As a reminder from last week, an exile is someone who is temporarily living somewhere longing for their permanent home. As followers of Jesus, our current home is not our permanent home. We are longing for our eternal heavenly home. Peter gives us instructions and confidence in our identity to know how to live in this reality. He finishes Chapter 1 by reminding us that "since you have been born again, through the living and abiding word of God..." that we should put away these things: malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. To "put away" challenges us with a drastic separation.
Malice - overall wickedness
Deceit - deliberate dishonesty (like bait on a fishhook).
Hypocrisy - Don't live a life of duplicity. Be who you say you are
Envy - Jealousy over the blessing of others
Slander - to speak down, to defame.
These things "cost" the gospel and do great harm. We should be the most truthful, conflict-repairing, life-giving people on earth, but too often we look too much like the world. These negative qualities speak to individual thoughts, which goes against the body of Christ. Our decisions affect others!
Instead of these things, verses 2-3 challenge us to "long for" the pure spiritual milk, that by it you "may grow up" into salvation. We must put off those old things so that we crave the Word of God, which allows us to:
1. Grow up in the Word
2. Look forward to find strength in our current trials.
In verse 4, Peter begins to use the illustration of a living stone. The Jews were scattered (the diaspora), and longed for the day that they could return to the Temple because that is where they met with God. This is no longer the case when there is a relationship with Jesus. We have direct access to Him. He is the cornerstone of the church, and we are all living stones that are built on Him as the foundation, the capstones, the Rock. As we keep coming to Christ, we are being built up to a spiritual structure. The building is not the church. The building is static and inorganic. As living stones, we move and have life and hope. We grow as He speaks to us! Peter is setting up the doctrine that we know as the Priesthood of the Believer. We have direct access to God, and we represent Him to a lost world.
In verse 9, Peter writes words of identity for us, "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession..."
Chosen Race - A different inclusion with an allegiance to King Jesus. God builds with the different (diversity) and makes something strong with it.
Royal Priesthood - We represent God to those around us
Holy Nation - Holy means "separated", which creates a tension. We can:
A. Escape - avoid
B. Accommodate - compromise
C. Engage - be salt and light to a lost and confused world
How do we live out corporate identity:
1. With our words - we must speak the Word to give an answer for the hope that you have in Jesus.
2. With our lives - we must live in a way where people see our good deeds and want to know what makes us different.
To Discuss Today:
1. Does the church look different than the world right now? Why?
2. What have you feasted on that has "satisfied" your appetite and caused you to exclude the Word from your diet?
3. Where are you as a part of the "holy nation" - would your life be described as "escape", "accommodate", or "engage" with the culture?
4. Is your view of church "big enough" that you believe it is the greatest enterprise on earth? Why?