Pastor Ed Allen finished up our series on "The Art of Neighboring" today with an overview sermon, taken from I Peter 2:9-12
First we heard the testimony of Sarah, a junior in high school, whose life was changed when someone invited her to Young Life and she gave her life to Jesus.
The message began with Ed talking about great speeches, fictional and actual - they tend to remind us who we are in order to move us to action. That's what Peter does in this passage.
Who are we?
-- A chosen people.
God picked us. That we are right here in this place is no accident.
-- A holy nation.
We're unique and set apart. We're not attached to the culture around us.
-- God's special possession
God has expended great energy to obtain us.
Our Purpose: ... to declare the praises of the one who has done so much for us!
What has God done?
-- He's brought us from darkness to light.
-- He is turning us into community.
Now we're the people of God.
-- He's made us mercy-recipients.
What's the plan now?
We're a culture that's different from the one around us. We're foreigners and exiles. We're also the centerpiece of God's plan.
Part One: We don't do whatever pleases us. In fact, we abstain from those desires which are ultimately harmful to us.
This is why our culture is ultimately at odds with the culture around us. What we desire is not the standard for what is right.
Part Two: We live consistently and powerfully good lives among our unbelieving neighbors so that they will see our good deeds and ultimately glorify God with their lives and deeds as well.
Live profoundly good, neighborly lives.
If you have trouble with Part One:
Don't be ashamed. (It's tough.) Don't give up. Don't fight alone.
If you have trouble with Part Two:
Maybe God brought you here for your neighbors. What's your assignment? Pay attention.
Our Summer Assignment: Let's have a cookout!
We want to hear stories this summer about what happens when we reach out to our neighbors in this way.
We finished off by remembering what an amazing thing God did when He built a church right here. That time is now. We were brought to this place to be a Light.