Summary: God calls every believer to full time Christian service.

“Finding Your Identity”

1st Peter 2:5-10

I remember God speaking to me about entering the ministry when I was 11 years old. I was actively attending church and God had placed a call on my life. Sometimes it is hard to describe to someone who has not received that call but I have never doubted it. At times I tried to get out of it wondering if I was actually capable of being a pastor. But nonetheless when I was in the sixth grade our teacher told the class to draw a picture of what we wanted to be when we grow up. My friend Timmy sat next to me … he drew a picture of Elvis Presley-I guess his goals were bigger than mine and I drew a picture of me standing in the pulpit.

As I got older, especially my early 20s, I would frequently go and talk with my pastor. He quickly became my first mentor and the question was basically always the same-how can I know for sure if God wants me to enter full-time ministry? I read whatever books I could get my hands on, read the Bible completely through for the first time and prayed and asked God to speak to me. An audible voice would’ve been nice-never got that- but one thing is for sure-God never changed his mind and he never took that calling away from me. My mentor was always available and his advice and his ability to often just listen was incredible. One day he told me something that really stuck with me-really made sense-I have just never thought about it before. And this was it.

God calls every believer to full-time Christian service.

All of us are called to serve God full time. I also came to the understanding that serving him as my vocation, as my job, was indeed what he wanted from me. It is God’s desire that every believer will serve him full-time-nothing more-nothing less. For many believers, there is a separation-

• There is work and there is church life.

• There is a job and their walk with Christ. And that goes against everything Scripture teaches.

I don’t know if I’ve read a book that clarifies this more than the book “The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant.” I think everyone should read it. In the New Testament book of first Peter in chapter 2 we are given a very important truth. This is what the Scripture teaches:

I am a priest. You are a priest. All God’s people are priests.

This Scripture was given to us by Peter. When I remember him I think of several events that stand out...

• He denied Jesus three times

• He was a leader among the disciples

• He stood up for Jesus when they came to arrest him and drew his sword and cut off the ear of a man named Malchus. Peter was a very impulsive man.

Peter was writing this letter during a very difficult time. This was about 30 years following the resurrection of Jesus. Because of all of the persecution and suffering that had taken place, believers had scattered Asia Minor. Most were very poor. They felt like they were the least of society. They were looked down upon and things were only getting worse. So Peter writes for two reasons:

(1) To encourage his readers. Those in the first century and now in the 21st century. The gospel is referred to as the Good News for a reason. We are encouraged by Scripture.

(2) To strengthen his readers. Those in the first century and now in the 21st century. People felt hopeless at that time. And 2000 years later we see the same problem. But let me give you a few verses that tell us otherwise:

Jeremiah 29: 11. I have plans for you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Hebrews 6:19. Hope anchors our soul. It keeps us in place. Intact.

• First Peter 1:3. God has given us a new birth. We have living hope because of the resurrection.

Psalm 42:5. Why are you downcast? Put your hope in God.

• First Peter 2:9. God sees us as his prized possession. If God had a refrigerator your picture would be on it. If he had a wallet your picture would be in it. As a result-

1. He has placed us in a new community. We call it the church. The church was God’s idea, not man’s idea. Peter tells us two things about this new community.

Next. This new community is built upon Jesus. Verses 4-5. Notice here that Jesus is referred to as a “living stone.” He has been raised from the dead. That means that those who reject him; reject his offer of salvation, are like dead stones. Those who know him are living stones. Then Peter goes on in verses 6-8. There is a lot going on here. We need to realize that Peter is weaving together two strands of prophecy in the OT. Isaiah 28 and Psalm 118. In both passages the writers paint a picture of Jesus, the cornerstone that many would reject. The cornerstone was the most important stone/10 in the building. It supported the structure.

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