1 Peter 2:9-17  

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.

Living Godly Lives in a Pagan Society

11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

Introduction:

From the beginning the Church was intended to be an alternative society:

  • A culture within a culture.
  • A community that would reveal that there is a different way to live life.
    • A community with:
      • its own moral code,
      • Its own belief system,
      • Its own rituals.
    • A community based on love, truth and righteousness:
      • A sanctuary for foreigners and aliens –
        • people no longer rooted in the world and its patterns, but people who had become citizens of heaven.
        • people who no longer really fitted in with the society from which they came:
          • Waiting for the Saviour from heaven,
          • But living intentionally for His Kingdom and His Name in the present world.
        • A community which invites others to come in.
        • Which cries out “Come as you are”
          • However, it does NOT say: “Stay as you are”
          • Nor does it say “We will become like you”
        • The invitation requires faith in Jesus and asks of people that they give up citizenship of the world and join this alternative society. It asks of them that they would align themselves with the moral code, the belief system, the worldview and the rituals of the Church.

In this passage in 1 Peter we find Peter telling us how to live within the Church and within society.

  • We are the People of God:

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.

  • We have a purpose which differs from all other communities:
    • Declaring God’s praises.
    • Living lives that are examples to unbelievers:
      • Even if they despise us now, even if they lie about us now, they will testify before God one day that our witness was pure.
      • 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us. 
      • You cannot think that the world will love us, accept us, give us a fair deal, endorse us or even tell the truth about us.
        • Huge problems arise when we desire this.

 

  1. We live in a fallen world:
    • The world is not getting better.
    • The Church is no more popular today than when it first began.
    • The world hates us.
    • They see us as foreigners and aliens:
      • People out to destroy their way of life.
      • A dangerous cult trying to steal their freedom to sin.
      • Strange, backward people.
    • They DEMAND that we change to be more like them.
  2. What does the world want from the Church?
    • It requires that religion be non-threatening
    • Safe
    • Cheap
    • User friendly
    • Comfortable
    • Not embarrassing – no strange rituals or beliefs
    • Serve their needs – ultraism, charity
    • Woke
    • Endorses current trends
    • Popular – with celebrities in charge
    • Socially acceptable
    • Makes no waves
    • Demands nothing
    • Does not prick its conscience
    • Is grey – no black and white areas
    • Has no absolutes
    • Encourages subjective morality
    • Is entertaining
    • Takes no moral stand
    • Is progressive
      • Encourages popular agendas
  1. Two Voices
    *ILLUSTRATION Moses and Aaron – Hearing God’s Voice or caving to the will of the people.
  2. What happens when Christians want to please society?
    • We lose our testimony
    • Instead of the Church influencing the world the world starts influencing the Church
    • Our salt and light becomes dulled and tasteless.
    • We become like the world and we are no longer an alternative society.
    • We drift from the truth.
  • Wrong perspectives – there are many, but here are two:
    • Attractional Church
      • The idea that we must attract people to church by doing things they like or are impressed by.
      • This is marketing not evangelism.
      • This leads to disaster.

 

  • Progressive Christianity
    • The idea that sin is systemic and not personal
      • The Church addresses the ills of society
        • Social systems
        • Economic systems
        • Social injustice
          • Disaster
          • No personal sin
          • No repentance
          • Cancel culture
          • Blame culture
  1. The only objective truth is to be found in the Word of God:
    • We base our lives and our faith and our lifestyle on God’s revelation, not on the world.
    • The Church is supposed to be different.
    • We will NEVER be popular and acceptable to the culture around us.
    • Any attempt to be liked will end in a denial of God’s truth and the acceptance of the lies of the world.
    • Get back into God’s Word.
    • Speak the truth in love!