1 Peter 2 Part 3 (Kyle McCallum)
Christians Take on the World
Missed Identity Project? No worries! Here’s what went down with Kyle’s teaching Tuesday, Sept. 27. It starts with 1 Peter 2 . . .
“Come to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by the people, but he is precious to God who chose him. And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are God’s holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ. As the Scripture express it: ‘I am placing a stone in Jerusalem, a chosen cornerstone and anyone who believes in him will never be disappointed,’” –1 Peter 2:4-6
Last week’s Identity Project focused a lot on how we are all spiritual stones, and if we are indeed Christian, we have a body that we are unified through with the holy spirit in us. Everyone has his or her unique role with the Lord, if they choose to live this way.
This week, Identity Project focuses on our relationship and position in the world as Christians.
So really, who are we as Christians? Take a look at 1 Peter 2:9 …
“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, God’s holy nation, his very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
As Christians, we are a royal priesthood. Keith touched on this a week ago. Priests intercede between God and man. Being a priest is not something that is just for elite people such as the pope, bishops, etc. No. Many churches put emphasis on this; however, anyone who truly accepts Christ into his or her life can be a priest for the Lord. We can all act as intermediaries between God and man and represent God as his children. It should be in our hearts to exclaim all the excellencies of the Lord to others, and this does not just mean singing at church every Sunday morning, saying your ‘hail Mary’s’ nor doing good deeds alone. This is all about l-o-v-e for one another.
We win other Christians only through love and the spirit. People are struck by the body of Christ because of our great love for one another, and by proclaiming excellency. We can proclaim this through our lifestyles and dedication to spreading love among one another. This needs to be a priority in our lives. God wants to raise up a kingdom that is unlike anything in the world right now.
When you hear the term kingdom, what comes to mind? In the world, we tend to think about things such as empires, nations and conquering other countries when we think of ‘raising a kingdom.’ However, God wants to raise a different kind of kingdom that is not acquired through force, violence or any other negative means. His kingdom is made through love and operates on very different principles!
“Dear brothers and sisters, you are foreigners and aliens here. So I warn you to keep away from evil desires because they fight against your very souls” — 1 Peter 2:11
Christians truly are strangers in the world, and we do operate different than the rest of the world, which probably seems bizarre at first, but it does make sense. Things in the cosmos are designed to distract us, and there is proof we are blinded by the world system. Try asking someone what they believe in today, and often times, people will not know how to answer that question. Many individuals have not investigated the word of God–especially with our lives being consumed by the cosmos. A lot of individuals have no idea of who God is, nor do they know him on a personal level. These people have been blinded by the cosmos, and don’t realize this.
One example of this would be Las Vegas–the cosmos is at work here. Sure, it’s a cool city on the surface with lights (and sexy ladies), but when you investigate further, you find out there’s a lot that is messed up with it. You see crime in the streets, and people out hurting others. Ministries are trying to reach these empty souls here, but for the most part, a lot of people in that particular town are blinded by the cosmos.
Living a life in the cosmos is enslaving. People who live solely by the cosmos way cannot escape the pursuits of selfishness, and most individuals here are afraid of death. Satan makes us fear death, and wants us to ignore the fact that we are going to die someday. He wants us to be selfish, focus on only our careers and our lives and rise to the ‘top’! This is like living in the moment here, and a lot of people will ignore God for the cosmos and just act like life is a giant party and there are no consequences to selfish lifestyles.
Satan knows this is how the cosmos will work, and people will follow their whole lives just to rise to the system and humanity is reduced to this. Rising high in your career may make you feel good temporarily, but in the end, it may destroy our relationships with God. This is why when talking with some people about afterlife, they either want to change the topic to something totally different, or offer several points that are not well thought out. People totally dedicated to the cosmos will act this way, and they are ok with forgetting about God.
However, for Christians, life is different! We know the truth, and we were brought to the body where things are better. There is substance and depth in our lives. There is love, and relationships that will work. Look again to 1 Peter 2:11, and you will see that as Christians, we have the power to abstain from fleshly indulgences. It is pointless to return to emptiness in the cosmos once Christ is in our lives. Christ gives us profound truths and hope, so why go back to the empty way of living?! There is nothing for us there, except maybe death and depression and an unfulfilled life. A lot of Christians will return to the cosmos once they are saved, which hurts because we are only truly happy when we are in a body of Christ. Your life will be broken when you do this, for nothing is better than the love of God!
Christians have a purpose in the world, too. Read 1 Peter 2:12 ….
“Be careful how you live among your unbelieving neighbors. Even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior and they will believe and give honor to God when he comes to judge the world.”
It is important for Christians to win others to ‘Team God’ and to spread the word. This is essentially a revolution and insurgency. Christians truly are aliens in the world since the world is dominated by a corrupt system. No, Christians should not go around crusading through warfare, but should try to win people and come underneath the system. It is strange to think of Christianity like guerilla warfare, but it is!
Christianity is an exciting movement! It’s more than just singing “Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost lalala!” or acting like a goody-two-shoes who refuses to drink, smoke or curse. No, Christianity is radical and going against the authority of the world!
Consider Harriet Tubman: This woman was a slave during the Civil War era, and she managed to escape her evil master. Though escaping alone was not enough for her; instead, she went back to help her brothers and sisters escape as well. She saved probably 70 to 80 people, and established an underground railroad. She did get out there and loved other people! It was an insurgency, yet she did not use warfare. What did she use? Love!
This is exactly what we do as Christians. We show others the love of Christ and expose the emptiness of the cosmos. There certainly are stimulations to live in the cosmos such as money, some ‘power,’ etc but in the end it is all empty. It is truly run by Satan.
Being a Christian does not mean we have to give up EVERYTHING in the world, of course. It’s not like God will smite us if we curse, smoke cigarettes, drink or have a good-paying job! What matters most is that love is in our lives, and as long as that aspect of our lives are strong, do whatever the fuck you want. (Note: I just cursed. Deal with it).
The world system offers NO sacrificial love, whereas God does. Think about it: when’s the last time your boss sincerely gave a shit about you and asked you how your life is going? It just doesn’t often happen. Work is work, and money is money–you are not going to find total fulfillment in it. It is totally pointless to only live for these artificial things. Relationships, on the other hand, will fulfill our lives–especially having a relationship with the Lord.
So how do we become effective Christians?
“Be careful how you live among your unbelieving neighbors. Even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior and they will believe and give honor to God when he comes to judge the world” — 1 Peter 2:12
Again, we cannot be naive about this. The world is going to slander us all when we expose the lies of the cosmos. People hate change, and don’t always want to leave this false value system. Yet as Christians, we should not just be naive and think that people aren’t going to try to mock us. If we can stand firm and defend our faith, we are doing things right. Just talking about Christ and fighting for his kingdom at those who oppose us is what fighting for the Lord is all about. Do not get angry when a man or woman bitches at you for being a Christian–don’t hold it against them, for you were like that too! People are all victims of the system, and Satan did a good job of establishing this corrupt system. We need to fight the concept of the cosmos to show people the light.
“For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms” –Ephesians 6:12
Christians must pick their battles strategically, and there are right and wrong ways to this . . .
“For the Lord’s sake, accept all authority–the king as head of state, and the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish all who do wrong and to honor those who do right” –1 Peter 2:13-14
We still submit to authorities here in the world, and our fight is not like picking a fight with Barrack Obama or George W. Bush. It’s not like we’re not going to pay taxes, refuse to go to work, etc. Theocracy would kill us, too, thus this is a terrible battle. There’s no such thing as an all-Christian nation. We come ‘underneath’ relationally. So respect the government still! Non-Christians will watch you and wait to scathe you when you misstep …
“It is God’s will that your good lives should silence those who make foolish accusations against you” –1 Peter 2:15
Christians are an example for the world, and the world will watch our every steps.
“You are not slaves; you are free. But your freedom is not an excuse to do evil. You are free to live as God’s slaves” –1 Peter 2:16
Use grace and Christ dying on the cross as a reason to do things. You can sin as a Christian; however, trashing your life is a terrible choice! People will see that in you and call you a hypocrite. Your example as a child of God matters! You can’t just compromise your Christian life, such as only going to church while not truly being excited about this ongoing fight. Yeah, you may be saved, but this means your spirit is dead. You can have a successful job, but at the same time, Christ needs to still be a part of your life when you have that kick-ass career.
“Show respect for everyone. Love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God. Show respect for the king” –1 Peter 2:17
We cannot just ‘hate on everyone.’ We must be strong in our character, even if someone is hating us. We must honor and fall for those who hate us. Man can do nothing to hurt us. The only true threat is Satan, in the end.
“You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters. Do whatever they tell you–not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are harsh. For God is pleased with you when, for the sake of your conscience, you patiently endure unfair treatment. Of course, you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing right and are patient beneath the blows, God is pleased with you” –1 Peter 2:18-20
People who are slaves to the world as Christians can come to the Lord for assistance. Even when there is a sense of injustice, it is our job as Christians to fight against it since the Lord lifts us all up. We can forgive injustices, just as Christ did for us.
“Instead, do what the Scriptures say: ‘If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you.’ Don’t let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good” –Romans 12:20-21
Forgive those who are mean and cruel to you since if Christ is in your life, they really cannot bring you down. Forgiveness is really powerful and truly is love.
“This suffering is all part of what God has called you to. Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in his steps. He never sinned, and he never deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted. When he suffered he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds! Once you were wandering like lost sheep. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls” –1 Peter 2:21-25
Because Christ was totally sinless, he never got mad with folks who said “Fuck you, Christ. You’re dumb as fuck!” No. Christ forgave them, and Christ helps us to be able to forgive others who do this, as well! God forgives us regardless of what we do, which is truly amazing. Nothing was nearly as bad as what Christ had to endure by dying on the cross for us. So as Christians, we should spread love with proclamation! Once the Holy Spirit enters your life, you ARE a part of ‘Team God!’ Not ‘team Satan’ who are bound to lose and just be sore losers. God lasts forever in our lives, whereas someday this world will crumble and die. Let your life count, for this is what truly wins.
So trust the Lord, and lay your burdens on Him as you spread his word with other folk. This is truly a way to live.