Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Missions in I Peter

The book of I Peter teaches us much about living as exiles in this world. Not surprisingly, the apostle deals with the theme of suffering several times in this epistle. What about missions? Does Peter write anything that will help us share the gospel more effectively? The answer is yes. Peter gives us valuable information to share about the church. Specifically, the church is a priesthood (to read the first post in this series, click here).

In order to fully share the good news of Jesus Christ, we must tell what the church is and does. Although this is secondary to what Christ has accomplished for us, it is still critical. The reason is that anyone who accepts Christ is also immediately ushered into the church. The new believer needs to know what this thing is that he is a part of.

Peter writes the following short but key passages:

"As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." I Peter 2:4-5

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." I Peter 2:9

In these passages Peter says that the church is a "holy priesthood" and a "royal priesthood." We are told that we are able to "offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God" and "proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."

Priests have direct access to God. Priests have a relationship with Him. Priests are active. Priests offer acceptable sacrifices. New believers need to know that God expects them to be active in their relationship with Him, in their relationships with other believers, and in their proclamation of the gospel to the world.

A problem with much missions and evangelism today is that it offers no biblical definition of what the church should be and do. Instead, new Christians quickly learn through observation that they are expected to attend Sunday School, attend worship services, listen to sermons, join a church, put money in the offering plate, attend Wednesday evening activities, etc., etc., etc. These expectations create passive new believers.

Thanks to Peter we have a biblical way of teaching new Jesus-followers what it is to actively live for Jesus. Let's make sure that they understand that they are priests with all the responsibilities and privileges that carries.

To read any or all posts in this series on missions, click here.

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