Thursday, June 5, 2014

Living Lights in a Land of Death (1Peter 2) 

God is pleased to take from the trash pile behind the world's construction site, and build slowly and quietly from their castoffs a home that will last an eternity after the high rises and temples and palaces of the world have been demolished.

1 Peter 2:4-5 (ESV)
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

The exiled believers are persecuted and abused. Their comfort is in knowing that those who are rejecting them also rejected their Rabbi, Jesus. To be rejected by the world is The Way of the Master. By these many afflictions are the disciples of Christ built upon the cornerstone, into the temple of the living God, built by the very hand of God.

1 Peter 2:9-10 (ESV)
"But you are a chosen people, 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.

The builders of the world's systems of corruption and control are agents of an empire that has already come to ruin. Every one of us has helped lay a brick on these altars to destruction. Disciples of Jesus follow the high priest who mediates between earth and heaven. Christ has become the advocate between all that is eternal and us, the former agents of the land of death. In this land of decay we remain, walking among the ruins of the empires that still cling to the vapours of control as vines climb the skeletons of their wasted structures and tear them down. We walk on the grass and weeds growing up amidst the rubble as witnesses to the life that is springing forth from the dead waste of the crumbling empire.

We are former enemies of truth offering light to those still walking in darkness. We call out an invitation to the world to abandon all their smoke and ruin for the fresh, cool and green life in the garden of God, to whom every one of us has been invited. In this true, new life every person may leave their chains of false power and authority and be mercifully adopted into a royal family, in which all are equal heirs together with the King of kings, with whom we have been united.

1 Peter 2:12 (ESV)
Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Peter exhorts us as the priests of the coming kingdom to live contrary to the patterns of the world to which we have been sent. The price has already been paid to invite all enemies to reconciliation. We do not need to carry the burdens of bitterness and unforgiveness. The battle against sin and death and violence has already been won on the cross. We do not battle against that which has already been consumed. By our humble and willing submission to the violence and abuse of the agents of death, we expose them for what they are, as they were exposed at the cross.

Our lives are contrary to the kings and slave-owners of the world. We will by them suffer violence for our resistance. By our peace and satisfaction in Christ returned for their persecution we offer the invitation to join us with Christ in the kingdom where such violence and death has been defeated. Our peace in chains will expose to them their turmoil, though they appear to be free. As they seek to make us their enemies, our refusal to become so will become the light of Christ's love shining through us to them.

This entry was part of a sermon: Listen
Click the above image for the entire series.

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