The Bees without Stings
Suffering is the major theme of Peter's first letter. Writing to fellow believers scattered throughout much of Asia Minor, he focused at least 15 times on the one subject that drew all of them together, SUFFERING.
In I Peter 1:3 we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively HOPE by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” As believers we have a "living hope" because we trust in a living Christ.
We can SMILE through the TEARS if we want to.
We can even REJOICE through times of SUFFERING.
Someone said, “SUFFERING is a universal language. TEARS are the same for children or adults or the elderly.”
Joseph Parker, a great preacher of yesteryear, once said to a group of preachers, "Preach to the suffering and you will never lack a congregation. There is a broken heart in every pew."
For the most part, as Christians in the western world we have enjoyed comfortable lives. On the other hand, many of our brothers and sisters in Christ living in foreign lands are suffering for their faith.
I firmly believe there is every indication that the time has come when it will cost us, in so called religious free America, to take a stand for Christ.
“The day will come and in some respects it has arrived that the only "comfortable" Christian will be a "compromising" Christian, and his comfort will be costly.
But God's message to us is, "Be hopeful! Suffering leads to glory! I can give you all the grace you need to honor Me when the going gets tough!" The future is still as bright as the promises of God.
HOPE is a wonderful gift from God, a source of strength and courage in the face of life's harshest trials.
When we are trapped in a tunnel of misery, HOPE points to the light at the end.
When we are discouraged, HOPE lifts our spirits.
When we are tempted to quit, HOPE keeps us going.
When we struggle with a crippling disease or a lingering illness, HOPE helps us persevere beyond the pain.
When we fear the worst, HOPE brings reminders that God is still in control and still on the throne.
When we must endure the consequences of bad decisions, HOPE fuels our recovery.
When we are forced to sit back and wait, HOPE gives us the patience to trust.
When we feel rejected and abandoned, HOPE reminds us we're not alone.., we'll make it.
When we say our final farewell to someone we love, HOPE in the life beyond gets us through our grief.
Put simply, when life hurts and dreams fade, nothing helps like HOPE. Hope isn't merely a nice option that helps us temporarily clear a hurdle. It's essential to our survival.
If you would travel up interstate 95, north from Baltimore, about 20 miles outside Baltimore city, you will drive under an overpass that happens to be Bradshaw Road. I point that out to you because many years ago as a teenager, I had the job of cutting the lawn for a family who at that time owned the northeast side of 95 at the Bradshaw Road overpass.
Each time I pass that way, I am painfully reminded of the day I was cutting some very high grass, and to make a long story short I was stung 17 times by many bees. To say the least I was a sick boy for the next several days, with 17 bee stings.
I give that story to come back to I Peter where we discover the little word "Be" which occurs ten times in this epistle. We refer to them as "Bees without stings." They are "Bees" which produce some sweetness in the Christian life to help counteract the bitterness that is found in the world.
First: "BE SOBER" I Peter 1:13, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;…” It is an easy thing for a Christian to get his eyes on the things which are around him and his mind confused with the problems of life, and
Like DAVID, ask, "why do the ungodly prosper?"
Like Habakkuk in the theme of his book ask, "why are God's people punished for little things, while the world escapes punishment for the big wrongs it commits?"
These are things that Satan delights to crowd into the minds of God’s children. They hinder faith and hold back Christian progress. Here Peter tells us to "Grid up the loins of your mind." This simply means, "Pull your thoughts together! Have a disciplined mind!"
The image here is of a robed man, tucking his skirts under the belt, so he can be free to run. When you center your thoughts on the return of Christ, and live accordingly, you escape the many worldly things that would encumber your mind and hinder your spiritual progress. Remember this,
"Outlook determines outcome; attitude determines action. A Christian who is looking for the Second Coming of Christ has a greater motivation for present obedience than a Christian who ignores the Lord's return."
Not only should we have a disciplined mind, but we should also have a sober mind. The word “sober” mean’s "to be calm, steady, controlled." We are to bring every thought under the control of the God as Paul said in II Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;…”
Second: "BE HOLY" I Peter 1:15-16 “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; (16) Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” This passage teaches that the pattern of all our lives in Christ must be HOLINESS. How often have you heard me say this?
"God is more interested in our holiness than in our happiness, for when we are holy in all manner of life, we will be happy."
Notice with me I Peter 2:9 where we read "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, AN HOLY NATION, a peculiar people." The last expression "A peculiar people" does not mean "strange" or "funny." It means "a priceless treasure." As ambassadors before the world, we ought to so live in holiness unto God. How do I do that? Simply by living in obedience unto God's Word.
Third: "BE OF ONE MIND" I Peter 3:8 “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren…” Mark it down, where there is ACCORD in the church of Jesus Christ, Satan will seek to DISRUPT that church. And what's more frightening, he could very well use you to do it.
The Apostle Paul added to this fact in Philippians 2:2-4 where he gives us a three-dimensional approach to life. We read, "…that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of ONE ACCORD (another way of saying that would be union of souls), of one mind. Let nothing be done though strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
In verse 2 for our CHURCH God is concerned about HARMONY.
In verse 3 for OURSELVES as individuals God wants us concerned about HUMILITY.
In verse 4 for the WORLD God wants us concerned about HUMANITY.
Selfishness, conceit, and pride are the things that break down our fellowship and erode our unity.
Listen, for the cause of Christ and the sake of souls, your relationship with the brethren must be RIGHT. There must be unity within the church if we are going to do anything toward winning those who are outside the church.
It was David who said in Psalm 133:1, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in UNITY!"
Fourth: "BE PITIFUL" I Peter 3:8. “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful…” The word “pitiful” means “tender-hearted.” And another way of saying “tender-hearted” would be "showing compassion."
Compassion is having the hurt of others in our heart.
Compassion cares for the helpless.
Compassion mothers the orphan.
Compassion feeds the hungry, clothes the cold and raises the fallen.
Compassion shines upon the suffering and relieves it.
Compassion shines upon those who sorrow and comforts them.
Listen to this hymn entitled, "Help Someone Today."
Look all around you, find someone in need, Help somebody today!
Though it be little, a neighborly deed, Help somebody today!
Many are waiting, a kind, loving word, Help somebody today! Thou hast a message, O let it be heard, Help somebody today!
Many have burdens too heavy to bear, Help somebody today!
Grief is the portion of some everywhere, Help somebody today!
Some are discouraged and weary in heart, Help somebody today!
My friend, it's not your belief, it’s Christs love in you and flowing out from you that communicates to the unsaved world. I have often said that the unsaved world
Does not care about your Confession of Faith,
Does not care how much you know about the Bible,
Does not care how much time you spend in church,
Does not care how much time you spend in prayer.
Your unsaved neighbors want to see Christianity with skin on it.
Your unsaved neighbors want to see if you are for REAL.
Your unsaved neighbors are looking for Christianity in "shoe leather."
God's love is PROCLAIMED in the Word of God, and His love is PROVED at the cross. But here we have something deeper. God's love needs to be PERFECTED in us. I have often said this in the churches I have pastored,
“Little boys and girls, big boys and girls, lonely shut-ins, men and women, people in this ministry, people all over this area, all need to “KNOW IF YOU CARE!" Oh, how we need this quality today. “Compassion does make a difference.”
Fifth: "BE COURTEOUS" I Peter 3:8 “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:…” Perhaps the best way of understanding the word “courteous” would be by using the word "polite." “Be courteous” tells us that good manners should be natural for us as Christians. The little things, such as
Thank you, Excuse me, I beg your pardon ,
If you do not mind, If I may, and Please
make up the language of a Christian. Christianity should make ladies and gentlemen of us all. There is nothing common or course about the things of the Lord. Being polite should be the trademark of believers.
Sixth: "BE FOLLOWERS" I Peter 3:13. “And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” Another way of saying this would be, "Be ye imitators of that which is good." Take a child for example,
A boy will put on his father's hat, and coat, take his brief case, to do what his dad does.
A girl will put on an apron and become mother, wash her doll, put it to bed, become a nurse and care for it.
Why will children do things that mother and father do? They do it because, father is the little boy's hero and mother is always right. This is the thought here, "Be ye followers of that which is good." Let Christ be your ideal, your pattern, and your objective. Mold your life according to his life, for in Ephesians 5:1 we are commended to "Be ye followers (imitators) of God, as dear children."
Seventh: "BE READY" I Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:…” Here is a very powerful verse on reaching the lost world for Christ. Listen carefully as this may seem simplistic, but nevertheless profound. "Whatever a Christian may claim for himself, the world demands proof, and rightly so.
If we claim the knowledge of salvation,
If we declare a confidence for present day provision,
If we claim an assurance as to our future life,
If we are to have victory over the enemy of our soul, and
If we are going to win men for Christ, then
It is necessary that the Lord should have his rightful first place in the heart, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts."
It is necessary to be fully prepared in our hearts, “And be ready always to give an answer."
It is necessary to step aside and allow the Holy Spirit to bring conviction, "A reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear."
Eighth: "BE WATCHFUL" I Peter 4:7 “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” Here I believe the Apostle Peter was echoing the words he had heard from the Lord in Mark 14:38, "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation." There are two things Peter is talking about here.
Number 1: In Mark 14:38 we are “to watch in pray.” The word “watch” stands for a sentinel standing guard in the night watches. We are to pray during the nighttime in order to be able to take a stand against temptation in the daytime.
Number 2: In I Peter 4:7 we have the exhortation to get our thoughts off the immediate, and in light of the end of all things, we should have them focused on the coming of the Lord. I like this, "WATCH FOR EVERY OPPORTUNITY OF SERVICE, WATCH FOR EVERY OBJECT FOR PRAYER, WATCH FOR EVERY OCCASION TO WITNESS." Remember the words of the Lord that we are “To occupy until he returns.”
Ninth: "BE HUMBLE" I Peter 5:5-6 “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (6) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”
The phrase "be clothed with humility" comes from a word found nowhere else in Scripture. It means "Put on the apron of humility." It was a symbol of the slave's dress and a mark of servitude.
Perhaps Peter in his mind was going back to the day when Jesus girded Himself with a towel and took a basin and washed the disciples’ feet in John 13. It was there Peter, a very proud man, at first resisted the actions of the Lord.
However Peter we believed learned a lesson that day for in II Peter he introduces himself as "Simon Peter, a servant … of Jesus Christ." Human pride resents being a servant. But that is the way God will exalt the Christian.
Tenth: "BE VIGILANT" I Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” Peter ends with a tremendous warning. We must ever “be vigilant” regarding the attacks of the Devil.
As the serpent, Satan deceives, as we read in I Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled (deceived) Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
As the lion, Satan devours, as we read in I Peter 5:8, “…because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.”
Respect the Devil, as He is dangerous.
Recognize the Devil, as He is a pretender.
Resist the Devil, as Paul said in Ephesians 6:10-13 we are to "Stand… withstand … and to stand."
Just as David took his stand against the giant Goliath, and trusted in the name of the Lord, so we must always be on the LOOKOUT for the ever-presence of the Devil.
There you have it the "Bee’s" of I Peter.
"Be Sober" "Be Holy"
"Be of One Mind" "Be Pitiful"
"Be Courteous" "Be Followers"
"Be Ready" "Be Watchful"
"Be Humble" "Be Vigilant"
How many do you need to think about and let get a hold of your life? May the Lord bless you this week as you reflect upon these "Bees Without Stings."
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon "The Bees Without Stings” then right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior let me know? Please send an e-mail to, pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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