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Text – 1 Peter 2:9-10, priest
What is some things you can't do in Heaven? Usually we think of the bad things, in Heaven you won't be able to sin, you won't be able to die, you won't be able to hurt yourself or others, you won't be able to walk away from God, and probably if we spent a lot of time we could come up with many more bad things we won't be able to do, which will be wonderful that we can't.
But what is one good thing we won't be able to do in Heaven? You will be completely unable to find a single person to whom to share the gospel with who hasn't heard about Jesus.
So if we want to get our share of this good thing, then we'd better do it now. Remember that we have an eternity to know Christ better, we have moments to know him at all.
So, to keep in line with Peter's letter, what did we talk about the last two weeks? How to build a firm foundation, and that we are a priesthood of believers, a Sola Sacerdos.
A priest offers sacrifices to God, what are some sacrifices we can offer? Our lives, our praise, our works, our prayers, and bringing others to Christ.
So Peter is going to pick back up on this priesthood of believers idea in verse 9, lets read the whole passage to start,
1 Peter 2:9-10 You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Before we get into evangelism, lets look at what Peter says about this priesthood.
v.9 You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession...
Chosen Race - Peter again affirms that the church has replaced Israel. A priest had no choice of being a priest, God picked the priests and then they were priests. In the Old Testament, if you were a bad priest, God would just kill you, but now we have Christ interceded for us.
Royal Priesthood - After the order of Melchizadek, with our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ.
A Holy Nation - All Christians stand as one, sanctified by the blood of Christ.
A People for his Own Possession - Christ purchased us for himself, his glory is utmost.
Now let's see why,
v.9 that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Let's really dig into this passage:
you - This is a personal responsibility, it's not the duty of the church as a whole, but a duty of each individual Christian.
proclaim - Speak, tell, yell, lift up your voices as one crying in the wilderness! There is a pagan quote that says, "Preach the gospel and when necessary use words." They mean be nice to people in hopes that they will want Jesus because you're so nice. This is the equivalent of saying, "Feed starving children and when necessary use food." The Gospel is spread through preaching, you have to open your mouth.
Romans 10:17 Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
the excellencies - Now we get to brag on God, that he is good and holy and righteous and just and merciful and gracious and personal and eternal and big and creative and worth more than the whole universe put together. We'll talk more about this in a moment.
of him - Who is this? Jesus Christ, let's let scripture describe him:
1 Timothy 3:16 He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
Jesus Christ, one Person of a Three Person Trinity put on flesh, became a man, born of the virgin Mary, was totally sinless, better than the angels, worth proclaiming to the world, able to save to the utternmost all who believe, and sitting in Heaven at the right hand of his Father making intercession for the saints and holding the universe together by the power of his word.
who called you - In the words of the song, "He sought me and bought me", he called his saints to him and paid for their sins by dying on a cross, beaten and bloody, forsaken by his friends and his Father for our sake and for the sake of his name, who rose on the Third Day and lives today to call and save his saints.
out of the darkness into his marvelous light - Again, scripture says this better than I can, first the darkness:
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
then the light:
Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
A Latin phrase which I love is about this, it is Post Tenebrae Lux, it means, "After darkness, Light."
2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
When we were dead in our sins and trespasses, there couldn't have been anymore darkness, but Jesus Christ, the light of the world, has shone in our hearts and made us his ministers. Peter in these two verses is literally referencing like ten Old Testament verses, he is showing a magnificent command of the Hebrew scriptures. In this part he is referencing my favorite verse,
Isaiah 60:1-3 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
And Peter sums up with a quote from Hosea. Let me tell you the story of Hosea real quick, Hosea was told by God that Israel was acting like a prostitute, so he must go marry a prostitute. So Hosea found Gomer and married her. Hosea and Gomer had a child, his name was Jezreel which means "God will scatter", making a prophecy about what God was going to do with Israel. Then Gomer had a daughter, she wasn't Hosea's daughter, and God told Hosea to name her "No Mercy", Lo-Ruhuma. Then Gomer had a son, he wasn't Hosea's son, and God told him to name the baby "Not my People", Lo-Ammi. God was saying that Israel was about to be scattered and abandoned by him, not receiving mercy. But at the end of Hosea 1 God makes a promise, that when the people are gathered together under one Head, which we know now that head is Jesus Christ, the people who would be gathered would have verse 10 applied to them,
v.10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
So in all of this we have our basis for evangelism, we are God's people, we have received mercy, we have been called out of the darkness into his glorious light, so let's proclaim his excellencies.
How are we going to do it? I'm going to teach you on an easy to remember verse,
Luke 19:10 The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.
What did Jesus do? He came to seek and save the lost. So when we talk to someone they first need to know what they are, according to this verse, what are they? They are lost. But they aren't going to agree with you,
Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
So how are we going to show them that they are lost? Because if they don't see themselves as lost, they aren't going to want to be found. Say I want to show you that you have a deadly disease, how am I going to show you? I show you the symptoms and the evidence and that you have a problem.
Romans 7:7-9 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.
The law makes sin known, it shows us that we are dead and in trouble, that we are lost, and that we aren't good people. So I start out by asking people, "Would you consider yourself to be a good person?" All of them will say yes, it is human nature. So we need to show them that they are not.
From here we take them to the law of God so that they see what sin is that they have terrible sin problems. I ask, "Have you ever told a lie? What do you call someone who lies? It starts with L and rhymes with Fire. Have you ever stolen anything? What do you call someone who steals things? Have you ever taken God's name in vain? That's called blasphemy, it's a very serious sin, the Bible says that God will not hold them guiltless that takes his name in vain. And the one that got me, have you ever killed anyone? Listen to what Jesus said, he said that if you hate someone or call them an idiot or a curse-word you will be in danger of judgment as a murderer. Have you ever done that? So, by your own admission you're a lying thieving blasphemous murderer at heart, and you have to stand before God on Judgment Day."
So in just a few questions and only four commandments and your person will see that they are not a good person, but that they have broken the law of God, that they are in trouble. Now we need to drive the seriousness of their condition home, ask, "Is God going to find you innocent or guilty? Heaven or Hell. The Bible says that all liars will have their place in the Lake of Fire, and no thief, no blasphemer, and no murderer has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Heaven. You're in trouble, does that concern you?"
Now they see that they are lost, now is when God can work in their soul, the Holy Spirit can convict of sin, righteousness, and judgment if he so pleases. So back to our verse, "The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost."
We ask our person if they know what God did so they wouldn't have to go to Hell. Some will know, we tell them that Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, stepped out of Heaven, was born of the virgin Mary, lived a perfect sinless life and then paid for our sins on the cross." We tell them in whichever way you want to word it, that the Son of Man came to seek and save, and he did that by laying down his life paying the penalty for sin, absorbing the wrath of an angry and offended God, so that we can go free.
Jesus is seeking a repentant sinner who will serve him completely, so we tell them that they must repent and trust in Jesus Christ. Don't tell them to accept Jesus, because they can't accept him, they need him to accept them, and he will if they will repent and trust only in him. And what are they saved from? They are saved from Hell and sin and despair and eternal pain, but all of that is piddly in comparison to the wrath of God which Christ became the propitiation for them. What is propitiation? It is a substitutionary death, like taking a bullet for someone.
Now let me ask you this, say Courtney offended me and owed me money for restitution, would it make sense if I said, "Courtney, because I like you I'm going to let Bethany pay your fine for you." That wouldn't be fair at all, nor would it be very loving, and while I'd get my money, I'd probably estrange Bethany and make Courtney confused. But what if I said, "I'm going to wipe away your debt at my own cost and forgive your offense." Then it would be fair right.
Now look at God who is offended and sent his Son to die for us. It seems to be the same thing, except we have to realize that Jesus is God the Son, he is likewise offended, he is the Judge of the quick and the dead, and as the Judge, he willingly went to the cross to pay the debt that was against him at his own cost, and beloved, it cost him and his Father dearly.
In conclusion, Charles Spurgeon said, "Have you no desire to see sinners saved? Then you are not saved yourself, be sure of that." So go out there and witness for Christ, proclaim his excellencies and fulfill your priestly duties.
Two of the gang members above got saved after this, Mario teaches Sunday School.
This above video starts out slow, but it is a really good example.