What was your family like? If I was to ask you to describe your family growing up with just one word, what word would you chose? I think I would choose fun. My fondest memories growing up was having fun as a family. My mum has the gift of hospitality, and so we always had people around. We spent a lot of time with extended family, so I always had numerous cousins to play with. My dad loved the outdoors, so I remember shooting trips and fishing trips and camping and bushwalking.
This morning we’re in Genesis 24, which also happens to be the longest chapter in Genesis. Because it’s so long I’m not going to read it up front, instead I’m going to summarize it and quote specific verses throughout the sermon. I encourage you to have it open in your Bibles or on your Bible app. Genesis 24 sets up the scene for Isaac’s marriage to Rebekah, it’s a love story. It’s also nearly 4,000 years old, so there are some elements that are different from the love stories we’re used to.
Isaac is probably one of the least known characters in the Bible. Even though he’s one of the three patriarchs, we tend to think of Abraham and Jacob and that other guy. I’m calling this this series ‘No Laughing Matter.’ Isaac’s name actually means laughter.
1. Living as Elect Exiles 19th July 2020
In this first sermon of the series we’re going to reflect on certain aspects of Peter’s life and how his experiences relate to two words he uses to introduce his letter – elect and exiles. Peter reminds us that in the brokenness of this world we have been chosen by God, and that this world is no longer our home. Peter’s purpose is that as God’s people living in a broken world we will experience God’s grace and peace more and more.
In this sermon we look at what Peter calls our living hope. You can’t live in a broken world without hope. Peter reminds us that we face suffering and struggles with a hope that cannot die. This hope is founded on God’s future promises, of resurrection from the dead and an eternal inheritance. It’s founded on God’s mercy and power. It brings joy in the midst of trials. It’s founded on the historical work of Jesus on the cross, prophesied by the Old Testament prophets and proclaimed by the new Testament apostles. As God’s people we live in the broken world with unshakeable hope.
Peter was more than aware of the challenges we face as God’s people living in a broken world. But rather than encouraging us to fit in or compromise or give up, Peter calls us to be holy. As God’s people we’re to different than the broken world around us. In this sermon we unpack five reasons why we should be holy, and three ways we are called to be holy. Holiness begins in our minds and with our desires, but it works itself out in our daily conduct. But rather than just telling us to be holy, Peter grounds our commitment to holiness in both the character of God, and in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In this broken world, where do you get wisdom for life? Most people get it from the world, from their parents or school as they grow up, or university or social media as adults. But the wisdom of this world keeps changing, it doesn’t lead to eternal life, so it’s not wise to let it live in us. Instead Peter tells us to turn to God’s living word. God’s word is the instrument God uses to change our lives. It’s a word that when it lives in us it produces in us a love for others and makes us spiritually. In this sermon we’re going to look at the character of God’s word, and how God uses it to help us live as his people in this broken world. It’s my prayer that this sermon will make you long to read God’s word.
Peter uses the most unusual metaphor for Jesus, he’s a Living Stone. This morning we’re going to look at what Peter means by calling Jesus a Living Stone, and we’re going to see that for some people Jesus is a stone that makes them stumble and causes offense, while other people become living stones themselves. We’re going to learn not to be surprised when people reject Jesus, because it’s all part of God’s purpose. And for those who come to Jesus in faith God has a purpose as well. Living as God’s people in a broken world means becoming living stones.
Peter reminds us again that we are sojourners and exiles in this broken world. How do we deal with all the brokenness we see around us and even in us? Peter reminds us that even though we live in a broken world we are God’s people, and that changes everything. As God’s people we are radically different, we are special. But as God’s people we are also called to live differently. As God’s people we proclaim God’s excellencies. As God’s people we wage war against sin. As God’s people we conduct ourselves honourably. In this sermon we’re going to look at what it means not only to be God’s people, but how we are to live as God’s people in this broken world.
How do we respond to secular government authority? How do we respond to secular bosses who don’t share our Christian values? According to Peter we respond like Jesus did, we respond as god’s servants. In this sermon we’re going to look at what Peter has to say about how Jesus dealt with suffering and injustice, and how that applies to our attitude towards our government and our employers.
We live in a broken world. But Peter isn’t just concerned with our personal holiness, or how we live as citizens, or even just how we function at work, he’s also concerned about how we live as husbands and wives. As God’s people how we relate as husbands and wives matters. In this sermon we’re going to look at how wives are called to submit to their husbands, and what that actually looks like. But we’re also going to look at what it means for husbands to lead their wives, which isn’t about domineering them, but understanding and honouring them. How we live as husbands and wives doesn’t just impact us, it impacts our spouse and it’s a witness to the world of what a godly marriage looks like.
As God’s people living in a broken world, we face the reality of suffering for our faith in Jesus. This Sunday Peter prepares us for the reality of suffering, by reminding us of the suffering of Jesus. We’re going to learn how our world today is similar to the days of Noah. We’re going to learn how God uses suffering to draw people to himself. And we’re going to learn five things we can do in response to suffering. If you want to learn how to prepare to live as God’s people in a broken world then this sermon is for you.
In all the sermons so far in this series on Living as God’s People in a Broken World, the common theme is that we’re to be different. The thing that marks us out as God’s people is that we’re to be different than other people. This Sunday Peter calls us to be different in two ways. Firstly, we’re not to live the world’s way, we’re to say no to sin. Instead we’re to live God’s way, we’re to be people of prayer, we’re to be marked by love, we’re to be hospitable, and we’re to serve others. But what makes us different is what Jesus has done for us and the fact that he’s coming back.
When life squeezes you how do you respond? Often we get angry or depressed, and we’re tempted to either lash out at the world or withdraw from it. But is that how we should respond to suffering? This Sunday we’re going to look at three ways we shouldn’t respond to suffering, and three ways we should respond. Instead of being surprised or ashamed by suffering Peter tells us to rejoice and remember how blessed we are. Instead of suffering because of our sinful actions we should trust God and keep doing good. Come along this Sunday and learn how to live with suffering.
Peter knows that living as God’s people in a broken world isn’t easy, which is why it’s so important that we live as God’s people, that we live in a loving and supportive spiritual community. And the thing that makes such a community work is humility, being willing to put others before ourselves. Peter starts with he leaders of the church and calls them, not just to shepherd the flock, but to do so willingly and eagerly, but most of as examples of humility. He calls young people to humble themselves as well. And he calls us all to clothe ourselves with humility, not just towards each other but most of all before God.