“A Chosen People” | 1 Peter 2:2-10
In a park on the beautiful island of Bermuda there is a rock hanging on a rope with a large sign beside it. The sign reads: “Weather station—Check the rock—If it’s wet, it’s raining—If it’s moving, it’s windy—If you can’t see it, it’s foggy—If the rock is gone, it’s a hurricane.
Today, we check the Rock—or better yet, to use the language that Peter uses in his letter, the Stone—the living Stone—the cornerstone—the Stone the builders rejected—the capstone—the Stone that causes men to stumble and the rock that makes them fall—or at least those who refuse to obey His message. For us, as His followers—as those who have chosen to obey and believe—we are also the living stones being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood.
One characteristic children share is that they want to grow up—to be like an older sibling, or like their parents, or like a hero they admire. When we are born again, we become spiritual newborn babies. If we are healthy, we will yearn to grow, wanting to model our lives after giants of the faith. How sad it is that some people never grow up. The need for milk is a natural instinct for a baby, and it signals the desire for nourishment that will lead to growth. Once you see your need for God’s pure and life-giving Word and begin to find nourishment in Christ, your spiritual appetite increases, and you start to mature. How eagerly do you want to grow? How earnestly do you desire nourishment from God’s Word?
Emma, Ayla, and Sarah; today we celebrate your accomplishments! As Peter writes, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
In leading confirmation classes I’ve always tried to stress what the confirmands are fixing to do when they make their public profession of faith. You see, up to that point in their young lives they’ve been riding on the coat tails of their parents and other family member’s faith. With their public profession that faith becomes real. With that profession they now have skin in the game. With that profession they are now venturing out on their own—stepping out and relying on their own faith.
I saw a quote just the other day that said: “There are no second generation Christians. God has no grandchildren.” When you make that public profession of faith you become a part of something that is much bigger than yourself. You join the ranks—your faith makes you one with all those you may have looked up to your whole life.
Peter portrays the church as a living, spiritual house of God, with Christ as the foundation and cornerstone and each believer as a stone. When you made your public profession of faith you became one of those stones. And now, like living stones, you are also being built into a spiritual house.
You are leaving the nest soon. Getting up in the morning will be your own responsibility. Getting to class, work or another appointment will be up to you. You’ve been a work in progress for 16 or so years. Your parents, grandparents, and your family will always be there to support you. Your church family will be around to support you, if you will let them. Please, please, don’t turn your back on the church as I did.
But you will now be on your own. You will now be responsible for your own decisions. You have been built into a spiritual house.
A few weeks after he was elected President of the United States, Ronald Reagan shared with the nation a letter he had received from an elementary school in Iowa. A child had written, “Dear Mr. President, You have been elected President of the United States; now go to the Oval Office and get to work!”
Emma, Ayla, and Sarah, in a few weeks you will officially be high school graduates; and it will be time to get to work. But wherever you go and whatever you desire from life please remember this:
“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. 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.”
And please, wherever you go or whatever you choose to do with your life, as a chosen people, a royal priesthood, you will still be the church.
The church isn’t just a place that we go—the church is who we are! The church isn’t a building—the church is a gathering of people. When you leave the church building you are still the church. When you go to your civic club, you are still the church. When you go to class or hang out with your friends you are still the church. When you attend sporting events, concerts, or just everyday activities such as going to the store; you are still the church.
And beloved, it’s past time for the church of Jesus Christ, this royal priesthood, called by God to represent Him in the world to get to work so the world knows exactly who we are! Do you know who you are? “A chosen people—a royal priesthood—a holy nation—a people belonging to God.” It’s a lot to live up to I know, but it’s who we are and it’s time that we started to act like it!
Thanks be to God!
Graduates pictures below: