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Blameworthy

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We can't help what they accuse; we can choose how we behave

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Engage

Think long and hard about how you can do your best to get their attention.What is the hardest thing for you to put down when it’s time to go to school, work, dinner, etc.?
Welcome. Introduce ourselves. Introduce the series.
Game: Can Doug guess the whether the church sign is true or false. Church Sign slides. Five during first service. Different five during second service.
The Truth Is On The Line
Can Dr. Doug Decode The Sign
And Pick Which Church Is Telling A Lie
And Which Is Hitting The Truth Bullseye
Some “Good Mythical Morning”-esque game about weird, stupid church signs. Can Doug figure out if they’re real or fake.

Tension

What you’re doing here is bringing up some kind of a problem. The tension you create should make people lean in and give them an opportunity to anticipate the tension being resolved.
Sometimes, Christians (including us), don’t communicate well. Even with the very best of intentions, we can miss the mark. Many times, it’s innocent enough and we only come away looking or feeling foolish. Often, this is when we’re trying our best to communicate with outsiders, too. We’re trying to share the love of Jesus with those who are far from him. And we blow it.
But, other times, it’s a lot more serious. With far greater consequences. Unfortunately, these are typically the much more public-facing
Illustration: Westboro Baptist Church; Blah Blah Blah Church Sign
We have a bad reputation. This is just a part of life. We will continue to face this bad reputation for as long as we’re here on this earth. So, we have two choices:
This is just a part of life. We will continue to face this bad reputation for as long as we’re here on this earth. So, we have two choices:
Shift the blame. We want to blame others. Other Christians. Non-Christians who don’t really understand us. The system. Take your pick, you’ve probably blamed them before.
Take responsibility. Live for the One who took our blame. Focus on living out our lives as followers of Jesus, in spite of what others say about us.
Doug’s Part

Truth & Application

Once you’ve engaged the congregation and presented some kind of tension, you can now go to God’s Word in

Context

Peter was one of the closest followers of Jesus. He always had his heart in exactly the right place. Execution was a little spotty for him, but he was truly faithful to Jesus. Even to the point of dying for his faith.
Peter is writing to persecuted Christians, facing real danger, in the time of Emperor Nero (no, he didn’t fiddle while Rome burned). He offered them encouragement and practical advice in the face of extreme adversity. It was a tough time to be a Christian.
Peter is writing to persecuted Christians, facing real danger, in the time of Emperor Nero (no, he didn’t fiddle while Rome burned). It was a rough time to be a Christian.
He offered them encouragement and practical advice in the face of extreme adversity. It was a tough time to be a Christian.

Remember What Jesus Says About You

Hook
One of the toughest times in my life was Middle School. Middle School dance. Jumping over the sidewalk, getting knocked out, coming to consciousness very confused.
For these persecuted Christians Peter is addressing, I would think they’re very confused. They’re believing, doing, acting out the right things. Yet, they face this persecution still.
Book
(NLT)
1 Peter 2:4–10 NLT
You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”
Look
Verses 4-5 really encapsulates the identity Peter had in mind when he thought about his readers.
They were followers of Jesus. They had come to Christ, even though he had been rejected by people. It’s not ironic that they were now being rejected, too. It shouldn’t have surprised them to be persecuted. It shouldn’t surprise us, either. In face, Jesus promised that just that thing would happen. He said, “The world is going to hate you. If they killed even me, just imagine what they’ll do to you.”
Living Stones in the temple of God. Way back in the day, like, when Peter was writing these words, there was a Temple for Jewish people. It was in Jerusalem. It was a real, tangible building. And, it was extravagant. Gold everywhere. Full of artwork. Elaborate stonework. Full of people. Full of symbolism and meaning. The most important part of the temple was the Holy of Holies. This was the place where God was supposed to actually live. Like, his apartment. This temple was a big deal.
Frank Lloyd Wright church. The temple was supposed to draw people closer to God, not just be a pretty building. That’s how these Christians were now supposed to be acting.
But, now, Peter is talking to these Jesus followers, saying that they are the temple of God. This is critical for them to understand. This temple. This building is no longer the place God calls home. He now is living in and around and among the followers of Jesus. That’s huge!
, ;
So, they’re the temple, but they’re also called a “chosen priesthood.” For the readers of this letter a priest had a very specific job. As regular old, Joseph Schmoe Jewish Guy, I couldn’t presume to come into God’s presence and let him know what I thought, felt, wanted, whatever. I had to go offer a sacrifice, through a priest. That’s how I could worship God. There was a very strict ritual to the whole thing, and the priests played the role of the “middle man” between God and God’s people.
Hosea 1:6 NLT
Soon Gomer became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said to Hosea, “Name your daughter Lo-ruhamah—‘Not loved’—for I will no longer show love to the people of Israel or forgive them.
Now, not only has Peter called them the temple. God’s dwelling place. He’s now gone so far as to say they are priests. They can contact God directly. They can worship God without the ritual. Without the rules. Most importantly, without the middle man. How do they do this? Through Jesus Christ.
Hosea 1:9 NLT
And the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi—‘Not my people’—for Israel is not my people, and I am not their God.
Hosea 2:23 NLT
At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites and raise them for myself. I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved.’ And to those I called ‘Not my people,’ I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’ And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’ ”
These people are not just cogs in a system. They’re not just a client that’s being upcharged on doves to make a sacrifice. (Side-note here: the markup on doves is just getting ridiculous, is it not?!) They’re not just punching bags for the Roman Empire.
Something
They are where God dwells.
Something
They are the ones who can worship God.
How is that? It’s because of Jesus Christ. They’re followers of Him, and that makes all the difference. They’re not what they used to be. They’re followers of Christ.
Peter is reminding them of this identity because that’s what’s going to keep them going. That’s what will bolster their faith. If they can remember who they were.
Took
When we talk about the way the world looks at Christians, it’s easy to feel like you’re just helpless. It’s easy to feel like you’re lost in the mix, without any power to accomplish anything productive. Peter’s message for them was to remember who they are. That’s his message to us, too:
Took
Remember Who You Are
You are a follower of Jesus. That’s the one thing that distinguishes us from the rest of the world. That is the cornerstone of our identity. The building of our life is built on the bedrock of Jesus. It is Jesus that brings God into our hearts. Into our midst. It is Jesus that gives us the ability to approach God. Talk to God. Spend time with God. On our own. No need for a middle man.
And, I fully know that some of you are not buying all this Jesus stuff, and that’s Ok. You’ don’t have to tune out, because God wants that for you, as well. He wants to live with you. He wants to have a relationship with you. And, that’s only possible because of Jesus Christ.
But we have to be careful to not let that stay stuck in our head. It has to move into our hearts. Otherwise the living stones of the temple of God can become a beautiful cathedral on the outside, but empty and dead on the inside. We’re not letting our identity in Christ shape who we are.
A chosen priesthood
Illustration: Frank Lloyd Wright church
By no means are we perfect, but we’re working to be better. Doug is going to touch on this in just a few minutes, but for now, I like the way KJ-52, a Christian rap artist, describes this tension.
I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not where I used to be — KJ-52
Look
This passage is rich with Old Testament quotations. Peter is using them to clearly define who is readers are. The Old Testament outlines how God is going to use this tiny nation of people, known as Israel, on the world stage. To worship the one true God, and serve him only. To demonstrate what it looks like to be he family of God. To bless the rest of the world. That was Israel’s real purpose. Holiness. Being set apart by God for use by him.
Unfortunately, they weren’t always very good at this. I fact, most of the time they downright stunk it up on the dance floor! But, God stood by his promise. He still protected them, he still claimed them as his own, and he still loved them. Because his plan wasn’t just for Israel, it was for the rest of the world. His plan was Jesus. He had already set in motion the plan for this rescuer to come on the scene as a member of Israel.
That’s why they were so special. They’d been chosen. They had a purpose. They belonged to the King.
So, as Peter is drawing from these Old Testament sources, he mainly used the voices of the prophets. They were sent to Israel to give them a course correction, and to remind them of who they belonged to. The king.
I like what Peter does in verse 10 a lot. Read verse 10 again.
1 Peter 2:10 NLT
“Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”
He draws a lot from Hosea, one of the lesser known prophets of the Old Testament. He had an interesting assignment, and it’s summarized well in
Hosea 1:2a NLT
When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.”
Hosea 1:2 NLT
When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.”
Whoa! I bet you didn’t think we’d bring that up in church this morning!! But, God had a point. Let’s read the rest of verse 2.
Hosea 1:2a NLT
When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.”
Briefly recount the story of Hosea and Gomer
Hosea 1:2b NLT
When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.”
God was using the life of this prophet as a huge object lesson. Israel had been unfaithful and had been stepping out on God, and so God is showing them a picture of what that looks like. Because a picture is worth a thousand words. I feel a little bad Hosea had to go through that, but as a prophet of God, that’s just a risk of the job. Unfortunately, the hazard pay isn’t very good, either...
Anyway, Hosea listens, marries a prostitute named Gomer, and she has 3 children. Two sons and a daughter. We don’t know whether or not Gomer’s kids are Hosea’s or if they were conceived by somebody else. That’s not the point, though. As Hosea names his kids, he’s taking God’s lead. Like his marriage is supposed to convey a message to the Israelites about how they’ve turned their backs on God, the names of his kids are supposed to communicate a similar message.
, ;
Hosea 1:6 NLT
Soon Gomer became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said to Hosea, “Name your daughter Lo-ruhamah—‘Not loved’—for I will no longer show love to the people of Israel or forgive them.
Hosea 1:8–9 NLT
After Gomer had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she again became pregnant and gave birth to a second son. And the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi—‘Not my people’—for Israel is not my people, and I am not their God.
Hosea 1:9 NLT
And the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi—‘Not my people’—for Israel is not my people, and I am not their God.
At this point, you might be feeling bad for Hosea’s kids. Don’t. Because God knows what’s coming.
Hosea 2:23 NLT
At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites and raise them for myself. I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved.’ And to those I called ‘Not my people,’ I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’ And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’ ”
God says you’ve turned your back on me, but I won’t turn my back on you. You are still my people, and I am still your faithful God.
Something
Peter brings this whole story together for his readers. Followers of Jesus. As they’re facing adversity, persecution, and even death. It would be understandable for them to begin asking questions like “Where are you God?” “Why don’t you care?”
Peter’s answer to that is: First, remember who you are. Be identified by Jesus. Second, Remember whose you are. Even when life is difficult, even when they’re tempted to turn their backs on God. God is faithful. God is loving. They belong to him.
Took
Friends, the same reminder is true for you and for me.
Remember Whose You Are
You belong to Christ, you are his possession. One that he gave up everything for. One that he died for.
Remember What Jesus Says About You
And, what Jesus says about you is way more important than what others say about you. What others say about Christians. Right or wrong. I’m not trying to assign blame to you or to others. You shouldn’t either. I’m just trying to say that we live in a climate of political correctness, of safe spaces, of new atheists, of general hostility towards Jesus and his followers.
Instead of pointing a finger. Instead of playing the martyr. Instead of fighting back. Just remember.
there are more important things to keep in mind.
Remember you are a follower of Jesus.
Remember you belong to the King.
As followers of Jesus, as people who belong to him, the rest of our lives need to be built on these two things. He’s our cornerstone. Everything else is so much less important.
What Jesus says about you is more important than what

Transition from Elliot to Doug

If we’re talking, during this series about how Christians have a bad reputation, and how we can respond to that, I want us to take a minute to talk through those pieces.
Question: Which Christian stereotype do you think is the most accurate?
Which title for the people of God resonates most with you?
Which Christian stereotype do you try to disprove?
What Christian behavior do you think is most damaging to our reputation?
What in this world gets your righteous anger going?
Video?

Remember Your Behavior Matters

Hook
Illustration Needed
Doug’s Part
Book
Last Man On Earth. Carol won’t repopulate the earth without being married first.
Look

Scripture

1 Peter 2:11–12 NIV
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Something
The life I live matters… but why?
Took
There is much in Peter’s letter about identity - Elliot spoke of our identity in Christ, now Peter addresses our identity in this world.
He first calls them “dear friends” - expressing his intimate relationship with this group. Peter, ever the emotional person??
He calls us foreigners and exiles...
Foreigner - to dwell in a place as a stranger
Exile - pilgrim - dwelling in a place away from your own people
There is much in the news about immigrants, refugees
What is Peter getting to with these terms? Simply this - this world is not my home.
My dad and his brothers used to sing this song in their quartet
We are exiles on earth and citizens of heaven
Though we are exiles here… how we live truly matters
“Abstain from sinful desires which wage war against your soul.”
That sounds ominous
To abstain - to hold oneself from
From sinful desires...
Which war against your soul… do you ever think of the things you watch, reach, participate in as “warring against your soul”? That sounds dire! That sounds as if there is much at stake in abstaining from sinful desires.
The why here is because we are waging war on foreign soil.
There is no doubt a hug conflict between living as a citizen of heaven and a citizen of earth.
My role as a father is greatly challenged as I taught my children to love everyone, to treat others with respect, to live morally pure, to tell the truth, to put others first.
That is not taught when they turn on the TV - violence, sexual irresponsibility, belittling those who do not agree with us, adultery, perversion of every kind sexually,
Those who live lives in opposition to the prevailing culture pay a price… Why? Because when our lifestyle is too different from the “norm” around us - it can cause conflict, friction, and persecution.
Our hackles start to rise as we say - burn the witches!
Is that Peter’s advice to those of us living different lives - attack, elect, picket?
Not even close… live such good lives among the pagans that though they accuse you of evil...
1 Peter 2:12 LEB
maintaining your good conduct among the Gentiles, so that in the things in which they slander you as evildoers, by seeing your good deeds they may glorify God on the day of visitation.
1 Peter 2:12 NIV
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
That word “pagan” feels troubling - who is Peter referring to and why would he use a seemingly derogatory term??
Non-Jew
Refers to those whose citizenship is still on earth
To those who haven’t said yes to Jesus as their Savior
My response to the mess of this earth is to live in such a way that people say - God is great!
Not about picketing or even my words;
Rather they will “see my good deeds” - my life is the light pointing to God
Though they accuse we can still chose how we behave; and at the heart of this choice, we want people to glorify God
What glorify God on the day he visits us means:
It isn’t about me, but about others and God;
Sounds like the words of Jesus - - Let your light shine
Is this - they will be converted so they will say, “isn’t God good?”
Or is this - on the day of judgment they will have nothing to say but, “Isn’t God good?”
Either way, God gets the glory, but the first option is the best - they turn to God in salvation.

Application

1 Peter 2:11–12 NIV
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
If I don’t live with the right motivation, then I am just following the rules which leads to hypocrisy and legalism.
My desire to look like the normal “preacher” Todd was shocked. Do I go too far?
This isn’t about perfection (that leads to legalism), but we are in a process, we are growing.
My goal in this life isn’t to silence the accusations of the residents of this world with my verbal attacks and arguments, but rather by my holy life and demeanor
Something

Inspiration

What is one area of your behavior to which you need to pay attention?
Doug - not listening to others
Elliot - My attitude sucks a bunch, sometimes.
Now What?

Inspiration

We Are Citizens Of Heaven
Hebrews 11:9–10 NIV
By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
There is a real conflict between living as a citizen of heaven and living as a citizen of earth.
Matthew 5:16 NIV
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
My life can be a light to point people to Jesus.

Inspiration

This is the time where you can ask great questions. Could be called “reflection.”
So what??? What is the better choice you need to make today?
Bottom Line: We can’t help what they accuse; we can choose how we behave.

Action

Think through what you want them to do in light of your message and spell it out plainly to them.
What is one area of your behavior to which you need to pay attention?
Doug - not listening to others
Elliot - My time spent with my family is not nearly as good as I wish it were.
What’s your one behavior? We’ll give you some time to think about that. Chances are you already have a pretty good idea, though. Write that down. Put it on your bathroom mirror. In your wallet. In your car. Briefcase. Backpack. Purse. Wherever you’ll see it. Wherever you’ll remember.
Video - Identity in Christ
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