You belong to God, but live in a foreign land (1 Pet 1:1)

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Living Secure in an Insecure World  (1 Peter 1:1-5)Download Sermon Outline.

Sermon manuscript…You belong to God, but live in a foreign land

1 Peter 1:1

The Christians Peter addresses in 1 Peter were in TROUBLE, they’ve been punished by Rome, labeled as a disruptive menace, sent away from the city of Rome to 5 foreign regions v1, resulting in social ostracism and malicious talk which undermines their relationships with their community and neighbors.

Their credibility was undermined; their witness strained, and their livelihood questioned. And in the 1st century world, NO WORK meant no food – your family starves in front of you…

They need to know HOW to respond to this unjust treatment. SO, Peter writes to give them HOPE and teach them how to STAND FIRM in a foreign land

Do you know how to thrive for Christ when life is difficult?

Then OPEN YOUR BIBLES to 1 Peter and take out your OUTLINE

As our Lord Jesus Christ shepherds us, His sheep through 1 Peter, He’ll call us to fully identify with HIM in every way. Christian, if you’re a GENUINE believer, then you’ll follow Christ, which means you will speak like He speaks, do what He does, obey what He commands and ready? suffer like He suffered. And what will encourage us is to be reminded about our SALVATION – how Christ SUFFERED for us, which will enable us to SUBMIT to injustice and SERVE Christ in the midst of it. As Peter begins his letter, as He greets these fellow aliens, and reminds them right off of their relationship to GOD, their place in this SOCIETY and identity with God’s PEOPLE.

How is your walk with God today and your relationship? Hot, drifting, routine?

Do you need some help relating to the people of this world?

How are you treating your brothers and sisters in Christ?

Could you use some help in those areas?  I could.

So listen to 1 Peter 1: 1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.

Even though these Christians are in a tough situation – Peter reminds them they’ve been CHOSEN for this. God is in this TRIAL, in fact, all 3 persons of the Trinity, Father, Spirit, and Son are all involved…according to verse 2.  The Father knows all about it, is intimately involved in it, the Spirit is causing you to grow and Christ is honored as a result of it. Peter is talking about their salvation here but the implication is to help these Christians live secure in an insecure world…

Make no mistake; God is in charge… even of this displacement. But what about BAD people who do BAD things to us? You mean like Joseph’s evil brothers who sold him as a slave, later falsely accused then jailed for YEARS. Years! And how did Joseph respond to his brothers, Genesis 50:20 “And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. But these Christians were being faithful to spread the gospel and now are punished for it by sending them away to foreign lands–HOW UNFAIR! Is God in charge of UNFAIR? Yes, look at the CROSS – religious hypocrites arranged it; godless men nailed Christ to the Cross, YET the Father planned it, plus He poured out all His wrath upon His own Son for YOUR SIN: your sin put him there;  your lack of patience this morning, the talk you shared, your selfishness, PRIDE – ALL YOUR SIN fell on Christ. What was God’s perspective? Peter says in Acts 2:23 this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24 “And God raised Him up again…

God put Christ on the cross for us YET evil men put him to death. Both are true: Bad people hurt you, evil things happen but God is always in charge and allows them for His glory and your good.  God is in charge of your trials, He has caused or allowed unfairness, injustice and difficulties. The challenges of your marriage and parenting come from Him. He oversees what those Christians said about you, or how those students hurt you at school… God is in charge of your income and job loss. He oversees your girlfriend or boyfriend or LACK thereof. AND God is in charge of the scattering of these Christians in 1 Peter

Verses 1+2 are very unusual: When you look at English, it looks like it is full of verbs and sentences. But the Greek is totally unique.

It is a series of nouns, adjectives, conjunctions; ending with just one small verb, May be multiplied, translated in fullest measure. In other words, it’s two verses of meaningful truths and facts. Like me greeting Robert Dodson, Hi Robert, you happy, fun, gracious, kid loving, UCLA nut, great wife, selling medical stuff who lives in a gated community! All true, all instructive & all affirming. So Peter begins his letter with some affirming FACTS to the scattered Christians to help them live secure in an insecure world – what are they?

#1 You are secure because this letter is God’s Word, coming to you with the AUTHORITY of an apostle

Peter begins with Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, AN APOSTLE – look at that. I don’t think many of us have fully grasped the importance of the apostles…To hold the title of Apostle, of the Lord Jesus Christ was the highest title conceivable for any mere mortal- Higher than a president, pastor, professor, principle, pilot or police. Do you realize the doctrine of apostolic authority was emphasized extensively from the days of the early church until the Reformation period. The Roman Catholic Church had held to the doctrine of apostolic authority, but to it, they wrongly added the non-biblical doctrine of apostolic succession. Pope to pope, to pope, to pope … NOPE. They wrongly taught that the authority of the apostles had been handed down to the various popes and bishops in the church.   Calling Peter the first pope, apostolic succession is incorrect. Peter was not the first pope; and because of that error, the Reformers {Luther/Calvin} rightly denied that doctrine. But in doing so, they also lost a proper emphasis upon the genuine biblical doctrine of apostolic authority.   And the church has suffered from that loss of this truth ever since. Let’s get it back.

Get a clear picture of exactly who and what the apostles were

The apostles of Jesus Christ had authority because they were:

1st FOUNDATIONAL As Paul describes the amazing nature of the Church, He says in Ephesians 2:20, “The church is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.”

The church was built upon an initial, beginning foundation consisting of apostles and prophets. If you claim we need to have apostles and prophets today, you’re really saying we need a new foundation. And according to Ephesians 2:20, we’d also have to say we need a new Savior as well… for Jesus is the “chief cornerstone.” That’s the stone that lines up the entire foundation and building.

• You don’t build the foundation on the 21st floor [21st century], the foundation was laid at the beginning of the building, the bottom floor in the first century, not the 21st century.

The apostles also had authority because they were

2nd EYEWITNESSES to the resurrection of Jesus Christ

In Acts 1:22, when the 120 met to elect a successor to Judas, Peter, speaking on behalf of the apostles, declared that any candidate needed to be “a witness with us of His resurrection”

• Paul even affirmed in I Corinthians 9:1, {& many other places}

Am I not an apostle, have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?

• These men were not only foundational but had to have been eyewitnesses of the risen Christ, personally chosen, personally taught and personally empowered by Christ.

3rd Apostles also had authority because they were PROXIES of Christ.

The word proxy means to have the authority and power of another. To be an apostle of Jesus meant they were authorized agents for Jesus Christ. There is a vital distinction between a disciple and an apostle. “Disciple” refers to a learner or follower. “Apostle” means sent one, but speaks of one who has been legally authorized to speak and act on behalf of the person so authorizing him. Matthew 10:1 helps us understand who the apostles were.  Before the beginning of the Church at Pentecost, the 12 were primarily called disciples; but after Acts 2, the men were regularly called apostles. So, what is it that takes a disciple and changes him into an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Matthew 10:1 tells us that Jesus, “having summoned His twelve disciples,.  He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”

Then in verse 2, the Bible calls the 12, apostles Matthew 10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: {which is the only time apostle is used in Matthew} The Lord uniquely invested His apostles with the same power that He Himself had demonstrated. That is why the true Apostles could say “We command you” in 2 Thessalonians 3:6, or even threaten to come after an unruly church with a rod in 1 Corinthians 4:21. They had incredible authority.  So much so, that:

4th The Apostles were the only men accepted as the WRITERS OF SCRIPTURE.

They alone were the writers of NT Revelation. It was the Lord Jesus himself who made sure we could all be sitting here with 27 NT books in our laps this morning. Jesus didn’t give us a list of approved books, but He did give us a list of approved authors. He chose those men whom we name as apostles. Several scriptures clearly declare the NT to be as authoritative as the OT: For example, in 2 Peter 3:2. Peter said to “remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets (the Old Testament) and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles (the New Testament)” Just a few verses later in verse 16, Peter puts Paul’s writings on the same plane as “the rest of the Scriptures.” The NT is equal to OT = We know it is God’s Word, because it was written or approved by the apostles;  God’s chosen proxies {just like the OT was written by the Prophets} The church didn’t have any major difficulties in coming up with the 27 NT books.  There was only one issue: Is this book written by an apostle, written under the authority of an apostle [like Mark and Luke] or approved by an apostle? If so, it was accepted as the authoritative Word of God. The Apostles were Unique. The Bible tells us there were more than 12 apostles.  We can add Paul and I Corinthians 15:7 adds Jesus’ half brothers, James and Jude as those who witnessed the resurrection, who were chosen as proxies and wrote revelation. The word apostle is used of some that were ‘sent ones’ from a Church, representing that body or sent out by Christ, but these were not THEE Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, who were foundational, eyewitnesses, the writers of scripture and proxies of Jesus. And apostles had authority because of :

5th Authenticating MIRACULOUS signs

Jesus was renowned for doing supernatural miracles. If you claimed to be a proxy for Jesus but didn’t do any such deeds, your claim would have been automatically invalidated. In fact, all the signs from the day of Pentecost ‘on’ were performed either by the apostles, by those in their presence, or by those upon whom they laid their hands on. In Acts 2:42-43 tells us the first converts were “continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching…and everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.” In Acts 5:12, only the apostles were working signs. It says, at the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people. And in Hebrews 2:3-4 Paul says How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?  After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed by those who heard {who is that? The apostles} verse 4. God also bearing witness with them…{again those who heard from Jesus – the apostles} bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.

• Signs and wonders belong to who? THEM

Those who heard Jesus Himself – the apostles.

So as Peter writes 1 Peter, verse 1, he writes as an apostle of Jesus Christ, writing as one with incredible authority. He is writing, the actual Word of God. This is how you live secure in an insecure world – it comes as we rely about the absolute authority, sufficiency and power of the BIBLE – written by God through His chosen apostles.

We have the truth while the world wallows in error

We have the answers, while the world only has questions

We have God’s message that gives life, brings peace, offers hope manifests love, NO MATTER WHAT IS HAPPENING

Corrie Ten boom said If you look at the world, you’ll be depressed. If you look within, you’ll be distressed. If you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.

Look to Christ through His Word…. Are you IN IT?

Notice in verse 1, Peter calls Himself an apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul more often called him Christ Jesus, the Christ who is Jesus, but Peter calls Him Jesus Christ; (Jesus who is the Christ). I think because He knew Him as Jesus, he lived with him for years, he was Jesus’ friend. Which is a reminder to me, that I am never to be flippant, never to not respectfully fear, but never forget, Christ calls us friends – we can come to Him as Abba Father, daddy, that intimate…

So now, these Christians can live secure in an insecure world even though they are now in hostile circumstances dispersed to 5 regions – because they have received an intimate love letter from Jesus Christ Himself with apostolic authority through Peter. SO how can they get along with those surrounding them in the world ?

#2 You are secure in this World even though for a little while, you are scattered ALIENS

NOTICE VERSE ONE AGAIN, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

These believers were scattered, meaning dispersed OR sent. Scattered was a term first used to describe Israel when they were sent into exile when Daniel was taken captive in 605bc by Babylon.  It’s when Israel, God’s people had to live in a foreign land Israel was dispersed/scattered in exile. I believe the Christians of v1 were purposely expelled by Rome in one of their colonization efforts to this specific area; since if it was merely persecution that scattered them, they would have dispersed to the entire known world or fled home. But because they are aliens who are scattered to these specific regions and since the city of Rome had a habit of sending its people both willingly and unwillingly to the frontier regions of its empire, I believe the readers of this letter were intentionally sent to these 5 regions because of their faith. They were cast out of Rome. Rome sometimes lured its citizens to colonize a region with incentives, like freedom for slaves or citizenship for non citizens.  Most often, the city of Rome would pick on some foreign element in the city, and force them out to ease a famine or lesson a plague the city was experiencing, along with build the empire in some frontier region needing to be strengthened by a Roman presence. Rome did tolerate religion, until that religion sought to convert Roman citizens, have public gatherings or call them to change accepted morals which is exactly what genuine Christians did – Thus the government of Rome dispersed them to this region. And though this is UNFAIR and imposed on them by evil men,  God is using this difficult circumstance to accomplish his purposes.

FEEL THEIR PAIN – they were actually being bold to proclaim the gospel to lost men in Rome.

AND how did God reward them for their faithfulness to the gospel? God allowed Rome to rip them up from their homes and scatter them to 5 foreign regions on the Roman frontier. But God is using this hardship to accomplish His Sovereign plans. They are scattered to foreign lands for the purpose of salvation. God has chosen them in salvation in order to go and share the gospel with those who desperately need salvation, to bring life to the dead and establish Christ’s church in these new regions. But now, they LIVE in foreign lands as verse 1 says, ALIENS

ALIENS was a term used to designate those who did not hold citizenship in a place where he resided and was therefore viewed as a foreigner – this made everyone look upon them suspiciously as potential subversives. So what does Peter do? Peter uses their disorienting experience to encourage these Christians with the truth that ALL Christians are foreigners regardless of where they live. Even here in Murrieta. Each Christian there in ASIA MINOR and each of you here now has been made alive, you are no longer dead.

You’ve been freed from a hateful master and now call Christ master

You are no longer blind, but you can actually see the truth/reality

You have a new heart that wants to follow Christ and all of THAT puts you in conflict with the thinking, feeling, ideas, masters, laws and teaching of this foreign world, you now live in. The focus on verse 1+2 is not contrasting this life with heaven but contrasting true Christian behavior, to worldly behavior.

I have friends who live around the world – a few BORN in New Zealand, another BORN in Mexico, a couple BORN in Russia. They are FOREIGNERS and they think, act, eat, laugh differently. My friend Graham hurt himself in New Zealand and the pastors I was with all laughed at him for 10 minutes, while Graham lay hurt. Any one of you would’ve helped him, but they all laughed. That’s The NZ way. When they eat, the fork doesn’t change hands, but they stack it with FOOD they’re different.

That’s Peter’s point here, we are the aliens, we act differently…

We are not to isolate from this world, or be infected by the world but maintain our identity as citizens of heaven and Christ followers in the midst of the lost, both pagan and religious.

How do ALIENS ACT? Aliens act respectfully in their foreign nation, and only participate in its culture and habits and traditions to the extent that it does not conflict with being a Christ follower and citizen of heaven. You know the difference between living out of suitcase and living at home. Right now, in this world, as Christians, we are living out of a suitcase and waiting to travel HOME! We are fish, who live in a salty ocean, but don’t become SALTY. We’re the boat in the midst of the water of the world, fishing for the lost in the water, but keeping the water of the world out of our boat. Do the non-Christians around you at school, at work, in your social groups, truly notice you’re different–not judgmental or harsh. But do they notice that you love Christ, love others, are at peace, trusting God for your friends, family and your future? Can they SEE you are an ALIEN, that you belong to Christ and not this world; that you don’t belong here?

So here they are, aliens, scattered to the frontier regions, stamped with Roman disapproval, and forced to LIVE where they have no resources and don’t know anyone. What’s Peter say to give them HOPE? The end of verse 1 – WHO ARE CHOSEN. You can live secure in an insecure time, even in a foreign land, because you are CHOSEN BY GOD!

#3 You are secure because God has CHOSEN you

Notice the end of VERSE 1 who are chosen

The order of words in the original Greek text is striking; it goes like this Peter, apostle of Jesus Christ to the elect aliens of the dispersion. You are chosen aliens, elect aliens, chosen for this alien dispersion and the context demands Peter to mean we are elect to be His children, chosen to be a Christian.  God chose you and you became his child! You can live secure in an insecure world because before the foundation of the world, out of all of the entire ocean of rebellious humans dead set against God, that God chose you to be HIS OWN.  Here is the big controversy of our day – not because the bible isn’t extremely clear and very direct, but because people are proud and will not embrace a God who is bigger than they can understand. We will introduce this topic today and expand upon it next week.

What will cause us to live secure – Peter says it, you are CHOSEN, God elects you, God saved you, you didn’t save yourself…

The bible says you are DEAD, dead can’t choose, Jesus says it clearly John 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you. God must chose me, because as a spiritual zombie, I won’t chose him. The Greek word for “chose” is where we get election from. Election is the action of God where He graciously chooses out from among sinful people the ones who will be saved; Notice the two views on the CHART, one view shows God is ultimately responsible and the other shows man as responsible…

God Ultimately Responsible Man Ultimately Responsible
1. God’s choice unconditional 1. God’s choice dependant on man’s choice.
2. God chose in eternity past 2. God’s choice determined by present events
3. Fallen man cannot choose God 3. Fallen man can choose God
4. Faith is a gift of God 4. Faith is possible for all men
5. Justice is found in God’s character 5, Justice is found in equal opportunity

The scripture declares that God is responsible for your salvation! God doesn’t look ahead to see who will respond in faith. God doesn’t look ahead as see who will be good or work real hard; but for His own glory, God elects some to be His children.

Read with me Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world 11…we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says…because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation The Word of God clearly teaches the only reason you chose to follow Christ is that God first chose you.

Some believe God elects by knowing beforehand what we will decide. They wrongly interpret foreknowledge to mean God knew in advance who would respond to Him and therefore He chooses those people. But foreknowledge is just another way of describing God’s choice; not merely knowing before-hand, but a predetermined love relationship. The Bible makes a LOUD point about salvation NOT being conditioned on people’s choice at all… In Romans 9:11 for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls,12 it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” God chose Jacob, not Esau. God didn’t look down through history and saw that Jacob would have faith, and as a result, God chose him. NO

That is exactly the opposite of what this passage is teaching…

The point is, Jacob’s future actions, his faith or attitudes had absolutely nothing with God’s choice of him. WHY? verse 11 again in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls. Why?  So God; not Jacob, would receive absolutely all, totally, 100% of the Glory. John 6:65b no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father.” But you say, Chris, it was my faith that let me choose! Really?

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Faith itself is the gift of God.

2 Peter 1:1 says Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Peter acknowledged they had received their faith. They did NOT work it up on their own, they received their faith.

Philippians 1:29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.

The Philippian believers had been ‘granted or given’ their faith to believe. God gives us the faith to believe…

But Chris, if I believe this, THEN I have to believe God elects some to eternal life but not everyone. Why doesn’t God chose everyone? Well, the issue is not; why didn’t God choose everyone, but why did God chose anyone?  Men and Women, God reserves the right to have mercy upon whom He will have mercy. All of fallen humanity is rushing toward Hell and want to – they desire to rebel, do their own thing, invent their own religion, design their own Christianity, but; they do NOT want GOD. We are dead, we don’t seek God, we are blind and can’t see. Some of fallen humanity receive the grace and mercy of election. The rest, God passes over, leaving them in their sin.  The non-elect receive justice.  The elect receive mercy, but no one receives injustice.

If you & I received JUSTICE, then we would be sent to HELL

God isn’t obligated to be merciful to anyone. It’s God’s decision how merciful He chooses to be.  Yet, He is never guilty of being unjust toward anyone.   God’s answer to this question of why He didn’t chose everyone is found in Rom 9:20.  He says  Who are you, O man who answers back to God. The thing molded will not say to the molder Why did you make me like this will it? In other words Be quiet and know I am God, I’m the potter, you’re the clay. I am the creator; you’re the creation. Ultimately, if you don’t believe in election, you’ll never understand just how gracious God has been to you. How does it work? God’s Word is very clear – look at these verses:

Acts 13:48 as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed

Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

God works in your heart and you respond in repentance and faith. You hear the word, God awakens your heart, you give your life to Christ.

But you say, I don’t get it, I’ve got questions Chris; Good come back next week

Read Romans 8-11, Ephesians 1 + 2 and John 10 be ready for a barn burner, an eye bugger

1 You’re secure because God is IMMOVABLE

I was in Yosemite Valley, swimming in a lake, diving off a huge bolder in the middle of this lake and trembling because of the cold. I shook, I couldn’t control myself, but the rock never moved no jitter. You may tremble in this life as a Christian, but if you’re in Christ that rock will never move. Because your salvation is not dependent upon you, you are secure. Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

2 You are secure because you BELONG to Christ –

As a genuine child of God, No matter what you’re going through, you are protected by an eternal God. Christ did all the work to redeem you; He became a man, lived a perfect life, offered Himself as your substitute on the Cross and died for your sins/rose. If He’s transformed you, saved you, changed you and made you HIS OWN, you can never lose what He has done for you

John 10:28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. YOU ARE SECURE when you belong to Christ

3 You are secure because His Word has AUTHORITY

1 Peter 1:25 the word of the Lord abides forever.

The BIBLE is eternal, it has all authority, it is all true, it has the only right answers, it is the only lens to view life through. Everything in this life will fade and die, but NOT God’s Word…

4 You are secure, but only IF …

You’re responsible to ACT – don’t continue to defy God by stating, , I don’t know if I am chosen or not? NO, ACT, RESPOND, PURSUE

God is Sovereign, you are responsible – I can’t solve that for you

Who wrote the bible, God or the apostles?  Yes

Who lives the Christian life, God or you?  Yes

Is Jesus God or Man? – Yes

In salvation, does God elect me or must I respond in faith and repentance? YES – you must act, CRY OUT for God to awaken your heart and save you from your rebellion to Him, forgive your sins and make you NEW, open your eyes, and cause you to know God

You are secure, but only IF … you are IN Christ

Let’s pray…

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church – Murrieta.

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