Sermon Summary. The author, attributed to the Apostle Peter, is writing to a community who is experiencing persecution because of their faith. The church was under persecution and was likely growing weary. We all know that experiencing persecution, rejection and being despised cause fatigue. In times of fatigue and strife, we sometimes revert back to the worst thoughts, ideas (and even behaviors) that we have about ourselves or that others/society attribute to us. Peter reminds them of who they are in Christ. He reminds us as well. What society has to say about you/them is COMPLETELY irrelevant. He reminds us how even though they despised and killed our king, Jesus arose triumphant. We arise with him.
No, it is not what society says about you. It is not what other people say about you. It’s not even what you say about yourself. Our God and your creator has declared that you are . . . “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and God’s special possession.” Praise God for bringing us out of the darkness and into the marvelous light.
Living Stones/You Are Being Built. In verses 3-6 there are a couple of things we see. Once we “taste and see that the Lord is good” we then begin to draw close to God. As we draw close to him, the author tells us that God begins to build us into a spiritual house and a royal priesthood.
- What does it mean to you to “taste and see that the Lord is good” and to then begin to come to God?
- God is building us into a spiritual house. What does it mean that you are in the process of being built by God? Were you aware that you are a “work in progress?”
- What is the evidence of our growing into a spiritual building look like?
Jesus Chris, Cornerstone/Reality of Rejection. In verses 6-8, we see Christ as the cornerstone of life. We see two realities . . . some are embracing Christ and others are rejecting Christ as a reaction to Christ. The community in this text was experiencing persecution and needed; they needed to be reminded that this — persecution, rejection, despising — a reality of the Christian journey.
- This may seem like an obvious question, but what does it mean in Verse 4 when it says rejected by humans but precious to God? If Christ was rejected — knowing he was perfect — what makes us think that we will not be rejected?
- As God builds us into a spiritual house in a holy priesthood what are the sacrifices that we offer up to the Lord?
- Conversely, what does it say in Verse 8 about those who reject Christ? What does he become for them?
- Verses 7 – 9 deal with the differences between those who accept Christ and those who reject Christ. What does it say Chris is for those of us who believe? What does it mean for Christ to be precious to you?
- Do we see the difference in your life between those who see Christ as precious and those who reject him?
- At the end of Verse 8 why or what does it say is the cause for the stumbling that takes place? What is attitude of the disobedient? Do you experience that attitude in times of persecution, rejection, or despising?
Remember what they did to Christ. Isaiah 52:14 tells us he was beaten beyond all recognition. We note the depths of mocking and abuse that was done to him — and all because he spread the message of love. We may not experience it to this degree but we will experience attacks, attacks of persecution, attacks of rejection and being despised. This is why we must remember who we are and praise God.
Remember Who You Are. Verse 9, prayerfully brings peace and rejoicing to the soul. The writer is reminding God’s people of who they are during this time of persecution. He is reminding us of the same during our down times.
- What are the four things God tells us about who we are in verse 9? Reflect on what each of them means.
- As you reflect on those names, do any of them speak to you more than the other? Remember it in times of trial. I think I like being God’s special possession in particular.
- Additionally, the Word should always call us to some action. What has God done for us and what action are we called to in this text?
Always remember always the reality of persecution. As we become more bold in our witness, it will not decrease but it will increase. Sometimes we will not even be aware of it but in other times it will weigh heavily on us. Always be reminded, that you are God’s chosen people, a holy nation, God’s special possession, and a royal priesthood. Remember to declare the praises of the one who has brought you out of darkness into the marvelous light.