Summary: This sermon is an expository message which emphasizes the biblical and spiritual heritage we have as a people of God and was preached on the occasion of an Anniversary Celebration.
Dressing in this old fashioned way, reminds me of a bit of humor I heard when preaching a revival at Corinth back a couple years ago. A new pastor came to the First Baptist Church in July, about the same time a new attender arrived in overall’s and a flannel shirt. The chief Deacon said something to the Pastor about the fashion of the man with the suggestion that the Pastor mention to the man that we don’t dress like that in our church before the next Sunday. Well, the Pastor tactfully indicated this to the man by telling the man to ask God what he should wear.
The next Sunday, the middle aged man wore the same thing. Again the Deacon said to the Pastor, “I thought you were going to tell him how we dress at FBC?” The Pastor responded, “I did, but I’ll tell him again to ask God how he should dress for coming to our church.” Well, the man continued to come & upon arriving the next Sunday was dressed exactly the same way. The Deacon being a bit frustrated inquired from the Pastor once again if he had informed the man and with affirmative indication said, he would ask him again in the aisle as they greeted one another.
So, with the Deacon standing to his side, the Pastor stated less tactfully, “I thought I told you to ask God what you should wear in FBC?” “I did,” the man responded. “But God said,”He didn’t know, He’d never been in your church!” Well, I hope how we dress is not so much a part of our Heritage, but I do believe a part of our Heritage is God’s presence has been with us throughout our approaching 139 years as a people of God. Let’s read more about our Heritage as a people of God from 1 Peter 2:1-10 . . . as we consider Celebrating Our Heritage Today.
This year will make the 139th anniversary of the Baptist Church in Ashland and we have a great heritage to celebrate. Thousands of sinners and saints have been touched through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ by way of the people first known as the Union Baptist Church, The Ashland Baptist Church and finally as the FBC Ashland, Alabama. A line in the “Forward” to the November 2000 History taken from Psalm 44:1 says, “We have heard with our ears O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.” That’s what we celebrate today, the work that God has done among us over the years, we celebrate our Christian Heritage.
When you heard the good news of Jesus Christ, that God loved you and accepted you and that He had a worthwhile and important purpose for your life – He called you out of the world and brought you into a relationship with Himself. He then set you apart and brought every one of us together as a body of believers into the FBC Ashland to become a Kingdom Focused Church as Gene Mims, President of LifeWay’s Church Resources Division writes in his new book.
So what is our Heritage as a people of God being built into spiritual house to become a kingdom focused church? In verse 9, Peter takes 4 titles ascribed to Israel as the people of God and applies them to us as the New Testament Church of Jesus Christ. This gives us our biblical and spiritual heritage. So, the first description is:
I. GOD’S PRIVILEGED PEOPLE
We are a “chosen generation,” Peter writes. In the OT Israel was called God’s chosen people, a chosen race, an elect race. This had to do with divine election. It had to do with God’s doing, it was a choice that God made, an initiative that God took out of divine love to bring a people into relationship with Himself to love them and accept them and bless them and give them meaning and purpose in life.
We too are a chosen people. Paul writes in Ephesians 1:4 “he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him, in love.” It’s our heritage to be an elect people, which indicates God’s initiative to bring us into a privileged relationship. Jesus clearly said in John 15:16, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you . . .” He said again in John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him.” Friday I had the privilege to share this truth with my step-brother. I shared the good news and I pray that God will so take the initiative and in His love draw him to Jesus and make him a part of God’s Privileged People.