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The Fathers Love Letter To You
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1 Peter 2:9-12

REMINDERS FOR PILGRIMS AND STRANGERS

Intro: Peter tells us, that as believers, we are "pilgrims and strangers" in this earth. The word "stranger" has the idea of a person who lives for an extended time in a land that is not his own. He is there long enough to need a house to live in, but he is not a permanent resident. He has no legal rights, he has no social standing. He is a stranger, an exile who lives in a foreign land. The word "pilgrim" has a meaning that is more temporary than the other. This word refers to one who is merely passing through on place on the way to another place.

Both of those words describe who we are as children of the Lord. We are living in this world, but this world is not our home, Phil. 3:20. We are here, God willing, long enough to need a house to live in, and a job to feed us. But, we are not permanent residents. We are merely strangers living in the midst of an alien culture. We are pilgrims passing through earth on our way to Heaven.

If you have ever has the opportunity to meet someone from another culture, you soon recognize the fact that they think and act differently than you do. Well, as believers, we are supposed to think and act differently than the natives of this planet. Our new birth and our new nature are all products of heaven. As a result, we are to be heavenly minded. Our legal status is in heaven. We are not to live by man's laws and man's ways! Man's laws and ways are lower than the standards heavenly citizens are to live by. We should obey the laws of the land, but the law and will of God is far superior to that of this world. In other words, if we are truly heaven born people, then we are to live like heaven born people! This is what Paul had in mind in Col. 3:1-3.

Since we are pilgrims and strangers in this world, we need to know how to conduct ourselves in an alien culture. This passage has something to say about that. In these verses Peter shares some Reminders For Pilgrims that we need to heed tonight.

I. A REMINDER OF OUR PAST SITUATION

A. V. 9 We Have A Dark Past - We are reminded that Jesus found us in the darkness of sin, Eph. 2:1-3. He found us when we lived as we pleased and were unaware that our freedom and fun was nothing more than the worst kind of bondage, Pro. 16:25.

B. V. 10 We Have A Despised Past - We are reminded that when He came to us, we were not even part of a people, Eph. 2:12, Col. 1:21. We were outcasts! Part of a fallen race of people. We were the enemies of God, Rom. 8:7.

C. V. 10 We Have A Deadly Past - When the Lord came for us, we were totally unworthy of the mercy and grace He extended to us! May I remind you that God owes us nothing! We everyone deserve to be in Hell this evening! It was grace that reached down into the hell of our darkness and delivered us from such a wretched existence! It was grace and grace alone that made the difference in your life and mine, Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 15:10.

II. A REMINDER OF OUR PRESENT STANDING

A. We Are A New Creation - The term "chosen generation" has to do with the glorious truth that God reached into the teeming masses of lost humanity and chose a people for Himself. He did this according to His own will and He took these people He chose and created a brand new race of men. (Note: When the Lord called Abraham, the Hebrew race of people was born. A race that had never existed came into being. The same thing is true about believers. We are a distinct race of men! We may be the same as others physically, but we are vastly different on a spiritual level, 1 Cor. 10:32; 1 Cor. 12:13.) That is the reason why the world does not understand us. It is why they do not accept us and our beliefs. This is the reason why we are aliens in this world!

B. We Have A New Communion - We are called a "royal priesthood". When we were lost, we were totally separated from God. Now, in Jesus, we have been brought "nigh" to God by the blood of Christ, Eph. 2:13. In this new relationship we have unrestricted, unhindered access into the presence of the Lord. We do not need another mediator for our Mediator, the Lord Jesus, 1 Tim. 2:5, has broken down all the barriers that once stood between us and God, Eph. 2:14-19. Since all of this is true, we can come into the presence of the Lord and we now have instant access to the Lord of glory, Heb. 4:16.

C. We Have A New Character - We are also called a "holy nation". That is, God, through Jesus, has produced a change in us that now allows us to be what we never could have been before: holy! You see, lost men can do good! They have no spiritual good in them, Rom. 3:12. They can produce some things that are good from a human perspective, but they can never produce anything that is spiritually good in the sight of God, Isa. 64:6. However, when a person is saved, they are given a new nature, 2 Pet. 1:4. This new, spiritual nature has the capacity, through the work of the Holy Spirit, to produce works of true holiness, pleasing to the Lord! (Note: Things like prayer, witnessing, acts of faith, acts of love, kindness and forgiveness are proof that God can take a sinner, save him by His grace and then He can make that person holy!) A believer can and should be holy! This is the will of God, 1 Pet. 1:16, and it is possible as we live as new creatures, 2 Cor. 5:17! It is possible because we have been delivered from the darkness and have been placed into the light! (Note: The flesh can produce a lot of things that look good externally, but only the Holy Spirit of God can produce genuine holiness in a person's life. The lost man may clean up his life, but the saved man finds his life cleaned up for him!)

D. We Have A New Classification - We are called a "peculiar people". Now that has been misquoted and taken out of context for many years. The real meaning of the word "peculiar" is of "a purchased possession, a unique possession, some of rare beauty and of a priceless nature." It brings to mind the way Malachi referred to the Lord's people in Mal. 4:17. In fact, the word "jewel" in Mal. 4, means the same thing as the word "peculiar" in this verse does! (Note: This means that we are a precious people. He paid a high price for us, 1 Cor. 6:19-20, and now He possesses us and we are precious to Him. Of course, this means that He keeps a close watch on us. He looks after us with the greatest of care. He protects us and shelters us. Once we were a despised, worthless people, now, through the blood, we are God's prized possessions!) (Note: Have you ever lost a set out of a ring? Ever lost a jewel or a prized possession? We all have! Thankfully, God will never lose any of those who are precious to Him, 1 Pet. 1:5; John 6:39.)

III. A REMINDER OF OUR PRESENT SERVICE

(Ill. Well, that's who we were and who we are. Here is what we are supposed to do with those truths. You see, instead of being partakers of the culture and mind set of this world, we are to attempt to share the culture and mind set of Heaven with this culture. Remember, we are from another world, John 15:19. We are literally "ambassadors" from heaven to this world, 2 Cor. 5:20. We are to do all we can to share the culture of our homeland with the earth bound people living around us. We are to show and tell them how the citizens of Heaven live their lives!)

A. V. 9 We Are To Declare The Truth About Our Savior - The phrase "shew forth the praises" means to vocally declare what the Lord has done for us. The word "praises" refers to "those qualities that make Him excellent." We are to declare to a lost and dying world the excellency of the Lamb of God! We should be quick to declare what He has done for us. We should be a vocal people in our willingness and our desire to share Him with the world! (Note: There is a right and a wrong way to do even this good thing! You can be open about your relationship with Jesus without being obnoxious to those you are witnessing to. You can point men to Him without drawing attention to yourself!)

B. V. 11-12 We Are To Demonstrate The Truth Of Our Salvation - There is a vocal side to our witness and there is also a visible side to it. These two verse speak about that aspect of our walk with the Lord.

1. V. 11 By A Pure Walk - Since we are citizens of Heaven, we are to avoid living like the citizens of the earth. When we live to an earthly level, we find our witness ruined and our lives enslaved by the power of the lusts of the flesh. (Ill. How Native Americans became enslaved to alcohol after it was introduced by an alien culture.)

2. V. 12 By A Powerful Witness - Peter says that believers are to live right in front of a lost world. They may criticize us for the standards we have or for the things we oppose, but if we are consistent and holy in our walk and dealings with them, they will be touched by our good works. He even indicates that some will be saved as a result as the phrase "day of visitation" indicates. (Note: When I was lost, I certainly criticized my share of Christians. I argued with them and despised them for being against the things I did. However, I never could get past their love and their devotion to the Bible. The truth and honesty of their lives made a statement for God that none of my arguments could overcome. It was the faithful witness of a few sincere, dedicated believers that helped bring me to Jesus. I said that to remind you to be holy and consistent. You never know who is watching and what a difference will be made because of the way you live!)

Conc: Until Jesus comes, we will be "pilgrims and stranger" in this world. Let us remember that we are surrounded by an alien culture that needs to hear about Jesus and that needs to see His truth lives out by those who claim to know Him. They used to encourage visitors to the national parks to "leave them cleaner than they found them." We should seek to promote the culture of Heaven in this world to leave it better than we found it!



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