The term ‘church’ (ekklesia) literally means, ‘the called out.’ It is a derivative of the word ‘kaleo’ which means a ‘calling out.’
I bring this to you attention because this is the word Peter uses in his 1st letter to us, the church.
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath CALLED YOU OUT of darkness into his marvellous light” (1Peter 2:9; emph mine seb).
Peter’s inspired letter says much about being separate, set apart, and different from the rest of the world. The comparison in this verse is light vs darkness.
This calling is to be heeded, but how? To understand what Christian must do to stay out of the darkness and be in the light can be seen in a study of chapter two.
Before we begin, it’s important to remember that the calling by God occurs through the word preached. “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Thess 2:14). We become Christians by obeying the Gospel. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:3-4; 2Thess 2:8-9; 1Cor 15:1-4). After responding to this call, we can then continue to answer the call to walk in the light as He is in the light (cf. 1John 1:7).
With this background, we can now proceed to answer how to answer the call to come out of darkness.
Beginning at verse one of chapter two we read, “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings…” From this we see that we are to CAST OFF worldly behaviors. The Christian that is walking in the light has nothing to do with worldliness and sin. Paul wrote, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints” (Eph 5:3). Paul also described the putting off as a putting to death these worldly attributes.
APPETITE for the word
Continuing on, Peter gives the source of knowing what is to be cast off and what our attitude should be toward it. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1Peter 2:2). The revealed word of God is the source book of information to teach us the difference between light and darkness, and that we need to develop an APPETITE for it as much as a newborn baby cries out for milk when it’s hungry. What a vivid description for us to see how vital the bread of life is to our growth.
From here, Peter describes who the called are. “To whom coming, as unto a LIVING STONE, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as LIVELY STONES, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1Pet 2:4-5, emph mine seb). This is important to understand for the Christian. Especially as we face persecution for being Christians. Peter will point this out in the remainder of this letter. We are the LIVING STONES of the Spiritual Temple of God.
Another thing to notice for those that walk in the light. We are to be LIGHT BEARERS to the dark world. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1Peter 2:9-12). Notice that we are to “shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out.” We can do this directly through preaching, and also through our actions in the world. Note verse 12, “they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” The Christian that is CALLED out of darkness shines forth the Light of Christ in their words and deeds (cf. Col 3:17).
This walking in the Light becomes an EXAMPLE for others to observe and to follow. Peter lists several areas in which the Christian can shine the Light, “which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1Peter 2:13-17)
Finally, those that are called out of darkness are to be DO GOODERS. People that continue to do good despite persecution. “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God” (1Peter 2:18-25).
But this is not a do as I say, not as I do command. It is a “do as I did” command. Jesus Himself being the standard for those called to follow. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1Peter 2:21-24, emph mine seb).
It’s interesting to note that chapter two is not the only place in this letter that talks about our being CALLED (see 1Pet 1:15; 3:9; 5:10). The last one is given just before the closing greetings.
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
This gives us comfort as we suffer persecution because we walk in the Light. It comforts because the suffering is only temporary, but glory is Eternal!
Spencer is an evangelist of the church of Christ in Borger Texas. He has been working with the congregation on Franklin and Juniper since 2014.
Just about everyone knows about SAMSON, the Mighty Man with the long Mane. His life is very interesting and troubling.
We all know about his STRENGTH his long hair (Jud 16:7, 13:5).
Did you know that as a Nazarene he didn’t drink ALCOHOL? (Num 6:4-5)
Did you also know that he had MARRIED a wife and that she was a Philistine (Jud 14:1-3)? Later he would be with Delilah, the woman that would cut off his STRENGTH.
After she cut his hair, Samson was blinded and mocked. But his hair grew and he OVERCAME more enemies in death that he had in his life (16:30).
The New Testament also has a record of him in the “Hall of Faith” found in Hebrews chapter eleven verse thirty-two.
Samson doesn’t fit the typical mold of a hero of faith, but a hero he was. Here are a couple of lessons we might glean from his time as a Judge.
First, be a SERVANT of God as early as you can. “For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (Jud 13:5; cf. Ecc 12:13; Matt 22:387).
This next one usually ruffles some feathers, but do your best to be ALCOHOL free. “Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things” (Prov 23:29-35). John the Baptist, another one with the Nazarite vow, was called, “great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink;” (Luke 1:15).
Being alcohol free sets us apart from the world. “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1Peter 4:3-4; cf. Eph 5:18).
Another great lesson we can learn is to MARRY well. “And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death” (Jud 16:16). While it doesn’t appear that he had ever married Delilah, we know what his association with her did to him. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness” (2Cor 6:14)? Even under the best circumstances, marrying an unbeliever means that you are headed in opposite eternal directions.
Another lesson we could glean is that of allowing the SPIRIT of the Lord direct us. “And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house” (Jud 14:19). While Samson had the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we are still led by the Spirit when we are filled with His Word. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Col 3:16; cf. 2Tim 3:16-17).
The last two lessons are so important.
Despite what you’ve done in life, you may still OVERCOME sin in our lives through faith in God. Those that have obeyed the gospel may turn back to faithfulness as long as life remains. “O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God,” (Judge 16:28). Repentance and Prayer is available to those that stumble after having obeyed the gospel. (Acts 8:18-24; 1John 1:9).
Finally, along with the previous lesson, NEVER quit. Despite being chained, mocked, and blinded, Samson’s final act in service to God would bring about his death. “And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life” (Judg 16:30).
While we live in an age when are weapons are spiritual and not carnal (2Cor 10:4), “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2Tim 3:12; cf. Rev 2:10).
There’s a common misconception about the Kingdom of God. It’s taught in error that Jesus will one day set up a physical kingdom, reigning in Jerusalem. According to the error, His plans were foiled by the Jews who rejected Him, and murdered Him. This is commonly called the doctrine of PREMILLENIALISM. Is this true?
It’s against scripture for Christ to reign from a physical throne in Jerusalem. “Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah” (Jer 22:30).
Never trust a doctrine based on the premise that mankind foiled God’s plans. LOL. “He shall not fail nor be discouraged,” (Isaiah 42:4).
His own disciples expected an earthly kingdom, but Jesus said, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21; cf John 18:36).
However, He does have a Kingdom and it does have a TEMPLE on earth, a spiritual house. In Christ’s Spiritual Kingdom, the church, there is a Temple and it’s being built continually with LIVING STONES. What does the bible say about these living STONES?
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1Peter 2:5).
God’s Temple today is a SPIRITUAL HOUSE. “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (1Cor 3:9-15; cf. 1Pet 2:5). The church of Christ is the Spiritual House of God, the individuals are the living stones.
The church of Christ is the TEMPLE of God and individual members are the living stones. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you” (1Cor 3:16-17)? “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own” (6:19; Eph 2:21-22)? Anyone that claims that there will be a physical kingdom on earth has overlooked that the Kingdom of God is the church of Christ. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col 1:13).
There is only ONE Kingdom, ONE BODY. “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph 1:22-23; cf. Eph 4:4). Since the church is the Kingdom, and the church is His body, then there is only ONE BODY (temple) in His Kingdom.
Every Temple has a foundation, and this Spiritual Temple is no exception. NO OTHER FOUNDATION exists except the Chief Cornerstone, which is Christ. “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord” (Eph 2:20-21). Referring back to a previous passage about the Spiritual House, Paul said, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1Cor 3:11; cf. Matt 16:18).
As was prophesied, this Kingdom is an ENDURING Kingdom if we keep His commands “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44). “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Heb 3:6).
Lastly, since people are the Living Stones, we are to STAND FIRM. “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel,” (Col 1:23). The stones that STAND FIRM are precious STONES, but those stones that are not of precious material will be burned. “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1Cor 3:12-13).
Spencer is an evangelist in Borger, Texas.
THE KINGDOM is the CHURCH:
The Same Beginning: Pentecost. (Mark 9:1; Acts 2:47)
The Same Duration: Forever.
(Daniel 2:44; Matthew 16:18; Hebrews 12:28; Ephesians 3:21)
The Same Ownership: God and Christ. (Ephesians 5:5)
The same historical period: During Roman empire.
(Luke 2:1; Acts 2:1; Colossians 1:13)
The same eschatological beginning: In the “Last Days” or “end times”
(Hebrews 1:2; 1 Peter 1:20; Acts 2:15–17; James 5:1–3)
Kingdom and church used interchangeably: (Matthew 16:18)
Jesus spent His time on earth teaching and preaching. From the very earliest days He was found in the Temple hearing and asking questions, and all that heard were amazed at His answers (Luke 2:46-47).
Throughout His ministry He is teaching. Even when He saw the 5,000 that followed Him, having compassion on them, He TAUGHT them.
“And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34)
Therefore, it should be no surprise that He was seen teaching even up to His last days on Earth.
During His last week He was in the Temple teaching amidst those who sought to take His life.
What was it that Jesus TAUGHT them that still has application for us today?
“And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Matt 21:12-13)
1) When Jesus TURNED over the money changers tables and cast out those that bought and sold in the TEMPLE, He is teaching us a lesson about proper authorized worship. In the New Testament age, the church is His TEMPLE (1Cor 6:19). We are to worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). There is a right way and a wrong way to worship. He TAUGHT that it’s possible to have vain worship (Mark 7:6-7). It would behoove us to learn what it is to properly worship Him in our lives, but also when we gather together as a church. (Acts 20:7; 1Cor 11:17-34; Heb 10:24-25)
“The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?”
(see Matt 21:23-27).
2) Jesus TAUGHT that there are only 2 sources of AUTHORITY; from above or from below. We must understand this lesson today. Jesus has ALL AUTHORITY in heaven and on Earth (Matt 28:18). He is to have the preeminence in our lives (Col 1:18). He is the “blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1Tim 6:15). Therefore, we are to study His word to know what it is that He commands for how we are to speak and act (Col 3:17). (cf. 1Cor 1:10; 2Cor 11:4; Gal 1:6-10)
“But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.” (see Matt 21:33-46)
3) In this parable, Jesus TAUGHT a lesson that covers much of OT history and ultimately a lesson about UNITY with God. The record of the bible shows that God desires mankind to be UNITED with Him through His Son, and His word, but the world, and the children of Israel, would not. Today, we are UNIFIED through Christ into one body (Eph 4:3-6). We cannot expect any UNITY with God, any peace, unless we keep His commands. Many folks say there’s unity in diversity of doctrines. This contradicts the word. God is not an author of confusion. (1Cor 14:33; see Col 2:14; Heb 7:12; 9:16-22)
“And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.”
(see Matt 22:1-14)
4) In this parable, Jesus TAUGHT about the Kingdom of Heaven. Many are called, but few are chosen. Even those who respond to the call, if they don’t have the proper GARMENT, they will be rejected. The only way to understand this is by seeing what it is we are to put on and how. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal 3:27). People claim we are to ‘ask Jesus into our hearts.’ Not so. We are to put on Christ in water baptism through faith. (see Acts 2:38; Col 2:12; 1Pet 3:21)
“Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures,” (see Matt 22:23-33)
5) In the challenge from the Sadducees, Jesus TAUGHT about the proper way to HANDLE the word of truth. It’s possible to make an error, be mistaken, and be lost because we don’t know the scriptures on how to be saved and how to live a godly life. (see 2Tim 2:15; 3:15-17)
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (see Matt 24)
6) Jesus was asked about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age. Since then, many have wrested this text to predict the end of the world when Jesus would return (1Thess 4:13-18). A careful reading will show what Jesus actually TAUGHT about the TIME of His return. Notice what He said regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matt 24:34). It’s very clear that much of what He said would occur within the lifetime of those who were hearing Him.
“But of that day and hour…” The day of His return to Earth to gather the saints, to destroy the world, and to judge all nations, “…knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matt 24:36; see 2Peter 3:10; Dan 2:31-45).
Close) Jesus TAUGHT throughout His life even up to His last moments. It makes me think about myself and the myriad of loved ones who do not know God and have not obeyed the Gospel. Shall we try to teach them?
Spencer has been preaching in Borger Texas since 2014.