Summary: Foreigners in a Foreign Land Our Identity and Our Destiny, part 1
Foreigners in a Foreign Land
Our Identity and Our Destiny, part 1
We just started a new series on 1 Peter, breaking it up into three mini series. The first, “Foreigners in a Foreign Land” (1:1-2:10) will look at what Peter says about our identity, our salvation, perspective on difficulties, and walking out the life of Christ. Then we will begin a series called “Living on Mission in a Foreign Land” (2:11-4:11) and finish 1 Peter with, “The Church in a Foreign Land” (4.12-5.14). Today we finish the first message in our series, Foreigners in a Foreign Land, with “Our Identity and Our Destiny.”
I want to share with you today about a different kind of identify loss, who we are as disciples and how often we lose our sense of who we are in God, believing lies others have told us. This morning, what word or words are the key factors that shape your identity, is it God's word and God's voice or is it or the words and and voices of others? This is important because the answer determines how we see the world and how we live our lives. Neil Anderson, in the Bondage Breaker, states, “No person can consistently behave in a way that is inconsistent with how they perceive themselves.”
Big idea - As God's people, we are chosen by God to be sojourners in a foreign land to fulfill his purposes.
Identity of Author
Peter identifies himself as an 'apostle of Jesus Christ.' Jesus chose the twelve apostles; none of the them chose to be one. It should be encouraging for all of us to see that Peter was chosen to be an apostle, was a significant leader of the early church, and wrote this epistle despite that he did not have a great track record. All of the people God used were generally insignificant and sinful people yet were used greatly.
Identity of Recipients
Peter wrote to churches made up of primarily Gentile but also Jewish Christians scattered across the region of what is today modern Turkey. They were suffering persecution and Peter wrote to encourage them to persevere with joy and hope in the midst of suffering. He describes them as those who are elect/chosen exiles. Exiles are strangers scattered across a strange land, foreigners in a foreign land. This is the same way the OT describes the patriarchs. See last weeks manuscript for more information.
Now lets wade into deeper water, Peter calls us elect exiles. All of us who believe the bible to be true, believe in election. Many pastors shy away from it or avoid it. But I have a responsibility to teach as clearly as I can what the whole bible teaches, not just the easy parts. The writers of Scripture see it as a great comfort and encouragement to our faith. Let me start out by saying you do not have to agree with me to be part of CCC, to be involved, to serve here, etc. The elders do not all hold to the same view. Peter describes us this way so it is important for us to look at it. Elect is used to describe God's people in both the OT and the NT. The verb form of the word is used twenty two times in the NT; seven of those speak of God electing people to salvation. The noun form is also used twenty two times; seventeen are used of us as God's people.
Let me review with you three ways that election is generally defined. One way is to say that God elects those he knows beforehand who will choose him. I do not think this is correct for several reasons. Two are that foreknowledge means more than prior knowledge and faith is a gift of God.
A more recent view is corporate election, God chooses a group of people (ie Israel and the church). But the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 1:5), the apostle Paul (Gal 1:15) and John the Baptist (Lk 1:13-17) are chosen and called to birth. And every group is made up of individuals.
Third is that God in his sovereign grace elects people to salvation. I think this is consistent with the way bible describes election as we will see today.
Now look at verse two, there are three phrases that describe the nature of elect exiles: according to the foreknowledge of God; in the sanctification of the Spirit, and for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling with his blood.
Foreknowledge points to something that happened pretemporal, before time began. We see this in Ephesians, “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him (Eph 1:4).” Paul also points to this in 2 Timothy, “who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began (2 Tim 1:9).”