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1 Peter 2:9-10 (ESV)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. [10] Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

I Introduction

1) Our Missions Conference begins in three weeks. The theme of it is “let your light shine” (Matthew 5:16) and we are looking mainly at home missions – missionary work that takes place in our own city (John Bell), our own province (Open Roads, Kathy Bell …) Our own country (Cherys …).

2) So, for the next three weeks we are going to consider a few texts in the New Testament that deal with the concept of “light”. The danger here is that one of our speakers may speak on one of the same texts. If that happens then take it as a message from God that this is something you really need.

3)Theme of I Peter

The reason Peter wrote this letter was to encourage Christians who are having a rough time because of their faith. So – you are suffering because you are trying to remain faithful to Jesus Christ. What will help you?

It will help you to remember who you are –

a) You are a chosen race- the world rejects you – so what? God has chosen you. And don’t forget – it

rejected Christ first – Christ is the Chosen One and you are chosen in Him (2:4, 6). As the chosen One of God Jesus suffered and so will you.

b) You are a royal priesthood – you offer sacrifices to the King as children of the King (2:5) and you represent God/Christ to the world (2:12)

c) A holy nation – set apart unto God and separated from sin. But a nation – a people who are united in their call, their purpose, their love for God and one another.

d) A people belonging to God in a way that others do not. It will help you to remember that you are part of a covenant that God made a very long time ago. Peter here is quoting the OT in things that were said about the nation of Israel. His point here is that what was said about Israel then is true of all the church of Christ now. See Exodus 19:5-6 and Isaiah 43:20-21

Exodus 19:5-6 – Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; [6] and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

Isaiah 43:20-21 (ESV)

The wild beasts will honor me,

the jackals and the ostriches,

for I give water in the wilderness,

rivers in the desert,

to give drink to my chosen people,

[21] the people whom I formed for myself

that they might declare my praise.

Israel as a nation is a portrayal of what God is doing in Christ for the whole world. The Exodus is a shadow of a greater reality – liberation from sin through the life and work of Christ.

We could not choose ourselves, make ourselves a royal priesthood, a holy nation, or a people for His own possession. We could not do such a thing and we would never even have wanted to. But here we are with these things said to be true of us. How did that happen? Grace happened. These things are the Gospel dear ones. Every one of the things on this list are able to be on the list because of the plan of God to save us. They can be said of us because of the cross.

So here is Peter telling people what they need to know to encourage them in their tough times and what does he say? “Look what God has already done for you. See the grace of God at work in you.”

Here is Peter telling them that no matter what happens they can live for God. Why? Because of the grace of God at work in them. See the last phrase of verse 8

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

THEY stumble – but not you. You won’t stumble. Why not? Because you are a chosen race … .

Dear ones listen – we are called to proclaim the excellencies of the One who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light. Here is where it begins. Remember the absolutely mind boggling things that grace has done for you and in you and to you. Peter is reminding them of who they are. Get a grip on what God, in Christ, has done for you and why He has done that and you will be the better Christian.

II The Purpose of God’s Grace in Us

1) Those incredible things mentioned in verse 9 all lead to Peter telling us why God did all this for us.

that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light

proclaimexangello – to tell out, proclaim abroad, to publish completely

We have been given the great privileges outlined there by Peter so that we might publish completely the marvelous qualities of God. See Eph 2:7, Rev. 5:9.

2) Now we could stop there and just say “Now go out all you believers and proclaim the excellencies of our great God who has done great things for us by His undeserved grace.

But how do we proclaim His marvelous qualities?

Are we to decorate our bumpers with fish and verses and little slogans?

Are we to be constantly preaching to others whenever we are within earshot of them?

Are we to end every sentence with a “praise the Lord!” whenever we are speaking to people?

Nothing particularly wrong with any of that stuff I suppose, but that is not the kind of thing that Peter is talking about here.

See what proclaiming the Excellencies of God leads Peter to say next:

1) 2:11-12 – abstaining from fulfilling sinful desires and maintaining honourable conduct among the “Gentiles”. You live your life in the midst of people who do not share your faith in Jesus Christ. Two questions:

Do the non-Christian people you rub shoulders with every day know you are a believer and if they do, do they see that faith in Jesus Christ makes you live honourably?

2) 2:13, 18; 3:1 – Submission

Citizens to rulers

Slaves to masters

Wives to husbands

3) Interpersonal relationships 3:8-12

V. 8 – unity, sympathy, brotherly love, tender heartedness, humility

V. 8 – non-retaliation

4) Suffering – 3:13-4:19

There is nothing in the list above that is natural to us. Bumper stickers and church attendance and Christian music on in the car are all fine. But that is not the demonstration of light that shows forth the excellencies of God. What does is transformed living. Living that does not come naturally. Living that goes against the grain of the culture’s understanding of things. Living that can only be explained by grace. Living that earns the opposition and disdain of the culture’s way of thinking.

It is living abstaining from fulfilling sinful desires and maintaining honourable conduct among the “Gentiles” with joy because we know verse 9 is true of us.

It is submission without the griping.

It is suffering with an Acts 5:41 attitude

Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.

This is proclaiming a great God to a needy world. This is being thankful for God bringing us into His light.

III What Light?

But note this well. We are concerned with people seeing Him, not us.

The purpose of evangelism is people who are smitten with God wanting others to know how marvelous He is. See Eph. 2:7, Luke 2:14, Rev. 5:9.

Now then – let’s go back to the theme of our Missions Conference. “Let your light shine”. Peter says here that our purpose is to proclaim the excellencies of the One who has brought us into HIS marvellous light. Let your light shine does not mean that there is something about US that the world needs to see. What Jesus was saying when He said “Let your light shine” was not – you are a great light. He was saying “you have received a great light. It lives in you and the world needs to see that light. The light dear ones – is Him. “Let your light shine means “Show the world Him”

Don’t go into yourself and try to produce light. The light in you is Him. Tell of Him. Show forth Him. Give Him glory. We do not want people to say “what nice people”. We want them to say “What a God they serve!” And they will not if the good we do is what anyone else can do. We need to live in the world with a supernatural light – living good when everyone else is not.

2 Cor. 4:6-7 – For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. [7] But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

John 11:9-10 – Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. [10] But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

1 Thes. 5:5- For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.

Dear Christian. We have been blessed with marvelous light by grace. We are a chosen race … . We are now IN His light.

Dear ones – let it shine out. Let people see it. Live in the power of His grace, for His glory.

And as the hymn says

And may they forget the channel, seeing only Him.”