Summary: How are we to approach the task of making Christ known? Peter suggests this should be done through Revelation, proclamation, and demonstration.
MAKING CHRIST KNOWN
INTRO: The population of our world is growing at an alarming rate. Statisticians tell us that by the year A.D. 2050 the population of the world will be 14 billion, or more than twice its present size. Unfortunately, our evangelistic efforts are not keeping pace with this explosion of people.
When the Jewish exiles were threatened with death at the hands of Haman, Queen Esther talked to Mordecai about what she could do. His response is recorded in Esther 4:14. Could it be that Southern Baptists who have been spiritually conditioned and fully resourced, have been brought to prominence for such a time as this? In light of the condition that our world is in today, what can a few Southern Baptists do in response to so many?
In essence Peter said, as recorded in our text, we must make Christ known. But how are we to approach this universal task of making Christ known? He suggests this should be done through Revelation, proclamation, and demonstration.
I. THROUGH REVELATION (9a).
God is best understood by seeing what He is doing here on earth. Paul said that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. That is what He was doing when Christ was here; what is He doing now? He is continuing that ministry for He has committed to us (the church) the word of reconciliation.
A Chosen Generation. Generation means a race or body with a common life or descent. It does not refer to a group living during the same life span. As applied to the church, we all have a common source of life. Christ is our life. We have been chosen for a redemptive ministry (John 15:16). The church has been called out. We are a chosen generation.
A Royal Priesthood. The word royal translates the Greek word for king. The descents of Levi were only priests. Believers are king-priests through Jesus.
As priests we have access to God. On behalf of the masses of non-covenant people (unbelievers) we must intercede for them through prayer.
A Holy Nation. The word holy (peculiar) means something set apart for divine service. Nation means a multitude of people with the same nature. We are a people, separated unto God, whose only purpose is to serve our Lord until we have completed our mission and He comes to take us home to heaven.
II. THROUGH PROCLAMATION (9b-10).
As indicated by the various titles in these verses, we have been set apart for a unique ministry. Peter points out in these words that we are to proclaim the praises of God. If we make Christ known to the world we will do so through proclamation.
Through the Foreign Mission Board we are trying to do that through the approximately 5,200 missionaries serving in 106 countries of the world. But what can a few do in response to the needs of so many? Peter said that we are to proclaim the excellencies (wondrous deeds) of our God — His greatness, grace, and goodness (mercy).
Greatness. The Psalmist proclaimed his greatness in Psalm 8. Moses instructed Israel to proclaim the praises of God (Deut. 6:7). Jesus instructed the healed demoniac of Gadara to praise God (Mark 5:19).
Grace. God’s greatness is seen in His amazing grace. Everywhere Paul went he shared the simple story of his conversion. Whether in the presence of magistrates Kings, or peasants he did not talk long with them without giving his personal testimony.
Goodness. The goodness of God is seen in His mercy. Peter was writing to Gentile converts and he reminded them that once they were nobody (no people) but now they are the people of God; once they were outside the mercy of God, but now they are the objects of His merciful goodness. Of all the people on earth, we Southern Baptists should have a warmhearted missionary zeal.
III. THROUGH DEMONSTRATION (11-12).
Christ must be made known through demonstration as well as proclamation. The Phillips translation says that we are a special people (fully equipped) that we might “demonstrate the greatness of Him who called you out of darkness into His amazing light.” Notice the three areas in which we may demonstrate the grace and goodness of our God.
Wisdom. The wise Christian will not build upon the sands of materialism and worldliness for these will not stand the fires of God’s judgment. Out of fear (reverence) for God we live a holy (separated) life.
Ways. We are strangers (aliens) in a foreign land. Since we are pilgrims on our way to heaven, we should live like it on the way by abstaining from worldly lust (cravings of the lower nature which war against the soul). The wise Christian will maintain good conduct among the unbelievers of this world.