship…how to write letters. Instead of just saying, draw an A with a curve on one side and then a line straight down on the other side…They do dotted lined letters, so the child can trace them, and see how to make each part of the letter, so they are able to write legibly [consider doing interactive intro using paper to trace].

Good directions are important as Directions, are to help us grow…to get better…So as kids trace letters they are to grow in their writing ability, so they can do their homework and they can communicate in written form which has all sorts of benefits…….Well, as we follow the direction God gives us…namely the direction of the cross, we are likewise to also Grow…in our roles, in our trust of our Lord as followers of Christ and as the body of Christ. That is what our yearly theme has been all about. Growing what God has Given and this series especially has focused on Growing by Embracing the Cross (as…an instrument of Peace, Power, Shame, Glory, and Triumph)

What is great with directions is if they are clear, if they explain why (provide motivation), and they describe the result, the destination.

What we are looking to see today is that the cross as an instrument of direction allows us to trace our loves over the example of Jesus, so that we can grow.

With that in mind, please turn to 1 Peter 2:18 on Page 181 in the back section of the bible under the chair in front of you.

Read 1 Peter 2:21-25 (start at vs 17)

1 Peter 2:21–25 — 21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

I think when you appreciate someone’s direction, you are much more likely to follow that direction…so with our time remaining, let’s look at …

3 keys to appreciate the direction of the cross

I. Appreciate the clarity of the direction

That starts with…

A. The clear example we have

1 Peter 2:21 - 21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,

Follow Me, In His steps…it is so helpful when you want to show someone how to do something, that you demonstrate it…you give them a real life example. Illustrate with the direction to stand behind me, put your feet how I put my feet.

  • Talk about copying the fishing guide (whip casting over the head) – jigging, tugging down and to the left.

The Christian life is about following a person…and no matter any situation you are in, you have this amazing example of Jesus….You have this clear picture of the cross…so we know what direction our heavenly father wants to give us in any situation.

Do you remember the bracelets WWJD…What would Jesus do…it is amazing how broad that concept is, but How in any situation, the clarity that Jesus Himself provides when I think about Him, and how I can follow Him in this moment.

You see Jesus is not just a example, a template among many good examples…He is the example we must follow.

Think about following someone through minefield, and they say, put your feet right where I put mine. Following in His steps is more like that, than just walk similar to me, and get across the minefield however you want.

I think a minefield is a good illustration, not because fear is the best way to motivate someone, but to Christians who are suffering understand this world is marked with landmines, Christians who understand this is a dangerous sin cursed world, it doesn’t take much to go down the path of living for yourself with explosive and destructive results….and so we need direction to navigate this life.

We have direction, we have someone who was tempted in every way, without sin, and we are called to Follow Him in a world filled with temptation to sin and not honor the Lord.

Not only do we have a clear example, but we also get specifics and so we must appreciate…

B. The clear description we have

1 Peter 2:22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously

So what do we see specifically Jesus’…When we look at the cross we see He suffered innocently and He suffered righteously.

This does not give us all the direction regarding the Christian life…that is what the whole bible is for, but the Cross of Christ gets to the heart of the Christian life.

  • What you trust in and how it impacts how you live, especially when it is difficult.

The direction is about how you respond when people treat you badly. And what does your response reveal about who and what you actually trust.

The direction of the cross says, do not sin in response to others sin.

Jesus was on the cross because of our sin. Jesus the Son of God was treated with unbelievable disrespect, and shame and cruelty…The Jewish Leaders, The Roman leaders, they reviled him, they beat Him, they bore false testimony against Him, they mocked their very creator, and He did not sin in return.

Jesus does not return evil for evil, but rather good for evil, and we are called to do the same…

1 Peter 4:19 — 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

The direction God is giving at the cross is “Trust me”….Trust me even when the Path I am leading you down leads to suffering, and even the end of your life, because God is the author of Life…God our creator is what life is all about.

Entrust means to hand over to keep….think about here can you hold my passport, can you watch my bag, it has everything I need for this trip….or can you pickup my kids from school, can you hold my baby.

I trust you with what is most valuable – How about our very lives…our very soul. Does that have value that we can hand over to God.

So as we trust God, we seek to ask…is it better for my soul to live for God, to suffer even if that is part of His will, or is it better to seek to live for myself and resist any level of suffering the Lord may allow into my life…

The questions becomes am I living to please God or am I living for my pleasure, ease and comfort…

The cross makes what is fuzzy crystal clear…are you willing to die because you have trusted the Lord with your soul…that is clear direction….and the picture, the description is…if you trust God…are you going to live for yourself or for God…there are two ways to live…for God or for yourself…the cross puts us at a crossroads with clear direction what it looks like to live for the Lord….and what it looks like to live for self.

the best way to find out what you are living for is to take note of how you respond when things do not go your way….that reveals pretty quickly what is going on in your heart.

When someone sins against you, or just doesn’t treat you in the way you would prefer…what is your first reaction…are you willing to take the direction the cross provides in that moment or do you want to blaze your own trail, a trail marked by you sinning in response, and a path that leads to destruction.

Or will you take direction from the Cross, and say, this is an opportunity for me to focus on Christ, my Lord, the one I am to follow closely, copy, trace my life to His…and I need to trust God right now, when I want to trust myself and my anger or my cleverness, or my pride to respond to a difficult scenario to make myself feel better, safe, or look good, or defend myself in a way that no one else ever attacks me.

When we look at the example of Christ suffering on the cross and trusting God…we see this clear example of what the Christian life is to look like… so you and I can apply that in much, much easier scenarios…we have direction when someone speaks rudely to us, gossips behind our back, or tries to use us for their selfish purposes.

So we have clear direction…the cross is a great visual reminder, and Jesus is the way…we are to follow Him…but Why…Great direction is one thing, but motivation to follow great direction is also important…

So we must…

II. Appreciate the motivation of the direction

Specifically the Motivation of direction the cross provides…

A. The motivation of the suffering servant who bore our sins

1 Peter 2:24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

Peter references Isaiah 53 a number of times with a focus on Christ. It is interesting as Isaiah 53 is mentioned often in the NT with a focus on evangelism and missions, but Peter really puts the focus squarely on the suffering servant…

(Heather please keep the Isaiah references in brackets in the verses below.)

1 Peter 2:22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; [Isa. 53:9]

1 Peter 2:24 and He Himself bore our sins [Isa. 53:4a, 12] in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. [Isa. 53:5d]

1 Peter 2:25 — 25 For you were continually straying like sheep [Isa. 53:6a], but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Peter is saying…this is your direction…the Suffering Servant….you want to know what it looks like to please God, and Why you should follow Christ and live to please God…think about the one who suffered in your place.

I am sure there are some days when you just really don’t want to think about the direction of the Lord, and think about going through difficulty for His glory…on those days, it might be helpful to just read Is 53 and pray though that chapter stopping at key verses and just thinking God that he would plan to suffer for you and then actually suffer for you.

What is amazing of the example of Christ is that it is not simply, here follow Me, because I am really good at doing this. I am an expert, and you want to learn from an expert, so do what I do.

It is not just direction to follow that is motivated by you wanting to hone your skill

It is direction motivated by you trusting that God loves you, He cares for you, he suffered for you and He will direct you well…and so we are challenged to take the direction that He is trust worthy.

This is important because it is often hard to trust people who want to give you direction…

Think about a really successful coach, who wants one of their players to play through injury…does that coach really want that player to develop character, and perseverance, and cultivate a will that sacrifices for the team…or does the coach just want to win so he will have a good career winning percentage. Do they care about their players, or do they just use their players.

It’s hard to tell sometimes, but we don’t have that question when it comes to God…

We have motivation to trust God that goes far beyond a hug from a coach, or a nice word…

we have our Lord suffering in our place because He loves us…so the example He gives, and the direction He gives is above reproach…He is trustworthy, He loves us…he doesn’t just give us direction…He showed us His heart that bore our sins on the cross…and so we can trust His heart that is seeking to direct us, even through suffering.

So we have the motivation of a loving God who would suffer in our place…bear our punishment….we also have …

B. The motivation of our new Purpose

1 Peter 2:21 - 21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you…

Jesus died for our sin, so that you and I could die to sin. We cannot pay for our own sin, we cannot atone for our own sin…we cannot forgive ourselves…but we can follow the direction of the cross, and turn away from Sin. We can ask for forgiveness, trust the atoning sacrifice of Christ and turn to follow Christ’s desires instead of our own desires.

Jesus died on the cross for our sins, so that we would have a new purpose, a new direction. A direction focused on the Glory of our Creator and not the glory of the created.

Ironically, this is what is best for us…and so the motivation of the direction has even more layers…consider

C. The motivation of Favor with God

Coaches, seeking to motivate and give their players direction that will say, trust me and I will lead us to the promise land…listen to what I say, and we will be in a position to win a championship…and the championship is all about favor, praise, glory….

That is fine, there is nothing wrong with that…but lets not settle for the favor of a crowd, the praise of Man, or the fading glory of the cover of ESPN….how about favor with God as motivation

1 Peter 2:18–20 — 18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. 19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

Submitting to unreasonable leaders, now that is walking through minefield. How do you do that…But God’s word gives hope.

You see walking through the minefield of life is not just about survival, it is about sanctification. – growing closer to God even in suffering.

This growth pleases God, finds favor with God…

Not to earn heaven…he bore our sins, so that we can be with Him in Heaven, but think about the motivation to please our heavenly father who has adopted us into His forever family…the motivation to hear well done my good and faithful servant.

2 Corinthians 5:9 — 9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

The context is all about pleasing Him, while living in a weak and frail body in a sin cursed broken world.

There is no greater motivation in the world than the favor of God, His delight in you, His pleasure in your living for Him, trusting Him, believing His promises, His worthiness.

Jesus trusted and obeyed the plan of the father that lead to the cross…and so we have the motivation of our direction that is simply that is pleases God, and He is worthy to be pleased…and it is good to be pleasing to God.

This is a powerful motivator…When my son or daughter does a good job in sports, or with school, or they display Christ-likeness and I praise them…they beam, their countenance is lifted in a way that candy, their favorite toy, or favorite game just can’t compete with…ice cream gets pretty close, but there is nothing like a genuine word of encouragement from a loving Father…

…and so we are also motivated by seeking the good pleasure of our heavenly father…

…and so we are motivated to please Him, seek His favor by following His direction.

…His direction is follow Christ, the suffering servant who went to the cross in trust and obedience.

We have clear direction…we have motivation to go in that direction…where does that direction lead…what is the result of the direction of the cross of Christ…

We must…

III. Appreciate the result of the direction

A. The result of our relationship with the Lord

We have been talking a lot about the direction the cross provides after you come to know Jesus as your Lord and savior, but the cross also provides direction in bringing you to the Lord so that after that, you can then have a new purpose and new direction.

1 Peter 1:25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

The cross gives direction in that it shows there is a problem. Its shows we are off course in our relationship with God. We were continuously straying like sheep.

This reminds us of a very familiar passage.

Isaiah 53:6 — 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

The reality of our nature is that like sheep we don’t want to take direction, we want to blaze our own trail, a trail that leads to destruction.

The cross provides direction showing that there is a problem, that you have sinned and fallen short and gone astray, not obeying your shepherded, your creator, your God…

There are consequences – either you yourself can bear the wrath of God in hell for all eternity because you went astray, or Jesus can take the wrath for you in your place. The cross says there is a problem and the righteous wrath of God has to be dealt with. That is part of the direction of the cross….that our relationship with God is not ok.

Maybe today the direction you need to receive is that there is a problem between you and God, and the cross reminds us that someone had to die for our rebellion, our going astray, and we need to repent, and return to our God by trusting that the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

…and so the cross not only provides direction to safety, it provides rescue like a Shepherd crook, grabbing the neck of a sheep out from the clutches of a lions mouth.

You see this is not just a passive directive; there is a sovereign God at work, even right now… drawing men and woman to Himself through the cross…because the cross is constantly providing direction.

Notice later in 1 Peter we see the Lord’s direction in the cross.

1 Peter 3:18 — 18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

The cross provided direction regarding our need and it also provides direction how we are to live for the Lord’s glory and not our own.

So we must think about the result…Christ died so that He might bring us to God….so that we would return to the Shepherd and guardian of our souls

Shepherd and guardian is a picture of protection….in the midst of suffering, knowing there is ultimate protection…with that direction I can then boldly live for the Lord, head the right way.

So now the cross provides us direction that we are to trust the one who died for us, and trust the one who is going to shepherd and guide us as we seek to live for Righteousness.

So if the cross provided direction and safety for my greatest need…to be reconciled with my creator,

can I also then trust the direction of the cross where as a servant of the Lord…I am put in harms way…

when my Shepherd lets me suffer righteously, knowing that he is in complete control, and He wants me to return good for evil, and trust Him as the one who holds the power over life and death, the right to ultimately judge and bring vengeance and justice and also all the while has the ability to guard my soul for all eternity.

Not only does the cross provide me direction and wonderful results regarding my relationship with God, but also…

B. The result of our relationships with each other

In first Peter we see a focus of the various roles in society, Slaves, Wives, husbands, and the Lord provides direction to Christians in whatever role they are in they must follow the example of Christ….following the Suffering Servant in how you interact with others…

C. Whether you are a servant, a wife, a husband…you are to follow in the steps of Christ…

1 Peter 3:8–9 — 8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

But the point is that the Lord provides clear direction to respond to ones masters, ones husband and ones wife in a way that is governed by the direction of the Cross…the example of Christ.

1 Peter 2:17 — 17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

This allows God’s people clear direction…So we can Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king…

This allows Christians, to live for God’s glory and not their own, in any relationship on, in any situation, under any leadership, walk-in through any minefield…because they are tracing their lives around Christ, following His example, following in His steps.

So in conclusions, lets appreciate His clear direction…both His example become man, and specifically showing what it looks like to please God….

Lets appreciate the motivation…The suffering servant who went before us, died in our place, so that we can trust God and follow after God….

Lets appreciate the result…that we can be reconciled to God, walk in sweet favor with Him, and in any relationship, no matter how difficult seek to honor all people…so that we honor the Lord.

All because of the direction of the cross…

Lets Pray.

Dustin Folden

B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.