DIFFERENT CALLING IN A DARK WORLD
Welcome to the Third week of this series called Different. We have been looking at what Peter has been writing to the persecuted Christians.
If I ask you today if you were excited if God was calling you, how many of you would be excited? What I want you to hear today is that I believe God is calling you and we’ll get to that in a moment.
As we look at the book of 1 Peter one of the words Peter uses over and again—Calling, Call, Called. The thing about calling is that it does something to us. When we have been called we feel like we are Emboldened. It Encourages us to go forward. Calling Empowers us even when life comes against us.
I remember in 4th grade my teacher said to me… Tim, you should be doing Safety patrol. I remember feeling so proud that I was called out Mr. Phillips to be on Safety Patrol. Clearly he saw in me the power to have authority over my peers. He saw in me the power to stop cars with a flag stapled to a half inch dowel rod. I’ll never forget how I felt when I put on my Safety Orange Chest belt with the shiny silver badge that said… Medina Safety Patrol. All of the sudden I felt power and authority was mine! I was called!
I want to show you today that you are called to something different. Often people wonder how they are called. There are three different ways that we can be called and I want to cover them and then spend some time on the last one more specifically.
God wants everyone to be saved and come to Christ. God doesn’t want anyone to perish and so God is constantly drawing us and trying to woo us to him. Peter was out fishing one day and it was a rough day out on the water and no fish were coming. Jesus called out to Peter to throw his net on the other side of the boat. It sounded crazy, but Peter listened and all of the sudden the nets were overcome with fish. Peter knelt down and said I am a sinner, I am unworthy to be in you presence. But Jesus said to him… you are a fisherman… Come and Follow Me and I will make you a fisher of men. And Jesus is calling out to all of us to come and follow him.
So there is AN ETNERAL CALL TO CHRIST. It is an eternal call, one that lasts beyond this world and our time here.
The second type of calling is to a A TEMPORARY CALL TO AN ASSIGNMENT. This is something like me be called to safety patrol or being called into ministry. This is a temporary assignment that I have been given and I will serve as long as God calls me to it.
The last type of call is A DAILY CALL TO A DIFFERENT STANDARD. Our God is calling us daily to a different standard. God will call you to a WHO before a DO! Who before do—When you know who you are—Know what to do.
Peter writing to persecuted Xians who would have been tempted to forget who they were. They were under such persecution. Society had no idea who these Christians were and a common idea that they had about Christians back then was that they were.
•Superstitious—Miracles—Magicians—Jesus head magician.
•Incestuous—Agape Meetings (Love Feasts)—Brother and Sister
•Cannibals—Take and eat my body.
So if this is what people are saying about you then can understand why they might be tempted to forget who they are.
But before peter tells them what they are called to do Peter reminds them again who they are in chapter 2:9...
9...for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
You are not what you were. You are a New creation—Redeemed—Set free.
Today however most people don’t think we are Superstitious—Incestuous—Cannibals. Rather the world sees us as Self-righteous—Judgmental—Intolerant bigots. And unfortunately some so called Christians have earned these titles. It's easy to let the world’s thoughts about us sink into our psyches but we are not those things if we are truly following Christ.
So Peter is writing to suffering and despised Christian. He says Christ is calling you. Christ is calling you to a Different standard.
11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
1 Peter 2:11-12
Peter says we are not going to try to convince them to believe like we believe. We are going to show them what we believe—by how we behave. I am not going to tell you about my faith first. I am going to live my faith.
Here’s the thing… Do you think our church is ever criticized? ? Instead of defending what we do and who we are and trying to convince people we’re not a cult., we are going to lead the way with irrational generosity! We are not spiritual consumers. We don’t come to church to just get something right? We come to church to give. To give our praise and worship to God and to give our gifts to the world around us. The Church exists for world!
We need to be known for what we are for, because the world right now just knows what we are against. Let’s be famous for our generousity! Instead of being famous for being Righteous, lets be famous for being loving! Look what Peter says about this… 15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 1 Peter 2:15
Peter says if you live honorable lives you will silence those making foolish accusations against you…
21For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21
Here’s the thing…. Living boldly for Jesus means that you may suffer. These Christians who Peter was writing to in this book were suffering in ways that Christians in the western world today can’t even imagine. But you will still have to deal with suffering in your own ways if you boldy follow Christ. You may Not get promotion because you are living boldly for Jesus. People might Make fun of you because you are living boldly for Jesus. You may be the only one not invited to the party because you are living holy for Jesus.
Jesus was gentle, patient, loving, forgiving. What was he not—Proud, Arrogant, Condescending, Defensive, Hateful. Who was Jesus the sinless son of God who loved the unlovable and gave grace to all. Hear these words of Peter about Jesus…
22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. 23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. 24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. 1 Peter 2:22-24
Peter continues: and he is going to call us to be more different than you can imagine!
So Normal is to Curse those who Curse you! Hate those who Hate you! Getting Revenge against those who wrong you. But listen to what Peter says here…
9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.
1 Peter 3:9
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So what are we called to do? We are called to pay back with a blessing when we have been hurt. You are called to go the extra mile. If someone asks for a shirt, you give them a shirt, a jacket, pants and shoes. Peter says Love your enemies—Bless those who persecute you!
Here’s what I hope you understand. You are on call. As a pastor I’m on call 24/7/365. However when you have been chosen by God you have been put on call to love when someone is in need, to give when someone is in need, to help when someone is helpless. You friends are also on call…
When someone is Down and depressed you will step in to listen to them and cheer them. If someone is Bullied you will step into protect them. If a family member betrays you are going to forgive them. When you Neighbor can’t mow you are going to get out there and take care of it. When someone feels left out we will include them. When someone needs a church you are going to invite them… That is your calling! You are on call, On call to Love. Serve. Give. Blessing.
When the world tries to pull you down we need to remember that you are Chosen by God—Royal priest—Holy Nation—People belonging. You are Called to Do Good. Let’s pray.