1 Peter 2.4-12
When the church comes together whose church is it? It is easy to become possessive over a church and the reasons for going can be strongly about oneself. Church leaders can easily adopt a position where they say this is my church and what I say goes. It is my vision and if you do not agree then go somewhere else. Another might say, it is where I have been for a long time and it is what I like and there should be no change. Some might go as long as the music is what they want. Others may decide based on the version of the bible that is used in preaching. Many go because their friends go and leave if their friends are not there. Some go because of the children, others leave because of the children. At the heart of much of this decision making is a consumer mindset and it exposes a limited and reduced view of the church. It answers the question, ‘whose church is it’ by saying it is mine. Peter answers the question by saying it is God’s and God’s with a massively larger vision than any one person or group of people may conceive of, at any one time or in any one place.
It is God who chooses the people, 1 Peter 2.4 not the church leadership. God who made Jesus the keynote foundation of his church. v 2.4 God who made the church a new race. v 2.10 God who appointed the roles to the church. v 2.9 Crucially it was God who showed mercy to those who had not known mercy, that is ourselves. v 2.10 God is not a brick in the house we are building, we are the bricks in his house if we come to him through Jesus. ‘As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men 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..’ v 2.4,5 Through Jesus Christ, God has made the church the new temple and the new nation that is his medium for declaring the goodness and glory of God through the life of the believers and the gospel.
This is priestly work in terms of worshiping God, interceding for others and teaching his word. Peter explains that the church belongs to God to declare its own salvation and the salvation that is for all who have faith in him. The church is to, ‘proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.’ V 2.9 The declaring of his excellencies is to be by word and life. God keeps these in balance. To do this we need to recognize that we are not to conform to the pattern of life in the surrounding non-believing culture and to overcome those inner desires that as Peter puts it, ‘wages against your soul.’ v 2.11 The Holy Spirit will make us very well aware of these desires of the ‘flesh’ through the word of God (Scripture). Clearly Peter’s meaning is more than simply abstinence, that is the avoiding of things, it is the positive outworking of good deeds. v 2.12 The reason for this is to make evident what God has done and bring him glory.
Changing our view of belonging to the church to perceive it through the eyes of God leads on to a radical change of motivation and life. How does being part of a chosen race, priesthood and nation challenge us regarding our future?
How does our part of the spiritual house of God speak to the world that has not yet received mercy?
Cornerstone – Hillsong Live