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April 26, 2021 12:00 am
This is a little postcard. You know for a few churches this was extensive desperately needed revelation from thousands of thousands of Christians who were feeling like they did belong anywhere and what are they supposed to do about what would you say how would you hurry Peter is saying you might be an outsider as it relates to the kingdom of this world, but you are and insider as a relates to the kingdom of God like in the early days of the church. The true Christian church is still scattered minority on this earth. Sometimes we feel like we really don't belong here.
And that's because this world is not our home. Our status is that we've been chosen by God and heaven is our real home working to learn more about this today.
Stay with us as Stephen Devi opens God's word to the epistle of first Peter and brings you this message called, chosen with enthusiasm.
Need to understand the context of first Peter that when the church had begun just 30 years or so earlier in Jerusalem the Roman empire regarded the church as a set of Judaism. Just a part of Judaism among all the pagan religions of the Roman world. Judaism was the only legal religion not required to offer annual sacrifices honoring the deity. The Emperor, but they were allowed to offer prayers on behalf of the so long as the Christians were viewed as a sect within Judaism they were under the umbrella of a religious exemption over the Christians and and by that I get accepted 20 we don't we don't think often of the courage of these believers because by the time you get there there abandoning the synagogue and its Sabbath worship in the beginning of worship on the day Christ rose the Lord's day. We call it call it that for what they're doing is they're identifying themselves as different from Judaism and they are voluntarily removing themselves from the umbrella of that exemption and protection. With that their protection would eventually become illegal be a practicing Christian, just as it is in many countries today. For instance, in Islamic countries were to convert to Christianity is a deficit to legal so by the time you read the opening words of this letter that are just as current for our generation the believers been uprooted there on one hand they're being rejected or preparing for even more waves of persecution which will indeed come now let me ask you when you face ridicule when your mom when you perhaps experience a taste of persecution in some form or another for your faith in your instincts tell you, either to flee or to fight back.
One of those right flee or fight you lost your job because of your faith you've worked for everything and now it's up for grabs.
And that's not right. And it's not fair.
Maybe you want to say way will wait a second. This is this is my country and I'm older than he was me I was here for you to defend yourself to lash back to get even. Is our natural reaction and it was theirs. In this chapter Peter writes to them and cause them to gain composure and find hope and joy in the truth that he is going to reveal to them and was and he does it in the most interesting way. The first thing he doesn't filter the first Peter in chapter 1 is a sort of acknowledges so to speak, their pain, he identifies with her suffering. He refers to them a couple of different ways. First Peter chapter 1 verse one to those who reside as aliens. That doesn't mean you're from and another planet. This first term alien to be rendered. You might mark in their margin of the word foreigner. It refers to them as strangers in their own country and they would've immediately responded just without opening phrase yeah. You got it you know how we feel man to ever feel like strangers country was happening how we feel term rendered alien is a term that refers to a temporary residence, a traveler whose day is marked by months or even days. Maybe a brief year to the second term, Peter uses here in verse one for them.
He writes to those who reside as aliens scattered. This is compound noun is the nuance of scattering. See in the wind. It was also by the way a technical term in the Diaspora.
The dispersed ones.
It was referring technically to the Jewish exiles who were dispersed scattered among the Gentile nations where they were always in the minority, the Peter here drops the definite article and uses it as as a metaphor not to refer to the scattered Jews in his mind he's referring to Gentiles and Jews, who now for this scattered community called the church and you will always be in the minority scattered like seat wherever the wind seems to take them wherever they can find a place to settle down and survive it to get tougher, will always be in the minority, though never feel like they belong. That's because they don't know Peter goes on to tell us where this letter is telling me how you write a letter to scattered people who have a PO Box was a circular letter traveling indicates, perhaps even in the way he rolls out these nations where it will travel. He refers to a region and finally that the overall region is referred to as modern-day Turkey modern-day Turkey in the New Testament, the geographical term as Asia minor work sometimes.
Generally Asia but you notice Paul refers here to Pontus scattered throughout Pontus.
That's the far north, and by the way, is the home of Willa and Priscilla faithful servants of the church.
He refers next to Galatia.
That's the central region where Paul often traveled the armory wrote a letter to the Galatians that would be these he mentions Cappadocia that's located in the eastern portion of Asia minor, modern Turkey, and Jews by going from this region. We now from the book of acts chapter 2 verse nine had traveled to Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost and they heard Peter preach. Some of them believe, no doubt, and went back to Cappadocia where they established the gospel.
Peter then mentions Asia. This includes most of Western Asia minor cities you read in the New Testament for G. Lydia. Finally, Peter mentions Bithynia on the southern shore of the Black Sea, just west of Pontus in this area negatively.
All that but I just but what I want to start a drawer in your mind is this, this little picture mental picture that this letter is is going to millions of people eventually affect the area that he's writing to is roughly the same size. Geographically, if if you were to start with Texas and move west all the way and include California. That's the region through his writing. So this is a little postcard. You know for a few churches this was extensive desperately needed revelation for thousands upon thousands of Christians who were feeling like they didn't belong anywhere and what are they supposed to do about it. What would you say how would you encourage them. What can you ever say that could bolster their faith and encourage their hearts and their spirit well you would want to say what Peter said notice near the beginning of verse one to those reside as aliens, foreigners scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia, who are chosen chosen chosen when you tell somebody who feels like they don't belong to this world, tell them that they have actually been chosen for Peter is saying you might be an outsider as it relates to the kingdoms of this world, but you are and insider as a relates to the kingdom of God.
Peter uses the word here that has caused a lot of heartburn through our church history is still the lives of believers is still timbales the fire debate basically renders the church foolish.
It's that word there the universe when the word chosen from the Greek term DOS, which gives us our elect. You are a chosen peculiar. I like that term is this true or peculiar people of his own possession. See, Peter uses the term for scattered believers made up of both Jews and Gentiles who are chosen by God. In fact, he presents this this verbal adjective elect were chosen as passive, which further highlights the fact that the believer is the object of the electing action of God when the gospel was preached after the resurrection and the early church began to evangelize the world.
Luke records the following. This is a sermon preached by Paul. More than likely Barnabas chimed in, and here's what Luke said to follow the sermon the Gentiles began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. Now that you might be same as Stephen says, you know were chosen according to the foreknowledge of God's ages kinda knew what was going out but just know the foreknowledge is his action known to him prior to anytime we could conceive. It's not just he saw that to use that term to relate to Jesus being foreknown in his sacrifice it in the God the father saw Jesus becoming obedient always. If you're going to do that will just go ahead and ordain you to die on partisan tension that's another another sermon I'm sure you pack the pews to get in on on on that. Now let me just keep a couple things in your mind.
I will start with this word, the writers of Scripture don't answer all the questions and all the issues that naturally cluster around this doctrine that they don't even really try to harmonize the sovereign election of God with you and will they just deliver the truth of both of they just delivered as two sides of the coin, the relate to our salvation. They don't they don't try to harmonize the eternal decree of God's electing love with his initiative with our repentance and our faith and our belief in that prayer that you may have delivered to God, whereby you say I was at that moment saved and that would be true, that would be an attempt perhaps this is why they don't do it to harmonize an eternal truth that comes from eternity past, how far back is that eternity past the long time back and and that's God's perspective and in harmonize that with any with with with an earthly truth. Give the heavenly truth of the eternal decree of God happening before the world forever fashion with this earthly truth from our perspective, we understand.
I will we understand the gospel. We believe in the moment we did our eyes are open. We we understand the decision we made to believe the gospel in trust Christ we we get that part is easy, but we believe God works cited because the Bible simply reveals it, and clearly teaches us that we were chosen by God. For we were even born and we can't understand that God chose us in eternity past this divine election we chose God in a moment of time that human will, acting on God's gift of faith in his initiating work toward us. By the way the Bible makes it clear that both of those perspectives are absolutely necessary for salvation to overemphasize one distorts the gospel that would lead the elders of the church. William Carey belong to say to him when he said I want to go to India to deliver the gospel this and said how if there elect they will believe you will need to go. Salvation involves both in fact is the Scriptures. Roll out the truth of the doctrines that we believe Scripture tends to emphasize one at some point in time and the other at another point in time is been my practice to get to a person emphasizes one of the side to get to the other will emphasize that salvation involves both of these incredible truth so getting illustration. Paul and Silas, they just finished a duet concert in the jail and are singing midnight in an earthquake takes place a been preaching and they been singing in the jailer. It always been listening. He's got enough to know the gospel of what it means.
The earthquake loses all her chains and we, the jailer rushes and he says to Paul and Silas Sirs, what must I do to be saved. It's interesting to me that Paul did not respond will listen. If you're asking that kind of question is proof you're among the elect, worry about now. The apostle Paul responds believe trust in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. I find it interesting that Paul also did not say to him, believe in the Lord Jesus because you are already saved. He said, believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be at that moment say thanks both true. Maybe you're wondering how I know from one of the elect.
How do I know if I been chosen by God before time began. He didn't Peter say that the believer make your calling and election sure second Peter 110.
He did get there another century, but at any rate, you need to understand, Peter is is not asking you to feel sure about it because maybe you're saying I don't feel sure how I make my election sure I don't feel sure Peter didn't tell you to feel sure about your election but to make your election sure it has nothing to do with how you feel because that's like this.
It has everything to do with who you believe that and what you're trusting and you can make your election sure by trusting in Christ alone. The question is have you have your eyes been open to the gospel that demand you repentance a sinner and trusting Christ alone. God has to do that and if that's happened to you and you responded in faith. You're one of the elect Charles Spurgeon the great pastor teacher in London during the mid-1800s, often spoke on the doctrines of grace and is a prolific author as well, and in one of his books I read some time ago I turned down the page because I knew I get to this text and I wanted to read it to you, and even I read it several weeks ago. Let me just come to work through it. I think to his balance and wisdom will be encouraging is what Spurgeon who was loved to be known as a man who believed election. Here's what he wrote to his congregation. He said this, Paul wrote in first Thessalonians 1 verse four.
For we know, brothers loved by God that he has chosen you know many persons want to know of their election before they look to Christ for trust in Christ but election cannot be known that way it can only be discovered by looking to Jesus. If you desire to ascertain your own election will this is how you shall assure your heart.
Do you consider yourself to be a lost sinner will go straight way to the cross of Christ until Jesus. So tell him that you read in the Bible. Whoever comes to me I will never drive away look to Jesus and believe in him and you shall make proof of your election for as surely as you believe you are elect, if you will give yourself wholly to Christ and trust him, then you are one of God's chosen ones, but if you stop and say what I want to know first whether I am, elect, you do not know what you're asking. Leave all curious inquiry about election alone goes straight to Christ in high in his wound and you shall know your election. The assurance of the Holy Spirit will be given to you so that you will say I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard that which I've entrusted to us of no Spurgeon right and put your trust in him and his answer will be. I have loved you, from everlasting past Spurgeon ends with this profound yet simple and wise statement. He writes there will be no doubt about his having chosen.
You when you have chosen him. Also keep in mind that Peter is bringing up the issue of election as an encouragement. You're thinking real yes. I felt him start heated debates or create doubt, causing the thank God for this amazing miracle disgrace.
It is only being revealed to us in his word, and here's the practical application of the doctrine. These scattered Christians had every reason to believe that perhaps God wasn't in control, or that somehow they slipped off the divine radar system of habit or or that God lost track of them, or worse yet, that he no longer love that this was a short-term affection that he no longer cared they would be able look at your own life like you can look here's an item undermines older just plenty of failures I can understand why God would start with somebody else. Doubts 20 misgivings plenty of sin. Maybe God was finished with these scattered believers are saying well. Perhaps he's finished with us. Peter informs them here that they were chosen by God to be the people of God as if to remind them that if before the creation of the world God had chosen them he was not going to lose sight of them is from eternity past to eternity future.
He has lost sight of his lost sight of you either. If you open your blinded eyes to believe the truth of the gospel isn't going to stop loving you. Until eternity future comes to an end and never will. You are not an accident. You are a divine choice that's reassuring, especially when you're scattered in your world is been turned upside down that everything about as you study the Bible from your conception, which requires the appointment of God to your birth to your new birth to every ability you have as you perform and made to every disability. God invested in your body to everything about your past and your present and your future.
It's all according to God's sovereign plan. Nothing is missed and lavish grace and incredible finally initiating love opens your eyes to see. It is truth and you believe then you choose him because he chose you and you know he chose you because that's the only way you would ever choose him you love him because he first love you Garrison Keillor. Not exactly the best theologian, but a good storyteller. He recalled one story I thought about this text as I read the story of his childhood pain being chosen last for the games you know after school. He said the captains are down to their last grudging choices. Jesus located for catcher someone to stick in the outfield were nobody gets the ball and they choose. The last ones to at a time yeah you and you you because it makes no difference.
The team and the remaining kids are barter well if I take him. You gotta take sometimes I would get chosen as high as six choice, but usually slower. Just once. I hoped Darrell would pick me first say I want a skinny kid with glasses in the black shoes you, there is a killer ends by saying that I have never been chosen with much enthusiasm as hard as it is to imagine God just choose chose this. Can you imagine how much this truth would be an encouragement to these marginalized and appreciated, misunderstood, fearful's place created Christians projected by the chosen isn't that great news from God's word today.
God didn't choose you begrudgingly because he felt obligated. God didn't choose you because he couldn't find someone better know God shows you enthusiastically and that's the title of the message you just heard chosen with enthusiasm. Thanks for joining us today here on wisdom for the hearts.
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