Summary: 1. We grow in goodness (vs. 1-3). 2. We have been chosen as children (vs. 2, 9, 10). 3. We should send up spiritual sacrifices (vs. 4-7). 4. We are people of praise (vs. 7-9). 5. We make it by mercy (vs. 10).
The People of God
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Nov. 11, 2012
*Our oldest daughter, Becky, graduated from the New Orleans Seminary in 2005. We tried to go down whenever we could. And one time we went out to eat at the Piccadilly Cafeteria near the school.
*As we were about to leave, I saw something I had never seen before. One of the Piccadilly workers had a big wad of dollar bills pinned to her blouse. I asked Becky what it was all about, and she said, “It’s her birthday. So, people give her a dollar to pin on her blouse and wish her ‘Happy Birthday.’” It was a neat thing to see and do. You could tell it made her feel like a special person on that day.
*Well, you may not have a wad of dollar bills on your shirt, but if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, YOU are a special person. 1 Peter 2:9 in the NKJ says: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people. . .”
*This verse in the KJV says: “Ye are a peculiar people. . .” And I suppose most of us are one way or another. But some of those King James words have changed over the years. And “peculiar” is one of those words. The original Greek word meant “purchased,” “preserved,” “someone’s purchased possession.”
*Believers: We are special people, because we have been bought by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are the people of God! But what does this mean for our lives? -- Peter helps us see.
1. First: It means that we should be growing in goodness.
 God wants us to grow as Christians. -- And in order to really grow, there are some things we have to take off.
*This is what Peter was talking about in vs. 1, when he said that we should be “laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking.” The word picture there is like taking off some soiled clothes that you can’t wear any more. And these soiled clothes include:
-Malice: That’s an evil nature with a desire to hurt others.
-Guile: That’s sneakiness, trickery.
-Hypocrisy: Deceitful actions and attitudes.
-Envy: Being unhappy because someone else has something and you don’t.
-Evil speaking: That could be gossip, slander or back-biting (i.e. running other people down, especially behind their back).
*The Lord wants us to strip all of these things out of our lives, because they hurt other people. And they hurt us.
*That reminds me of the worst job I ever had: Burning trash fires for a land-clearing company. I only lasted 3 weeks. The big dozers would push fallen trees into piles almost as big as this room. But you know: green wood does not like to burn. So, I would have to carry tires and 5-gallon buckets of kerosene 100 yards across an open field to get the fire going.
*Well, that ground wasn’t smooth like this carpet. I was stumbling over rocks, roots and holes. So that kerosene would slosh all over my jeans every step of the way. And after a couple of hours it burned my legs like acid.
*Oh, I wanted to strip-off those pants! -- And God wants us to strip our sinful ways out of our lives.
 To really grow as Christians, there are some things to take off. -- And there is something we have to take in: God’s Word.
*This is Peter’s point to us in vs. 2&3, where he tells believers:
2. as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,
3. if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
*In John 6:63, Jesus said: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”
*In 1864, Abraham Lincoln said this about the Bible: “In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.” (1)
*Abraham Lincoln saw the importance of the Word of God. But how important is God’s Word to us? -- That depends on the big “IF” in vs. 3. Have we “indeed tasted that the Lord is gracious?”
*Years ago, Steve Bartkowski was a quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, and he gave this testimony: “For years the Bible was a dead book to me . . . like grits without salt. But after I gave my life to Jesus Christ, it became alive. I saw that the Bible was God’s way of talking to me.” (2)