1 Peter 3:1-7 Husbands and Wives, Heirs Together

1 Peter 3:1-7       Husbands and Wives, Heirs Together       WC McCarter

Read the creation story from Gen 1:1, 26-28; 2:7-8, 18-25. From the very beginning of human history, God was creating and ordaining. One of the very first human institutions, was the covenant of marriage, and it was ordained by Almighty God. God created men and women; He ordained marriage by bringing Adam and Eve together (which was part of the design for procreation); He gave more directives for marriage in the Law of Moses; He rebuked hard-heartedness and taught more about marriage in the person of Jesus Christ; and, finally, He inspired His apostles to write down profound truths and mysteries concerning the institution of marriage. In the New Testament we find many sections concerning the covenant of marriage—how Christian marriage resembles Christ’s relationship with the church; how our homes are to be structured in light of cultural structures; fornication, adultery,

Let’s talk a moment about the culture’s view of manhood and womanhood and how a biblical complementarian view is by far in the minority. There are two major views: (1) Egalitarianism—there should be no distinction between genders, and (2) Complementarianism—there are God-ordained gender roles that wonderfully fit together in the home and church. There are so many ways to go about this topic, and there is much that needs to be said. Let us take a look at our passage in First Peter today and come back to this subject soon.

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Wives, Submit to Your Husbands (1-2)
Peter is doing two things in the first two verses: (1) he is speaking to wives in general about how they are to relate to their husbands in the home, and (2) he is speaking to women who are married to unbelieving men.

Let’s take the first point: Peter says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands.” This is certainly in keeping with the rest of the New Testament (Eph 5:22-24; Col 3:18). The two great apostles, and we may assume the other apostles and the early church, were in agreement on this issue. To reinterpret this teaching or to completely ignore it, is to make a grave mistake which causes many other problems in the handling of God’s word. This is also in keeping with the illustration that is used in the passage of Sarah’s submission to Abraham. The context of that narrative is Sarah’s laughter at God’s promise of a child in Gen 18:12, but the point that Peter is making is that even in the midst of flippancy and laughter, Sarah maintains great respect for her husband. We will come back to this in a moment. Lastly, let us affirm that Peter’s teaching here is also in keeping with the order of creation. The Genesis account shows that God created Eve to be a helpmate to Adam. Together they were created in the image of God, equal in the eyes of God but with different roles according to gender.

Notice that Peter says, “Wives, likewise. . . .” He fits this teaching within a larger context of how all Christians are to submit to certain structures in the culture, workplace, and home. Citizens, employees, wives, and husbands all have certain roles and newfound meaning in relation to those around them on the basis of Christ’s humility, submission, sacrifice, and resurrection. In verse one specifically Peter instructs women to submit to “your own husband.” Thus, we are not talking about all women submitting to all men. There is something special about gender roles in the home. Male headship is assumed, and will be addressed in verse seven, and female support of the headship is affirmed.

Next, we may turn to the second point: Peter wants to help Christian wives who are married to unbelieving husbands. Wives in the Roman culture were expected to follow whatever religion their husband had chosen. Christianity was viewed as insubordinate because women were invited to abandon their previous religious system and trust in Christ no matter if their husbands believed or not. The same is true today that was true of the first century—many women have put their trust in Christ while their husbands have not. Now, everyone wants their loved one to come to a saving knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ. So, what is a wife to do when her husband does not believe? Should she take an aggressive evangelistic approach—constantly warning him, reading him Scripture, badgering him to come to church?

Peter’s answer to that is, No. He affirms a more passive approach, a word-less approach. This is not a general evangelistic strategy for all of us. The sentiment from Francis of Assisi, "Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words” is not biblical. We are commanded to open our mouths and share the Good News. Yet, for the woman who is marries to an unbelieving husband, she is instructed to convince him of the truth of Christianity by her conduct. It was highly appropriate for a wife to submit to her husband in this way in hopes that the wife’s quiet and gentle submission would reflect well on the church and bring about his conversion. Submission certainly is a way that the godly woman brings her unbelieving husband to the Faith.

Fear, we have already discussed, is first and foremost a healthy fear of God that puts everything in proper perspective. The wife should respect and honor her husband primarily with her faith in the Lord in mind. So, as we have already seen, Paul says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” So, the evangelistic plan for a woman married to an unbeliever is reasonable submission to his leadership (as much as possible while still obeying Christ), quietness and gentleness, surely private prayer for him, and pure conduct. That makes a world of difference. Now, make a mental note, this is not a guarantee that the man will be converted. This is not a guarantee, but Peter teaches that this is the godly approach. This is the best way to bring about his conversion to Christ.

Adorn the Heart (3-6)
Women were often viewed in the first century as constantly seductive. The wealthier women would dress up in order to manipulate the men around them. Of course, that is not so different today. We also know that men often flaunted their wealth and status by buying elaborate clothing and jewelry for their wives. While the women are called to reasonably submit to their husbands, they are not to count their beauty as merely outward. This does not mean that they cannot wear jewelry at all. It means that they are not to set their minds on or find their identity in external things.

This is in keeping with what the Scripture teaches about holy women. The most famous of passages concerning a godly woman is Proverbs 31. The wisdom of that passage says in verse 25, “Strength and honor are her clothing,” and in verse 30 we are told, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” You see, the definition of a holy woman begins with, “She hopes/trusts in God.” Look at verse five—the holy women of former times trust in God and adorned themselves with a gentle and quiet spirit. She does not put her hope in her outward appearance. She does not put her trust in her jewelry. She does not ultimately put her hope in her husband. She puts her hope in the Lord.

To be gentle and quiet was a standard virtue in the culture and was also seen as important in the Christian community but with a slight difference—keeping a gentle and quiet spirit is precious (of great worth) not only in the sight of the husband and the community but, most importantly, in God’s sight.

Sarah’s example of willing submission comes from Gen 18:12. The word “lord” does not mean master as if the woman is seen as a slave. The term is simply one of respect much like the word “sir.” The point is, as we noted before, that Sarah thought of her husband respectfully.

There would have been the potential of husbands attempting to intimidate or manipulate their wives into leaving the Faith, but Peter tells the women to continue to do what is right and to have no fear. So, we see another virtue, Christian women are to be fearless.

Husbands, Honor Your Wives (7)
Peter now turns to husbands for only a brief statement, and he assumes that their wives are believers. Rather than lording over his wife like many of the pagans, Christian men were to live with them with understanding, that is, being considerate of their wives and showing respect to them. While men in the first century were not held accountable for how they treated their wives—they could be harsh, abusive, adulterous, divorce them for almost anything, etc.—Christian men were instructed to love, honor, cherish, appreciate, and understand their wives, viewing them as equals in the grace of life.

Women are seen in two ways here:
(1) As weaker vessels (or, weaker partners). Women are seen as generally weaker, physically speaking, than their male counterparts and are thus more vulnerable. This may also refer to their lower status in the Roman world. Now, mark it down, the New Testament never describes women as inferior to men in mind or morals. Women are always seen as equals in capabilities.

(2) As heirs with their husbands of the grace of life. Men and Women are always seen in the New Testament as equal heirs to the benefits of Christ.

Lastly, Peter suggests that a husband who is not considerate and honoring of his wife will have an issue with God. Our heavenly Father will not hear the prayers of a man who takes advantage of his wife.

Conclusion and Christian Application

(1) The wives are not instructed to submit to their husbands to the point of compromising their Christian convictions. After all, they are told to trust in God and to do good.

(2) Women, stop trying to do it all. Expect your husband to lead. Want him to lead. Encourage him to lead.

(3) Discuss how relevant the discussion of biblical manhood and womanhood is: (a) the problem of radical feminity (b) the problem of the homosexual lifestyle (c) the problem of fatherlessness à teen pregnancy, abortion, gangs, boys who grow up to be abusive, etc.

Acts 4:23-31 Speaking His Word with Boldness

Acts 4:23-31       Speaking His Word with Boldness

When push-came-to-shove, their backs-were-against-the-wall, and the-heat-was-on, what did the apostles and other believers do?

(1) They gathered together as a body of believers—the church. They did not forsake the assembling of themselves together but fortified all the more for encouragement, strength, mutual support, and friendship.

(2) They began to pray corporately. There was no second-guessing what they should do. There was no debate or discussion of how to respond. The believers immediately began to pray together—to cry out to God.

(3) They turned to Scripture for answers, for understanding, for God’s will.

(4) They asked for God to give them boldness of speech. They did not hunker-down and hideout. They wanted all the more to speak the truth of Christ.

(5) They asked for God to work healings, signs, and wonders.

(***) We know that we can take this as an example of what to do in the midst of pressure and persecution because God looked favorably upon their prayers by validating it with the shaking of the place and by answering them by sending the Holy Spirit afresh to embolden them to speak the word of God.

1 Peter 2:18-25 Servants, Submit to Your Masters

1 Peter 2:18-25   Servants, Submit to Your Masters            WC McCarter

The two great apostles, Peter and Paul, both have in their writings sections concerning household duties. These sections instruct Christians as to how they are to relate to one another in the home: husband—wife, father—children, master—slaves. Lists of “household duties” were common in the Greco-Roman period, so it was necessary that the Christians address the issue as well, but the apostles did so from a different perspective. While wives, children, and slaves were to be under the headship of the male in the Christian home just as it was in the Roman home, these instructions were given bearing in mind Christ’s humility, submission, and sacrifice. In this section, strong exhortations will also be given to the Christian men. Christians are to be holy, that is, different from those around them. They would keep the same cultural structure in the home, which would not bring about added insult or persecution, but they would also be expected to relate to one another in a drastically different way than the world around them.

The practical teaching in this section is rooted in the Old Testament theology of Christ’s suffering specifically found in Isaiah 53. The word “suffer” is a key word in our passage today and several quotations will come from Isaiah 53. So, we saw last week how all Christians are to relate to the governing authorities; today’s sermon will be about slaves submitting to their masters, which I think has very practical applications for today; and next week’s sermon will discuss how husbands and wives are to relate to one another. I hope that you will plan to be here next week to hear that very relevant message from God’s word—for your sake and for the sake of your loved ones who could really use some mentoring in that area.

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Servants, Submit to Your Masters (18-20)
Part of honorable conduct among all and submitting to every ordinance of man is for slaves to submit to their masters. I mentioned last week that slavery in the Roman Empire was a very common situation. Some estimate that approximately 1/3 of the population in first century Rome were slaves. Also, to remind you of what I said last week, slavery was not like North American slavery—primarily forced, racially based, etc. Although, we should say, there were many slaves who had been captured in wars, and there were also those who were born into slavery. In the Roman Empire, slavery was basically a source of employment—of course, it was a less than ideal job. Peter, here, raises the status of slaves simply by addressing them in his letter. Slaves were considered property and had no rights as citizens. While many were working as doctors, teachers, managers, and other fine jobs, there were also many who were working miserable, abusive jobs.

So, Peter says to the slaves, “Submit to your masters.” It would have been basically impossible to overturn the slavery system of the Roman Empire. The Bible is not pro-slavery as some have claimed. The biblical writers were practical. They were realists. There had been many slave uprisings over the centuries but they were all crushed by the Empire. Many lost their lives trying to subvert the governmental structure of their day. Peter does not command revolt, he commands submission. This is the godly thing to do; the holy thing; the scriptural thing; the commendable thing; the Christian thing to do. These household duties ensured that the church would seek to keep the peace and not be subversive without good reason. Are we going against the grain at many points? Are we to be counter-cultural in many ways? Of course we are, but we are not to rock-the-boat in this way. Notice the other parts of the submission that is commanded by Peter:

1. “With all fear” – Remember or look back to 1:17 and 2:17 about the kind of fear that Peter has already been talking about. It is fear of God, fear based on knowledge and conscious. Jesus taught us: “Do not fear the one who can kill the body, but fear the One who can kill both the body and soul in Hell.”

2. “Not only to the good and gentle but also to the harsh” – There is some value in submitting to good and gentle masters, but there is that much more value in submitting to those who are harsh.

*3. “This is commendable”
          A. “What good is it for being punished for your faults?”
If you are punished for wrong-doing, then you get what you deserve—there is no commendation, there is no defense.
          B. “Commendable when you do good and suffer [patiently]”
But, if you are punished even when you have done well—God remembers you. So, he says, take the harsh treatment patiently. This is a great Christian witness. This is holy living. This is godly perseverance. Things are not always going to be rosy and cutesy. We must fear God even when we are suffering.

Exhortation: May we also extend this teaching to those who are working jobs that are not ideal? There are many, maybe some of you, who are treated badly in the workplace. There are many who deal with insult, humiliation, or worse. The exhortation, then, is to not give up. Are we allowed to look for another job? Of course, but it is not always so easy to switch positions or careers. Are there legal ways that we can defend ourselves? In our society there are still some things in place that offer some hope, but many of those things are fading away. The question that I think our passage today addresses is, what do you do in the meantime if things are very difficult at work? The Scripture teaches that we are to submit with all fear—not fear of our employer or any man but fear God. If you do your job well and you still take heat, this is commendable before God. God looks favorably upon those who suffer innocently.

Called to Follow Christ’s Example (21-23)
Now, in verse 21, what does the word “this” refer to? It refers to verse 20—“when you do good and suffer, if your take it patiently, this is commendable before God.” The Apostle says that you were called to unjust suffering. Notice the past tense. It must refer to when you became a Christian. Part of your new birth was being called to unjust, innocent suffering for the cause of Christ. Now, what is all of this rooted in? What is the basis for this kind of Christian doctrine? He says, “Because Christ also suffered for us.” Here is the deal—(1) if you live long enough, you will suffer some kind of unjust and harsh treatment, but (2) Christ’s suffering brings dignity to our suffering.

We are called to follow Christ’s example of innocent suffering.
1. Christ suffered [for us]
2. He committed no sin or deceit
          Since Christ suffered without sin, so should you!                   ***Isaiah 53
3. When reviledàdid not revile in return                                 Suffering Servant
4. When sufferedàdid not threaten                                        
*What did Christ do? He committed Himself to the One who judges righteously. He kneeled in the garden to cry out to the Father and said, “Not My will but Your will be done.” He cried out on the cross, “Into Your hands I commit My spirit.”

Penal Substitution (24-25)
He did not suffer for His own sins. He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. He absorbed in Himself the sins of the whole world. So, should slaves seek to subvert the cultural structures of their day? No. Should Christian employees in the workplace today look to get revenge against harsh employers/supervisors? No. Take unjust punishment for what it is—unjust. But do so with God-consciousness, knowing that He remembers you.

What Christ did was:
1. That we may live for righteousness (and this is right, this willing submission)
2. That by His stripes we may be healed (primarily the forgiveness of sin)
3. We have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. I have been struck by the emphasis that Peter has put on the “souls” of Christians. While he teaches very practical things about the Christian lifestyle, he is always mindful of how this affects our inner-selves, our spiritual lives, our souls. Look back to 1:9; 1:22; and 2:11. There are many who try to lord over our flesh, but there is only One Shepherd of our souls, and it is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Conclusion and Christian Application
We have been called to follow Christ’s path to glory à through suffering.

Lastly, notice how the cross affects every aspect of the Christian life—when you’re young and when you’re old; when you’ve been a Christian a year or for several decades; if you’re a man or a woman; if you’re black or if you’re white; if you’re a slave or if you’re free; if you’re married or you are single; in the home, the church, and the workplace. Think through each part of your life and how Christ wants to influence you on the basis of what He has done and the example that He has left.

1 Peter 2:11-17 Honorable Conduct

1 Peter 2:11-17             Honorable Conduct                          WC McCarter

From the beginning of the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, he was preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Early on He went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. His fame was spreading, and great multitudes followed Him. On one memorable occasion, Jesus saw the multitudes and, so, He went up on a mountain, sat down, and began to teach them. He began by telling them how to live the blessed life, and then He said, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

In our passage today, we come to a new section in Peter’s letter. We will be discussing even more specifically the Christian lifestyle. You may find it interesting that it is not so much your lifestyle that directly brings glory to God, but it is more so your lifestyle which motivates others to put their faith in Christ and that is what brings great glory to God. All the great things of the new birth and the Christian’s identity which we have talked about in the first parts of 1 Peter are what we want for those around us. We want others to experience the blessed life which we are experiencing.

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Abstain from Fleshly Lusts (11-12)
In these seven verses, Peter uses four different titles for Christians. He urges them on the basis of who they are to do the will of God. The first name he uses is “Beloved.” It is based on God’s love for the church and Christians’ love for one another that Peter begs them to abstain from lusts. As only a good friend would, Peter begs Christians to keep away from those things that will bring them great danger and possibly destroy them.

Not only are the believers Beloved, they are also called sojourners and pilgrims. The word “sojourners” means “foreigners.” It is the Greek word, “παροίκους” (from pará, "close beside" and oíkos, "house") which means, “Someone living close to others as a temporary dweller, in a specific locale as a non-citizen.” The second word, “pilgrim” or “exile,” is closely related and means literally, “An alien alongside” or, in other words, “a resident foreigner.” These names, which we are called, indicate our lowly status in this world.

So, before Peter gives them the command, he basically says, Remember who you are. Then, he commands them to “abstain from fleshly lusts.” We are to abstain from fleshly lusts because they war against the soul. The Christian life does not divorce the physical world from the spiritual world. Peter wants us to abstain from fleshly lusts precisely because they war against the soul. Your conduct can be beneficial or detrimental to your spiritual life. Too few Christians either don’t realize or completely ignore this fact. There is a connection between how we live and our spiritual life. The thinking that separates the two still persists today so that folks claim one thing but live in a way that is opposite from their claim. The heart of the issue is that God demands the whole person—body and soul.

Notice in verse twelve that “honorable conduct” is the same as “good works,” and this is what brings about the opportunity for conversion for some people. In the first of two names given to unbelievers in this passage, they are referred to as “Gentiles,” meaning that they are all those who are outside of the people of God, outside of the church, outside of the Faith. In the first century, Christians were called all sorts of things by the pagans around them. They were even referred to as evil doers. The conversion that Peter is considering here is for an outsider (Gentile) to go from speaking against Christians to actually glorifying God. That is a radical change, isn’t it? One day a person is hurling insults at the people of God, and the next day the person is glorifying God. That is night and day. That is conversion, and Peter says that your conduct can help to make that happen.

The very end of verse twelve reminds us that there will be a Last Day. There will be a Day when God brings this age to an end. He will visit this world in a way that mankind has not yet seen. We want those around us, as corrupt and mean-spirited as they may be now, to come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and willingly glorify God in the day of His visitation.

Submit to Every Ordinance of Man (13-14)
Christians, you are commanded by the word of God to abstain from fleshly lusts (and for good reason). This is honorable conduct, and these are the good works that we are called to do. Now we have a “therefore” in verse 13. Christians, you are also commanded to “submit to every ordinance of man.” This is a large part of having honorable conduct among the Gentiles, obeying human establishments. Yet, this is said to be for the Lord’s sake. So, it cannot mean that we are to submit to the government even if it is contrary to the Lord’s clear commands. We are to submit to (1) the king, as supreme, (2) governors, and (3) those sent by authorities. There would be some very violent Caesars who would come along very soon who would lash out against Christians. In fact, Peter, the one who wrote this letter, would soon be put to death under the reign of Nero. Those who are sent by authorities are ordained by God to (1) punish evildoers and (2) praise gooddoers.

This is the Will of God (15-17)
Have you tried to discern the will of God? We are God’s people, and we want to do His will. We try to seek it out. We pray for it. There are plenty of times when we do not have a “Thus saith the Lord.” This is not one of those occasions. Do you want to know how you are to associate with the establishments around you? How are you to relate to government? You are to submit to every ordinance of man.

The second name given to unbelievers is “foolish men,” and Peter considers their conversion once again. He thinks of how they could turn from speaking against Christians in their ignorance to actually being silenced.

The last name that Christians are given in this passage is “bondservants of God.” This is a very good translation. The original word means “slaves,” but not in the sense of what was North American slavery. That kind of slavery was forced and abusive. Many people were captured in their homelands and brought against their will to America where they were sold as slaves. Yet, slavery in the first century Roman Empire was drastically different. Multitudes of people sold themselves into slavery in order to pay off their debts. It was not usually forced but voluntary. In fact, many slaves in the first century would finish out the terms of their original agreement and then renew their “slavery contract,” as it were, because they had grown so close to the master and were grateful for the benefits they received by living in that house. What is Peter saying? He is saying that Christians are “free,” but choose to use their freedom to voluntary serve God. This is what it means to be a Christian. We seek to do God’s will on every occasion.

Verse 17 gives us four summarizing commands for today’s sermon:
1. Honor All People: Respect all people
2. Love the Brotherhood: We are to love the church, fellow Christians
3. Fear God: Healthy and motivating to do His will
4. Honor the King: Specifically, we are to revere those in authority

If you want to dodge bullets in this world, honor all people and honor the king.

Conclusion and Christian Application

Our goal is to bring God glory and to live peaceably with all people. Peter’s commands are to help us do those things. You can bring God glory and live peaceably (at least have the opportunity) with the world if you silence the critics by honoring all people and submitting to every human ordinance. We cannot give reasons for others to criticize us. We must live out our lives with honorable conduct so that we may see others converted.

1 Peter 2:4-10 You are Living Stones

1 Peter 2:4-10               You are Living Stones                      WC McCarter

It is really something to watch true professional stone masons in action. These guys are very fast in their work. As they build a wall, or a stone facing on a building, they take a stone from the pile, look it over to see where it would fit in any of the open spaces, and stick it in place. They then move on to the next stone. Every so often they take their hammer and give a chip here or there to shape up the stone and make it fit in certain places, but rarely do they cast a stone aside. They are so efficient in their work; they can spot weakness in a stone with one glance. They know a defective stone almost instinctively.

In the first century, during Jesus time, stone was the main building material. The cornerstone was the first stone to be laid in construction. It became the foundation upon which all the other stones were set. The cornerstone had to be the perfect stone and set perfectly because if it was off, even a little bit, the whole building was off. Once the cornerstone was set they could then build out from that point. There have been many cornerstones found in archeological digs in the Middle East; one was measured at 69 feet by 12 feet by 13 feet. These stones were very important in Ancient architecture.

Peter uses this same thought in his first letter. Today we will discuss Jesus as the Chief Cornerstone and how, as Christians, we participate in the spiritual temple and priesthood.

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Living Stones (4-6)
The Christian life is about “Coming to Him (Christ).” Notice that the previous context was clearly referring to God the Father, who is revealed as Yahweh in the Old Testament, but now the Him of verse four clearly refers to Christ. So, we see that what is true of Yahweh is true of Jesus Christ.

Christ is compared here to a living stone. This is based on Psalm 118:22 where the stone which the builders rejected becomes the chief cornerstone. A stone which was tossed away as useless is later brought back as the most precious stone. In the same way, Jesus was rejected by the Jewish leaders and crucified to get rid of Him. Yet, God the Father had chosen Him as the chief cornerstone, and, so, He was raised from the dead on the third day. Three things are said about Christ, the Living Stone: (1) He was/is rejected by men, but (2) He is chosen by God and (3) precious.

Now Peter turns his attention from Christ to the church and continues the imagery of a building project, calling us living stones. Notice that in verse five the apostle says that the church is being made into two things based on our association with Christ, the Living Stone: (1) a spiritual house (or, a temple for the Spirit to dwell) and (2) a holy priesthood. This is for the purpose of offering up spiritual sacrifices which are acceptable to God. We are living stones, no doubt, because we have put our faith in the resurrected Christ. His resurrection life becomes ours (Schreiner). Like stones which are stacked together, we are being built together to form a spiritual house, a temple for God Himself to come in and dwell. The old temple pointed to the church, which is the new, spiritual temple. Not only are we the temple, but we are the priesthood. This is a major distinction of the Reformation—the priesthood of all believers. I am no closer to God than you are. He does not favor the prayers of a pastor more so than the prayers of those in the pews. What does a priesthood do? They offer up sacrifices to God.

My question is, what are spiritual sacrifices? First of all, even the Old Testament begins to tell us that God desires something beyond law-keeping and the temple cult. [Hosea 6:6] says, “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” [Micah 6:8] also says, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” God does not ultimate desire physical sacrifice, we know that Christ was the once-for-all sacrifice which brings to an end the Old Testament sacrificial system and Law, but God does still desire spiritual sacrifices. So, the New Testament says,
          1. Bodies offered to God as living sacrifices (Rom. 12)   
          2. Money or material goods (Ph. 4, Heb. 13)
          3. Sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13)
          4. Sacrifices of doing good (Heb. 13:16)

These are the things acceptable to God. Now, does this fit with our current context in 1 Peter 2? I think it does. Look at verse nine. We are all these things so that we “may proclaim the praises of Him.” I think this is our spiritual sacrifice. We are those devoted to the proclamation of the Gospel deeds of God. The sacrifice is giving of our resources to support that proclamation, giving of our time, enduring ridicule or persecution because of it, and much more. Of course, it is a small price to pay considering that Christ has gone before us, suffered, and died to absorb the sins of the world upon His sinless soul.

Those Who are Disobedient (7-8)
For Christians, Christ is precious, just as He is to God the Father. You see His worth, His value. But, to those who are disobedient, He is only worthy of rejection. He becomes a rock of offense to them. They trip over Him and fall over Him. Why do so many academics and great thinkers of our time who are atheists fight so ferociously against Christianity? If they assert that it is all false, then why do they even bother? I think it is because they find Christ to be offensive, and something/someone who is offensive must be dealt with. Just like those who confronted Christ over and over in the first century and ultimately put Him to death, today is no different. They disobey by rejecting the word. We have already seen in 1 Peter that we experience the new birth through the word, but they stumble because they are disobedient to the word. This is the world that God created. There will be some saved and many lost. There will be sheep and goats divided. There will be wheat and tares. God knew this is how human history would go.

You Who Believe (9-10)
More elaboration is given about the church in the last two verses today:
(1) Chosen Generation—just like Christ was chosen, so are you. God said before the foundation of the world that those who put their faith in Christ will be His chosen people.
(2) Royal Priesthood—what makes you royal? You are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, and you serve the King of kings.
(3) Holy Nation—you are a people group. You are not supposed to live this life alone. You need the support, encouragement, accountability, and more that comes with being a part of a corporate assembly. You have been set apart for this purpose, you are special and different from those in this world.
(4) His Own Special People—which is not too much different from “holy nation.”
(5) The People of God—you belong to God. This is what makes you special.
(6) Those Who have Received Mercy—only those who put their faith in Christ, those who believe and find Christ to be precious are those who receive mercy.

Let me encourage you to take these vv9-10 and meditate on them this week.

Why is this so near and dear to us? Because He called us out of darkness and into His light. We have been united with the Son of God. This is why Peter calls this new birth experience “marvelous.” We are now the people of God.

What is interesting about this passage is that these things were all once said about the nation of Israel, but now all these things are said of the church. We are the chosen, special people of God!

God is the Master Mason that is building us together to form a spiritual house. He first laid the Chief Cornerstone in Zion and then has taken those who believe that Jesus is Christ the Son of God (including us) and shaped us into living stones, ready to be built into that spiritual house. God laid the foundation of our faith, which is the only way to salvation (Jesus Christ).

Today, I want you to wrestle with these things. Are you letting God shape you into a living stone? Are you looking to the Chief Cornerstone to make sure that you are in line? Are you offering the spiritual sacrifices that God desires?