How Not to Become a “allotriepiskopos”

Today’s sermon was from 1 Peter 4:12-15 about “Standing Up” even when it would be easier to “Sit Down.”  Great Sermon. However, my eyes kept drifting back to one word in the Greek text – allotriepiskopos

It is the the last word in verse 15 and in English it could be translated as meddler or busybody.   It is used only here in the entire New Testament and Thayer’s Lexicon defines it as:

The writer seems to refer to those who, with holy but intemperate zeal, meddle with the affairs of the Gentiles–whether public or private, civil or sacred–in order to make them conform to the Christian standard.

What Peter appears to be saying is don’t make yourself out to be a martyr if you “suffer” for trying to make lost people behave like believers in Jesus should. Hmm…

There are lots of example of modern “martyrs” who have been held up lately as examples that maybe don’t deserve the term. From the KY clerk who went to jail over same-sex unions to the person crying foul because she took a job at Wal-Mart and then complained because she couldn’t get Sunday’s off. 

So … What should be our response? 

  1. Love the sinner and show them their is a better way
  2. Expect better from us who are Christians. How can the lost in the world want more if they see us living in a world of moral equivalences
  3. Acknowledge there is no such thing as gradations of evil. If it was evil before for us, it is evil now. The world is watching how we live, act, vote, behave, etc. No compromise for temporal victories. 
  4. Stop behaving like the SNL Church Lady over the little things and stop expecting the lost to behave like we do. They can’t. They won’t. Until they know Messiah Jesus personally. 

I read this great devotional from my yearly Bonhoeffer thought of the day. He says it better than I and I will close with this picture:  

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