Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Current Study: First Peter
Today’s Topic: The Chosen Ones
Today’s Scripture: 1 Peter 1:2 …who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood…
News of a man named Jesus was spreading like wildfire. It all started when the prophet named John, who was living in the wilderness, declared, “Look! There He is! The Lamb of God who will take away the sins of the world.” After that day He was seen teaching in the synagogues of Galilee, and people were amazed at what He had to say. Then He was seen in Nazareth, and while in the synagogue there, He read from the prophet Isaiah and declared Himself to be the One upon whom rested the Spirit of God and would bring the good news. But when He mentioned that the good news wasn’t only for the Jews but for Gentiles as well, He was driven out of town.
As He travelled back to Galilee, he began casting out demons from people and healing people who were sick and diseased. Everywhere He went the people wanted Him to stay in their town, but He told them that He must go to all the towns and preach the good news of the Kingdom of God. His fame was growing.
One day crowds of people gathered around Him, listening to Him teach. To make it easier for everyone to hear, He got into a fishing boat and pushed off from shore. The boat belonged to a fisherman named Simon. After Jesus got done teaching, He asked Simon to take him out into the lake and go fishing. Simon was tired from fishing all night, and argued at first. But He had heard about this man, and now He had heard Him teach. He recognized the authority of Jesus and responded by calling Him “Master”. Even though He had already cleaned and stored his nets from the fishing expedition of last night, he agreed to obey the Lord’s request. Not only did they catch fish, but they caught so many they had to call for additional boats to help them haul the fish to shore.
It was at this point that Simon Peter first saw himself in the light of who Jesus was. He declared to Jesus, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” Then Jesus said to Peter, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” One of the other authors of a Gospel relates that Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus chose fishermen to be His disciples.
Peter understood what it meant to be chosen by God. He may not have understood all of the theology of it yet, and I’m not sure I do either. But Peter most certainly knew what it felt like to be selected by the Lord. Here was the Son of God, already famous in Peter’s homeland, and He has chosen a lowly fisherman to join the inner circle of men who will be taught the workings of the Kingdom of God. Peter didn’t know it yet, but he would become the one who would preach the first sermon under the power of the Holy Spirit that would result in the formation of the church of Jesus Christ. But Jesus knew, and His choice was in obedience to God’s sovereign will.
Now, years later, Peter wants all of us to understand the splendor of being chosen to participate in the glorious Kingdom of God. We are in Christ because God chose us to be and we have surrendered to His choosing. He has sanctified us (set us apart for His purpose) by the power of the Holy Spirit so that we might obey Jesus as our Lord. He has sprinkled us with the blood of Jesus so that we are forgiven for our sins and stand justified before the Father in heaven. While we were still in our sin, fishing for fulfillment from the world, God chose us, pursued us, and called us to leave the world behind and follow Him.
In our pride we have deceived ourselves into believing that somehow we are responsible for our salvation. The belief that we chose God causes us to believe we can control what we do with God. If we believe we chose Him, then we will begin to believe we can un-choose Him whenever it’s convenient or for our personal benefit. We can decide which parts of our lives to surrender and which parts to control. When we believe we chose God we tend to use God to serve self.
We need to fall on our faces as Peter did and cry out for mercy. “Go away from me, Lord; I am sinful.” It is at that point of brokenness and humility that Jesus remove our fear and we will hear Him say, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you into what will truly fulfill you.”
I remember as a young boy the first time I was chosen first out of the lineup of boys who wanted to play baseball. I remember it so well because for I had been chosen last so many times before. It felt great to be wanted. It feels great to know that God wanted me, too. In fact, according to the Apostle Paul, God chose all of us first. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will…
Praise Him! You are blessed because you are chosen! You have been adopted as a permanent member of Christ’s family. Praise Him!