Summary: The Big Idea: When God called us out of the darkness of this world, He gave us the responsibility to be light.With this Big Idea in mind, one may be wondering how to fulfill this purpose of lighting a dark world. Just like the Peter¡¦s 1st Century Christi
YOU ARE GOD¡¦S ROYAL PRIESTS
"Living for the Pleasure of God and the Benefit of His People"
INTRODUCTION: THE CHURCH IS SPECIAL
1. The Church is special. This past week, one of my favorite comedy shows hit ¡§below the belt¡¨ when it chose to make fun of people who chose to regularly go to church. Of course, Hollywood cast these churchgoers as uptight, stoggy, hypocritical, and arrogant because they didn¡¦t agree with their adult daughter¡¦s choice of not going to church because her boyfriend had stayed overnight with her. So, once again, Hollywood advances the perception that the Christian is an arrogant, kill-joy; and that true liberation comes when one shed the confining religious ¡§walls¡¨ of the church. Again, I was reminded of the subtle fact that as a Christian I am slowly being left out of this world. But the good news is that I am locked into God¡XHis love, grace, mercy and holiness. Thankfully, Hollywood doesn¡¦t write the final script on who the church is, what Christians are like, and what the church corporately exists to do. With some very picturesque and elegant imagery, God has written the script on the church in His Word. Specifically, would you turn to 1 Peter 2:4-1. Peter writes to encourage His friends and spiritual family. For though they were being left out of their society, they were locked into God¡Xwho saw them differently and had a wonderful role for them to fulfill in their corner of His world. (Read text)
2. The Big Idea: Peter¡¦s words are wonderful and stress the special standing that we enjoy with God. He called us out of our darkness and sin, touching us with the light of His love, mercy, grace and holiness. He did this for a special reason. That reason is summed up in the Big Idea for this morning. When God called us out of the darkness of this world, He gave us the responsibility to be light.
3. Transition: With this Big Idea in mind, you may be wondering how you are going to fulfill this purpose of lighting a dark world. Just like the Peter¡¦s First Century Christian audience, we are priests. Not just priests in your average priesthood. We are priests in God¡¦s royal, holy priesthood. Now, at first blush you may be embarrassed at the thought of being a priest, especially one that is royal and holy. You know that royalty is inherited. You have no real chance of becoming King in this lifetime. And after the week that you may have just had, you¡¦re thinking that holiness may as well be inherited as well, cause it sure ain¡¦t happening the way you would like it. Well, before you get all out of sorts with this special priestly identity, you must remember this truth about the church to which you belong: The church is a group of sinful people who came to Christ for salvation and are committed to walking together in obedience Essentially, we are a group of redeemed (¡§bought back¡¨) sinners. Now that is encouraging!
4. Transition¡XAn Inquiring Mind Wants to Know: As I studied this text, three questions surfaced in my mind: 1) How did I get to be a royal priest? 2) What is required of me as a royal priest? 3) How can I become the best possible priest? These inquiries are similar to the questions you would ask if you were interviewing for a new job, or possibly even when you got married, or even when you were contacted to run for a particular elected position at this church. We want to know what our title will be and what is expected of us. So, let¡¦s first consider how we entered God¡¦s royal, holy priesthood.
I. ENTERING GOD¡¦S ROYAL PRIESTHOOD (1 Peter 2:4-8)
„« An Inquiring Mind Wants to Know: So, you may be wondering just how you did get to be a royal priest. Peter offers two answers to your question.
A. When You Came to Christ through Spirit-Inspired Belief and Trust: Briefly, let¡¦s take a moment to consider your life-journey to this point. Prior to Christ, you were just going along¡Xmaybe happily, maybe not; but, definitely unfulfilled and dissatisfied. You started to see yourself differently. It was as if someone was pointing out the areas of your life could be better, more fulfilling. You came to a point in your road where a ¡§large stone¡¨ stood between you and moving on. That ¡§Stone¡¨ demanded special consideration. That ¡§Stone¡¨ was Christ. His offer of forgiveness and life-leadership had to be accepted or rejected. There was no moving until a decision was made. You chose what others rejected¡XChrist! Apostolic teaching instructs that your ¡§coming to Christ¡¨ was Spirit-inspired. In other words, you were so steeped in your sin that you needed some help. Thus, God¡¦s Holy Spirit was sent to work, helping you with your belief so that you could trust Him. With the Spirit¡¦s inspiration and illumination, you were able to understand and accept that Jesus was the divine Son of God, born of a virgin, crucified, dead, buried and risen again. With this cooperative interaction, you were then able to respond in trust to this belief and began walking in the direction of our Lord. At times, the road has been tough. At other times, the road has been smooth. At all times, the journey has been leading you to a delightful, divine end. Yet, it is heartbreaking to know that those who rejected the ¡§Stone¡¨ have chosen to walk a dead-end road that leads to eternal destruction.