1 PETER SERIES (WEEK 3/9: A CHOSEN PEOPLE)

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1 1 PETER SERIES (WEEK 3/9: A CHOSEN PEOPLE) SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS CONNECT: What is one key way that you can grow in Christ s likeness this week? You might like to share this with someone you trust. WARM-UP Questions 1. What part of your identity (who you are) is most important to you? 2. Have you ever experienced a random act of kindness? What was it like? READ 1 Peter 2: What is Jesus described as in this passage? Where does this analogy come from (see Psalm 118:22, Isaiah 28:16 and Matthew 21:42-44)? 4. How are the people of God described in this passage? What do you think this means for Christians today? 5. What is your favourite analogy for the church (e.g. Body, vine, flock, chosen people, living stones)? 6. Why do you think rejection is such a deep theme in this passage? 7. What are the consequences of rejecting the cornerstone? Do people around you take this seriously? 8. What might the spiritual sacrifices described in v.5 look like today? READ 1 Peter 2: How are the people of God described in this passage? What do these titles mean to you? 10. What do you think of when you think of a Priest? What purpose does the royal priesthood serve (see vv.5, 9)? 11. V.10 is a reference to Hosea 1:9-10. Hosea lamented the sorry state of his people but looked toward a brighter future. What is 1 Peter saying about Jesus and those who would read this letter? 12. What do vv.9, say about God s purposes in redeeming a people? 13. Why does 1 Peter address its readers as foreigners and exiles? Where is your final home? 14. Our passage has a lot to say about the privilege of being a Christian, what responsibilities do Christians have in the world today (see v.5,9,11-12)? APPLY (to this week): Share some good deeds you have seen others doing and pray for opportunities to serve and bless those around you. PRAY: Heavenly Father, thank you that you chose us to be your people. Thank you that you are building us together as a church of living stones founded on Jesus Christ our Cornerstone. Help us to continue to offer our lives as living sacrifices, declaring your praises and living such good lives that others may be encouraged to glorify you. In Jesus name, Amen. For sermons and additional resources, visit STBARTS.COM.AU

2 1 PETER SERIES (WEEK 2/9: A HOLY PEOPLE) GOING DEEPER RESOURCES & SUGGESTIONS Each week we provide additional resources that help to go deeper with whatever series we re currently focusing on as a church. Resources could include recommended books, articles, online sermons, courses, or videos. These are optional extras! Please don t feel under pressure to look at every resource, but consider what could be useful to. Talks & Other Audio AUDIO: A rock and a People by Don Carson AUDIO: Precious Priests with Praiseworthy Purpose a sermon by Ian Powell AUDIO: 1 Peter 2:4-12 a sermon by Matt Coombs (Search 1 Peter 2:4-12) Video VIDEO: 1 Peter by the Bible Project: A Chosen and Different People a sermon by Ray Galea Remember who you are by Carrie Sandom Articles and Other Reading Being God s chosen people a detailed Bible study on 1 Peter 2: Peter Christ s Ambassadors in the World a bible study series from Grace Bible Church in Texas BOOK: 1 & 2 Peter and Jude for Everyone by N.T Wright For sermons and additional resources, visit STBARTS.COM.AU

3 Talk 3/9 (1 Peter Series: Exiles Living in Hope): 30/07/17 A Chosen People by the Rev d David Browne Bible Passage: 1 Peter 2:4-12 Introduction : I love Sundays and I love this church! I m always encouraged for my week when I start my week here at St.Bart s It s been so good over the last couple of weeks to begin our new series in our new space and be reminded from God s word(the Bible) that we celebrate a living Hope and, as we learned last week, that we have been made Holy by God and can now live Holy lives set apart for God. I m so excited that I m going to launch a new building program Stage 3000 Notice how I ve strategically chosen to make this announcement when our building manager Warren isn t here. This is because I was scared of his reaction but also because this building project doesn t involve bricks and mortar instead it involves people So far in 1 Peter we ve been reminded what Jesus means for us individually!2

4 We are God s elect exiles(v.1), we have been purified by God (v.22), and we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good! Everyone of us here is precious to God and if you ve embraced life in Christ and become a Christian then all the promises and all the calls to Holy living so far in 1 Peter apply to you In today s reading the focus turns from the lives of individual Christians to us as a church 1 Peter outlines three truths intended to spur us onto action as Exiles living in Hope : We are Living stones // Founded on the Cornerstone We are a Royal Priesthood // Worshipping the King We are Foreigners and Exiles // Living for God s glory!3 #1 LIVING STONES // FOUNDED ON THE CORNERSTONE \\ VERSE 4-8 Our passage begins by describing the Christian community as living stones: As you come to him, the living Stone rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4 5) Peter has already outlined living hope in Ch 1 and last week we heard of how we are born again through the living Word of God v.4 encourages us as a community to keep coming (present continuous) to Jesus as living stones founded on the Cornerstone - Jesus himself Peter is building on a tradition from the Bible of looking to a cornerstone, which would be the foundation of a community built on a new way of living!4

5 1 Peter 7 is a quote from earlier in the Bible Psalm 118 where he hear that: The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; (Psalms 118:22) v.6 and v.8 are also quotes, from the book of Isaiah where we find that this Cornerstone is either the path to life or a stumbling block Throughout his life Jesus was rejected by many At one point in his ministry even his own followers leave: From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.(john 6:66) So Jesus turns to his closest friends and asks them if they want to leave too? But Simon Peter answers him in the most wonderful way: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.we have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God. (John 6:68 69)!5 Peter gets it, Jesus is the only way to life, you can live your life any way you choose but the claim here in our passage is that if you reject him he will become a stumbling block to you You might think that not having Jesus in your life is not a problem as long as you re a nice person, if God exists God will be pleased with you The Bible doesn't say this, instead the warning is that a life without Jesus has no foundation and no security on the day of judgement, those who do not have Jesus in their lives will bitterly regret it Peter here is encouraging all to come together and find true everlasting life from the God who gave us life in the first place For Christians our identity (who we are as people ) is not found in our age, background, job, race, gender, sexuality or any thing; it is found in Christ The intention here is that we would live our lives as a church orientated around the one who died for us and rose to give us eternal life!6

6 Today we are baptising Thomas into the church publicly, Kristy and Jono have been bringing him to church, praying for him and sharing God s love for him since he was born But today they are making a public declaration and commitment to raise Thomas in God s church and encourage him to build his life upon Jesus the cornerstone One day when Thomas is old enough to make a decision for himself he will need to do so but today we as a church are committing to graft Thomas into that spiritual house We are committing to help Jono and Kristy to raise Thomas in the Church and share God s love with him Now you might have questions about v.8, what does it mean that some will?: stumble because they disobey the message which is also what they were destined for. (1 Peter 2:8)!7 Does this mean that God wants some to reject him or that some can t help but reject him because it s their destiny? The answer to both these questions is NO! 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God does not want: anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) Likewise throughout the Bible the message is clear that: If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9) This means that anyone can become a Christian, all you need to do is come to God and receive the forgiveness he offers you right now. If you d like to do that please chat to Adam, myself or someone around you and they can help you turn to God and build your life on Jesus God s cornerstone!8

7 #2 A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, WORSHIPPING THE KING \\ VERSES 9-10 Moving on in v.9 we read that we are a: chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9 10) Throughout 1 Peter we ve been reminded of the joy of following Jesus This letter has sought to remind us again and again that in trusting in Jesus our identity is now in Christ The first readers of this letter had reason to doubt that they were God s people Early Christians were often persecuted for their faith and non-jewish Christians (to whom 1 Peter appears to be written) often had their identity as God s people challenged Peter applies all the terms that were applied to the Jewish people to his readers The Jews were God s chosen people, a holy nation, God s special possession, who had been called out from darkness and slavery into God s light Peter is saying to his readers, you who have trusted in Jesus are the People of God!9 You might doubt that God loves you and those who reject you, persecute you and mock your faith might have you believing that you are not God s people but you are! Then Peter drops a theological bombshell and tells his readers that they are now part of a royal priesthood! Now at the time 1 Peter was written, it didn t matter if you were Jewish, Roman, Greek, Egyptian or Aztec, everyone knew that only a priest could deal with God directly Priests offered up sacrifices to make you right with God and prayed to God on your behalf Priests stood between people and God In 1 Peter 2:9 we hear that all Christians are part of a royal priesthood, today we re publicly declaring that Thomas is part of that priesthood This means that we don t need to subcontract or leave our relationship with God in the hands of someone else, we can come directly to God!10

8 Ministers today are not Priests in the biblical sense, instead we serve the church that supports us and get to encourage you in your relationships with God as you serve Him in the world We don t need someone else to offer up sacrifices on our behalf to make us right with God v.10 tells us that we have now received mercy thanks to Jesus we are right with God You don t need a religious professional to connect with God, in Jesus we have direct access to God who loves us like a good father and wants us to know him As a royal priesthood this also means that we serve the King! King Jesus Every time we gather as the people of God we are worshipping the King Whether we re in a Mega-Church, a large suburban church like St Bart s, or small gatherings of Christians we are a royal priesthood worshipping the King Doesn t this blow your mind?!11 This means that when you get together in your small group, a prayer group, or community group you are part of the priesthood of all believers It s not just the people in robes, or the people up front, or the people on the roster who serve God, we are all part of this royal priesthood and we get to offer our lives representing God and sharing his love with the world around us You don t need a religious professional to bless others, you don t need a theological degree to be part of God s mission, you don t need to have the title Father, Reverend or Evangelist to share the gospel with those around you Our identity is found in Christ and we have complete freedom to come before God just as we are, and share God with others We are the people of God and the only difference between a Christian and a Pre- Christian is that Christians have received God s mercy The challenge 1 Peter has for us is to share this with the world!12

9 #3 FOREIGNERS AND EXILES, GLORIFYING GOD \\ VERSES The final part of our reading outlines Peter s battle plan as the rest of 1 Peter focusses on how to live the Christian life: we are FOREIGNERS AND EXILES, glorifying God These might sounds like fighting words, and they are, but they are not directed at others The community 1 Peter was originally written to might have been tempted to descend into an inward looking community trying to defend itself against the violence directed against it Instead we read: 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. (1 Peter 2:11 12) Sometimes I m tempted to think that I m the only one who falls into temptation I think that others can t understand the hardship I m going through and I should just!13 give into my desires Often in todays world we re encouraged to do just that A Canadian dating website for people who are already married has a motto: Life is short, have an affair The logic behind this is chilling: life is too short to resist your desires, you should just give into your desires because it s there you will find happiness This worldview is called hedonism (doing whatever makes you happy) and it s totally at odds with Christian life 1 Peter urges us to resist the desires which wage war against our souls, it in other words there are things we will need to say No to Like E.T living in a world which is foreign we need to live and engage with the world but this is not our home Our lives are not limited to the short period between birth and death and this broken world is not our eternal resting place!14

10 Instead the Bible here is encouraging us to live in a way that reflects God s love The first Christians were accused of many things There were accused of atheism because they didn t worship Roman gods They were accused of cannibalism because outsiders thought they literally ate the body of Christ and drank his blood Christians were accused of sharing each others wives because they lived in such close community and cared sincerely This lead to persecution and rejection, in-fact Christians throughout history have been persecuted for not conforming, as Christians living in peaceful Australia we are the exception, not the norm. But while the first Christians were hated by those around them they committed to living such good lives that people couldn t help but glorify God and the movement grew The early church would feed starving widows, care for those who were sick, teach children to read and write,!15 In the first century it was quite acceptable to throw unwanted babies(often girls) into the gutter but Christians would come along and adopt these babies as their own But this sort of behaviour didn t stop 2000 years ago Christians still feed the hungry, heal the sick, and care for orphans We build schools, hospitals, community centres and think of creative ways to serve the world around us We often seem like foreigners and exiles because ultimately our hopes and aspirations in life are with God, not here on earth This should have a radical impact on the choices we make The word Pagan means rustic or from the earth, pagan was a name Christians gave to non-christians because they worshipped creation: rocks and trees and idols made of stone and metal In 1 Peter we re encouraged to live such good lives among those who live for created things in the hope that they will come to know the creator!16

11 The world might hate us but that is no reason to back down from loving those around us and praying that when Jesus returns our neighbours would glorify Him too!!17 #CONCLUSION \\ A CHOSEN PEOPLE I love Sundays and I love our church, but we are not part of my building program, we are God s building program: As a Church we are a Chosen people, living for Him 1 Peter is a glorious passage outlining what this means for us today and into eternity We are: Living stones building our lives on Jesus our Cornerstone a community of people with our identity found in Christ We are a royal priesthood worshipping King Jesus meeting together with direct access to God and an opportunity to share God s mercy with the world Finally we are exiles living for God s glory, committing to living such good lives that people might see God s goodness and embrace his mercy We are the people of God this is an extraordinary privilege but it s also an amazing opportunity to share God s love with the world.!18

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