Interfacing Part 4

This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is called “Interfacing”.

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We are in a series called Interfacing. An interface is a way of connecting things. Part of our mission as believers is to help pre-Christians connect to the Kingdom of God. We do this by being people who are trying to live by doing the next right thing and sharing the radical message of Good News that we have in Christ. We are using the first 12 verses of 1 Peter Chapter 2 as the foundation for this series.

Last week we looked at 1 Peter 2:3 and we are going to talk about the Lord being good. That life in Him was supposed to be joyful.

This week we are going to look at verses 4-7 and I want to talk about the way that you perceive your relationship with God and how it impacts everything that you do.

Scripture Reading

1 Peter 2:4-6 (NIV)
4 As you come to him, the living Stone–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him– 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

Peter says that Jesus is the living stone who was rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him. Peter then likens us to living stones that God is building into a spiritual housed to be a holy priesthood. Like Jesus, we are also chosen by God and precious to Him.

1. God chooses you

We talk all the time here at the Vineyard about living by trying to do the next right thing and it is also a big part of being an interface. That somehow in trying to do the next right thing, we are moving into the will of God for our lives. This way of walking with God will not work if your understanding of how God perceives you is twisted. You need to know that God chooses you, that you are precious to Him, that He loves you and is for you or this process falls apart. If you think that somehow God is out to get you, just waiting to pounce on you and punish you when you make a mistake, your perception of the way that God cares for you is wrong. When you experience difficulties in life, if your first thought is that God is punishing you for something, you perception is wrong. You need to know that as you are trying to live by doing the next right thing, you will sometimes do the wrong thing. When you do, you need to be able to turn quickly back to God, run into His arms, tell Him you are sorry, and ask Him to forgive you. Which He does, and then He hugs you, holds you, tell you He loves you, and then He empowers you by His Spirit to go and do the next right thing.

2. You are precious to Him

I want to discuss two very short parables in Matthew chapter 13. They are about a treasure in a field and a pearl of great value. I heard John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard movement, teach on these parables years ago and it had a huge impact on the way I viewed God and His love for me.

Matthew 13:44-46 (NIV)
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

They are presented in a parallel way, which means that Jesus presented these two parables to introduce the same idea. These parables are often used to talk about how a believer needs to have an attitude that there is nothing more important or valuable in life than following Jesus. And in fact, that is part of what they represent. But there is also another meaning to be found in the parables.

a. You are the treasure

Matthew 13:44 (NIV)
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

Let’s look at the parable and consider that Jesus is the man who found it and purchased it. Jesus bought the field to get the treasure. Jesus paid for all sin for all time for all people so that He could get your sin for this time. You are His treasure. It is you He is after. He paid it all so He could have relationship with you.

b. You are the pearl

Matthew 13:45-46 (NIV)
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

There is a considerable difference between a pearl merchant and you and I buying a pearl. We might try and rub a pearl on our teeth to see if it is rough or whatever it is you are supposed to be looking for when you do that. But a pearl merchant’s life was based on a quest for pearls. This pearl merchant found a pearl so amazing that he was willing to give everything to have it. Guess what? Jesus is the pearl merchant in this story, and you are the pearl. Jesus came and found such beauty and potential in you that he gave it all so He could be in relationship with you.

God has chosen you and you are precious to Him. What keeps us from living day to day in that amazing good news? We have a very real enemy who wants to keep us from experiencing the full and abundant life that Jesus came to give us and some of his favorite tactics are guilt and shame. Guilt and shame will keep us from being the Interface we are called to be and cause us to miss the life that we were created to have.

We are all broken, God knows that about us, but He loves us still. That is all about His amazing grace and mercy. His love for us is not conditioned on our performance which is a really good thing. He loves us. Knowing that God loves us, will allow us to deal with our guilt and shame so that it cannot be used against us by our enemy.

3. Get free from guilt and shame trap

How do you get free from the trap of guilt and shame? You confess your sin. You get before God and you admit your brokenness, your weakness, your selfishness and He still loves you just as much. The word in Greek for confess is “homologeo” which literally means “the same Word”. Confession is not saying “God, I’ll never do it again.” That’s not confession. Confession is saying, “You’re right, God. It was wrong. You’re right. I was wrong. Your Word is right. I was wrong.” That’s confession. It is agreeing with God and His Word.

1 John 1:9 (NIV)
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Even though we know our brokenness, even though the enemy wants to use guilt and shame to try and steal the life away from us that we can have as disciples, we can enjoy and live the full life Jesus has come to give us.

Hebrews 10:22 (NIV)
22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

We can draw near to God in full assurance of faith because of our great priest Jesus. In Christ, you have been forgiven and cleansed and God sees you in Christ. The perfect, holy, righteous creator God of the universe sees you in Christ as purified, lovely, His child, His beloved.

So don’t let guilt or shame steal away the now and forever, full and abundant life that Jesus came to give you because He loves you. You are His treasure, you are His pearl! You are chosen by Him, to be on His team, and to be an interface for the Kingdom of God in the world.

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