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Elect Exiles

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The Latter Letters  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  45:10
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It's come. We're starting a new series on the Latter Letters. I'm going to do first and second Peter and then all the John's letters and Jude will round it out. So today we're starting in 1st Peter chapter 1 verses 1 and 2 and when we think about a letter, you know, generally speaking we will start with who it's addressed to. We just say, "Dear, What's Your Name," and that name refers to an individual and all of that but later to Peter is different because our Peters letter is different because it's not addressed to a specific individual. It is addressed if two people and it's giving them a description. it it's not everybody on the planet, but it's to a specific group and as Peter addresses this letter, he is giving us a sense of identity and who we are and what we are and and that's kind of a big deal these days and and maybe it has been 4 for sometime I think back in the sixties people talk about you know that I'm going to go find myself and there was this notion that Perhaps society around us had tried to Define us Emma Watson is an actress now ahead said this not particularly profound but is that I don't want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself and I think people who are celebrities have a lot of people who are trying to Define them. I mean, they've become a commodity and everybody's trying to control the perception of that individual. But even if you're not a celebrity there are people around you who have expectations of you aren't there and that they want you to be a certain way and maybe you feel good being that way and maybe you don't and there's the struggle that people have on just trying to know who they are apart from the expectations that other people have for them and and maybe some of us we kind of become the Agents of our own undoing in that we we become so We're just so compliant and we're we're Pleasers and we've invested so much in serving other people that now we cannot possibly go back. So now that's who we are and and we begin to wonder is this really me especially as we find ourselves doing things that we don't really aren't pleased that we are doing we find resentment within ourselves and we find that we we feel used and abused and diminished as individuals because we're trying to fill a role that perhaps we've created or perhaps others have created and there's this sense that in order to find ourselves. We're going to have to detach ourselves from those who expect of us. And there's this concept in this idea that the find herself what kind of have to get away from everybody and be out there alone and we have to really reflect and contemplate who we are and then we Define that and then we stand up for it and that's what it means to find yourself right kind of that old saying I've gone to find myself if I get here before I return keep me here, you know that there's this notion that you know, we have to go find herself. Then we have to do it alone and yet doing that. I think it has some negative consequences as well. There's not a whole lot of Hermits who I would say are fully realized individuals. Right that there's something about that. We need other people. We need relationships to really help the finest and to become the sort of individuals that we should be and that's the irony at all. I've been seeing something similar to this on Facebook. Generally. It's put up by somebody who has a lot of self-pity to be honest. And there's this notion that says the more I find myself the more people I lose and there's this notion that people expect of us and that in order for us to really be ourselves and we fully realize we're going to have to push back against that but when we do nobody wants to be around us, right and there's a reason for that because self-centeredness is not a real positive trait and if that's who you really are. Maybe you shouldn't be who you really are giving into their expectations. We're kind of giving away our authentic self maybe to some degree but on the other side if we push back against that and we say no I'm not going to let other people to find me. I'm going to Define myself and I'm going to be myself and we find ourselves alone. And resentful, right? How can we become who we really are how can we find our identity as individuals? You know, we're we're so hyper individualistic that I think it's become almost a sickness. So you know that if you think your a cat your cat. Right and an AR-10 to find herself. We really are an identity crisis. I think in the world today on dramatic levels, like I'm a cat or whatever it is that I may say that I am but there's also on very practical and personal levels of going to shun other people because they tried to find me and then we find ourselves alone. And so how do we find ourselves? Well, I think Peter in this introduction is going to help us as he's addressing these people he's going to say things to us that are about identity and who we really are. Okay. And so the big idea this morning is that we find our real identity when we let God Define us. We can't Define ourselves that will make us a Hermit that will make us a twisted version of ourselves that self-centered. We can't let other people to find us that will make us inauthentic but we can do is like God to finest. And so we're going to talk about how that works today from 1st Peter. The first thing we want to notice is that generally where defined by whose we are. There's a myth out there and that and that is the myth of the self-made person. And how look if you were standing there at the moment of your conception and deciding on all of your traits. You're a self-made person. If you weren't you're not right and I'm not where the product of our origin we are the product of of those to whom we belong and with whom we belong and we didn't decide that in many cases and sewing Peter in 1st Peter 1 1. He says Peter an apostle of Jesus Christ to God's elect their possession. They are God's chosen. God said this is mine and by this he needs you if you're a believer in Christ that God said no, this is mine and that's part of the definition of who you are and who I am. I am God person and you are God person. That's that helps to find you and and it's not just the spiritual thing is how we generally Define people write in Mark chapter 6 verse 1 2 3 Jesus comes to this earth and to become a full human being guess what he can't just drop out of the sky. He's got to be defined by who's he is. And so Jesus left there and went to his hometown. He had one of those right accompanied by his disciples when Sabbath came he began to teach in a synagogue and many who hurt him. We're amazed. Where did this man? Get these things they asked what's this wisdom that's been given to him. What are these remarkable Miracles? He's performing. Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son? Who's he is, right? He's married son. Isn't this the brother of James Joseph Judas and Simon aren't his sisters with us and they took offense at him and as people try to understand who somebody is identity. They're asking the question whose is this, right? And every one of us, do you know we are our our parents child, right? We are our children's parent. We are our sibling sibling. We are our spouses spouse and we are defined by that like it or not. And if we push against it what we're doing is this really cutting off a limb that we're standing on. That part of how we're to find is how we place right but these folks had misplaced Jesus because they'd only seen part of the picture. Jesus is never going to not be Mary son from the time. He was conceived in her womb. The second person of the godhead is always going to be Mary's son throughout eternity. Nothing will change that. pinnacle but that's not all that he is and that was what they missed because it Mark and Mark chapter 1 verses 9 through 11. We read this at that time. Jesus came for Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water. He saw heaven being torn open in the spirit descending on him like a dove and the voice a voice Came From Heaven you are mine. You are my son whom I love with whom I am well pleased. Jesus is eternal son. But in this moment God is publicly saying this one is mine. And guess what if you've been baptized God has done that to you, too. Colossians chapter 2 verses 11 through 12 in him. Also, you were circumcised with a circumcision. Why does he say that because that was God's way of saying these are mine right circumcision. They became the chosen people we think of the Jews as the chosen people will guess what this room has chosen people in it your them. We are them and we are the chosen people because we have been circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands by putting off the body of Flesh. Whatever I was in the flesh has been set aside as my primary identity. So guess what you may have come from a toxic dysfunctional family, but guess what? That's not going to Define you is it? You may have come from Brokenness. You may have come from abuse. You may have come from addiction is taking it to find you. It doesn't have to. We put off that as our primary identity by the circumcision of Christ having been buried with him in baptism in which also you were raised with your faith in the powerful working of God who raised him from the dead and so who's are we? We are gods. And that is a part of our identity 1st Peter chapter 2 are chapter 1 verse 2 next verse over. He says this who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. We weren't the second round draft pick you weren't the second round draft pick and then if that doesn't work, we'll do something else. And Paul made this point in Romans and in Genesis chapter 17 verses 1 through 5 is his when Abraham was 90 years old the Lord appeared to him and said I am God Almighty walk before me faithfully and be blameless and then I will make a covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers. Abram fell down and God said to him as for me. This is my Covenant with you you will you will be the father of many nations no longer. Will you be called Abraham your name will be Abraham for I have made you the father of many nations. That God says in the future you will be the father and then he cuz I have made you because why God is the I am he stands about time he see he saw and sees people accepting Christ at the moment that he renaming Abraham and he's saying that through you through the kind of face that you have I'm going to build a nation. And guess what that was that so this notion of foreknowledge in predestination in the New Testament. It has to do with the way that God chose His People why is that important? Because it can't be dependent on heredity. It didn't start with Abraham. It started with God's intention. Okay, and we're part of that and that's part of our identity and so on Romans chapter 8 verses 31 through 34. It says What then shall we say in response to these things. If God is for us who can be against us he who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all how will he not also along with him graciously. Give us all things who will bring any charge against Those whom God has chosen When we go out when you go out into this world people are going to attempt to Define you.

Aren't they? Oh, he's he's fat. She's ugly Right. He's lazy. She's this he's that the world is going to try to bring a charge. They're going to try to lay their labels on you. I want us to know that our identity is rooted in God's choosing. We are his chosen. Nobody can unshoes us for God. Is that true? It is God who justifies who then is the one that condemns? No one. These thieving incredible power in this truth that from eternity past from the mind of God from before Abraham from before the time you were here. You're chosen. because the foreknowledge of God My faith in Christ and that because you are chosen. Nobody else gets to Define you that is your definition that is a part of it. And so we don't have to capitulate to what other people the pressure that someone may attempt to lay on us. We can stand with just unbowed resolved and know who we are because we're chosen by God the Father.

The second thing I want to notice about our identity as elect Exiles here is that we are defined by our distinguishing characteristics, right? If every person on the planet, you know, I heard somebody say that they put eye and hair color on IDs in China if so, why

You know, there's a degree to which in China everybody's got black hair and brown eyes. And that's why they had distinguishing characteristics. We all do but we put it here because that's maybe different right that week to some degree or known by that which differentiates us from the mass of humanity. And we as a people are known by our distinguishing characteristics is the chosen people of God. And so Peter says an apostle Jesus Christ God's elect exiles. Scattered throughout the provinces Etc. We are foreigners. We're not supposed to look like everybody else. And when he mentions this, he says you are the Exiles. You are the foreigners. He's evoking in their mind several images. One of them is Abraham wondering as a stranger in the land, right? The other is the people after the Captivity after Babylon came conquered Israel and took Jerusalem and took the people and they were scattered right and they became foreigners in somebody else's country.

Daniel chapter 1 verses 3 through 5 and then down 2 verse 8. It says then the king ordered ashvin as chief of the Court officials to bring into the king service some of the Israelites from the royal family in the nobility. Young man without any physical defect handsome showing aptitude for every kind of learning well informed quick to understand and qualified to serve in the king's Palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians the king of sign them a daily amount of food and wine from today were to be trained for three years. After that. They were to enter the King's Service and so are these people and they lived in another country right and now they're being displaced and they're being brought into a whole different culture and guess what? They're supposed to be a culture rated. They're supposed to be acclimated. They're supposed to lose their distinctive so that they can contribute to the society that they're in in which they are now captives. But there's a problem with that just because everybody else is going to play along. Cuz there are negative consequences to not playing along everybody else is going to lose their distinctive identity. Everybody else is going to become a Babylonian in truth except for this guy who's going to be a cog in the wheel Daniel. The Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the Royal food and wine and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself in this way part of being one of God's chosen is being different. It's not playing along. Is is dancing to God's drum, even though the world may be trying to drown it out. And so Daniel is saying I'm not going to be the same. I'm going to be different. Because all the way back in Leviticus chapter 11 verses 43 through 25. It says God is telling Israel. Do not defile yourself. What If Daniel say when going to defile himself do not defile Yourself by these creatures do not make yourself on clean by means of them or being mean and clean by then. It doesn't mean that these particular animals or somehow dirtier than others, but it had to do with the worship of idols and people of the land and about differentiating themselves just hand the Lord your God consecrate yourselves. That means set yourself apart and be holy why because I am Holy if God was just like every other God then it wouldn't matter what it right. If God was if the one we call God which is born of some other gods some Titans who created the world after they were in a big war with each other and killed each other and made the world out of each others body parts and and then he arose as one of the sons of one of the Titans and and and he was just another God Then it wouldn't matter we can be like everybody else, but that's like I'm not like every other God. But there are these beings that claim to be Gods but they're demons but there are these fictions and that these Idols in these images and I am not like them and so you must be different and folks if wife if our life was about getting along and making money and avoiding pain and pursuing pleasure and trying to live as long as possible if that was our life. It wouldn't matter what our life is not that we're called to live above that. McCall to a God who will not is not satisfied with that and so we must be different and so he says I'm the Lord God who brought you out of Egypt. Therefore be holy because I'm holy now Israel, misunderstood. They thought that these things were themselves. What made them holy. They misunderstood that these things were just supposed to distance themselves, then from the nation's so that they could begin to work on holiness. NM Matthew 23 23 to 24 Jesus comes and calls them to task. He says woe to you teachers of the law Pharisees you Hypocrites you give a tenth of your spices men deal and cumin but you have neglected the more important matters of the law Justice mercy and faithfulness. You should have practice the ladder without neglecting the former. You see that's holding it everybody in this world the strong take advantage of the weak right people get what they can they use deception to move ahead. They hold a foot everybody spoke to the fire and every offense did somebody else does is way worse than anything I've ever done. That's the way of the world and he's saying you should have been that different in that regard. But you neglected it because you blind guides you strain out than that. Why because then that was excluded in the food laws. Do you know it didn't have the right body parts like the Grasshopper And so they like I don't accidentally drinking unclean animal hear you swallow the camel and in this sense the camel. Is this worldly way of life is self-centered way of life. And so Israel had become so corrupt, even though they were religiously observant. They had become so corrupt. So Unholy that Peter would say this says he's preaching the First Gospel sermon right there in Jerusalem. He says with many other words he warned them and he pleaded with them save yourselves from this corrupt generation. Do you want to know what it means to be distinct to be wholly, it means to be unlike this world and its way. What are we going to do that look up a little bit earlier there and Acts 2 38 and 39. He says Peter replied repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the Forgiveness of your sins that one way you want to know what baptism is. It's a crossing over. When Israel left Egypt, what did they do? They went to the water? When Noah Left Behind the corrupt Society, what did he do? He went through the water and when you and I want to say I'm done. I'm not going to be a part of this evil world. I'm going to turn my back on it and I'm going to side with God's people vote that mean suffering go that mean death. I'm not one of those people anymore. I'm jumping over that's what it's about. And he says I want you to come through the water. You be forgiven this thing more because it's just a formality and this is real change that happens and he says and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off as many as the Lord Our God will call you see circumcision wasn't just a ritual that allows you to join the people Hitman it Mark didn't it? At any moment you could if you were male. identify with the people of God Kenya

baptism doesn't leave a permanent Mark except that it does.

When God puts his Spirit on us and that's the difference until Gentiles can be part of the people of God because we've been given that Watermark that is the Holy Spirit and so in 1st Peter to be it says for you been chosen member that according to God's foreknowledge through the sanctifying work of the spirit. You want to know what's different you want to know why there's the people of God and the Gentiles If the Holy Spirit he is the mark he is the differentiation. What is the holy spirit with lots of things right? He empowers us he guides us but I think ultimately the spirit is present where there's a new set of holy desires. The God is just downloaded into our hearts and sew in Galatians chapter 5 verses 13 through 23 you my brothers and sisters were called to be free but do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh rather serve one another humbly in love for the entire law is fulfilled in the keeping of this one command. Love your neighbor as yourself.

If you bite and devour each other watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say walk by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh for the flesh desires what is contrary to the spirit and the spirit desires. What is contrary to The Flash and they are in conflict with each other so that you are not able to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious sexual immorality in Purity debauchery idolatry witchcraft hatred Discord jealousy fits of Rage selfish ambition dissensions faction an Envy drunkenness orgies in the like you want to know what the Gentile world is, there. It is and folks it's not always just immoral stuff that we would consider it from a puritanical definition immoral. It's things like selfish ambition.

I warn you as I did before that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God folks. It's not one and done. It's not pray this prayer. There is no once saved always saved it. We don't walk by the spirit. We're walking away from God.

But the fruit of the spirit is love joy peace forbearance kindness goodness, faithfulness gentleness and self-control against such things. There is no law. You want to know who you are who I am who we are books. We're going to be recognized by these distinctives. Do we look like everybody else in the world or are we different because of the holy spirit's guidance in our lives? Annexed we are defined by our purpose. You're at a party hanging out with a bunch of people. You don't know. What's one of the first questions you ask somebody if you want understand who they are. What are you do right? What's your vocation? Where to find buy our purpose and God has given us the Transcendent purpose. Noticed that he's riding two people in pontus. Galatia, Cappadocia Asia and bithynia. This is kind of weird because Peter is far as we know it was either here in Jerusalem or here in Rome. And really never in between and this is the place is right, Bethania Asia. Galatia Cappadocia pontus. These are the regions that he's riding to but he's never really been there. Why is he writing to do? You know, there's this a question about that. What Association did he had with them? And how did all of these churches get does this remote area because this is I mean, you know if your Abyssinian pontus, I mean that's like Newton County. That much out there and yet he's writing to them. Why is that and how did they get there and Acts chapter 2 verses 5 through 11. Maybe you remember this table of Nations. This is now that we're staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven and when they heard the sound of rushing wind a crowd came together and we will be well tonight because they each heard it in their own language being spoken utterly amazed. They asked aren't all of these were speaking galileans. And then how is it that each of us hears in our native language parthian smedes elamites residents of Mesopotamias UDF. Cappadocia pontus Asia I put phrygian pimp Ilya because these are galatian regions Egypt parts of living in Cyrene. We hear them all declaring. And then in Acts 2 4147 it says those who accepted as meth message were baptized and about 3,000 were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching to the fellowship breaking of bread into prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at The Many Wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the Believers were together and had everything in common, they sold property and possessions to give to anyone who has had need every day. They continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere Hearts praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved, you know, I was meeting with some guys this past week and two of them and there's like seven at the table two of them. Both said, I just miss my old church They had to come from Tulsa one guy moved from Tulsa and I got moved from somewhere else and they're just like I just haven't found it yet, and I'm like guys been in Acts those guys were really part of an awesome church. You know, I mean, this is the gold Mage that when we look back to this, right and we think man that's Church in it. If you ever been a part of that, you know meeting everyday signs and wonders teaching from the people who were meeting who walked with Jesus and that's church, right? Daily got is adding to their number those who are being saved. That's powerful. And I I think there's this moment. We're all throughout the Book of Luke. Everything is going toward Jerusalem. Jesus is moving toward Jerusalem. And then at the beginning of Acts everybody's in Jerusalem, right and God brings about his kingdom just like he said he would And then boom write in Acts chapter 8 verse 1 it says install approved of their killing of him of Steven on that day a great persecution broke out against the churches in Jerusalem and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Why is Peter writing to those in pontus Bethania? Asia Cappadocia or Peter? Why is he writing to them? Because these were people that he spent a few years with discipling thousands of people enough to start churches with elders and with do you know what church structure an official Church in these regions God knew what he was doing. You see they were scattered. The passive verb, right? What does Peter say in Peter 1:1 Exiles scattered throughout the provinces?

God did the scattering Sydney. They have a purpose in Acts chapter 1 verses 7:8. He said to them Jesus said to them it is not for you to know the times of the day the father except by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my Witnesses in Jerusalem in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the Earth God's plan for them was to scatter. Until they have a purpose and that purpose. Is to be the kingdom of God scattered among the kingdoms of the world. Noticed that he says that that we've been we've been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God through the sanctifying work of the spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ. And sprinkled with his blood to things obedient to him sprinkle with his blood. Why do why do we say that say that? Well, it's because God is always had this purpose for his chosen people in that is this and says that Moses went up to God and the Lord called him. They've come out of Egypt there at Sinai. There's a big fire and light show and I was just goes at the mountain and God talks to him directly and says, this is what you were to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you were to tell the people of Israel. Here it is you yourselves the same when I did to Egypt how I carried You On Eagle's Wings and brought you to myself now if you fully obey and keep my Covenant Covenant than out of all the nations, you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine. You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. I want us to get our heads around us as we think about things like what are we about? And what's God's vision for the church? I want us to understand that God's vision for the church is all the way back here in Exodus 19.

That we are to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation that throughout Israel's history that this notion of the religious sphere and the political sphere that this theocracy existed, but it just didn't seem to quite work, right? It just limped along and you had the king and you had the priests in the King was in charge of the political sphere and the priest was in charge of the religious. They weren't supposed to cross over. NN Israel continue to fail is the Kings kept turning away from God, right? And the priests became corrupt than they've started selling out their they're charged for the sake of personal gain and everything was falling apart and Israel finally went off into captivity and in captivity Daniel has a vision in Daniel 7. He says in my vision at night. It looked in there before me was one like a son of man. What does Jesus call himself? coming with the Clouds Of Heaven By the way, a lot of people read this as Jesus return but look which way he's going. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. When Jesus rose again, and he was there 40 days and then he lifted his hands and heroes until they haven't boom. It was it was late into the presence of the Ancient of Days. He was given Authority glory and Sovereign power All Nations and peoples of every language worship Him. DC that hears a king the king of the world who was being worshipped. The kingdom of priests and so we are called to obey our King and we are sprinkled with his blood. He is our high priest. His Dominion is an everlasting Dominion that will not pass away in his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. If you want to know what our purpose is it is to expand this thing. Right to live this out to worship God and use this access that we have to obey Jesus and then to spread the knowledge of him as his nation is Zechariah Chapter 6 verses 11 through 13. Stelling Zachariah make a crown of silver and gold set it on the head of a high priest Joshua we talked about this before Christmas. Joshua is Jesus name in Hebrew, son of jehozadak. Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says here is the man whose name is the branch. Write Joshua is represents Jesus and he says here's a man whose name is the branch and he will Branch out from this place and build the Temple of the Lord. Did you catch that?

But there's a Temple Physical temple being built in Jerusalem, but God saying that this ain't it. He's saying that someone's coming and he's going to Branch out from here and build the temple. He's going to build the temple and it's not going to be here. It's going to be a temple that's going to spread like a Vine. It's going to cover the world. Guess who's a part of that Temple? You and me, right? It is he who will build the Temple of the Lord and He will be close with majesty and we'll sit and rule on his throne and he will be a priest on his throne and there will be Harmony between the two and so when the Christians and Max were scattered it says Xanax 8 for those who have been scattered preach the word wherever they went.

So whatever our location is and I know that God has called many of us two different things to teach into work in a corporation and and own a business or whatever. Whatever that is. That's not ultimately our identity. And we have to be sure we understand that because guess what that changes. people get laid off people retire You may lose your job. You may decide Our God may call you to do something else in the secular realm that's not ultimately our identity. And when we think it is we become out of whack. We we compromise for the sake of that promotion or to keep our job. Keep our place right when we think that whatever our secular occupation is is is really part of our identity. We forget that that's not our calling man. That's just the thing. We're doing to represent it. That's a context. It's the medium. We fill all of our imagination and our thoughts and our efforts with somehow pouring ourselves into this Earthly occupation and we missed that that's not our identity folks. You can stroke out tomorrow and you'll be in a bed unable to do a job. And if your identity is your occupation, you just quit existing.

But if your identity is ramp in your calling in my calling, right? What's nothing can stop us? We can lay in that bed and rejoice in the Lord. We can fill that hospital room with the sweet Aroma of Christ and nothing can stop it. You know that. But your job May hate you I mean your tell your boss may hit you at work. He make your life miserable. He may not be so happy with a single thing you do. But if you do it for Jesus guess what it didn't matter. He's not going to ruin your day.

You can keep marching head you can smile. You can sing. You can be unfazed by the The Winds of Change that will hit everybody. And as you and I stand there is he's Paragons. other Kingdom probably

got to know who we are and it's got to be rooted in God. Because this last one where to find by our destiny and see we're all headed someplace. Right, and normally nobody really cares about your destiny. Unless you really important, but guess what the God you are. We all have been born again with the Manifest Destiny. We're all areas of the world. We are all royalty. That's who that's the only destiny that anybody cares about right the destiny of the Royals. Who's The Heir Apparent? Well, guess what is that? And so he says Grace and peace be yours in abundance. This isn't some empty wish. This is an alternate reality Paul uses this as well Grace and peace be yours. He does it very intentionally because when the when the Israelites when the Jews greeted each other they said peace to you and when the Gentiles read each other they said grace to you and in the church, we say grace and peace to you. Because we announced that all people. R1 And that we are coming together before God and that we can expect that the Divine loves us and so grace to you and to me. And we expected some day all people on Earth will come together and they will encourage each other. They won't promote one another's flourishing. They will take interest in each other and care about each other and be blessed by each other's efforts and that that will be peace not just the absence of conflict but Universal flourishing and Delight. That's the dream of Israel. It's the dream of Israel of God that we are and so Grace and peace be yours in Revelation 7 We see a picture of it and says after this I looked and there before me was a great multitude and no one could count from every nation. Tribe people in language standing Before the Throne in before the lamb and they were wearing white robes and we're holding palm branches in their hands and they cried out in a loud voice salvation Belongs To Our God who sits on the throne and to the lamb and then one of the elders asked to me these in white robes, who are they and where do they come from? I answered so, you know when he said these are they who have come out of the Great Tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore There Before the Throne of God and serve him day and night in the temple and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence never again. Will they hunger never again? Will they thirst the sun will not be down on their own or any sports for the lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd He will lead them at the Springs of Living Water and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

The find out real identity when we let God define it.

Is what's interesting about this is that even God who is the I am finds his identity and relationship.

God is not this solitary being. Wedding in heaven reflecting on how amazing he is. God is a community.

And we have been led into that community. He the father is the is the father of Jesus Christ. And Jesus is the son of the father. And the spirit is it Spirit of the father in the spirit of the sun they belong to each other. And God is Holy like none El as he lives in love. mediated by the spirit and God is you know, he is a god of purpose. As he has started this missionary Enterprise, he's the missionary God and God is the god of our destiny. The place that we will be free Trinity past. It was the father who chose the spirit who sanctifies us than it is the Sun. Who makes us part of this Kingdom? And so as we look at this just hear some suggestions for sharing life. Take root how this message going to become more a part of our understanding and are wearing it. So here's an idea pray for deeper understanding into your status. As one of God's chosen people. I think we've lost that notion Peter makes no distinction. He treats us all like Jews Even though as we'll see in the rest of the letter his recipients are probably all Gentile by that time. He does not see a distinction. He doesn't see that there's a Christian religion. He just says these are at Abraham's people. These are God's children through Abraham and that's you and I must pray that God will show us what a big deal that is. That bear fruit. How's this going to work itself out in the Practical details of our life will confess and repent of Gentile habits that you've adopted ask. Have. I been acclimated into this world. Have I been folded in to the surrounding Society without even knowing it have I compromised that which should be distinct in me and then just take a break with a confess it and be done with it. Then finally fearlessly tell people why you're different. I think some of the reason that we get acclimated is because we're afraid.

We got to be different and then that will cause people to notice and then we need to tell him why that's the message for this morning. If you have a need for prayer, I'm going to Jerry. Would you mind being the guy in the back and Jerry will pray with you and we're going to have a few songs.

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