Chosen to Grow and Proclaim

1 Peter 2:2-10

April 19th, and 20th, 2008


            In November of last year I went to a twentieth year in the ministry celebration for a Pastor Tim Mueller at St. John in New Minden.  At the end of this celebration he got up and from what I recall said these words.  “I’ve been here for twenty years, I’m not sure if I’m in a groove or a rut.”  These are sentiments I’m sure many here can relate too.   When it comes to the Christian walk there truly is something to be said for being in a groove.   Jesus says “Come unto me all who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest”.  Rest talk is groove talk, and there is nothing innately wrong with that.   Even the Sabbath rest is something fulfilled in Jesus, he is now our rest.  To be content is groove talk, and we have the 9th and 10th       To be satisfied, comforted, and assured in the faith is a wonderful thing.

    I’ve also heard a businessman say about his business, if you are not going forward you are sure   going backward.  In other words, there is no such thing as status quo when it comes to the faith.  To be in a groove, to rest in Christ, to be justified by him does not mean that we are doing nothing.  Rather, the living Savior is in fact pulling us forward.    Our Jesus has a ways of pulling us up to our God, and pulling us out to our neighbor.  Wonderfully, there is no status quo, when it comes to hope, when it comes to resurrection, when it comes to mercy and love.  There is always, more where that came from.  This is important, because   ruts have a tendency to get deeper and deeper the more they are used, and eventually the walk become comes stuck.  The rut of apath, the rut of sin isn’t how we are to live.  Rather, as our reading in 1 Peter 2 says we are “Chosen to grow and proclaim”.   

            The chosen and growth theme can be seen from these words “Like new born infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation…” (1 peter 2:10).   The word “newborn” reminds us that we are ultimately significance because of our second birth, our baptism, our Holy Spirit given life just prior to this section we are reminded that we have been given a new start, born again not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God….grass whither and the flowers fall, but the Word of the Lord  stands forever.”    Our new life means that we are different, which is why in verse one of chapter two its says ““Therefore rid yourselves of all malice, and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and the like”.  It is as if he is saying; let these not define you like it inevitably defines the world.   To be chosen means that we stand out.  Now we can choose to not stand out, to keep our faith to ourselves, to live in envy, deceit and hypocrisy.  We can choose to live as if we do not know anything about forgiveness or to live as if we have not been made new.   Of that we are called to repent, and in Christ Jesus to hear once again that we have been made new again.  For in him, we both are made new, and receive growth.

            So believers in Jesus have been chosen, and secondly our text shows that like any new born we are called to grow up to salvation.   Infants have a way of letting us know when they are hungry, and as many of you know all to well they can be hungry at any and all times of the day.  They can be quite “vigorous” in letting mom or dad know that food is what they want.      You could say, that for the first few years of life, that is all they are concerned about.   We have tasted that the Lord is good, we have receied his good fruits.  We who have had our sins forgiven, and have been assured that our connection with God is not one of maybe, but a sure deal.   We are to continue to grow up in salvation, continue to “grow” in the good things of our God, just like a new born infant.  Next week two possibly three people will be confirmed as a adults into this congregation. In addition the 8th graders of our congregation will be  speaking their faith publicly in   questioning and in confirmation day.    The classes may be done, but for new confirmands along with all of us gathered here today the spiritual growth is just beginning.  If the infant is not continually fed, not only would his growth be stunted, but eventually his life could end.  .  If our faith in Christ is not fed, that life with Christ itself could go away.  

            God’s Word is our food, and the Jesus brought to us is the only one that satisfies.  Verses 4-8, virtually half of our text, shows us the Savior who is gracious and good.  In other words, we can’t talk about staying in the faith, if we don’t hear again of the one who keeps us in the faith.  This Jesus who  on your side.  This  Jesus is one who entered into this dangerous world.  This Jesus is the living stone.  He was the one chosen by the Father.  At his baptism the heavenly Father said   “This is my son, with whom I am well pleased”.  This is the one who is solid and dependable like a stone.  Now mind you these are not just pebbles here, these are massive stones placed in the temple.  Yet this stone is not inanimate, rather it is living.  This Jesus is the one who takes our “laziness” when it comes to spiritual life, and forgives.  He is the one who takes our apathy, and gives us life.  What he asks in terms of growth is not impossible , because he is the one behind, and in  front of us.  He is  the living stone, the chief cornerstone.

            So we have been chosen, we are called to a life of growing in God’s Word, and finally we are called to proclaim.  I like the way the translation puts it in today’s reading.  To proclaim the “excellencies” of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous life.  We are called to grow and called to proclaim.  What are we proclaiming?  That we ourselves, were nothing, in darkness, bound straight for hell itself, but Jesus turned us around, and lifted us on a pedestal.  He gave us a new name, a new life, a new purpose.   We are even called to be part of the priesthood.  This is not a solitary position but a public one.  To be royal priests is not just a great position, but it also involves telling a world that feels abandoned, we have a message of being chosen.  In a world where the rut that is getting deeper and deeper, we have one who lifts us out of the mud and mire.   In a world that says living for self is all that matters, we have a Savior who   lives for us and bids us to live in faith toward him and in fervent love toward others.   This is really living!!! Amen.