“CHOSEN FOR SALVATION AND SERVICE”
Text: 1 Peter 2:2-10
Sunday May 7th, 2023 – Easter 5
Trinity – Creston/Mt. Ayr
Grace, mercy, and peace is yours from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Our text for this Fifth Sunday of Easter is the Epistle lesson from 1 Peter 2:2-10 that was just proclaimed.
Let Us Pray: Dearest Jesus send your Holy Spirit to remind us that baptized into Christ, each of us has been chosen to have our sin washed away and be redeemed by you and Chosen to serve all with the truth that our identity starts, begins, and ends with who we are in Christ. Amen.
Dear Fellow Redeemed in Christ:
A nursing infant gazes at mother’s smiling face while that mother ponders the wonder she cradles in her arms. She marvels at the tiny little life that the Lord has knitted together in her womb (cf Ps 139:13).
Her heart bursts with love for her little dependent, and she ponders with hope her baby’s future, praying it will be filled with meaning and purpose.
In so many ways, this little child is you, the Church of Jesus, for you in Baptism have been “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet 1:3).
For this new life, God is nourishing you with “pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (v 2). Joined to Christ, you are chosen and precious to God. And he has purposeful work in store for you as “a spiritual house, . . . a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (v 5).
Today, the living Word of
The Living Savior Exalts Your Status as God’s Newborn, Chosen, Priestly People.
I. Joined to the resurrected Christ by baptismal grace, you are a newborn people.
A. Baptized into the risen Christ, his people are “like newborn infants” (v 2).
1. Life is pure gift. We can give ourselves neither physical nor spiritual life.
2. God, our Father in Christ, “has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet 1:3).
B. We are growing up into salvation (v 2).
1. This is not growing toward a salvation we do not yet possess, but growing into a salvation fully bestowed upon us in Christ.
2. For this growth, we need and receive the nourishment of “pure spiritual milk,” the Word of God.
a. God’s Law warns us against the empty calories of idolatry, which simply “does not satisfy” (Is 55:2).
b. God’s Gospel offers the nourishment God has lavishly supplied in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
3. Here, we have tasted that the Lord is good (v 3, Ps 34:8), calling to mind the Holy Supper and all God’s Means of Grace.
a. Faith craves that Word over the empty and harmful food the world offers in its word and wisdom. A healthy newborn does not find nursing a chore. She lives for it.
b. When Jesus told his disciples they must become like little children (Mt 18:2–3), he spoke of this absolute dependence on his grace.
4. To grow, we also need and receive nurture.
A newborn is nearsighted and cannot see very far away. But the distance from her mother’s breast to her face is just the right distance for the newborn to gaze upon her mother’s loving face. In a similar way, as the Church is nourished by “pure spiritual milk,” she is able to look upon the loving face of God in Christ.
II. From that nurturing love, the infant children of God learn their identity as chosen people.
A. Granted, the Church is not chosen or precious in the world’s eyes.
1. In the world’s eyes, her Lord was “rejected by men” (v 4; Is 53:3), seen in his Passion and death.
2. She shares in that rejection, as exemplified in Stephen (Acts 7:51–60).
3. This rejection tempts her to doubt her status as chosen.
B. But she is chosen and precious in God’s eyes.
1. Her Lord Jesus is chosen and precious, the living cornerstone upon which God builds his Church (vv 6–7; Ps 118:22; Is 28:16).
2. As she feeds on God’s pure spiritual milk, the Church is reassured:
a. First, there is no reason to envy the world, which (apart from repentance) can only face separation from God (v 8).
b. Second, her true status in God’s eyes is an exalted one. Once lost in sin, she was “Not My People,” but grace has made her the people of God. Once, her name was “No Mercy,” but now she has received mercy (v 10). In Christ, she is the Father’s beloved, infant child.
III. Living in Christ and sharing his status, you also share in his priestly purpose.
A. Joined to Christ, the Christian becomes a living stone (v 5), and is being built up:
1. Into a spiritual house—the dwelling place of the living God (v 5),
2. For a holy priesthood—qualified by grace to serve in God’s presence (v 5),
3. To offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (v 5).
B. Her spiritual sacrifices are in no way atoning sacrifices for her own sins.
1. That work belonged uniquely to Jesus (cf Heb 7:27; 10:10).
2. And “it is finished” (Jn 19:30), something his resurrection has confirmed.
C. Rather, the Church shares in his priestly work of glorifying the Father.
1. This includes sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise (v 9).
2. It also includes the work of intercession, praying for others—including our enemies (as did Stephen, Acts 7:60).
3. It finally includes our witness, in word and deed, to God’s love for all in Christ.
As “elect exiles” (1 Pet 1:1), the Church will not enjoy an exalted status in the world’s eyes. But joined by baptismal grace to your resurrected Lord, you, his Church, have become his newborn, chosen, priestly people who glorify God and witness to his love for the world.
Joining in his priestly work, you intercede for the world and bear witness in word and deed to your risen Lord, whose love is working through his Church’s ministry, inviting the world to become with you his newborn, chosen, priestly people. Amen.
Now may the peace of God which passes all human understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.