Sermon Notes & References

Living As God’s People

1 Peter 2:9-12

June 2, 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 11 I beseech you as exiles and pilgrims, hold yourselves off from carnal desires which things make war against the soul; 12 keeping your going to and fro beautiful in the midst of pagan peoples in order that when someone slanders you as evil-doers, those looking upon your beautiful deeds should glorify God in the day of visitation.                           (RGH)

 

A. Review

    1. The Previous Week

    2. What Defines the Church? (verse 9a)

B. Our Mission (v 9b)

    1. Praising God Footnote

    2. Personal Witness

C. Our Salvation (v 10)

    1. Belonging to God Footnote

    2. Receiving Mercy Footnote

D. Our Walk Before the World (vv 11-12)

    1. Changed Affections (v 11) Footnote

    2. The Beauty of Christ (v 12)

 

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

 

A. Review

    1. The Previous Week

        a. the time ran out before the sermon did

            (A)    this has happened before in this place!

            (B)    and after all these years I’m beginning to heed my wife’s advice

            (C)   don’t try to force-finish it, but save it for next week.

        b. we were looking at verses 9 & 10 of the second chapter of 1 Peter

            (A)    verses that define just who are the people of God

            (B)    but we never got past the first part of verse 9

        c. who are God’s people?

            (A)    there is no doubt, even upon the most casual reading of the OT

            (B)    that Israel, the descendants of Jacob, was a nation especially chosen by God to be his very own special people

            (C)   yet, as we come to the NT, we make a further discovery

                 (1)    a mystery, hidden in the OT, now revealed in Jesus Christ

                 (2)    as we read the previous week from Ephesians 2 and 3

                 (3)    the Church of Jesus Christ is the culmination of God’s people

                 (4)    for in it, Jew & Gentile are made into one new body

                 (5)    so that the church is God’s very own special people

 

    2. What Defines the Church (verse 9a)

        a. in the first part of verse 9, Peter applies terms and descriptions to the church that are used in the OT to describe the nation of Israel

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

        c. there are four defining facts about the people of God in these words

        d. One: Our Selection – we are a chosen race

            (A)    ‘race’ (or, ‘generation’) refers to descent; e.g., human race from Adam, or, Israelites from Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob

            (B)    it means a common source or ancestry

            (C)   since Pentecost, the people of God consists of those who have been born again or born from above by the Holy Spirit

        e. Two: Our Status – a royal priesthood

            (A)    here is a marked differences between the OT & NT people of God

            (B)    only selected individuals could serve as priests

                 (1)    specifically Aaron & his descendants

                 (2)    as well as some other chosen individuals

                 (3)    these only could approach God, carry out religious rites

            (C)   but, with Christ’s death & resurrection

                 (1)    through Him believers have direct & immediate access to God

                 (2)    by our relationship to Christ we have this royal prerogative

                 (3)    marks of our high, spiritual status & privilege

        f.  Three: Our Sanctification – a holy nation

            (A)    a nation is as union of people

                 (1)    they are moulded together by what they have in common

                 (2)    obvious things such as culture, language

                 (3)    but also history, experience, sufferings

            (B)    believers have such common 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)   in these we have been sanctified or set apart as a nation

                 (1)    a testimony to God before the nations

                 (2)    separated out from the world

                 (3)    separated from the guilt & power of sin

        g. Four: Our Special-ness – a people of His own special possession

            (A)    ‘people’ is a most general term

            (B)    we are mankind with 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

                 (4)    chosen of God to be His own special people

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

            (A)    our natural response should be what follows.

 

B. Our Mission (verses 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 repeatedly through the years

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

            (C)   that 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 be

            (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.

 

C. Our Salvation (verse 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 in the handout

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

            (B)    and their ultimate coming back to God

        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)

        c. that is the glorious outcome of God’s great salvation plan

            (A)    which as we understand it more and more

            (B)    motivates us to respond by living as God’s people ought to live

 

    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!

        e. the appreciation of this fact

            (A)    that I, a sinner, lost and undone, without hope in the world

            (B)    have become part of God’s people with its eternal consequences

            (C)   to be a part of His own royal family

            (D)   will increase our desire to live so as to please Him.

 

D. Our Walk Before the World (verses 11-12)

    1. Changed Affections (verse 11)

        a. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul. (NAS)

        b. in this verse, Peter begins with two reminders

            (A)    first that his readers – then and now – are beloved

                 (1)    beloved by others in this holy nation – the church

                 (2)    beloved by God Himself in the mercy of His salvation

            (B)    second, echoing back to 1:17, that his readers – then and now – have a new citizenship and are but temporary residents of earth

            (C)   reminders that should encourage we believers reading this

                 (1)    by getting our priorities straight

                 (2)    to pay attention to his injunctions in verses 11 and 12

                 (3)    and indeed the rules for Christian living in the next chapters

        c. then continues with a fundamental truth

            (A)    a very real connection exists between our physical & spiritual lives

            (B)    we have seen this same truth stated by Paul in our Sunday Bible class as we have been studying together 1 Corinthians 6

            (C)   our physical actions influence our spiritual well-being

                 (1)    one of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control

                 (2)    in simplest terms self-control is the means of encouraging our good habits and suppressing our bad habits

            (D)   fleshly or carnal lusts are not simply desires of our physical bodies

                 (1)    many of those desires are both lawful & expedient

                 (2)    desire to eat, sleep, hug, talk arise from how God created us

            (E)    the term fleshly in this and similar contexts means our old nature

                 (1)    accepting Jesus we put on Christ along with a new nature

                 (2)    “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 AV)

                 (3)    our desires, too, should be new:”1 If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2)

        d. what should now be seen in us is …

 

    2. The Beauty of Christ (verse 12)

        a. Keep your behaviour excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. (NAS)

        b. let’s look for a moment first at that word ‘behaviour’

            (A)    it has been translated, ‘conversation, conduct, or just, life”

            (B)    it is made up of two words ‘up or again’ and ‘turn’

            (C)   so it naturally describes us as we turn and return along the ways of life, meeting that person here, going shopping there, talking to a neighbour, carrying out our job – it encompasses everything we are, and all we do – it is our life in every aspect

        c. this brings us to the second word, describing that life: ‘excellent’

            (A)    translated ‘honest, honourable, good’ but also meaning ‘fine’

            (B)    yet something more: for it was commonly used of something beautiful of form, or someone with a lovely character

            (C)   and I think that is what is meant here

        d. this is to be carried out in spite of the way we may be treated

            (A)    that is how Jesus Christ lived

            (B)    this is how we most effectively give witness to Christ

                 (1)    so that when the day of visitation arrives they glorify God

                 (2)    which can have several meanings

                 (3)    but the one I find most attractive is that our humble witness in this fashion has brought them to salvation!

        e. this we are to do before the Gentiles – literally, nations – we, the holy nation of God are to manifest the beauty of Jesus Christ in our lives

        f.  we sing

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me—

All His wonderful passion and purity!

O Thou Spirit divine,

All my nature refine,

Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me. Endnote

        g. let that be indeed be true in us.