His Own Special People

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His Own Special People

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: 1 Peter 2:9-10


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Today we continue our study of 1 Peter.  We are in a section where Peter is reminding these brethren who they are.  The last 2 lessons have been devoted to how we are a spiritual house (a temple) and we are the priesthood of God, approaching God directly through Jesus and offering up to Him spiritual sacrifices.  In our lesson today, we want to notice some more descriptions and the implications and application of these to each of us AND to all of us as His body together (in this case, a local church).

But you are… (9-10)

  1. NOTE: Concerning all of these descriptions they are collectives – meaning a group. I believe in this section, as we have noted, Peter is emphasizing our need for each other as we face a world that is hostile to our faith.   Consider this as we examine these verses.
    Note also that in each of these collectives there is a descriptive adjective attached.
  2. A chosen generation – we have already addressed the concept of being chosen.
    1. 1 Peter 1:2 in his introduction he described us as “elect”, 1 Peter 2:4 as we addressed being living stones.
    2. Chosen – We have noted this is not a random pick (like a lottery), but a process. God established WHO would be saved even before the foundation of the world – Ephesians 1:4.  By this we mean that He established a plan that ANYONE, if they CHOOSE to follow that plan can be part of His family.  Thus, we are God’s elect – meaning we fit, having conformed to, the mold He established.
    3. Generation – or race (NASB). The actual Greek word is γένος, genos.  It is also translated family and kind.  Thus, think of ethnicity or nationality.
    4. The point is we are God’s people.
      Consider how YHWH promised Israel that they would be His people – Exodus 6:7, Leviticus 26:12, “I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.”  In the same way Israel was God’s people, so are we.
  3. A Royal priesthood – we addressed this in our last lesson.  Simply stated, we are a “priesthood of believers” with everything associated with being priests.
  4. A holy nation
    1. A similar expression to being a chosen generation, we find here we are a nation. With that we think of a country or a place we call home and where we belong.  But in reality, it is the people who make up that country.   See Hebrews 11:13-16 – they desired a heavenly country.
    2. Consider – just as the Aaronic priesthood was for the nation of Israel, so our royal priesthood is for our spiritual nation.
    3. Remember that we are described as citizens of heaven – Ephesians 2:19 – we are fellow citizens; Philippians 3:20 – our citizenship is in heaven.
    4. NOTE: that we are holy – set apart. Another concept we have addressed in this letter – 1 Peter 1:15-16, and in describing our priesthood – 1 Peter 2:5.
  5. His own special people
    1. The word for “own special” is a word that means to be acquired. The NASB describes us as “a people for God’s own possession.”    Thus, the idea of this is we belong to Him –
      1. He has paid the price to purchase us – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 notes that each of us was “brought at a price.” This is also stated in 1 Corinthians 7:23. AND remember 1 Peter 1:18-19 – we were redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus.
      2. But also, do not forget the collective – Acts 20:28 – He purchased the church of God with His own blood. Ephesians 1:22-23 – together we are His body.
    2. How we are described as His people – this would apply to all the descriptions we have noted in this lesson thus far
      1. Proclaiming the praises of Him
        1. The word proclaim (shew forth – KJV) is the Greek word ἐξαγγέλλω, exangellō – and means to announce something broadly or to herald it. The word is likely related to English word Evangelist.
        2. First, this reminds us of our responsibility to tell others about Him
          1. Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:19-20, 1 Peter 3:15.
          2. This along with many other principles –
            1. Colossians 1:23 – where we rad the gospel had been preached to “every creature under heaven.” This precludes the “great commission” involved more than just the apostles.  See Acts 8:4 – they took it with them.
            2. Luke 19:10 – following the example of Jesus who came to seek and save the lost.
            3. 2 Timothy 2:2 – the word committed to us is to be shared with others
            4. 1 Thessalonians 1:7-8 – the example of the church at Thessalonica – the word had sounded forth from them
            5. 2 Corinthians 5:10-11 – a day of judgment is coming. Paul persuaded men because of this.
          3. In this, let us also not forget example – Matthew 5:14-16, Philippians 2:15.
            Also remember 1 Timothy 4:16 – where Paul told Timothy to take heed to himself and the doctrine, for in so doing he would save both himself and those who heard him.
        3. What are we proclaiming? His praises – His excellencies or virtues. The word used here is not the typical Greek word for praise, but rather describes that which is excellent.   EVERYTHING about God is excellent!
          1. To Him be glory forever and ever – 1 Peter 5:11, 2 Timothy 4:8. Romans 11:36 says, For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
          2. Romans 11:33 – Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
          3. Psalm 9:13-14, Have mercy on me, O Lord! Consider my trouble from those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death, That I may tell of all Your praise In the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will rejoice in Your salvation.
          4. 2 Peter 1:3, His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness.
        4. We have so much to be grateful for – does is pour forth out of us? Both to Him and to others?
        5. When we praise Him, God is glorified – we will develop this further in our next lesson of this study (1 Peter 2:12).
      2. He is God who has:
        1. Called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light – this again is the contrast between our former life and where we are now. 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, The gospel is veiled to those perishing, whose minds the “god of this age” has blinded… For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
        2. See also Ephesians 2:1-3 – our former life; Ephesians 5:8, For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light;  Recall John 8:12, Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
        3. NOW calls us the people of God – we once were not a people. We are changed.  People need to see this in us, and it is something we need to share with them.
          1. We have already addressed this above as being His own special people.
          2. Consider also in this, the example of Hosea 1:9-10. Hosea was the prophet told to marry a harlot.  He did and she had children, likely not his.  One was named “Lo-Ammi” which means, “Not My people” which was symbolic of Israel having rejected God.  But then in vs. 10 there is a prophecy anticipating a time when His people (called the children of Israel) would be unmeasurable and called “sons of the living God.” Paul would appeal to this passage in Hosea more directly in Romans 9:25.
        4. Shown us mercy – Let us never forget that we are here because of the mercy of God.
          1. Prior, we did not have mercy, but now we do. AGAIN, I appeal to Ephesians 2:4-5, this coming after the description of the hopeless in their former life.
          2. Again, this could be appealing to Hosea 2:23, Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; Then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’ ”
          3. Titus 3:4-5 notes that our salvation is not by our own righteousness, but according to His mercy.
          4. Hebrews 4:16, the writer encourages us to boldly come before His throne that we may obtain mercy.
          5. Are we grateful for His mercy and grace?
  6. NOTE about these descriptions. In our introduction, we have observed that Peter’s audience was likely a mixed audience – Jews and Gentiles.  Yet, the wording Peter uses takes us back to the pattern or shadow of the Old Law.
    1. Israel was God’s chosen people, they became a great nation guided by Him with a priesthood that was exclusive to them. They were called upon to be holy and He treated them as “His own special people” though so often they rebelled against Him and were undeserving of His mercy.  BUT He showed them mercy anyways and declared to the world, “Israel belongs to Me!”
    2. When we step back and look at the overall picture, we can see how in establishing Israel, God had greater things in mind all along. It was, “according to His eternal purpose”(Ephesians 3:11) – We are the blessed recipients of this.
    3. The Gentiles did not have to understand the Old Law to grasp the blessedness of their relationship with God according to these descriptions. But if it was explained to them, how profound that must have been.  AND the Jewish convert, looking back ought to fully appreciate Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan to Israel.  I think of Paul’s appeal in Romans to these brethren – Romans 9:3-5.
    4. We, nearly 2000 years this side of the cross, are as blessed as the Jews in that we have God’s word in its completed form. Not only can we look at each passage and letter individually, we can take a step back and grasp the overall picture and see how truly great our God really is.

In this text we are reminded of who we are in Him.  We live in a hostile world that seems to be becoming even more antagonistic against Him and us.  We therefore NEED each other, to all be what He would have us to be.  And for this to effectively work, YOU and I need to be who we are supposed to be individually.  So how are you doing in Him?  Think about it?