Lesson 38 YOU ARE A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD 1 Peter 2:1-10 Key Verse: 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Our spiritual identity: royal priesthood. We must carry out our priestly duties that are to teach the bible and pray for campus students. 1. Read verses 1-3. As newly born Christians, what should our struggle be? What is the strongest desire of a newborn baby? What is the “pure spiritual milk”? (see 1:23-25) Why should we crave it? (2b-3; 2Ti3:15-17; Ps119:131,148) 1Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. <1:23-25> 23For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25but the word of the Lord stands forever." And this is the word that was preached to you. <2Ti3:15-17> 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. <Ps119:131,148> 131 I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands. 148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. There are two things for newborn Christians to do. First, passively, they must get rid of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind. Before they became Christians, they were ok with those things, but after becoming Christians, these are improper. Second, positively, they must crave pure spiritual milk. Pure spiritual milk is the word of God. Craving pure milk is the only thing a newborn baby can do. Like a newborn baby, newborn Christians must crave for the words of God. God’s word is the absolute factor for newborn Christians’ growth. When we study the bible diligently, we can grow in our salvation and we can know that God is good. We must keep growing. The scripture makes us wise for salvation and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. The Psalmist longed for God’s words and meditated on them all night. 2. Read verse 4. Think about the situations of the saints (1:1,6). What did Peter encourage the scattered and rejected Christians to do? How did he describe Jesus? Why did he use the term “the living Stone”? (Eph 2:19-22) 4As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— <1:1,6> 1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. <Eph 2:19-22> 19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Lesson 38 Peter encourages them to come to Jesus, living stone. When we are under heavy persecutions, we must come to Jesus. Why? When we come to Jesus, we can become encouraged. Jesus is called, “the living Stone” which is rejected by men, chosen by God and precious to God. Jesus was rejected. They were scattered in caves or mountains. They suffered from fiery persecutions. Jesus is the expert in being rejection. So he can encourage those who are rejected. Jesus was rejected by men, but chosen by God. When we follow Jesus without compromise, we receive persecutions. Jesus is called, “living stone.” Jesus gives us eternal life. Jesus became living stone through his death and resurrection. Living stone is material for spiritual houses. The scattered Christians could have hope in the living stone. They were no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household. The Holy Spirit dwells in them. 3. Read verse 5. How should Christians identify with Jesus? What great thing happens to those who do? What does “a spiritual house” mean? (1Cor 12:27) What is their priestly duty? (5c; Ro 15:16; Col 4:12) 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. <1Cor 12:27> 27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. <Ro 15:16> 16to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. <Col 4:12> 12Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. When we come to Jesus, we become like living stones. When a metal is attached to magnetic, it also become magnetic. They are parts of the spiritual house. Spiritual house is the body of Jesus Christ. Each of us is used to build the body of Jesus. They are precious. In addition, they become a holy priesthood. Whoever believes in Jesus can become a priest. They offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Priestly duty: to teach the bible and to pray. We must teach the bible to Princeton students and pray for them everyday. 4. Read verses 6-8. What does the Scripture say about Jesus? Why is Jesus called, “cornerstone”? How valuable is the stone to those who believe? What is God’s promise to those who trust in him? To those who reject him? 6For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." 7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone," 8and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. Jesus: cornerstone, capstone, rejected stone, stumbling stone, a rock. Cornerstone supports a house. Cornerstone is the foundation of a house. Jesus is the foundation of the spiritual house. Jesus is the foundation of all things. When we build our lives on Jesus, our lives can stand firm forever. Anything built on Jesus, will stand forever. That’s why Jesus is precious to those who believe. Anybody who trusts in Jesus will never be put to shame. Jesus will not make us disappointed. Jesus will not make our life in vain. In Jesus, our life will be glorious in someday. But those who reject Jesus will stumble and fall. Jesus will judge them and make them shameful. 5. Read verses 9-10. How is our spiritual identity in Jesus? How did this fulfill God’s original plan for his people? (Ex19:5-6) Think about the meaning of 1) chosen people; 2) royal priesthood; 3) holy nation; 4) people belonging to God. What is the life purpose of all believers? (9b, Isa 43:7) By what has our spiritual identity been changed? (10; 1Cor 15:10) Lesson 38 9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once 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. <Ex19:5-6> 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." <Isa 43:7> …everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." <1Cor 15:10> 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Our glorious spiritual identity: a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God. That is our four dimensional spiritual identity. God chose Israelites to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation for all people of all nations. But they rejected Jesus Christ. Now those who believe in Jesus can become kingdom of priests and a holy nation. God’s original plan was fulfilled in Jesus. A chosen people: among numerous people, we are chosen by God. We got God’s citizenship. How hard is it to get American citizenship? To be a citizen of God is impossible due to our sins. But through Jesus Christ and by God’s grace, we became citizens of God. A holy nation: the character of God’s kingdom is holiness. Christians are washed by the blood of Jesus. They are separated from the world. As citizens of the kingdom of God, we must keep holiness. As God is holy, we must be holy. Then we become citizens of the holy nation. A people belonging to God: Christians are bought by the blood of Jesus. Now we belong to Christ. We are God’s treasured possession. Each of us is precious to God. A royal priesthood: we are kingly priests. We are as high as kings and as priests. In the world, we look like nobody. We look like rejected stones or useless people. But before God, we are like kings and high priests. King is highest position in politics. Priests are most glorious. These show how glorious we are in Jesus Christ. Priests stand between God and men and offer atoning sacrifice for people. They pray for sinners. People’s lives are under their shoulders. When we understand our spiritual identity as a royal priesthood, we are amazed at God’s grace upon us. We are willing to carry out our priestly duty. We must stand before God and teach the bible and pray for God’s people. The purpose of choosing us: to declare the praises of Jesus to the ends of the earth. To reveal the glory of God. To advertise Jesus to all people. We received all these blessing only by God’s mercy.