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The People of God

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The People of God

1 Peter 2:1-10

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Nov. 11, 2012

*Our oldest daughter, Becky, graduated from the New Orleans Seminary in 2005. We tried to go down whenever we could. And one time we went out to eat at the Piccadilly Cafeteria near the school.

*As we were about to leave, I saw something I had never seen before. One of the Piccadilly workers had a big wad of dollar bills pinned to her blouse. I asked Becky what it was all about, and she said, “It’s her birthday. So, people give her a dollar to pin on her blouse and wish her ‘Happy Birthday.’” It was a neat thing to see and do. You could tell it made her feel like a special person on that day.

*Well, you may not have a wad of dollar bills on your shirt, but if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, YOU are a special person. 1 Peter 2:9 in the NKJ says: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people. . .”

*This verse in the KJV says: “Ye are a peculiar people. . .” And I suppose most of us are one way or another. But some of those King James words have changed over the years. And “peculiar” is one of those words. The original Greek word meant “purchased,” “preserved,” “someone’s purchased possession.”

*Believers: We are special people, because we have been bought by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are the people of God! But what does this mean for our lives? -- Peter helps us see.

1. First: It means that we should be growing in goodness.

[1] God wants us to grow as Christians. -- And in order to really grow, there are some things we have to take off.

*This is what Peter was talking about in vs. 1, when he said that we should be “laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking.” The word picture there is like taking off some soiled clothes that you can’t wear any more. And these soiled clothes include:

-Malice: That’s an evil nature with a desire to hurt others.

-Guile: That’s sneakiness, trickery.

-Hypocrisy: Deceitful actions and attitudes.

-Envy: Being unhappy because someone else has something and you don’t.

-Evil speaking: That could be gossip, slander or back-biting (i.e. running other people down, especially behind their back).

*The Lord wants us to strip all of these things out of our lives, because they hurt other people. And they hurt us.

*That reminds me of the worst job I ever had: Burning trash fires for a land-clearing company. I only lasted 3 weeks. The big dozers would push fallen trees into piles almost as big as this room. But you know: green wood does not like to burn. So, I would have to carry tires and 5-gallon buckets of kerosene 100 yards across an open field to get the fire going.

*Well, that ground wasn’t smooth like this carpet. I was stumbling over rocks, roots and holes. So that kerosene would slosh all over my jeans every step of the way. And after a couple of hours it burned my legs like acid.

*Oh, I wanted to strip-off those pants! -- And God wants us to strip our sinful ways out of our lives.

[2] To really grow as Christians, there are some things to take off. -- And there is something we have to take in: God’s Word.

*This is Peter’s point to us in vs. 2&3, where he tells believers:

2. as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,

3. if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

*In John 6:63, Jesus said: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”

*In 1864, Abraham Lincoln said this about the Bible: “In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.” (1)

*Abraham Lincoln saw the importance of the Word of God. But how important is God’s Word to us? -- That depends on the big “IF” in vs. 3. Have we “indeed tasted that the Lord is gracious?”

*Years ago, Steve Bartkowski was a quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, and he gave this testimony: “For years the Bible was a dead book to me . . . like grits without salt. But after I gave my life to Jesus Christ, it became alive. I saw that the Bible was God's way of talking to me.” (2)

*That’s the way it works! We taste and see that the Lord is gracious. Then we begin to grow as we feed on His Word.

-As Christians, we should be growing in the goodness of God.

2. But here’s something else special about us: We have been chosen as children of God.

*Peter already mentioned this choosing in chapter 1, when he said that believers are “elect” (1 Peter 1:2). Now Peter reinforces the truth that Christians are chosen as children of God.

[1] First in vs. 2, Peter said we are like (or at least should be like) “newborn babies.” God Himself is our Father. And we are part of His family.

[2] Verse 9 also reminds us that we have been chosen in a special way. There Christians are called “a chosen generation.” This means we are chosen for a relationship with God.

*In vs. 9, we are also “a royal priesthood.” This means we are chosen to be royalty with God.

*But in vs. 9, we are also “a holy nation.” This means we are chosen to be righteous like God.

*Christians, in vs. 9, we are chosen for a relationship with God, chosen to be royalty with God, and chosen to be righteous like God.

[3] But Peter also stressed our relationship with God in the first part of vs. 10. There Peter said we “once were not a people but are now the people of God.”

*Christians, we “once were not a people but are now the people of God”! This phrase in vs. 10 is a quote from God out of the Old Testament book of Hosea. In Hosea 1:10 the Lord says: “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there it shall be said to them, ‘You are the sons of the living God.’”

*The Apostle Paul used this same Old Testament quote in Romans 9:25-26. Speaking of the Lord, Paul wrote:

25. As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved.”

26. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there they will be called sons of the living God.”

*Through Jesus Christ, we are children of the living God! And we share the closeness that a little child shares with their father when he calls him “Dada.”

*Little Jewish babies first called their fathers “Abba.” And this was the name Jesus used for His Father on the night before the cross. Jesus prayed with agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. And Mark 14:36 tells us that Jesus said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

*Jesus took that cup of suffering for us. And because He did, we can have the same relationship that He has with the Father. So in Romans 8:15, Paul tells Christians: “You did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’”

*And Galatians 4:6 says: “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’” -- Just think what it means to have the only perfect, loving, Heavenly Father, and to be able to go to Him anytime day or night.

*Pastor Alan Redpath told about the time when he and his wife, Cynthia, were led by God to enter the ministry. They moved to Dallas to go to seminary. And they were poor. Their apartment was an absolute dump. Alan said their apartment had “hot and cold running rats.” One of his friends said: “There wasn’t a single roach in the place. --They were all married and had (children).”

*The Redpaths didn’t know anybody in Dallas. And they didn’t have any money. But there was a man from their home church who took an interest in their lives. Alan said. “He’s one of the great heroes of my past.” That generous man paid their tuition year after year. And he did the same for 12 to 14 other students from their church. (3)

*That Christian man’s kindness and love were just a reflection of the love that our Heavenly Father has for us. He is our Father, and we are part of His family.

*What’s special about us? -- As Christians, we have been chosen as children.

3. And we get to send up spiritual sacrifices.

*This is part of Peter’s message to us in vs. 4-8, where we are:

4. Coming to Him (i.e. to Jesus) as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,

5. you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

6. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.''

7. Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, "The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,''

8. and "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.'' They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

*Peter talks about our spiritual sacrifices in vs. 5, where He said: “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

[1] Notice here that Jesus is the motive for our sacrifices.

*In vs. 4, Jesus is precious to our Heavenly Father. And in vs. 7, Jesus is precious to us, so we are willing to sacrifice for Him. Jesus is the motive for our sacrifice.

[2] And He’s the means of our sacrifice, because vs. 5, tells us that we “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

*In other words, none of the good that we do would ever be acceptable to God, if it weren’t for Jesus Christ. As Isaiah 64:6 says: “We are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

*But Jesus Christ died on the cross as a sacrifice to take the punishment for our sins. And when we trust in the Lord, we belong to Him. Heaven becomes our home. And our good deeds are acceptable to God.

*But how can you and I offer up sacrifices to God?

-In Romans 12:1, we present our bodies as a living sacrifice.

-In Philippians 4:18, our financial gifts are a sacrifice to God.

-And in Hebrews 13:15, our praise is a sacrifice to God.

*What’s special about us as Christians? -- We get to send up spiritual sacrifices.

4. And we are people of praise.

*In Hebrews 13:15, we just saw that our praise is a spiritual sacrifice to God. But here in vs. 9, we see that praise is a natural result of all of the wonderful things God has done in our lives.

*As Peter said in vs. 9: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, THAT YOU MAY PROCLAIM THE PRAISES of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

*On top of everything else in this verse, God has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. So we see things in a brand new way. We see Him in a brand new way. And it gives us a testimony of praise.

*Susan Starnes had an eye-opening experience that put praise in her heart. One night Susan went into her daughter's room to pray. Her daughter was 8 at the time, and during her prayer, she said: “Jesus, please lock the doors if they haven't been locked.”

*Susan stifled a chuckle at that unexpected request and thought nothing more about it. But the next morning she opened the front door, and found her keys on the outside, where she had accidentally left them. Susan was amazed at how the Lord had led her little girl to pray. And she praised Him for his protection. (4)

*So should we! -- Christians we are people of praise.

5. And we make it by mercy.

*As Peter said in vs. 10, we “once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Christians, now we are the people of God, but only because of the mercy of our kind and loving God. We make it by mercy. As believers we have obtained the mercy of God that can only come through the cross of Jesus Christ.

*Brett Blair tells about a doctor from Scotland who died many years ago. They examined his books after his death and found that many accounts were crossed through with a note: “Forgiven -- too poor to pay.”

*Later, the doctor’s wife decided that these accounts should be paid in full. And she proceeded to sue for money. But when the case came to court the judge settled it with just one question: “Is this your husband's handwriting?”

*When she answered “yes,” the judge responded: “There is no court in the land that can obtain a debt once the word forgiven has been written.” (5)

*That is the merciful good news that the gospel offers us tonight. Christians: Across our sin debt has been written the words, “Forgiven -- too poor to pay.” That debt has been cancelled by the merciful blood of Jesus Christ. And because of the cross, God gladly welcomes us into His family, when we put our trust in Jesus.

*We really are God’s “own special people.”

-So let’s keep growing in His goodness.

-Keep praising the Lord.

-And keep sending up all kinds of spiritual sacrifices to Him, all because of the never-ending mercy of God.

*Would you please bow for prayer.

(1) David Holwick illustration #1849 - 1 Peter 1:22-2:3

(2) Steve Bartkowski, quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, quoted by Jamie Buckingham in “Power for Living” - “Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 11 - Source “Bible Illustrator for Windows” - Topic: Bible - Subtopic: Powerful in its Influence - Index: 421 - Date: 7/1998 - Title: Grits without Salt

(3) Alan Redpath, “Victorious Christian Service: Studies in Nehemiah” - Source: Charles R. Swindoll, “The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1,501 Other Stories,” (Nashville: Word Publishing) 2000, c1998

(4) Susan Starnes, Louisville, KY - “Heart to Heart,” - “Today's Christian Woman” - Source “Bible Illustrator for Windows” - Topic: Protection - Subtopic: Divine, Examples of - Index: 365 - Date: 12/1997 - Title: Locked up Tight

(5) email 09152002

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