Intro: Five of our young people together with Jayme and four others from Crosspoint left early this morning on a mission to New Mexico. They are going there for a purpose. They will renovate homes in an Indian reservation and other projects to connect with the people. They will join a group of 250 young people to do projects already lined up. I said last Sunday this gives them an experience to be on mission with Christ to reach the lost. For us who are left here and not as young and energetic as they are, we don’t have to go very far to connect with people to tell them the good news. We don’t even have to fix homes or do projects because we meet them everyday in our workplace, neighborhood, in supermarkets, relatives and friends we know who are not yet saved. In our last Sunday’s message our focus was to live for God’s glory and do the work He has prepared for us to do. Today we will look at who we are and our highest purpose. We are now going on our fifth year and I believe it is vitally important to know these truths so that those who have been saved will live their utmost for God’s highest purpose.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Pet. 2:9-10
Notice again the object of Peter’s letter under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit addressing it to “you” mentioning it seven times in this passage. We have to remember that the letters of Paul, James, Peter, John and Jude are letters specifically to believers and followers of Jesus Christ. Peter reveals to them God’s work in salvation right at the beginning of his letter.
“To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood.” 1 Pet. 1:1-2
This of course includes us who are in Reno. Peter agrees with Paul about God choosing those He will save even before the creation of the world because of His foreknowledge. Foreknowledge means knowing before hand. This truth even goes back to the Old Testament when God chose the nation Israel, all of them descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” Deut. 7:6
Jesus affirmed this truth Himself that God chooses whom He will save.
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” John 6:37
And this is what Jesus did for those God has chosen to be save.
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.” John 17:6
God did not only choose the people beforehand before the creation of the world but the Triune God had also decided who will die in their behalf to pay for their sins and save them from going to hell. The Holy Spirit revealed this truth to Peter also in this same letter just before our text.
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” 1 Pet. 1:18-20
God’s plan in saving sinners had already been revealed by Peter in the first two verses of his letter. But how does one know that he has been chosen? Jesus said, that those that were given to Him to be saved by His Father would obey. This is the work of the Holy Spirit to make them obey. So the question we ought to ask ourselves, is this true in my life? Am I obedient to every command the Lord reveals to me through His Word? Only you and I can answer that. Here’s what Jesus commanded His disciples to teach.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt. 28:19-20
Going back to our text, “you are a chosen people”. This is the status of every one who is saved. It is very clear that it is God who chooses and not we choosing God. After I got saved, I thought it was I who chose to repent and receive Christ. Yes, I decided to respond to the gospel, a must for everyone to be saved. I made this big step of faith and chose to give up all my sins, that’s repentance and surrendered my life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Only then did I experience forgiveness of all my sins and assurance of salvation. This is something we cannot cause to happen. It is miraculous when our consciences are cleansed from all guilt. I did not understand being chosen then, but now through the knowledge of the truth the reason I chose to believe and repent was because God worked to convict me by His Spirit of sin, judgment, hell, heaven and salvation through Christ alone. All these are worked out by God to save His elect. Here’s what the saved Jews said,
“So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” Acts 11:18b
And caused them to believe because...
“When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48
Every one God has chosen to save are equal in status. There is no race, color, gender, education, rich or poor. Everyone is equal because we are all paid with the same price. There is no favoritism with God. And we are…
“A Royal Priesthood.” One can be the poorest among Christians or uneducated and yet are now members of royalty. In England and some monarchial government only those who are descendants of the King will be appointed to the throne by succession. They are referred to as having royal blood. Prince Charles and Prince William have the same blood as the poorest of their subjects. But believers when they become sons of God enters into the Royal family having become one with the King of kings and Lord of lords. And because we all have access to the King we are given the office of priesthood. In the Old Testament only the High Priest chosen from among the priest can enter God’s presence and only once a year. The rest of the descendants of Levi are only to minister outside the Holy of Holies to present the sacrifices by killing the lambs on the altar and offering the blood at the Holy Place. Their role was to bring to God the offerings of the people. However, with Jesus being now our High Priest who is seated at the right hand of God the Father, every believer can approach God with confidence at the throne of grace to present offerings. We offer first ourselves as a living sacrifice. Then we present our prayers and petitions for others need. Unbelievers have no access to God because they don’t belong to God.
We now have this “New Life in Christ” and are “A holy nation.” Because God is holy we are to be holy. Jesus is the only human who ever lived a holy life because He did not sin. Holy is God’s nature and practice. Only Jesus had both. He was holy because He is the Son of God and his practice was holy because he never sinned. What about us? All of us are born with a sinful nature and sinned in life. How then can we be holy? Here’s how?
“In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.” Heb. 2:10-11
At our conversion, we are immediately given the Holy Spirit to live in us. In our standing with God we are holy, that’s our position. God sees His Son in us and we are clothed with His righteousness. But our life is not yet holy. We go through a process called sanctification that is worked out by the Holy Spirit for us to follow and obey our Lord Jesus Christ. As we obey we will become like Him and less and less of what we were. The Holy Spirit’s work is to change us to be holy in our spirit. As our spirit is growing and being changed from the inside the outward will exhibit the change from the inside. The Holy Spirit continues to work in us until we become like Jesus.
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Phil. 2:13
Many who claim to be Christians but are not becoming like Jesus is because they don’t have the Holy Spirit in them. They may reform for a while but return to their life of sin like the dog who returns to his vomit. They have no power to obey and no one to convict them of sin. This was prophesied in the Old Testament and is the evidence of those who are chosen.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you: I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezek. 36:26-27
“A people belonging to God.” There are only two classes of people in the world. Either you belong to God or to the devil. Those belonging to God are saved and those belonging to the devil will be with him in hell. Where did we all come from and who was our father? This was who we all were.
“Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God.” Once refers to when we were still unsaved. Wasn’t this true then of us?
“You belong to your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning not holding to the truth for there is no truth in him. When he lies he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44
Weren’t we all liars and murderers? We will say, no I didn’t kill anyone. But God saw what’s inside our hearts.
“Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.” 1 John 3:15
If hatred is murder to God, I wonder how many people have we already killed and murdered? Is there anyone here who has not wished evil against anyone out of hatred from the heart? That’s where we came from before you and I were saved. Were we people of God then? No. We were all children of the devil. There is a wrong teaching and claim that we are all children of God. That’s a lie. We are all creatures created by God and this is how and only then one becomes God’s child.
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12
The “him”, “his” and “he” is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
That’s when we changed fathers. Formerly we did not belong to God as our Father but after receiving Jesus Christ we now belong to God, a people of God. This was conferred to the disciples of Jesus after He died and was raised from the dead. This was the right Jesus gave them spoken through…
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, “I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. Mary Magdalene went to tell the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.” John 20:17-18
What’s the Purpose God chose to save us? “That you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Last Sunday the message focused on our being saved for God’s glory to do good works. How do we declare the praises of him? First of all we need to remember where we came from, from darkness to the wonderful light. Darkness represents hell and our condition as being dead and separated from the light. The one who wrote the hymn Amazing Grace expressed it well, the truth where he came from to where he is now all by the grace of God. He didn’t do anything to deserve to be saved, for how can a blind make himself see. Salvation was all by God to an undeserving sinner such as you and me.
People who think they deserve to be saved because they are not as bad as other sinners and have done many good works will give glory to themselves. But for those who found favor and mercy from God will have nothing to boast but boast in the One who had mercy and grace to save them from going to hell. Save ones boast in the Lord.
So how do we declare the praises of Him? Declare it from the heart by expressing it through our mouth, singing praises to His name, testifying of His goodness and faithfulness. Where do you do that? In the congregation of God’s people at the place we have designated to meet at an appointed time. This is when we meet for worship on the first day of the week, Sunday. There are some who take worship lightly and are in the habit of doing. But why should we? I believe that when we fully understand what God has done for us, we will be forever grateful and thankful to the One who saved us from going to hell. God was not obligated to save us but He did it out of His love for us even though we did not deserve to be loved. That’s the reason we love Him because He first loved us. We worship out of our love for God who is worthy of our worship. He gave us the promise that God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit who is already in us will be in our midst. Worship is our highest expression of gratitude that honors and pleases God. This is the highest purpose God chose to save us that brings glory to God. The last words after all the Psalms were written concludes with this,
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” Ps. 150:6
For as long as I live on earth I will praise the Lord, declaring His excellences and wonderful deeds to men especially to His chosen ones. Is worship a command? Jesus was tempted by the devil by offering to give Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor if he will bow down and worship him. What did Jesus say? What would you say?
“Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” Matt. 4:10
Then we declare the praises of him by the testimony of our lives that is being conformed to the likeness of God’s Son. Having… and ready to…
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Pet. 3:15
Do you know if you have been chosen or not? You may be here today but have not repented of your sins and received Jesus as Lord in your heart. Is God drawing you to His Son? Come to Jesus…