Series: Rules of Engagement
Title: Know Your Calling
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:1-10
by Andrew Ogea

Sermon Summary:

In 1 Peter 2 we learn of our third Rule for Engagement as we engage our culture and society with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  We must Know Our Calling.  We have hope through our belief in Christ (week 1 - prepare with hope), and our lives should reflect our new identity in Christ (week 2 - prepare with holiness).  Therefore, because of what Jesus has done, we are fueled to live out our calling to grow up in our salvation and to proclaim the praises of God to a world living in spiritual darkness.  

Sermon Outline:

Know Your Calling

   1. Called to Grow (1-8)
       A. Personally (1-3)
       B. Corporately (4-8)
   2. Called to Proclaim (9-10)

Community Group Discussion Questions:

1. Our calling to grow up in our salvation is personal (no one else can make you do it - verses 1-3).  How do you make the choice daily to choose Christ and follow him with your life?

2. Our calling to grow up in our salvation is also corporate, and that the church is like a spiritual house that grows together (verses 4-8).  How are you contributing to the spiritual growth of the church body?  How can you be more effective in helping others grow?

3. Jesus Christ is the "cornerstone" which provides a sure foundation for our lives as Christians.  Share a testimony of how building your life upon Jesus Christ has differed from when you built your life on "sinking sand."

4. We are called to proclaim the praises of Jesus who brought us out of darkness and into his wonderful light (verses 9-10).  How can your life shine the light of Christ on those who are still living in darkness?

Sermon Notes

Good morning, I hope that you all are doing well.  I am very excited about the message today, and I believe God has much in store for each of us.  We are in the middle of a series in which we are walking through the book of 1 Peter verse by verse.  The series is entitled Rules of Engagement: Living Outside the Christian Bubble.

The author of the letter we are studying is the Apostle Peter, a man who knew what it was like to be transformed by Christ.  Jesus did, in fact, change the world through this man who, for just a few years prior, was living and working in the family fishing business.  And through believing that Jesus was the Messiah, Peter experienced a  living hope that surpassed all understanding.

And in this new found hope, Jesus instructed Peter to be a leader for his church and to proclaim his message to an unbelieving world.  Peter now had to live life outside of what had become his norm.  He had lived and ministered for three years with Jesus, and now he is on the outside of that Christian bubble trying to engage his world with the most important message they would ever hear.

So, later on in life, he wrote this letter to a group of churches that were located in a region which is now modern day Turkey.  He wrote to encourage them how to live, act, and thrive for Christ in a hostile environment.  So, he gave them their Rules for Engagement.

The first week, by reading 1 Peter 1:1-12 we learned that as Christians, our first rule is to prepare with hope before engaging our world.  And without believing in Christ: his perfect life, his death for our sins, and his resurrection from the dead, we cannot experience this hope.  

And, because we serve a risen savior, we have a living hope that is both present for this life and is permanently stored for us in heaven.  And until we dwell with our Lord for eternity, his hope sustains us and helps us endure any circumstance or trial that we might experience in our lives. We cannot engage our world for Jesus if we do not first have a personal hope in Jesus.

Our second rule for engagement is that we must prepare with holiness.  Last week, Pastor Larry preached the second half of chapter 1. In it we found out that we are to be Holy as Jesus is Holy.  What that means is that holiness is not what you do, but its who you are.   And, who you are determines what you do.  

We are children of God, and in his mercy, he has given us a living hope through Jesus Christ, the living Savior, and therefore, since we are his children, we should act like.  Who are we: children of God, therefore what we do is live like we are his children.

So, now we come to our third Rule for engagement and it is that we Know our Calling.  So, now we understand that we have hope through our belief in Christ, and that our lives should reflect our new identity in Christ.  But today, we go beyond who we are in Christ, and learn what we are called to do as Christians.

To do that, we need to read 1 Peter Chapter 2.  I want to let you know that I had intended to cover the entire chapter today, but I realized I had bitten off a little more than I could chew, so, we will only look at the first 10 verses.  Your notes show that there are four points, but today, we are only going to look at the first two, and Pastor Larry will continue the message next week and go over the last two points. 

If you don’t have your Bibles, the words will be on the screen, but I want to encourage you once again to bring your Bibles so that you can follow along better.  Let’s read 1 Peter 1:1-3

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Within these three verses, Peter gives a summary of what we have learned so far and a challenge.  He uses the word therefore, and as I learned seminary, anytime you see the word therefore, you should study what the author put it there for. 

So here Peter uses it as a summary and a transition to a challenge.  Since God has given you hope, and since you have an understanding to live holy lives because he has given you hope in Christ, therefore, you need to know your calling as Christians.  What has God called us to do? The first component that Peter gives regarding our calling is that we as Christ followers are called to grow.

Know Your Calling
1. Called to Grow

Peter is saying that a Christian should no longer be satisfied with being involved a life in captivity and slavery to sin.  Instead, we should be like newborn babies who crave pure spiritual milk.  I am not too far removed from knowing what it is like to have to have a newborn in the house.  Some of you are there or are about there as well.  

A newborn is a precious gift from God.  It is so sweet to hold them, to cuddle them while they sleep, and to watch them sleep.  But, the exhausting part is how often they get hungry.  You can spot a parent of a newborn by observing how exhausted they are because the baby needs to eat every 2-3 hours, and it takes about an hour to feed them and get back to sleep before they do it again.

Newborns crave milk, and are not satisfied unless they get it.  We as followers of Christ, should crave the things of God.  Because it is only by living in God’s ways and experiencing more of him that we will fully satisfied.  All of this is done so that by it we may grow up in our salvation.  

The reason that we grow in our salvation and not be satisfied with complacency is because we have tasted that the Lord is good.  Through our salvation, we have experienced the goodness of God because we experience his love and forgiveness of sin.  And upon salvation we receive his Holy Spirit who seals us as Christians and literally transforms us into a new creation. 

For us Christians, we can most likely recall the overwhelming joy we experienced when we accepted Christ, and on a daily basis we should ask God to help “restore to us the joy of our salvation” just as King David wrote in Psalm 51:8.  

We will continue to experience joy in salvation through prayer, the study of God’s word, worshiping him individually and with other believers, service to others, remembering what he has done for us.  The list could go on and on, but the question we need to ask ourselves is are we growing in Christ or are we complacent?  

Know Your Calling
1. Called to Grow
     A. Personal 

And this is a question for us personally.  We need to understand that this calling to grow is a personal call.  It is an individual call.  You have the choice to make on a daily basis to grow up in your salvation.  No one else can make that choice for you.  Look at the declaration that is made in Joshua 24:15,

“…Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

Are you making the choice daily to choose Christ and follow him with your life?  That is what God calls each Christian to do.  And as you choose Christ daily, it is unimaginable how much you will grow.  

Know Your Calling
1. Called to Grow
     A. Personal
     B. Corporate

We are called to grow and to grow as individuals, but in the next few verses, we find that our calling to grow is also a corporate calling.  We as the body of Christ are called to grow together.  And Peter creates a visual image on what it looks like for the body of Christ to grow up in our salvation together.  Lets read verses 4-8:

4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”  8 and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

This is one of my most favorite passages of Scripture in the Bible because it creates a beautiful picture of how the body of Christ grows together in Christ.  I want to illustrate this for you so that we can understand exactly what Peter is saying.

Within this verse, Peter quotes an Old Testament scripture from the Prophet Isaiah and another scripture from the book of Psalms when he talks about a stone being laid in Zion, a chosen and precious LIVING STONE.  Jesus himself quoted this same passage from the Psalmist to declare that he is the living stone that were talking about.

Verse 4 says AS YOU COME TO HIM—as we come to Christ from all different backgrounds, the one thing that is common is our sin and brokenness.  We all have sin including those mentioned in verse 1: malice, deceit, hypocrisy are just a few of the many sins that the entire human race is living in.

You see, when we encounter Jesus Christ, the living stone, we all have a choice to make.  For those who hear the good news of Jesus and are disobedient to his message, meaning they reject that he is the only salvation for the sins of humanity, the scripture says here that they stumble.  Jesus actually becomes a stone of stumbling.  In this regard, he the great stumbling stone.

So, people stumble upon him, reject him, and fall.  What do they fall to?  They fall to eternal death and destruction.  To the church at Philippi, the Apostle Paul affirms this: 

18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 

So, the picture we see from this scripture is that destruction is the end for people who stumble upon the greatest message they will ever hear, and then get up, dust themselves off, and continue living their life apart from God which will lead them to eternal death.

But, for those who stumble upon the stone, and believe, verse six says said that the stone becomes precious. Why?  Because it becomes the very foundation for life.  In this case, Jesus now becomes the cornerstone.    

In ancient times the cornerstone was the most important part of the foundation.  It was a large stone that was designed to be square and true.  The design of the rest of the foundation and the house was dependent upon the cornerstone.  

So, as we encounter Christ Jesus, the living stone, and believe, he becomes the cornerstone and you along with every other Christian are like living stones being built into a spiritual house upon Christ the solid rock.  And that brings great meaning to the old hymn that we sing: “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”  

Remember though, we are BEING built on the cornerstone.  Verse 6 says that we are being built into a spiritual So, it is one thing to believe and stand on the foundation, but we miss out if we do not grow and build our whole lives upon Jesus.  

So, I want to ask you, are fulfilling your purpose as a building block of the spiritual house of God?  You see, the choice to grow in Christ is a personal choice that only you can make, but God also calls us to grow together.  What kind of spiritual house will Northshore Church be in the future if all of its members are growing up in our salvation together? 

Since we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, we must pursue this calling to grow upon the solid rock, which is Christ Jesus the cornerstone.  Let’s continue in verses 9-10,

9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Know Your Calling
1. Called to Grow
2. Called to Proclaim

We need to know our calling.  We are first called to grow, but secondly, we are called to proclaim.  God has given this task to his spiritual house.  Here, he gives his spiritual some other names: a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and God’s special possession.  We are special to God.

By looking into the term royal priesthood I believe God shows how special we are.  None of us know what it like to be royalty.  You have to be born into royalty.  And traditional royalty marries other royalty.  Some of us may think we are royalty, but no one here was born into a royal family as far as I know.  It was no different for the audience Peter was speaking to.  

But, we are shown here that it doesn’t matter what our family lineage is, when we believe in Christ, we are adopted into His royal family. We become sons and daughters of the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  We now have royal status in God’s kingdom. We are royalty in God’s eyes.

But we are also a priesthood.  For a Jewish man like Peter, he would have been speaking also from an understanding that a priesthood was something that you were born into.  Only special families in among the nation of Israel were considered to be a part of the priesthood.

Members of these families had the unique privilege of special access to God in his temple.  They would be able to take their concerns to God along with the concerns and sins of the people, and pray and make sacrifices to seek God’s forgiveness.

So, the beauty of being royal priesthood is twofold: we are part of the royal family of God, but we are also a priest which means that we all have special access to God.  We can come to God with all of our concerns and all of our struggles and he meets with us.  He has a relationship with us.  

We are a royal priesthood. How awesome is that!  This kind of relationship is available to every living stone in God’s spiritual house.  It is a relationship that every single one of us should cherish, but it not one that we selfishly hold onto ourselves.  You see, God gives us, the royal priesthood, our calling in verse 9:

that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 

Now that we have tasted that the Lord is good, and understand what it is that Jesus has done for us, we as a royal priesthood are to proclaim the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light.  I believe our understanding of what it means to have been called out of darkness into his wonderful light, is what fuels our calling to proclaim to world our praises of God. 

I read something this week that I think illustrates this well.  It is the story of the captain of a ship, who one evening was looking into the dark night and saw faint lights in the distance.  And, immediately he told his signalman to radio a message: He said, “ Alter your course 10 degrees SOUTH.”  Promptly a return message was received:  “Alter your course 10 degrees NORTH.” When he heard this, the captain was angered; his command had been ignored.  So he sent a message: “Alter your course 10 degrees SOUTH - I am the captain!”  Soon after, another message was received on the radio: “Alter your course 10 degrees NORTH!" Immediately the captain sent a third message, knowing the fear it would evoke to the one defying his order:  “Alter your course 10 degrees SOUTH - I am the captain of this battleship!”  Then the reply came: “Alter your course 10 degrees NORTH - I am the lighthouse trying to save you and your ship.”

Without Jesus, we are the captain of our own ship maneuvering through the darkness.  We think we know where we should go, but in reality we have no clue.  But, praise be to God, that he is the lighthouse, and if we submit to him, he calls us out of darkness and into his light. 

We once were nothing, not a people, but now we are the people of God.  We once had not received mercy, but now we have received mercy.  And we are to declare and proclaim the praises of the One who has done all of this for us.  And, this light of Christ that now shines through us, shines upon those still living in darkness.

The other day, as I was preparing this message, a man seated at another table called out to me and said, “What’s that your reading?”  I said, “I’m reading the Bible.”  He said, “I’ve done that before.  Why don’t you come sit down and I’ll buy you a cup of coffee, and we can talk about it.”  To which I replied, “Sure.”

Shortly after sitting down, I realized that I was in for a good discussion.  My new friend told me that he was an atheist, and that he had a few questions to ask me about the Bible.  He told me he was an evolutionist, and so he asked what I believe about creationism.  He asked me how I can reconcile certain things that he considered to be discrepancies. 

He asked me about war and whether or not Jesus was a pacifist.  He asked why I believe Christianity is any different from other religions.  So, we talked for about an hour and I did my best to answer his questions not only with what I have been taught but also by the leading of the Holy Spirit.  

I finally told my new friend that I understand that he has many questions and that I could try and answer those, but we both new the reality that my answers probably wouldn’t change his mind.   So, I said, the reason I have hope is because I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and that he rose again three days later and never died again. 

His victory over death has secured my path to life, and since believing that message, he has changed my life.  He has made me new.   My old life is gone and he has given me a new life full of hope for now and for eternity.  I know that I was living in darkness and now I know that I am living in His light. 

So, I probably can’t give you sufficient answers to every one questions, but all I can say, is that I know Jesus is real, and I know that he is God, because he has transformed my life.  

So, after that we shook hands and we thanked each other for the conversation and I invited him to church.  So, if you are here buddy, I’m glad you came, and I really enjoyed getting to meet and talk with you the other day.

But, here is what I want everyone to hear today.  God, has called us to proclaim his glory to the world.  He hasn’t necessarily called us to provide an apologetic defense or the perfect answer for every difficult question asked.  As we will see in a few weeks, it is important for us to have a response for those who ask for the hope that we have.

But, this verse is saying that we proclaim our praise for God because of what he has done for us.  He has led us out of darkness into light.   He has given us mercy when we were not deserving mercy.  He has become the foundation upon which our lives are built. 

We are now part of a spiritual family built on the Jesus Christ, the cornerstone, and he has altered the course of our lives.  I believe that is what God wants us to focus on when we share with others as well.  You don’t have to have it all figured out, just declare the praise of the one who has changed your life.