This week was our first week of our new series, Exiles, which is based out of 1 Peter. We spoke about the separation of the church and the world out of 1 Peter 1:1-2. Here is a quick recap:
In the first two verses Peter refers to his audience as “exiles”. Here’s why that’s significant: Peter is not just writing this to them to simply point out they are people living in countries that may or not be their home country. He’s actually pointing to a much deeper spiritual reality: it’s not merely that this country is not your home, but this world is not your home. Here’s why this matters, The Bible gives us two broad categories for humanity; the church and the world.
Throughout history, Christians have failed to remember that life here is temporary instead of permanent. When this happens we have three typical responses:
When we think this is our home we withdraw or attempt to hide from our culture. We seek to protect ourselves and our children from everything in the “big, bad world” and create a “home”. This causes us to become distinct and separate. So, everything we do and everywhere we go has to have this “Christian” label in front of it.
When we think this is our home we feel the need to adapt. This looks like giving God a makeover by changing what he has said in order to water down the gospel. The reality is the Gospel is offensive. The statement you are a sinner that deserves Hell will always offend people. The other way we conform is we don’t really take back what God has said, it’s just that we don’t live by it.
This is when we try and make this our home. We attempt to gain power in the political or business worlds in an attempt to force the world to act like the church. The problem is it is generally the church that ends up looking like the world.
But all of these responses fall woefully short of what God actually intends for his church to be. We should understand that we are never intended to quite fit in, wherever we are. We should always be a bit different. We have different beliefs and values, different ways of approaching life that are distinct and unusual to those on the outside. We are not tourists. We are to function in society, know the language, and befriend our neighbors. We also don’t assimilate. We are not at home here. The church isn’t meant to run, fight, or conform… its meant to proclaim.
Grace Alone by King's Kaleidoscope
All my Hope by Hillsong
All I have is Christ by Sovereign Grace
We Sing as One by Young Oceans