Thursday, October 15, 2015

Touching Base - Part 284

18 Oct 15
Series: Living in the Margins
Part 4 - Squish Squash
(1 Peter 2:1-22)

During our series, Living in the Margins, based on the book of 1 Peter, we are going to be turning our Touching Base into a prayer guide. This aligns with how we want people to be growing at Bethel. Being prayerfully engaged is one of the marks of a disciple, it characterized Jesus’ life and ministry and is essential as we learn to walk with Jesus. We encourage you to use this prayer tool in your Life Groups, and in your personal prayer time.

I think one of the biggest issues for believers is to truly live out of the identity that we have in Christ. Think about it, if we saw ourselves and others as God sees us, how would that change how we live and act in human relationships?

This past Sunday we continued our series in 1 Peter, by looking at chapter 2:1-12. The big idea was, our God-given identity needs to be the truth that shapes us. The tension is that the squish (pressure of culture) and the squash (shape we are formed into) can cause us to live out of the wrong identity. This was happening in the community of faith Peter was addressing. On your own or in a group walk through this text and use it to direct not only your discussion, but also your prayer time.

The result of living out of the wrong identity (v.1)

How I am with people tells me a lot about what identity I am living out of. We speak, act and live in ways that reflect how we answer the question, “Who am I?” I will embrace a lifestyle consistent with who I truly believe myself to be. What were some of the toxic ways they were hurting each other? What are other toxic ways we hurt each other when we live out of the wrong identity? This verse shows that they have experienced the squish squash of culture!
Pray into this as God leads your group. Perhaps repentance and forgiveness are key issues here.

Note that in v.2 Peter contrasts the passions of the world (v.1) with what should be our true passion - the word. Now Peter demonstrates in Christ what being shaped by the word of God looks like.

Our example of living out of the right identity (v.4-8)

According to v.4 how is Jesus described?
How do men view him? V.4a
Scan this text (v.4-8) and look for other words or phrases that would describe how men viewed Jesus. I developed this on Sunday, so this might be a test of your memory.

Now note the opposite in this text. What does v.4b say? Do you see how opposite this is?
Chosen - selected versus rejected
Precious - seen of great value as opposed to an offense that is rejected - literally meaning to throw away.
What else in v.4-8 develops how Jesus is seen in the sight of God the Father?

Now here is the big question - What identity did Jesus live out of? Did his God-given identity shape him and speak into his spirit or did the voice of culture shape him?
Pray into this at this time if it is appropriate. Take some time to thank God for Christ’s example of being faithful to his true identity. Praise Christ for his obedience, focus and surrender to the voice of the Father, not the voice of the crowd.

I think this whole tension is seen in the contrast of what the Father said of Jesus at His baptism and what the crowd said of Jesus during His public ministry.

The Father said“This is my beloved Son with Whom I am well pleased.”
The crowd said “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Our challenge to live out of the right identity (v.4-11)

So why would Peter say what he says about Jesus? V.5 tells us. We are like living stones who experience this tension – the voice of the Father versus the voice of the crowd.

Voice of the Father - Note the key statements that demonstrate how much the Father values his children.
Living stones, spiritual house, holy priesthood, chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation. These are Old Testament truths now being applied to the Jewish and gentile Christ followers.
Note the adjectives - they all speak of value and importance. They all reinforce how precious this group of Jews and Gentiles are in the sight of God.
Note the nouns - Note that they refer to community, relationships!

Identity is not just how I see myself but how I see others in the church. And that affects how I relate. Would I be malicious, deceitful, hypocritical, envious, slandering if I understood corporate identity?

Would I be indifferent, mean, segregating if I understood that the person I was talking to is considered part of the holy nation, royal priesthood, spiritual house?

Voice of the crowd - The voice of the crowd in Peter’s context was mean, marginalizing, cruel, demeaning and defeating. Peter is reminding them that just like Jesus we can experience rejection, but it is possible to live out of the identity God has given us. Our God-given identity needs to be the truth that shapes us!

How might these statements about identity shape how you can pray for each other, Bethel and the big C Church in Kingston?

Some examples
Spiritual House - the word spiritual reminds us of the great work God has done in our hearts - born again, received mercy, have a living hope.
Royal Priesthood - Royal speaks of being a king - special. Priesthood references servants, people who serve.

Are you living out of your God-given identity? Does it shape you?
Two tests from the text. This might give you and your group lots to pray into.

Test of relationships
Check out v.1 - If malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander reflected test scores then I would suggest they get a big fat F! What do your relationships with other believers indicate about what identity you are living out of?

Test of mission
Note v.10-12.
Those living out of their God given-identity burn brightly.
Jesus served with excellence not because he listened to the crowd, but because of the voice of the Father.

Keep your head up this week. Culture may want to squish and squash you into an identity that is very contrary to what the Father has spoken into your life. May God’s identity with which He has blessed you, shape you in all you do think and speak!

Mark Kotchapaw

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