Sundays: 9 & 11am LATEST MESSAGE

Standing Together in the Storm

Charlie Boyd - 1/27/2019

I am growing more and more convinced that having an “exile identity” is one of the most important ways to think about what it means to follow Christ in this country today. The fact is, we are living in a post-Christian culture. The church is on the margins of society. We are out of step with our culture and we are being ostracized for it. People today aren’t just indifferent to Christianity. They don’t just think we are wrong in what we believe and how we live. They believe Christian beliefs and values are dangerous and deviant. There’s a black-is-white and white-is-black reversal taking place in our culture today and Peter says, “Don’t be surprised by it” (cf 1 Peter 4:12). Peter’s readers are not being imprisoned or fed to the lions—that will come later. Instead they are facing slander and hostility from their neighbors, from former friends and family. 2:12—talks about how they are being falsely accused of wrongdoing—3:16—talks about being slandered—4:4—talks about how former friends malign them when they don’t join them in wild partying, drunkenness, and immorality. And that’s the way it is today—if you teach in a Christian school or work at a place like Miracle Hill, a church, or some other Christian organization, you can be accused of promoting dangerous bigotry. If you hold to a Scriptural view of marriage and sexuality, you can be slandered as a hate-monger. If you commit to remaining a virgin until you get married, your college friends act like you’re from another planet. Living as an exile is hard and it’s getting harder. But it’s worth it because God is growing his family through people living in hope in the midst of hardship.

Peter’s audience was asking questions like—How do we remain loyal to Jesus in the face of all this scorn and hostility? How do we resist the shame and endure the suffering? What can we do so their maligning words have less impact on us? How do we help people who are giving in to this social pressure? If our families and friends and neighbors no longer welcome us and honor us then how do we live as outcasts? And even more important—What does God think about us? Does all this suffering mean that he’s rejected us to? Peter writes to answer questions like that. And in our passage this morning—2:1-10—he begins to unpack the answer. Keep in mind that everything Peter says in 2:1-10 highlights the honor and privilege of living in the chosen community of God’s exile people. The whole passage focuses on the ideas of shame and honor.

How do we remain loyal to Jesus in the face of shame and ridicule? How do we lessen the impact of harsh words leveled against us?