Sermon Notes & References

God’s People Defined

1 Peter 2:9-10

May 19, 2019

9 But you are a ‘chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession’, in order that you should ‘publish abroad the excellencies [or praises] of the One’ who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; 10 who then ‘were no people, but now are the people of God’, who had ‘not received mercy but now have received mercy’. Footnote                                                     (RGH)

A. Background

    1. Israel: God’s People

    2. The Church: God’s People


B. Our Composition (v 9a)

    1. Our Selection Footnote

    2. Our Status Footnote

    3. Our Sanctification

    4. Our Special-ness


C. Our Mission (v 9b)

    1. Praising God Footnote

    2. Personal Witness


D. Our Salvation (v 10)

    1. Belonging to God Footnote

    2. Receiving Mercy Footnote

Endnote  1 Peter 2:9-10. . . . . . . . . . . . . God’s People Defined


A. Background

    1. Israel: God’s People

        a. even on casual reading of the OT, it is abundantly clear

            (A)    that the nation of Israel was chosen by God

            (B)    they were to be His own special people

            (C)   He was going to place them in His own land

            (D)   a land that had been polluted by various heathen tribes

        b. to that end he appointed Moses to deliver them from Egypt

            (A)    who was God’s Law-giver, giving the Law that included

                 (1)    how they were to worship

                 (2)    dietary and hygienic rules

                 (3)    economic and

                 (4)    laws on the governing of the nation

            (B)    so they would be a testimony to what a wise and righteous God they served to the neighbouring nations

        c. but they were only one stage in God’s greater plan

            (A)    Abraham was chosen so as to bring a blessing to all nations

            (B)    that through them should come the Saviour Messiah-Christ

            (C)   so Gentiles could by faith become Abraham’s children (Gal 3:7)


    2. The Church: God’s People

        a. through whose saving work the Gentiles entered God’s people

            (A)    which is why we read those sections from Ephesians 2 and 3

            (B)    by which the OT must be interpreted, not vice-versa

            (C)   because this truth was a mystery hidden in the OT

            (D)   but now revealed in Jesus Christ

        b. these comments are important because

            (A)    since OT terms are applied here to Peter’s readers (see references in outline)

            (B)    part of the nation that was born on the day of Pentecost

            (C)   some mistakenly claim that Peter is writing exclusively to Jews

            (D)   which could not be the case because they had been idolaters (4:3)

            (E)    which was never the case after the return from exile

        c. so we see the fulfilment of the people of God in the NT church by the bringing in the Gentiles; and we here are part of that people.


B. Our Composition (v 9a)

But you are a chosen race, a priesthood of kingly lineage, a holy nation, a people belonging specially to God, (Weymouth)

    So, what is it that defines the church to be the people of God?


    1. Our Selection – we are a chosen race

        a. for reasons given, the translation ‘race’ is preferable to ‘generation’

            (A)    the word here speaks of descent – human race from Adam

            (B)    the Israelites from Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob

            (C)   and it speaks of a commonality of source or ancestry

            (D)   some people take great pride in being able to trace their ancestors back many years: my paternal grandmother could trace hers back to one Philip Allen in the 16th century, of Stone Easton, Somerset

        b. but this verse is not speaking of such a human racial group

            (A)    though it is saying we can trace back to a common birth

            (B)    that is the birth by the Holy Spirit

            (C)   this race or people consists of those who have been born again or born from above by the Holy Spirit as Jesus told Nicodemus

        c. but that is only part of the story

            (A)    for, in some way which is beyond out understanding

            (B)    while we come to Jesus in response to His invitation to Himself

            (C)   we also come because God the Father has drawn us to Him

            (D)   in a process which the Bible calls ‘election’, or ‘being chosen’

        d. so that we as children of God become the people of God

            (A)    by birth, by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5)

            (B)    by adoption, chosen by God as His own, in exactly the same way as were the descendants of Israel (Romans 8:15, 9:4)


    2. Our Status – a royal priesthood

        a. there are marked differences between the OT & NT people of God

            (A)    this is since the mystery was hidden in past ages, now revealed

            (B)    one such has to do with the priesthood

                 (1)    at one time the priesthood was held by the firstborn of the extended family circle; Job served that way

                 (2)    but God, chose the tribe of Levi in place of the firstborn in Numbers 3, as His servants

                 (3)    and from them, Aaron & his descendants to be the priests

            (C)   so, only the Levites could carry out duties in the tabernacle

            (D)   only the priests could offer the sacrifices

            (E)    only the high priest could enter the holy of holies to meet God

        b. but, with Christ’s death, the veil of the temple was torn in two

            (A)    then Jesus rose from the dead, ascended to the Father’s right hand

            (B)    through Him we therefore have direct & immediate access to God

            (C)   “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

        c. yet, that too, is only a part of what is said here

            (A)    in Christ – the Anointed – the Messiah – there are united the three offices of Prophet, Priest and King

            (B)    and since it from our relationship to Christ, & only through Christ, that we have this priesthood

            (C)   it is therefore dispensed to us by the King, and thereby

                 (1)    it is a royal prerogative, &

                 (2)    it has the highest status

        d. this, direct prayer, is one of the greatest privileges of the people of God


    3. Our Sanctification – a holy nation

        a. we have already had two different words for ‘people’

            (A)    the first, genos, ‘race or generation’, emphasising our heritage, being born of the Holy Spirit, so as to become God’s children

            (B)    the second, ‘royal priesthood’, emphasising our access to God as part of a spiritual kingdom whose king is Jesus Christ

        b. now comes a third – nation – ethnos

            (A)    conveying what makes a nation a union of people

            (B)    such things as their culture, their language

            (C)   but also the character that has been moulded in them on account of their common history, experience, sufferings

            (D)   we have fellowship together

                 (1)    with the Son of God in His sufferings, rejection

                 (2)    with the God the Father in service

                 (3)    participating in the unity that is in the Holy Spirit

        c. and this nation sanctified or set apart

            (A)    as were the people of Israel: a testimony to God before the nations

                 (1)    so that even though an imperfect people we are defined as holy

                 (2)    having been separated out from the world

                 (3)    being separated from the guilt & power of sin

                 (4)    looking forward to entrance into God’s holy presence

                 (5)    that brings us to the last part of this definition of God’s people


    4. Our Special-ness – a people of His own special possession

        a. this brings us to the fourth word for people

            (A)    the most general term: people as of humankind

            (B)    mankind with all its faults, failures, warts and wrinkles

            (C)   yet endowed by God as

                 (1)    His children, born of the Holy Spirit, adopted to sonship

                 (2)    the members of His kingdom – priest & princes

                 (3)    a holy people like minded to Christ in culture & language

            (D)   these God has chosen to be His own special people

        b. nearly every family has some article: perhaps a family heirloom

            (A)    which is carefully set aside in a place of protection

            (B)    and brought out for use on special occasions

            (C)   such as the manger scene Maureen brings out at Christmas

        c. so God has set apart His people

            (A)    in the OT in a land especially theirs where they would be safe from the foes all about – as long as they obeyed

            (B)    so then too is Christ’s church, kept as the apple of His eye

        d. oh, what a privilege, that God in Christ should call us His very own

            (A)    and our natural response should be what follows.


C. Our Mission (v 9b)

that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; (NASB)


    1. Praising God

        a. proclaiming or sounding out God’s excellences is part of praise

            (A)    “O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Thy name in all the earth, Who hast displayed Thy splendour above the heavens! … O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Thy name in all the earth!” (Psalms 8:9)

            (B)    praise begins by our recognition of how great God is towards us His people ... that is what we have been looking at this morning

            (C)   we have seen it at a corporate level – it is true of the whole body of Christ

                 (1)    the OT saints brought into that body by faith (Hebrews 11)

                 (2)    the NT saints brought in by the gospel, a mystery now known

        b. but all that is true of the body as a whole

            (A)    is either true of, or has an impact on, each member of the body

            (B)    as the chorus says,

                     I was made to praise you;

                         I was made to glorify Your name

                             In every circumstance to thank you –

                     I was made to love you;

                         I was made to worship at your feet

                             And to obey you –

                     Lord, I was made for You. Endnote

            (C)   which brings us to the second part of our mission


    2. Personal Witness

        a. because the Great Commission of Christ is carried out by individuals

        b. rehearsing, in our own words and ways, as led by the Holy Spirit

            (A)    our recognition of our lost, sinful state before God

            (B)    our claiming of the promise of salvation through Christ’s finished work on the cross of Calvary

        c. if you have read any biographical missionary book, or the prayer letters from our own missionaries, you will discover that

            (A)    this simple process has been used through the years

            (B)    continues to be carried out over and over again

            (C)   of simply rehearsing the gospel message

        d. the preponderance of conversions to faith in Christ

            (A)    have not taken place in the mass evangelistic campaigns

            (B)    a great blessing and of great impact though these are

            (C)   but the sharing by believers of their faith with family and friends

            (D)   one of the greatest forms of praise that we can give.


D. Our Salvation (v 10)

who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy (NKJV et al with variations)


    1. Belonging to God

        a. this verse is from Hosea as indicated on the overhead

            (A)    it is part of a series in which God foretells the captivity of Israel

            (B)    and their ultimate return

        b. but in the light of the NT, both here and in Romans 9:24-25

            (A)    that ultimately this will be part of a far greater coming to God

            (B)    not only of the Jews, but of the Gentiles

            (C)   so that John writes: “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;” (Revelation 7:9)

            (D)   that is the glorious outcome of God’s great salvation plan


    2. Receiving Mercy

        a. how does this come about

        b. it is by God’s mercy; because of His compassion, love and grace

        c. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)

        d. what a splendid reason for us to share our faith!