"Who We Are: Sojourners"
This whole first chapter describes who we are. As we walk through the list in verses 9-10, we accept our calling from God. Then in verses 11-12 we see how it causes us to live in this world.
Who We Are: Sojourners
(1 Pet. 2:9-12)
A. I loved Lincoln Logs when I was growing up. They were wonderful. I would make forts for my army men and just have a lot of fun. Wanting to relive my childhood we bought Lincoln Logs when our kids were little. In fact I have one here. How well do you think this single piece could be at being a Lincoln Log House? I know it is a simple answer; it can’t be a house when it is simply one log. Now if I get a bunch of Lincoln Logs I can build a house or fort. But to get started, I need one piece that that all the others will connect to. In most buildings it would be the cornerstone. That stone set in the corner, or the capstone, that last stone set in the arch that locks all the other stones in place. Pennsylvania is called the “keystone” state, the state that locks all the others into place.
B. The Bible uses several metaphors to describe the church. We are sometimes talked about as a family. In the church family we have lots of brothers and sisters in the faith. The church is sometimes talked about as a kingdom, were we are the citizens with Jesus ruling as our king and to whom we are under subjection. The church is sometimes talked about as a body emphasizing both unity and diversity of each person, how we are all parts of the body and Jesus is the head. But today, I want to start by looking at the church as a building; a spiritual house where Jesus is both the cornerstone and the capstone.
I. We Are A Spiritual House (The New Temple)
A. READ 1 Pet. 2:4-8 I would love to have seen what we call Solomon’s Temple. As you read about it in the OT it must have been absolutely beautiful. But you and I are a new temple of God. We are the living stones being built into a spiritual house. It a house not made by human hands, but as living stones we are a place and people of sacrifice.
B. No one stone makes the house, but together, with Jesus as a cornerstone we are God’s house. In a day and age of where everyone is an island and we communicate by text, computer or phone the idea of a church being a spiritual house, a home, a place where you and I need each other is foreign. But that is exactly what Peter is teaching us. Each person makes this house a better place. We are the holy temple in whom the Spirit of God dwells.
II. We Are Chosen People
A. As Peter unfolds the idea of us being a spiritual house, he calls upon us as also be the workers in that house. He describes who we are and what we do in this spiritual house (READ 1 Pet. 2: 9-10)
B. As Gentile Christians, this is a wonderful affirmation of our inheritance in Christ. Because of what Jesus has done for us, all of us, Jew and Gentile alike, are priests in this spiritual house that we make us.
C. In the book of Hosea, God has him marry a woman who would leave him for other men. But before she does, she has children. One is a son, “lo-ammi.” That was the name Hosea gave to his son. It is translated “not my people.” It showed God’s displeasure with Israel. Another was a daughter who Hosea called, “lo-ruhamah” which meant, “not pitied.” But Peter, maybe drawing on that story, proclaims that even though we were once “not a people” and were once, “without mercy,” now have become God’s people have been given God’s mercy.
D. Because of that we tell the story of our transformation. We, like priests, bring people before God so that they too can hear good news of Jesus and find salvation in him.
II. We Are Sojourners
A. With the basis for understanding Christian community, Peter gives us practical advice on Christian behavior. (READ 1 Pet. 2:11). The verse starts with Peter calling them “beloved” or “friends.”
B. It is because of the relationship they had with Peter that he “appeals to them.” He “begs them” to see who they are in this world. Peter uses two terms “Sojourners” and “exiles” or as the NIV states “aliens and strangers.” These two words can be taken independently or together as one thought. However you view it, Peter is reminding them that “this world is not their home, they’re just passing through.”
C. We as sojourners/aliens are not to live separated from this physical world, but to be involved in it in terms of proper behavior. That is done by learning to say “no” to desires of the flesh which is at war within us. When the world looks at us we are different, peculiar, strange. I get that. But our difference is because we live as priests in a world that does not come to the sanctuary of God.
D. Listen to verse 12. How I conduct myself when I am driving, when I am in a crowded line at the grocery store, when you are at your job or any other time when Christians are in contact with the secular world speaks, not about me, but about Jesus who has changed me.
E. Will people lie about you or speak evil of you? Yes! Jesus said as much in the Sermon on the Mount (READ Matt. 5:11-12). Peter heard those very words come from the lips of Jesus (READ John 16:1-4).
A. The Boy Scouts have a rule: “Always leave the campground cleaner than you found it.” The rule is simple if you find a mess on the ground, you clean it up regardless of who might have made the mess. In doing this you intentionally improve the environment for the next group of campers.
B. If you are here and you do not know Jesus as your Savior, this old world is as good as it is going to get for you. If you will trust Jesus as your Savior you too can have the hope of eternal life. And when you face the troubles, difficulties and sufferings of this life you can do so with hope, I encourage you to surrender to Christ today and you can say with us ….”This World Is Not Our Home!”