03 April 2009

"People for His Own Possession: 1 & 2 Peter" - Week 1, an invitation from the Rock

Peter was the most colorful disciple. His successes, failures, and experiences with Christ give us a fascinating and, yet, tangible backdrop for examining the claims of the Gospel. We can all relate to Peter; claiming allegiance to Christ one minute and denying him the next - witnessing the resurrection one day and quitting ministry and going fishing the next. Yet, in the end, Peter's life displayed the power of the Gospel and transforming power of the Holy Spirit. His New Testament letters cross thousands of miles and hundreds of years enabling "the Rock" to communicate to us truth wrought over a lifetime of passionate (and sometimes faltering) commitment to his Savior and friend - Jesus Christ.

This first message in the series "People for His Own Possession" covers the first two verses of Peter's letters (1 Peter 1:1-2). Here Peter reveals that his sense of identity was a result, not of his successes or failures, but of Christ's gracious calling on his life. He then invites Christians to see themselves, similarly, as "elect exiles" resting in the sovereign call of God the Father, the sanctification of the Spirit and the sprinkled blood of Jesus Christ. This identity is the foundation for joyfully weathering trials of all kinds. For Christians to derive defining value from any other source is to deny that joy and:
  1. the wisdom of God the Father's sovereign choosing,
  2. the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and
  3. the sufficiency of Christ's atoning sacrifice on the Cross.
Jump in...
Even after Peter had witnessed the resurrection, he was tempted to believe that his failures had disqualified him and disconnected him from Christ. So, he returned to his former identity and went fishing (see John 21). But when Christ graciously sought him out on the Sea of Galilee, Peter abandoned his former identity without hesitation. His reckless abandon in that moment is a happy and holy example for us.

Jump in.

To the proud and self-established,
abandon your temporary and futile pursuits and jump in.

To the discouraged and hard-pressed,
turn your eyes to the cross, embrace your exile, look to your future and jump in.

To all of us erratic, confused and needy lovers of Jesus, jump in.


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