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.
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;
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
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
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
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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