Chosen By God-- Life From the Margins

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1. (Engage) I wasn’t chosen for the seventh grade travel baseball team. I head been on a travel team the last two years, but we really had no business calling ourselves a travel ball team other than for the fact that we traveled and I really had no business being on a travel ball team either. After two years that team fell apart because we were bad, but one of the dad’s still had hopes so he took over and formed a new team. My friend told me to try out, so I did. Now, you see my stature now, I’m a small guy, so as you can imagine, 8 years ago I was an even smaller guy, but being a die hard Cardinals and Yadier Molina fan I always played catcher, so this is the position I tried out for. Truthfully, I don’t remember how it all went, I remember not catching many pitches and when I went up to bat I don’t no if I made any contact at all, needless to say, I didn’t make the team, this was rather discouraging.
This would have been fine, I have never been a very competitive person and I didn’t have big baseball dreams, but he never told us. He said he’d call my dad and he did not. I never saw the guy again until one day in eight grade me and my mentor ran into him which was pretty awkward and pretty discouraging.
2. (Focus) Its hard to feel overlooked, unappreciated, un-chosen. Maybe from time to time you feel overlooked perhaps even overlooked or insignificant to the God of the universe. It begs the question, who am I to God? How has God dealt with me? These questions and the treatment of the world around us becomes discouraging as we live as sojourners,
3. (Set The Stage) Peter has a lot to say about who we are in God and how we live in response to that. (flip to 1 Peter). In his first letter Peter is encouraging Christians who may be feeling this way. Probably written to a collection of churches in Roman Asia Minor who are feeling the social pressures and probably feeling overlooked by their family and neighbors. Not official persecution, but the kind that is slowly ostracizing them from their society. Peter encourages them in this letter that they should not be discouraged by this and encourages believers in the face of such hardships.
5. Our first text today is 1 Peter 2:9-10.

Who are we to God?

The first question we may ask though is who are we in the eyes of God that being overlooked by the world rolls off our backs. How does God esteem us in such a way that nothing else matters but him?
Peter answers this question in one primary way, you have been chosen by God. Just like God chose Israel from among all the nations of the world he has chosen you.
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. 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.
Peter lists four characteristics of who we are in God.

Chosen Race

It is interesting that Peter’s audience is primarily Gentile. Jewish people would of course have seen themselves as a chosen race. After all it was Abraham their father who was chosen out of all the people of the earth to be the father of Israel, this covenant is carried on through God’s choosing of Issac over Ishmael, and Jacob over Esau. The people of Israel of Israel our God’s people above everyone else.
Deuteronomy 7:6–8 CSB
For you are a holy people belonging to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be his own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth. “The Lord had his heart set on you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors, he brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
But now Peter is extending this choseness to the Gentiles and to us. Of all the people of the earth God has looked upon you and said mine.

Royal Priesthood

Next Peter would characterize us as a royal priesthood. Another promise to Israel now extended to all those in Christ. The tribe of Levi was chosen to represent the people to God. The priests had access to God, they laid down sacrifices on behalf of the nation. Peter says this is you.
To a group of Christians who may be facing real pressures on their livelihoods due to their faith Peter says that their true work is that of priests.
This imagery will pop up again later but it is important to say Christian no matter what you find yourself doing you’re calling is the same, you bring people to God. You represent him.

Holy Nation

Holy in Hebrew means set apart. We are a nation, a gathering of people set apart by God. What specifically did God set us apart for? To receive blessings and goodness and protection. That all the world might see how good he is. That through his people his glory would shine forth.

Chosen Possession

Similar to a holy nation we are a chosen possession. Again the idea of God’s choosing you. It should bring you some encouragement that the God of the universe considers you his chosen possession.
This is so we can represent him, to proclaim his excellencies. While the world proclaims their own excellencies we point to God.
Just as Israel was to show the world that a life lived under God’s law was one of blessing Christian you are to show the world that a life lived for Christ is one of blessing. One of a changed state.

New Identity

That at one time you were not his but lived in rebellion to him. At one time you were fully deserving of his wrath and living in his wrath but now through the blood of Jesus you have recieved mercy.
These are all things that God in his choosing has said to be true of you.
Christian when we are looked at as bigots in a world drifting further and further from Christ he says chosen race.
When you get passed over on that ministry position he looks at you and says royal priesthood.
When the leaders of your nation begin to change the laws in way that give in to the idolatry and the corruption of the world and the pressure to cave surrounds you he says holy nation.
When you’re friends have abandoned you because they realize Bible college students have a different set of standards he says chosen possession.
Christian you have been chosen by God.

How should we respond to pressure?

If the answer to our first question is that we are chosen by God how then should we react to the pressures around us? How do we respond as Christians to a world that is increasingly hostile to the faith?
Those chosen by God accept living life from the sidelines.
Now I do not mean we live lives of complacency or inaction. I in no way mean you live on the sidelines of gospel mission. In that you are all in.
I mean you live on the sidelines in the eyes of the world. I have heard in described as life from the margins. Overlooked? Sure. Rejected by the world? Yep. Completely okay with that because of who you are in Jesus? Absolutely.
Peter answers this in two ways.

Rejected by Men— Receiving of life

Peter tells these Christians who have been rejected by those closest to them, just as Jesus was, that they together are being built up to live for him.
1 Peter 2:4–5 CSB
As you come to him, a living stone—rejected by people but chosen and honored by God—you yourselves, as living stones, a spiritual house, are being built to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
This imagery is a bit cryptic. Jesus is often described as the corner stone. The one that all faith is built on. He is also described as the stumbling block, the stone of offense that Israel would trip over and reject.
Peter here says you likewise are living stones. The stones of a living temple, a superior temple. That together as a church we image forth our savior, and if Jesus was rejected so will you be rejected.
I really think that this is everything from the Christian kid not being invited to the high school party because of their faith, to the woman who his fired from her job for living in alignment with God’s commands, to the man who is killed preaching the gospel to an un-reached people group. Christians will be rejected as the world rejects the Jesus we preach and live for.
And how do living stones how does a living temple respond? By fighting for its rights? By protests and marches? By proving themselves?
No, as priests, they offer spiritual sacrifices. When the world rejects you, you do what is good and pleasing to God even if it means they reject you more.
Being built up suggests a continuous action of looking and acting more like Jesus. Spiritual sacrifices seems to suggests in the New Testament praise and good deeds.
Hebrews 13:15–16 CSB
Therefore, through him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices.
When the world rejects you for who you are in God sing his praise even louder and love them more and more.
Now it was true for the Christians in Peter’s day and it may become a reality in ours that this has an affect on a Christians ability to provide. How do we respond then as God’s chosen people when our faith results in the loss of possessions?

Await your true inheritance

Peter would say await your true inheritance. Blessing God wait to receive the eternal life that is kept for you that cannot be taken or destroyed.
1 Peter 1:3–5 CSB
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
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