October 11, 2020
If you’ve been around Rock Springs long enough, one of the things you will hear me say is this: “The Church is the hope of the world.” And when you start to think about it, that’s a pretty bold statement. After all, the Church is made up of all kinds of people from all walks of life who have all kinds of flaws. In fact, if you wanted to, you could go to any church anytime and anyplace, and you’d be hard pressed to find one Church who gets everything right. You’d be hard pressed to find one church where everyone is using their gifts to serve. You’d be hard pressed to find one church where everyone is bearing one another’s burdens. And you’d be hard pressed to find one church who is loving their neighbors as themselves. Oh, you’d find some pretty great churches. But most of the time you’d discover that the majority of churches are filled with ordinary people with everyday struggles, who sometimes get it right, but most of time, are just doing the best they can. And yet, I’m not the only one who believes that the Church is the hope of the world. Do you know who else believes this? You guessed it! God does. God believes in you. God believes in us. That’s why when He saved you by the gospel of Jesus Christ, He included you in the most unique community ever conceived – a community of people chosen by Him to be the hope of the world.
How do I know this? Well, this is what we’re going to uncover today as we look at how the gospel changes our relationship with one another from 1 Peter 2:9-10. For it is from these verses we are going to look at what each of us share in common as God’s people and how this makes us as God’s people, the hope of the world.
You see, we live in day where people are kind of down on God’s Church. Many no longer see its relevance and have rejected the Church. Others say, “I love Jesus, but don’t love the church.” And others see the Church as something that’s there to serve them, and not the world. But what we’re going to look at today should serve to remind us that the Church is the One community that actually exists for the benefit of those who are not yet in it. The Church is the hope of the world! So, if you’ve found 1 Peter 2:9-10, lets read what God says about us: His Church 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. 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. 1 Peter 2:9-10
So, what do we share in common that makes us the hope of the world:
1.We share a common race God’s Word says, “You are a chosen race.” Let me be clear about this: “We don’t choose God, God chooses us.” In other words, as His people, His Church, we are a SELECT group. This phrase was first used by God in Isaiah 43:20, to identify the people of Israel. God chose Abram to create a people for Himself. So today, the Jewish people share a common heritage due to their connection to Abraham. And you’ve heard this term used of Israelites. They call themselves “The Chosen People.” But God says, you are a chosen race.
Here now lies the difference between The Chosen People of God in the Old Testament, and The Chosen People in the New: The Jews were physically descendant from Abraham. They were a chosen race by virtue of their bloodline. We, however, who follow Jesus Christ, are now God’s chosen people by virtue of our spiritual descendancey with Abraham. Listen to how Paul states this in Galatians 3:29, If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
God’s Word says that the moment you put your faith in Jesus, you were born again spiritually. This is a spiritual reality, a spiritual fact. Peter makes this fact known to us in the previous chapter when he wrote: For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 1 Peter 1:23
This is how God chose you to be part of a new spiritual race that He is creating in the Church. He included you in this race by your spiritual birth in Christ. And now, anyone who calls on the name of Jesus, anyone who believes Jesus died for your sins, was buried and rose again – are now part of this spiritual race, where there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:27-29
This is what we share in common: we share the same spiritual DNA. As such, each one of you share a spiritual bond with every other believer in Jesus Christ. You have been chosen to be part of what God is doing in the world to break down barriers that divide people.
So if there were ever a time where being God’s chosen race is relevant it is now. For as God’s chosen people, we can include, accept or befriend anyone who is not like us. We are not separated by the color of our skin, by economic status, intellectual ability, or moral behavior. By choosing you, God ended those things that divide us. That is one reason why the Church is the hope of the world – because now there exists a new community in the world where anyone can be accepted just as they are. The Church reveals a kind of acceptance our world desperately needs today. Because as God’s Chosen Race we are all the same at the foot of the cross. No one is any better than anyone else, because we are all equal in Jesus. That’s one way the gospel changes our relationships. Here’s another:
We share a common royalty: We are a royal priesthood. Again, this is something God makes you. The moment you trust Jesus God make you royalty with Jesus. He puts you on equal footing with Jesus. Jesus is the Messiah, our king. One day He will reign overall. And one day, you and I will reign together with Him. Listen to what is prophesied about us and our connection with Jesus in the book of Revelation: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10
Now, I don’t know about you, but I need this reminder. Sometimes it seems we have no power, or clout, or control in what’s going on in our world today. I don’t like having my freedom’s restricted by this pandemic. I understand them, but I don’t like them. I don’t like it when evil is called good and good is called evil. I can’t handle the reality of thinking of one more baby being aborted. However, when I am reminded that I am one of God’s royal subjects, on equal footing with Jesus, I’m reminded of two things: 1) This world is not our home. We are part of God’s kingdom not of this world. And there will be a day when evil will no longer have its way and we will reign with Jesus Christ. Right now there is much unrighteousness and justice is pretty fickle. But on that day when we reign with King Jesus, there will be true justice and righteousness throughout the land. 2) We are all part of God’s royal priesthood! And that’s different than being a holy priest. What’s the difference? William McDonald put it this way: “Holy priests enter the sanctuary of heaven by faith to worship. Royal priests go out in the world to witness.”
Think of it this way: As priests we bring men to God, as royalty we are to take God to men. This is another reason why the Church is the hope of the world. We take God to people, so they can see that there is a different way to live: to live in the kingdom of heaven, under a ruler who is kind, gracious and good; in a realm that’s about justice and righteousness. Our world is crying out for justice today. And yet we see here that God has made us His royal ambassadors to represent Him to the world. I think we’ve forgotten this calling. I’ve got a mission, you’ve got a mission, we’ve got a mission together. God has made us the hope of the world, because we’ve got the good news of the king and a new way of living in the kingdom. And that makes the Church the hope for the world. And we are the bearers of that hope. That’s the second thing the gospel changes about our relationships – we are needed in our world today, because we share in common mission. But we’re not done you. Here’s the next thing we share:
We share a common role: God calls us “a holy nation.” In other words, we are God’s new covenant community. This term, “holy nation” was first used of Israel in Exodus 19:6, where God gave Israel the Law so that Israel might create a culture set-apart from the world – a culture that would be distinctly different from the world around them. And what would make them different would be their holiness. However, Israel continually failed to obey the law and live up to their end of the covenant.
Today, the Church is God’s new covenant community. And what makes us different from Israel is that God’s law is now written on our hearts through our spiritual birth – by the Holy Spirit. So our role as a holy nation is to show the world a different way to live. So then, when people look at the church, they should see people who are being transformed by God; they will see people characterized by joy, peace, mercy and grace. Again, this makes the Church is the hope of the world, because our changed lives show the world that there is hope for change.
Now there’s a second aspect of our holy nature that God wants the world to see, and that is this: Our unity. Our unity of the Spirit is meant to show the world that people with diverse backgrounds can live together in harmony. The Church is to be the one place where a professor can break bread with a prostitute; where an ex-con can serve alongside a CEO; and where a tree hugger can be best buds with a bricklayer. This is what our world is looking for; and it’s what Jesus prayed for. And this is what the gospel produces in God’s people – a new kind of community where you can be different but still belong. And it is this unity that makes God’s Church the hope of the world.
Are you starting to see why God’s new creation, the Church, is so amazing? Sometimes we forget what God has done for us in uniting us together in His body – the Church… We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. We share all this in common. But there’s more. Here’s the next thing we all share together:
We share a common redemption! God calls us “a people for his own possession” How cool is that? God brought you to faith in Christ because He wanted you for His very own. That’s why he redeemed you, purchased you from the marketplace of sin, so that you could be His treasured possession.
What’s the most valuable possession you own? Your classic car? That beautiful work of art in your living room? That antique heirloom handed down from your parents? That’s the idea here. This possession speaks of something acquired and treasured as one’s own, a private possession. You are God’s private possession. You belong to God. You are treasured. Nothing is more valuable to God than you. Which means nothing is more valuable to God than every single person who makes up His Church!
And what makes you so valuable is the price He paid to redeem you. Again Peter understood this, for it was Peter that God used to write these words: God did not purchase us with silver or gold, but with the precious blood of His only Son. 1 Peter 1:18-19 This is why God treasures you. He paid the highest price to redeem you. He sent only His Son into the world, to pay the price to redeem you – with His own blood.
Do you see your eternal worth in God’s eyes? God sent Jesus to do for you what you could not do for yourself to set you free and make you His very own. So, then, if God did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? This is why the Church is the hope of the world! For every single human being longs to be loved, to be valued, to belong. And that’s what God did for you through the gospel. He purchased you with the blood of Jesus so you could belong in His family forever. We share a common redeemer and His name is Jesus. And that is why the Church is the hope of the World! And finally,
We share a common response: that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. God has done all this for us: He chose us, made us equals with Jesus, set us apart as His holy nation, and made us His treasured possession all so that now we might declare how great is our God. That we might tell the world that our God is slow to anger and rich in love. That our God is merciful and kind. That we might tell the world that God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. This is what makes us the hope of the world. For now we get to tell the world who God is and what has done for us:
He called us out of darkness and into His wonderful light! God changed our spiritual condition. Once we were in darkness. We were slaves to sin and ignorant of the goodness and mercy of God. But then through Jesus, God rescued us from the realm of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of light. He has made us sons of light so that now we are the light of the world. God changed our spiritual condition
Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people! God changed our spiritual status. We were once alienated from God – enemies of God. We didn’t belong to anyone or anything. We had no spiritual status with God. We were all alone. We were outside the camp, outside the family, outside the blessings – with no access to God and of no value to God. But once God loved us and adopted us through Jesus, He made us all His beloved and treasured possession. And finally,
Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. God changed our spiritual destiny. We were by nature objects of wrath; our eternal destiny was a one way street on the highway to hell and we had no hope. We had no power to change our destiny. Only God could do that, and He did it by bestowing His mercy on us through Jesus’ death on the cross. And now because we have received God’s mercy, we have a new destiny –to be with God forever as His treasured possession.
And now we get to tell the world who God is and what He has done. And that makes us: His Church, the hope of the world. For now, we have a story to tell. We have a story to tell how our gracious God, who out of His great love WILL GIVE mercy, peace and life to anyone who puts their trust in Jesus.
That is why when God saved you by His mercy and grace, He included you in His Church. So that now through our message we can bring hope to the world. And this is why the Church is the most unique community ever created, and why God made you part of it. So let’s be the people He created us to be and let us bring to the world the hope it needs today. Let’s pray!