Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Chosen People: Sunday School Lesson

International Sunday School Lesson
For Week Ending November 8,2009

Purpose: To examine what it means to be God's chosen people

Scripture Text: I Peter 2:1-10 (NRSV)

I peter 2:1-10
(1)Rid yourselves therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. (2)2Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— (3)if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

(4) Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and (5)like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (6)For it stands in scripture:

‘See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’

(7)To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,
‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner’,
(8)and ‘A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.’
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

(9) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.(10)Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

My Thoughts by Burgess Walter

For centuries Christians have used the words “chosen people” to put down anyone who does not believe or look like us, as something less than us. Let me start by saying everyone was chosen by God to receive His love and grace, unfortunately not everyone was, or is willing, to receive that love and grace God chooses to save everyone, some choose not be saved. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.” That has always been the great theological debate, God's sovereignty, verse man's free will.”

The history of slavery, is a good example of God's chosen, not doing His will. In our society today it can also be said “the chosen” have not always treated the homosexual with the love and grace that Christ seems to teach. Being God's chosen does not mean we are to oppress those that are different from ourselves. “Love one another, as I have loved you.” It also does not mean we are to wink at sin, and pretend it is not going on.

If we take verse one of our text literally, we should “rid ourselves of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander.” Wouldn't that make for an exciting church? Peter is writing to 1st century Christians that have a lot of spiritual learning to do and there is plenty of room for growth, because they have spent centuries not knowing that a loving caring God even existed. Most of Peter’s audience would have been heathens prior to hearing the message of a risen loving Christ. Peter tells them most of the world will reject what God is offering, but if they choose the Lord, they will find that He is good.

Peter also encourages them to build a spiritual house, become a holy priesthood. I take that to mean we should be offering spiritual guidance and comfort to those that have not yet accepted God's gift of love and grace. Those that have not accepted God's gift will stumble and fall because they have rejected the very thing that could save them. Our task as Christians is to proclaim the message of God's love to everyone, because God really wants everyone to receive His blessing. God wants everyone be a benefactor of His mercy, but those that have received the light must be willing to share the light. As Christians we have been called out of the darkness into a marvelous light.

Peter reminds us that it is not how the world sees us, but rather how does God see us. The world may see Christians in much the same way as the world saw Jesus, despised and rejected, our hope and confidence must rest in the merciful redeemer God, the one that has called us from the beginning to accept His love, mercy and grace, and our thanks for that, is our obedience to share the light and the message of God's goodness, from the very beginning God has been good, not only in His creation, which He declared as good, but also in His love. “While we were sinners Christ died for us.” That proves God's goodness.

Why not make a personal commitment to share the “good news” with someone this week.

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