Evangelical Community Chapel at Liberal: a Molalla, Oregon Church

Molalla, Oregon

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Come and Trust

September 28th, 2008 by Vic

Bible Reference: 1 Peter 2:4-25

Verse 4 begins, “Habitually coming to Jesus.”   One of the last thoughts in the chapter is that Jesus “habitually kept entrusting Himself to the Father.”  Between those participles we have a new identity, a new life style, a new freedom, and a new kingdom perspective.

1 Peter 2:4-8 reminds us that when you become a Christian, all things are new.  Your life is defined by new benchmarks.  In this visible kingdom we celebrate birthdays, school graduations, marriages, retirements and death.  In the kingdom of God there is no school, no marriages, no retirement, no death.  We celebrate what God is doing.  We habitually come to Jesus and find new kinds of energy sources, new forms of communication and transportation, new shelters, new ways to tend God’s garden, new songs of celebration.

The Jews, who knew God’s ways better than any other people, did not recognize what God was doing, the unattractive stone God placed in the quarry.  They had their preconceived idea what God’s kingdom should be like and they picked stones that would fit their plans.  Their selfish motives blinded them to God’s plan.  Rather than becoming part of God’s work, they wanted to fit Jesus into their plans.  They looked at Jesus and asked, how can I use Him in my life?

We have a relative who is working on farming algae for biofuels.  A student at Massey University is developing a chlorophyll paint that is more efficient than silicon solar panels.

If we were building a new home today and went to a supply house that had all the new inventions and technologies that would make a sustainable home with zero impact on the environment, would we shop for the right materials?  If we could see as God sees we’d make wise choices

God is doing a new thing in our neighborhood.  Will we have eyes to see what God is doing or are we blinded by our past and our desires?  In 1:22 Peter said our desires can be purified by obedience.  We will have eyes to see God working as we habitually come to Jesus the living stone, not the dead tablets. The word for stone here is lithos and not petra.  The lithos stone is one that has been shaped up and dressed for use in construction.  God had a special purpose for Jesus.  God’s plan for us is not in some new book.

This word ‘precious’ is different than the one Peter used to describe our faith and the blood of Jesus.  This word precious means to hold in honor, someone special.  When our children are sleeping we look at them and say, “Aren’t they precious.”  It means more than just value and worth, but it is relationship.  That which God hold’s precious has been discarded by man.  God loves you very much.  You are precious in His sight.  Some of you may have been rejected by man this week.  The good news is that man’s opinion of you changes rapidly and has no real value.  God’s opinion of you does not change.  Your relationship to God makes you precious.

Because of our relationship, this living stone is precious so we habitually come to Him.  We are like the God we serve so in verse 5 Peter says we are “living stones.”  This metaphor unites stability, growth, and activity.   We are the living church.  We are being oriented and connected to a living corner and we are living stones.  We fit God’s building.  As living stones we are the right shape.  We are one in Christ.  We only have identity as we are part of the spiritual house.  As an individual living stone I am outside the plan of God.  (Apart from Me you can do nothing.)  Only in being built up can the many stones be recognized as a spiritual house.  God’s plan is that we be a spiritual building or a temple.  The Christian community is to be a sanctuary.  The Church is the place where the Spirit of God dwells.  This chapel is where the church meets.  Pay attention how gfod is bringing us together.  No 2 stones are the same.

If you do not habitually come to Jesus, you will be disobedient and not recognize what God is doing.  The irony is that you will stumble over the things most valuable to God.

2:9-10  Coming to Jesus we will be a changed people.

  • Genos = family (geneology)
  • Ethnos = nation (ethnic)
  • Laos = common people

We are also called a royal priesthood and a holy nation.  Those terms meant a lot to the Jews.  They felt self worth because of their God and their family history.

Peter calls them a treasured possession of God.  We understand that today.  Some things we have in our home have very little value for anyone else, but they belonged to someone special and so the item becomes special.  So, you belong to God.  God thinks you are so special, He sent His son to die for you.  You are special, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, treasured by God being the manner and means for declaring the excellencies of God.

To God the church is important because it is the method and means and manner by which God expects to be glorified.  This is not a command for missions, but for holy living.  It is not for the individual, but for the church.  We are witnesses.

We as the church, living stones that are being built, are God’s method of proclaiming the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.  We are the manner and means of God to tell forth, declare abroad, tell out fully, the moral goodness, glorious excellence of the one who out from darkness and blindness called us.  God calls us to dwell in His presence.

At a point in time, the light that lights every man, called us into the light.  God does not work in darkness.  He does not even associate with shifting shadows.

We are a holy nation, a people destined for salvation.  And our primary function is to offer our praises and our life as a living sacrifice, so that together we declare the excellencies of God.

1 Peter 2:11-12  Peter appeals to us, not on the basis of who he is, but on the basis of who we are.  If we are aliens of the world we must renounce the impulses of the world.  We have been called out of darkness and our natural impulses must yield to our spiritual impulses.  No little laws, lists, or formulas are given.  Just a reminder that we are a spiritual body of believers.   Whatever you find that destroys the health of you or your neighbor, you need to avoid it.  It may be different for you than it is for me.

Because Christians were refusing to worship pagan deities and participate in sensual idol feasts they were being slandered.  Sometimes when they had communion they were accused of cannibalism or immorality.  Every heathen knew what a ‘love feast’ was.  They assumed it was the same for Christians.

1 Peter 2:13-17  The passive verb here is important because Peter makes a distinction in verb forms when he talks to slaves and women.  Submission is used 6 times by Peter, three times in the passive form and three in the middle form.  While the subject is acted upon by an outside force in the passive form, the subject acts upon himself in the middle form.  This contrast has not been made by some who preach about the submission of women.  (I submit in the passive because of who you are.  I submit in the middle because of who I am.)

If the government is oppressive and wicked what should Christians do?  Good!  We must live holy lives.  What part should Christians have in rebellions, wars, demonstrations, marches, protests, etc.?  I don’t know, but the Bible says, “By doing good we can change our world.”  We can overcome evil with good.  We can put a muzzle on the mindless by revealing the mind of Christ in our lives.  We can cancel ignorance with the knowledge of God.  We can dispel darkness with light.  We cannot overcome darkness with darkness or evil with evil.  If we do evil we become evil like the very evil we try to destroy.  Like the one who shot the doctor doing abortions.  The Bible says Jesus went about doing good.  Love is the only weapon that Jesus used.

Now notice the paradox here.  Be submissive, not doing nothing, but doing good.  Be submissive, but live as free men.  “Live as free men, but not as a covering for wickedness, but as bond slaves of God.”

Freedom is the topic of every philosopher.  In this verse we see a contrast between the freedom of wickedness and servants of God.  If we are servants of God we can live as free men, but we are never free if we do evil.  Freedom is not license.  It is a result of trusting God completely.  Because we trust God completely we are free.  This freedom is reflected in 4 attitudes:  1. respect each person.  2. love the brotherhood.  3. fear God.  4. honor the king.

1 Peter 2:18-21  The command here changes.  You must submit yourselves, not because of the nature of your boss, but because of you.  Christ has set you free so you must decide to submit even though you know you are free in the Lord.  It does not matter whether your boss is gentle and good or intrinsically wicked.  Be submitting yourself.

This is real grace.  This is an action that is beyond the ordinary course of what most men expect, but it is just like our God would do.  Grace is an attitude of thank-worthiness.  “This is grace if because of my consciousness of God, I endure pain of body and/or mind while suffering unjustly.”

I am a gracious person when I trust God so much that I endure everything the Devil throws at me.  Loved ones may criticize, but I can be gracious.  My boss may be dishonest, evil, and wicked, but I will be gracious.  Everything may be great and going my way.  I may get a promotion before someone more deserving, but I will still be gracious because of God’s love in my heart.  I want you to see Jesus in my life.  He is the Just One who suffered on the tree unjustly condemned for us, the unjust.  That is grace.

I think Peter laughs a little here when he says, “You’ll never become famous for serving a jail term you deserve.  But if on the other hand you are doing good and suffer patiently, this is impressive.  This is grace.”

If you are misunderstood when you have tried to do good, it really hurts.  But if you suffer patiently because you trust God completely, that is real grace.

You are called 5 times in Peter.

  • 1:15 called to be holy
  • 2:9 called from darkness to light
  • 2:21 called to be willing to suffer
  • 3:9 called to be a blessing
  • 5:10 called to eternal glory

Peter uses 4 different words that can be translated example.

  • Hupodeigma = under to show, visible demonstration (2 Peter 2:6)
  • Hupogrammos = under to write, trace letters exactly (1 Peter 2:21)
  • Tupos = type, strike, shape, pattern (5:3)
  • Antitupos = echo, reflection, impression made from being struck (3:21)

Jesus set you an example that you are expected to trace closely.  It is like children following the dots or painting by number.  Or like the teacher writing the alphabet on the board and telling the children to practice writing according to the pattern.

1 Peter 2:22-25  Jesus was willing to suffer because He was habitually trusting the Father.  Are you walking in Herod’s way or Jesus’ way?  We can walk on the trail He blazed.  We can walk on the road He made.

When you suffer unjustly, if you suffer for doing good, let your grace shine while you keep trusting God.  It is foolishness to the world to suffer, but we are citizens of a different kingdom.  We live by a different standard.  We are called to live holy lives.

The word for ‘wound’ or ‘stripe’ at the end of 2:24 is singular in form.  The suffering of Jesus is seen as one.  One stripe, one wound, one bruise, one mark of a blow.  He left an impression.  By one act we were healed.  This is soul healing.  This is wholeness in body, mind, and spirit.  Because of Jesus we can be whole, we can be healthy in a sick world.

Verse 25 says we needed Jesus to die for us because the O. T. law was not working.  “For you were habitually and continually as sheep straying.  You were making yourself stray away.  Nobody else was making you do it.  But now you were turned around by the Shepherd himself so that you might return to Him, the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”

In one sense, all people are sheep, but some have not obeyed His voice.  Jesus died for our sins, but we must turn around and follow Him.  We must decide to turn because the Shepherd is calling and He loves us.

Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd.  He saw people who were not following God as sheep without a shepherd.  It is not natural to live without a shepherd.  We were created to be in His pasture, but if we do not respond to His voice we are on our own and stray away from the freedom in God.  God is seeking you.  Say yes to His voice.  Confess your sins and begin doing good.

You cannot do what the Bible demands unless you commit your life to God.  You can’t follow in His steps unless you first entrust yourself to God.  You will not endure suffering unless you entrust yourself to God.  You cannot have peace unless you return to God.

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