We begin a new series this Sunday evening on 1 Peter. The series will be entitled Sojourn: A Travelers Guide to Christian Pilgrims. Here is the introduction to the series on 1 Peter. If you live in the Jasper, Indiana area I invite you to give us a visit Sunday evenings starting at 6:00. If not feel free to check out our sermons online.
Do you remember the story of Rip Van Winkle?
It is set before the Revolutionary War in the 18th Century. Rip is kind of a lazy guy with a nagging wife. One day as she is nagging away at him he wanders up the mountains with his dog. He meets up with some fun-loving chaps and he ends up having a little too much whiskey.
When he wakes up his gun is rotted and rusty, his beard has grown a foot long, and his dog is nowhere to be found. He soon discovers that much more than his beard, gun, and dog have changed. The whole world it seems has changed to him. He gets in trouble for saying he is a loyal subject of King George, they are calling some other guy (what turns out to be his son) by his own name, his wife has died and most of his friends have died in the war as well. His GPS unit would still read the same location but somehow his very home has changed underneath him. He is, it appears, living as a stranger in his own hometown.
Now every analogy breaks down at some point so don’t press this any further than the single point that I am making. What happened to Rip Van Winkle is very similar to what happens to believers when God invades our life and transfers us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His beloved Son Jesus. Our GPS unit still reads the same but everything is different. We start to live as a stranger in our own hometown.
This is especially weird if the Lord saved you a little later in life. If you have grown up in church most of your life I doubt you experience the Rip Van Winkle effect. But I remember how it was really strange how everything started to change. My view of life was different. Not all that cataclysmic at first but over time I look back and my whole view is shaken to the core. My friends no longer treat me as such a great friend. There is something that has decisively changed. Even within my own family I can feel that something has changed. The things that I once loved I cannot seem to find pleasure in anymore. The things that I used to find really boring, dull, and drab I now cannot seem to get enough of. The Bible—which once seemed confusing as all get out—I cannot get enough of. My GPS unit still reads the same but everything around me is different. Actually it’s not only the outside world that is different—but I’m different.
This is what has happened to the believers that the apostle Peter writes his letter to. Their GPS unit still read the same but they found themselves as exiles in their own homes. And that is why we have titled our series on 1 Peter as Sojourn: A Travelers Guide for Christian Pilgrims. That is what we are sojourners/pilgrims and 1 Peter is written to those just like us that find themselves living in a strange world that they once called home.
Thanks to Doug Baker for providing the graphic.