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I Peter 2:9-10 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.

Last week we looked at Deuteronomy 8, 9, and 10 and explored what it means that God has chosen us to belong to Him, that He has chosen us to be His people.  I used the illustration of being married to my husband and explained that because I had chosen him, I expected him to live a different life as we got married than he had lived before we got together.  Being chosen changes us.  It changes the way we do life.  It is supposed to anyway. There were two main points in last week’s message: 

Living chosen means living free from sin. I Peter 4:1

Living chosen means living a fruitful life. John 15:16

I made the case that our motivation to live free and fruitful lives is two-fold.  God’s love and God’s grace, both undeserved, both lavish and hard to comprehend, should prompt us, move us, and transform us into people who aren’t drawn to sin but who are drawn to please God and to bear spiritual fruit.  These things are the result of embracing our chosen status.  Those are our responses to the love and grace of God.

In today’s text from I Peter 2 we see the effects of God’s love and grace on our lives.  Let’s explore what God does in us that enables us to live out our chosen status. 

First of all, being born again, being saved in and through the blood of Jesus, who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, make us royalty. I Peter 2:9 says we are a royal priesthood.  We are royalty.  When we accept Jesus, we have royal blood flowing through our veins!  The world seems to be obsessed with royalty.  Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses stay in the media. Decades later people are still preoccupied with Princess Dianna. People seem fascinated by all things Windsor. Queen Elizabeth’s passing has been big news this past week. Contrary to the royal status she had which was mainly symbolic, and not authoritative, our royal status comes with power and authority.  Luke 10:19 says we have all power and authority over Satan.  That is huge!

Like the Windsor family in England, we also carry our royal family’s name with us wherever we go.  We are Christians, born of Christ, following after Christ, and the name of Christ, the name of Jesus, opens doors no man can shut.  The name of Jesus causes demons to flee.  The name of Jesus brings healing and hope into dark moments and places where there would be no way for change in the natural.  Our royal status gives us authority over Satan.  Through the royal blood of Christ and our connection to Him, we can command Satan to flee from us.  We can cancel every assignment He has in mind for us.  Revelation 12:2 tells us we overcome by the blood of the Lamb, by the blood of Jesus.  His blood is what gives us our royal status.

Second, in addition to being made royal, I Peter 2 tells us we have been made priests.  We are priests. Believer, did you know you were a priest?  Jesus is our High Priest, and He has chosen us to be priests in His service. 

In the Old Testament, only the High Priest had direct access to God, but in and through Christ, we now, each one of us who is a Christian, each one of us has direct access to God through Jesus.  In prayer, we can boldly enter the throne room of God.  Hebrews 4:16-“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

The High Priest could only enter the Holiest Place once a year in the Tabernacle.  We can be in God’s presence every day!  The High Priest had to go through tremendous cleansing rituals before entering that Holy Place. We are cleansed from every sin by the blood of Jesus according to I John 1:7.

We don’t have to walk on eggshells in the presence of God.  We don’t have to gain special permission to talk to God.  We don’t have to find a pastor to pray for us.  We can march right into the throne room of God and ask for what we need.  We have access with the King of Heaven.  We have permission.  We can enter in and through the blood of Jesus.  Ephesians 3:12 says, “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” What a privilege we have, as priests, to be able to be directly in the presence of God without fear, without shame, without condemnation.  We can go to God with our needs, and we can also go to God with our failures.  As we confess our sins to Him, the blood of Jesus takes up for us, and we are cleansed yet again, I John 1:9.

Look at 1 Peter 2:5 in the chapter we are studying today.  “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house[a] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Not only did the Old Testament have access to the Holy of Holies where God’s presence dwelt, but the priests were the ones to offer spiritual sacrifices.  We get to do similarly.  Romans 12:1-2 tell us that we can present ourselves as living sacrifice to God.  Oh, the sacrifice for sin, for all time, was made by Jesus, so we don’t have to try to offer a sacrifice for sin anymore.  That priestly duty is finished.  But we can offer our lives in sacrifice to the God who has loved and redeemed us and given us grace to live for Him. 

Romans 12:1-2-“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

We offer ourselves to God this way, as living sacrifices, because we are God’s chosen priests.  As we serve the Lord, we have an increasing desire to want to know and to accomplish His will, and the discovery of that will comes as we seek to live for Him.  As priests unto the Lord, we are living to please Him.  We are to stand out, not conforming to the ways of the world, the thinking of the world, the customs of the world, but we are living to conform to the patterns of Heaven.  We have a higher calling.  He died for us, so we live for Him, and we do that by living out our priestly status.

In addition to offering ourselves as living sacrifices, as priests unto God, because we have been chosen, we are to offer sacrifices of praise and worship to God.  Hebrews 13:15 says, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.”  Every good thing that happens to you is because God has made it possible, and every good thing you receive or every good thing that happens to you becomes your opportunity to glorify God.  He is worthy of all glory, honor and praise. That job promotion becomes an opportunity to tell people about how good God is.  The way God brought you through a trial is another chance to give glory to His name.   

People see and know we belong to Him when we give Him praise, when we openly profess His name.  We should be proud to be associated with Jesus.  We should be thrilled to let people know what He has done for us.  It should be a badge of honor to be known as a Christ-follower.  Our main text says that we have been chosen and called out so that we can declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light.  That is the end of verse 9.  This is part of our priestly privilege, to declare God’s praises! 

As priests, we are messengers for God.  II Corinthians 5:20- “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”  We speak for God on the earth.  The way others see Him and hear His message is through us.  What a privilege!  Because of our chosen status, we get to be God’s mouthpieces for this time in History!  The Apostle Paul said in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.”  The Latin word for priest means “bridge builder.”  As priests, we are bridge builders between God and other people.  Have you embraced that part of your chosen status?  As you live chosen, remember, that you have a responsibility, as a priest unto the Lord, to live to make His salvation known.

Look at the first verse of our text again:  I Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.

Can you fathom that your chosen status makes you holy? We know our shortcomings.  We know we aren’t perfect.  Right?  You aren’t holy and I am not holy apart from Christ, but because Christ is holy and because Christ was victorious, His righteousness, His holiness is imparted to us, conveyed to us, and we appear before God in and through the holiness of Jesus.  He sees us as being without sin because Jesus has covered our sin.  This is called positional righteousness.  You are in a position of perfection before God because of what Jesus has done.

When we were born physically, we were identified with Adam, we were identified as sinners.  Because of Adam’s sin, we were born with a sin nature.  However, when we are born again, we are given a new nature and are identified by the righteousness of Christ. The “Adam-Life” ends, and the Jesus-life begins!  We no longer live for sin, but we live for the will of God, as Jesus did.  When we accept what Christ has done for us, we depend on Him to take care of our need for spiritual and personal transformation. We trust Him to change us.  We trust Him to empower us to live differently, to live a holy life.  Jesus dealt with the Adam-Life, with the sin nature, when our sins were all nailed to the cross with Him.  The sin that condemns no longer condemns the person who has accepted their chosen status in Christ because He dealt with our sin.  He hung condemned in our place. 

Romans 6:6-For we know that our old self was crucified with him (Christ) so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin. Do you realize that because God has imparted Jesus’ holiness to you, you are free from the slave master of sin?  You don’t have to go along with the flesh.  You don’t have to give in to temptation.  You can live a different kind of life.  I would call choosing that different life, “practical righteousness.”  How we live out our positional righteousness in our daily life is practical righteousness.  How does what Jesus has done for us change our daily life?

Now, I do want to say that Holiness is about more than behavior.  A generation or two ago, holiness was about makeup and movies and about dances and card playing.    Holiness will impact our behavior, but it is first and foremost about our hearts.  What are our desires?  Where are our affections focused? How are we growing spiritually, and how are we living out that we have a new identity in Christ? Are we developing more of the fruit of the Spirit?  Is love growing in us?  Are we becoming more Christ-like in our character?  Answers to these questions speak about practical righteousness.

Holiness is about our desire and availability to be God’s man or God’s woman. To be holy literally means to be “set apart for God’s use.”  Our holy status, our chosen status, puts us in a state of readiness to be used by God how and when He sees fit. II Corinthians 5:21 says God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness (holy) of God. Jesus was holy in every way.  He was without sin and lived to do all that pleased the Heavenly Father.  We live out our holy status as begin to desire God’s ways and as we seek to accomplish God’s will for our lives.

Peter’s description in I Peter 2:9 includes that we are God’s special possession.  That very description makes you valuable. How much do you think you are worth to God?  There is really just one main thing that determines the value of something.  What is someone willing to pay for something?  The answer to that question speaks to its value. Y’all can mark your yard sale items up as if they are treasures, and they might be to you, but when they don’t sell and you wind up taking them to Goodwill or when people repeatedly ask if you would take fifty cents for something you have put $5.00 on, you understand that you have a different idea about that item’s value than the person who is seeking to make the purchase.  Everyone here knows what I’m talking about, right?

Listen, there can be no mistake about the value of a believer.  I Corinthians 7:23 tells us we have been bought with a high price, that we were paid for by the death of Christ on the Cross. What He was willing to pay is what determines our value!  He was willing to give His very life.  That makes us priceless.

Y’all, you don’t ever have to question how God feels about you.  He calls His child.  He calls you chosen, royal, a holy priest, and His special possession.  You have an elevated status. Does the way you live reflect that?  Lots of people seem to be living in a state of crisis. That is just my opinion, but a lot of people seem to be in an identity crisis.  They don’t know who they are, why they are here, or what they are supposed to accomplish.  They don’t have courage and confidence, but rather live with fear and doubt. They capitulate to the ebb and flow of what is popular in the culture at the time.  They walk on pins and needles with people or maybe they count on responses to social media or another new outfit to make them happy and live below their God-given status.  They are always seeking approval from others.  I think the popularity of messing with your gender or experimenting with your sexuality all stems from not knowing what God wants for us and what Christ has died to provide for us.

I can understand why people live in all kinds of mixed-up ways.  Apart from Christ, we can’t really know who we are or who we are supposed to become.  Our text helps us with this concept.  Look again at I Peter 2:10:  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.  Once you were not a people?  What?  How do you live without an identity?  You live in constant search of one.  What a rat race that is.  I think that is what the world is doing; they are living in constant search of an identity.  They think they will find it in their career or in a relational status.  Perhaps they look for it by developing a certain skill or by affiliating with a certain group of people.  Until they become part of the chosen, until they become part of the Family of God, they will continue to search and come up empty.

And maybe there are many believers here this morning who are still learning who they are in Christ.  I hope so!  I hope we continue to seek to understand what God says about us and why we matter so much to Him that He sent Christ to die for us.  Understanding who we are gives us a greater sense of purpose and destiny. In Christ, I am who God says I am.

You may feel unlovable, but God says you are forever loved.  Romans 8:38-39

You may think you are scarred but God says you are healed. Isaiah 53:5

You may feel weak, but God says He makes you strong.  Psalm 18:32

You may identify as a sinner, but God says you are forgiven. I John 2:12

You may have been abandoned by people, but you have been adopted by God.  Ephesians 1:5

You might tell people you are broken, but God says He has made you whole.  Colossians 2:10

You may have been rejected by others, but God says you belong to Him.  Isaiah 43:1

You might feel alone, but God says He is always with you.  Joshua 1:9

You might feel hopeless this morning, but God’s Word says you have a hope and a future in Him.  Jeremiah 29:11

Perhaps you feel purposeless today, but God says you were created for a great purpose.  Ephesians 2:10

Maybe you think of yourself as a failure, but God says you are victorious in Him.  I Corinthians 15:57

Maybe you believe you are worthless, but you have to know that God says Jesus died because you are worth it.  John 3:16

Listen, Christian, you are who you are because of who Christ is and has always been.  He has imparted His life to you.  You are who God says you are because God cannot lie.

I Peter 2:9-10 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.

Live like a chosen child of God!

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