Strangers in the Land and Pilgrims on the Earth PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Harold R. Carpenter   
Harold and Myrna Carpenter
Dr. Harold & Myrna

TEXT: 1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 11:7-16 INTRODUCTION:

1 Peter 2:11, Dearly beloved, I beseech [you] as strangers and pilgrims , abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by [your] good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Hebrews 11:7-16, By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. 8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God. 11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, [so many] as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that [country] from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

The letter with the fewest number of entries in the English dictionary is the letter X. Your dictionary will contain only one or one and a half pages to define every word beginning with this letter. Most of those entries will be variations of only four words. One of these words is xenophobia that means "a fear of strangers."

Most of us feel uncomfortable around strangers. We feel uncomfortable with their looks, we feel uncomfortable with their language, we feel uncomfortable with their customs, and for the most part we find their food likes bizarre. When a person travels or lives overseas he becomes the stranger. Many people who travel to or live in a different country and culture develop an illness known as culture shock.

Illustrate with Myrna's first meal served to Bolivian pastors.
Illustrate with chichi in el Carmen and chuno in General Pando.
Illustrate with balut in the Philippines and century egg in Singapore.
[Editor's Note: These are good illustrations, but I can't remember them!]

We do not like to be strangers.
We like to fit in.
A stranger is a misfit.


A. In our texts both Peter and Paul indicated that the Christian is a stranger:
1. Paul uses the word xenos meaning, "a foreigner or alien, one who is different." 2. Peter uses the word paroikos meaning, "a foreigner, one who lives in a place without the right of citizenship." 3. In both instances the meaning is clear; The Christian is a stranger in this world and will be a misfit in society because he holds a value system which is very different from that of the world.
B.Noah as an example of a stranger in the land:
1. Noah was not a misfit because he built a boat.
2. Noah was a misfit because he preached and practiced righteousness in a corrupt and perverse culture.
3. The world is willing to tolerate almost any idiosyncracy so long as we are willing to tolerate a sinful life style.
C. Noah as an example of the believer:
1. Warned by God of things to come (Hebrews 11:7).
2. By faith and in reverence prepared an ark.
3. Condemned the world by his example (Hebrews 11:7).
4. Confronted the world by his preaching.

2 Peter 2:4-6, For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast [them] down to hell, and delivered [them] into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth [person], a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned [them] with an overthrow, making [them] an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
D. Abraham as an example of a stranger in the land:
1. He was a misfit in Ur (Babylonia).
2. He was a stranger in a tent:
    a. In Cannan.
    b. In Egypt.
    c. In Palestine–his only possession was a burial plot.

Gen. 23:2-4, And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same [is] Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. 3 And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, 4 I [am] a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.
E. The Church as strangers in the land:
1. Jesus said we are not of this world–John 17:6, 14-15.
2. Peter said that the church resides as an alien in the world–1 Peter 1:1.
3. Paul said we should no longer walk as the other Gentiles–Ephesians 4:17.
4. Peter urged us to remain as aliens and misfits–1 Pet. 2:11.
    a. Our values [must be Biblical values].
    b. Our view of sin and the world [must be Biblical].
    d. The desire to fit in should not cause us to compromise with the world:
        Homosexuality is sin!
        Immorality is sin!
        Pornography is sin!
5. The Church must be as Noah and seeing the things to come, must preach and practice righteousness even though it makes us misfits in this world!


A. The pilgrims of Plymouth Colony in 1620:
1. Puritans were Persecuted in England.
2. Puritans sojourned in Holland where their children were corrupted by sinful life style.
3. There were 44 Saints and 66 strangers on the Mayflower.
4. They dared to be different.
5. They looked for a better place.
B. The heroes of the faith in Hebrews chapter 11:
1. Saw the promises from a distance.
2. Journeyed by faith.
3 Held loosely to this world.
4. Held firmly to the promises.
5. Confessed that they were strangers and exiles in the earth–Hebrews 11:13.
6. Looked for something better.

Hebrews 11:32-40, And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and [of] Barak, and [of] Samson, and [of] Jephthae; [of] David also, and Samuel, and [of] the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36 And others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and [in] mountains, and [in] dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Contemporary theology seeks to make the Church fit the world and to make the world comfortable in the Church. This is not what Scripture teaches. Scripture teaches that we are to be salt and light. The world is darkness. There is no fellowship between light and darkness. The message of the Church must always be, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"(Matthew 4:17b). We do the world no service by simply accepting it as it is. This in no way removes either the guilt or the punishment of sin. It simply deludes one into thinking that everything is ok when God is warning of things to come.


This is the outline of the sermon Dr. Harold Carpenter preached at Fair Grove Assembly of God, Fair Grove MO. Dr. Carpenter and his wife served as missionaries for twenty years. Dr. Carpenter also taught missions for twenty years at Central Bible College. He now serves as Pastor of Fair Grove Assembly of God, Fair Grove MO.

© Harold Carpenter 2002. Published by permission.


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