One of my favorite passages of scripture is found in 1 Peter 2:9-10 and I remember in college, my dorm pastor had all of the resident assistants memorize this verse, and the way I memorize verses is by writing them over and over again. As I was writing this verse out multiple times, I began thinking about the implications of this verse and how awesome that it really is. It says,
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
The implications of this are pretty significant. Tonight I want us to meditate on the first line in verse 10, “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God.”
The reality is that people are wired to live in community. Even those of us who are introverts need people in our lives. We found out how important people are during the lockdown in 2020, at first it might not have been so bad right, having a break from the stress, but as time went on, that isolation got old quick. Experts warned of the toll on our populations mental health and we probably all felt that to some degree. Let’s dig a little deeper into the text here:
This reminder that Peter gives his readers, that they once were not a people at all, this is true! Peter is writing to a Jewish population, and if we remember Jewish history we see that everything started with Abraham and the covenant that God made with Abraham, Genesis 12:1-3:
The Lord had said to Abram,
“Go from your country,
your people and your father’s
household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing. i
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.
In a nutshell, Abraham did this, He and his wife had children, those children had children, and four generations after Abraham we come to Joseph, who is sold by his brothers to Egypt where one thing leads to another, God’s hand is involved and Joseph becomes 2nd in command over the entire nation of Egypt! When this happens, Joseph’s entire family moves to Egypt where over the next 430 years they grew into a nation of somewhere around 2 million people! If we jump to the Exodus we see those people leave Egypt under oppressive circumstances and find themselves at the base of Mt. Sini where God tells the people through Moses, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
Which is exactly what Peter said to the modern Jews in 1 Peter 2:9! So you and I are like, well that sounds great, except I’m not Jewish, I’m white, or my family is from Australia, Asia, South America, so on and so forth.
So for you, I’m going to show you what should be one of your all time favorite bible verses, are you ready for it!?
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
This is awesome, This says that anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their personal savior, and that through the blood of Jesus our sins are forgiven, are now part of God’s kingdom. You’re now part of a family of people:
If you’ve spent any time in Deeper at all you’ve heard the phrase Every Student. It’s cool, its clean, and its catchy, but it’s also something that we must live by. Jesus died for Everybody, which is why Every Student is welcome and pursued at Deeper.
This principle is enforced by the Holy Spirit, I love that the very first act by the Holy Spirit was to show this very principle, Acts 2:5-8:
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?
Then just a little further down in acts we see God’s heart and His mission on display yet again,
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues o and praising God.
Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
As a youth pastor, I pray that all of our students would be filled with the Holy Spirit, so that you are empowered to do His will, but here’s the thing. If you’re going to be empowered by God to do His will, you’ve got to understand the heart of God, and the heart of God is people.
We must love people
Jesus said this when asked what the most important commandment was in Matthew 22:37:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ i 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ j 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Love God, Love People