What Manner Of Persons Ought We To Be
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,”
Beloved, unregenerate men do not believe that God is going to destroy this world with fire, just as men didn’t believe that He destroyed the earth the first time with water!
(Notice verses 3-7).
These scoffers are still with us today, who say “where is the promise of His coming?” These scoffers are the secular humanists, the evolutionary scientists, the worldly scholars, the atheists, and the new-age pantheists, who all worship “mother nature”. And these scoffers include all sinners who love their sins, and will not come to the light because their deeds are evil.
The Bible tells us they are all fools, because they say “there is no God.” They don’t believe that God created the heaven and the earth. They don’t believe that Jesus is the virgin born, incarnate Son of God. They don’t believe that He died, was buried, rose again, and ascended back to the right hand of God in Heaven, until His enemies be made His footstool. Therefore, they mock and scoff at His second coming.
These scoffers deny that God destroyed the earth the first time with water.
They are willingly ignorant of creation and of the great deluge of Noah’s day (verse 5). Beloved, the true facts of science show forth God’s handiwork in His creation. In spite of what the geologists and the paleontologists may say; the earth and the fossils prove creation and the Genesis flood. But the Bible says that they are willingly ignorant. That is, they willingly ignore the true facts of science!
Beloved, it doesn’t matter what the scoffers say, God did destroy the earth with water, and He shall destroy it the second time when Jesus comes again.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as men count slackness.” (vv. 8-10).
One day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Beloved, God is eternal. Time is nothing to Him. Time doesn’t affect His plans and purposes, but they all shall be fulfilled.
Just because it has been 4,500 years since the flood, and 2,000 years since the first advent of Christ, doesn’t mean the Lord is slack concerning His promises. God is not slack as men count slackness, but He is saving all of His chosen people. The us-ward in verse 9 are the elect, and He is not willing that any of the elect should perish, but He will have all of them come to repentance and faith in Jesus.
Notwithstanding, God’s judgment is sure according to Peter (Read verse 10).
It will come as a thief in the night; the heavens shall pass away with a great noise; the elements shall dissolve with fervent heat; the earth and its works shall be burned up! Its not a matter of if, beloved, but a matter of when the Lord will come! And when He comes, He is going to burn up this earth and purge it of its sinful works.
Now then, in light of all these things that shall soon come upon the earth, what manner of persons ought we to be?
1. First, we are to be holy in all manner of conversation (Read verse 11).
What Peter is talking about here is practical personal holiness. The word “conversation” in our text, means conduct or behavior. This is speaking of our relationship and interactions with the world around us.
What manner of persons ought we to be in this present evil world, and how ought we to conduct, or behave ourselves until the Lord comes for us? Peter says that we are to be a holy people! Even as God who has called us is holy, we are to be holy, in all manner of conduct. God said “Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Pe. 1:15-16). It becomes us then, to understand what it means to be holy.
First, the word “holy” in our text is the same Greek word used in the Bible to describe all the holy things of God. Some of these include: The thrice Holy God (the Holy Father, the Holy Child Jesus, the Holy Spirit); the Holy Name of God, the Holy Scriptures, the holy law, the holy angels; the holy place of God’s presence, the holy city Jerusalem, the holy calling; the holy prophets, the holy apostles, the holy priesthood, and the holy brethren. The exact same Greek word translated “holy” in our King James New Testament, is also translated “saint” 62 times in the New Testament.
Beloved, we are called by the same name as the Holy God of Heaven! Holiness is the principal attribute of God’s person and character. Everything that God is, and everything that He does, stands upon the foundation of His holiness.
What an awesome title that God has bestowed upon His people! How unworthy we are of such a title. How vile and unholy we feel so much of the time. Yet, God’s Word declares that we are Holy. It behooves us then, to understand what the word “holy” means.
For men to be holy, means to be set apart from the world, and consecrated unto the Lord. That is the definition of the word “holy”, and the word “saint”. Believers are to be set apart from sin, Satan, and this old sinful world. As such, we are to be clean and pure from sin in heart, mind, as well as in body. And then we are to be set apart unto the Lord and His service.
Therefore, practical holiness is two-fold.
1) First, believers are to live separated lives that are clean and pure from sin.
Beloved, God wants His people to be holy. That is why He calls us saints! Seeing that God is going to dissolve this earth with fire, and purge out all the filth and corruption of sin, we can be sure that He wants us to be holy in all manner of conversation while we live in this world.
Beloved, God wants us to be a holy and peculiar people unto Himself. He wants us to be holy, and to live holy, separated lives. He doesn’t want us to be unequally yoked with the world. He doesn’t want us to play the harlot with the world and its idols. And there are many idols out there today. He doesn’t want us to join in any of their sinful activities and pleasures. He doesn’t want us to take pleasure in sin for a season. And there is a pleasure in sin. He doesn’t want us to be servants or slaves to sin, which was what we were before we were saved. He doesn’t want us to yield our members as instruments to sin as we did in our lost condition. But the Lord wants us to be separated from sin and its power, and its pleasures.
2) Secondly, we are to be set apart and consecrated to Christian service.
Instead of serving sin, we are to serve holiness. Instead of serving Satan, we are to serve Jesus. Instead of serving the world and its sinful institutions, we are to serve the Lord in His church.
We are to be set apart, and consecrated unto the Lord, and His service and His work. Someone might say “preacher, I don’t know how I can serve the Lord.” Beloved, the Lord’s work involves everything we do, everywhere we are in our lives.
We serve the Lord while on the job. We are to serve our earthly masters as if we are serving the Lord. If you’re a mechanic, be the best mechanic you can be. We all know that we could use more good mechanics! Do the best job you can do for your boss, or your customers. Be honest and hard working. Be diligent and not slack or lazy. Be respectful, and be at peace with others if at all possible. And if we can be a blessing or a help to someone, cease that opportunity. If the Lord opens a door to be a witness, then tell that sinner about Jesus.
The same is true at home, at school, at play, and of course, at church. Wherever we are, and in everything we do, we are servants of Christ! Our lives are living epistles for all to see. We can be sure that people are watching us. In everything we should be thinking “how can I use this situation or opportunity to win some soul to Christ, and to bring glory to the Lord.”
Of course, to do this we need to display the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Things such as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, compassion, kindness, humility, patience, forbearance, and forgiveness.
We must have these things in our lives before people will hear what we have to say about Jesus.
2. Secondly, we are to be a godly people on the inside (Read verse 11 again).
We not only need to be holy in all manner of outward conduct, but we also must have an inward godliness of the heart and mind. So far we’ve been speaking about the outside of the cup and platter, so to speak, but now we want to focus briefly on the inside of the cup.
To see how well we are doing in this matter of inward godliness, we want to take a godliness test this morning. Please answer the following questions on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being the best possible score).
1) The government test.
Who is sitting upon the throne of our hearts? Who controls where we go, what we do, and what we say? Where is Jesus in the decision making process in our daily lives? On a scale of 1 to 10, how high does the Lord rank in our government?
2) The love test.
Who or what do we love the most in our life? Who or what receives most of our affections? What do our hearts long for more than anything else? What is our greatest interest in life? On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of our love an affections does the Lord receive?
3) The meditation test.
How much time do we spend meditating on the Lord? How much time do we spend studying and meditating on the Word of God? How much time do we spend thinking about spiritual things during the day? On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of our thought time is devoted to spiritual things?
4) The prayer test.
How much time do we devote to private prayer? How often during the day do we pause to pray in our prayer closets? On a scale of 1 to 10, how much time do we spend alone with the Lord in prayer?
5) The joy test.
Who or what gives us the most pleasure and delight? Who or what brings the most joy to our hearts? What activities in life give us the most pleasure and joy? On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of our joy is derived from the things of God?
6) The music test.
What kind of song do we have in our heart? When we find ourselves singing, or humming, or whistling a song, is it a song about Jesus? When we have a song playing in our heart during the day, is it a song of Zion? Where does the Song of Zion place in the Top 10 songs of our heart?
7) The vision test.
Are we continually watching and waiting for the Lord’s return? Are we watching out for evil devices of our enemies that war against our souls? Are we always looking for opportunities to serve the Lord and magnify His Name? On a scale of 1 to 10, how is our spiritual vision?
8) The zeal test.
How important to us is the Lord’s work? What priority do we place on winning souls to Jesus? How important is life-long service to the Lord in His church to us? On a scale of 1 to 10, where does the Lord’s work place in our lives?
Now, add up your answers to these eight questions, and then divide the total by 8 to get your score.
Well how did we do? If you scored a one, then Jesus is number one in every area of inward godliness, and you have perfected godliness in your life. If you scored two or above, then you have need of inward growth.
Beloved, this was only an illustration and not a real test, but I’m sure we all have plenty of room for improvement.
Seeing that all these things are going to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be?
We should be holy in all manner of conversation. We should live separated lives that are clean and pure from sin. We should be set apart and consecrated to a life of Christian service. We should be living up to our names “saint”, which means holy, and “Christian”, which means a follower of Christ. Put together, we are to be holy followers of Christ.
And then we should be godly on the inside. May the Lord Jesus rule upon the throne of our hearts. May we love Jesus supremely, above all others in our life. May we spend much time in meditating on the things of the Lord. May we spend much time alone with the Lord in secret prayer. May Jesus be our chief joy and delight throughout our days. May the Lord put a new song in our hearts, even praise unto our God. May the Lord give us vision for His soon coming, and for opportunities to serve Him more in the time He has given us. And may He give us a zeal for souls, and a zeal to serve Him in His church.
Are you saved this morning? If not, then perhaps you are one of the elect, which God is not willing that should perish. If this is you, then you must repent of your sins and sinful ways, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, that He died for your sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead the third day for you.
Will you believe in Jesus, or will you be destroyed with everlasting punishment at the soon return of the Lord? We beseech you this morning to repent and believe in Jesus and be saved.