"FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT"
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 marvelous light:
I. THESE PRIVILEGES WERE ORIGINALLY GIVEN TO THE NATION OF ISRAEL, BY GOD.
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth [is] mine:
And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These [are] the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
A. Note that when spoken to Israel it was a conditional promise. Conditioned to their obeying His voice and keeping His covenant.
B. In Exodus they were to be His peculiar treasure.
1. They were to be a kingdom of priests. Peter calls it a royal priesthood.
2. They were to be a holy nation.
3. They did not obey His commandments or keep His covenant.
4. God intended that they should bring the light and the knowledge of God to the world.
C. The Jews failed to live up to that light or to bring that light to the world.
1. Jesus became to them a stumbling stone, a rock of offence.
2. Prophesying of Jesus Isaiah said, "For He shall be a sanctuary for those that trust in Him, but to both houses of Israel, He shall be a stumbling stone, and a rock of offence."
3. Writing to the Romans about the Gentile believers Paul said,
What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Wherefore? Because [they sought it] not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
D. The crucifixion of Jesus was a real stumbling block to the Jews. Writing to the Corinthian church Paul said,
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
E. Now God has transferred these privileges to the church, and with the privilege comes the responsibility of bringing the light of God and the knowledge of God to the world.
F. Peter is writing to the church when he declares that they are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.
1. The church today can claim the title of God's chosen people.
2. We are the kingdom of priests.
3. We are the people of God.
II. THE PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH. "TO SHOW FORTH THE PRAISES OF HIM." ANOTHER TRANSLATION STATES, "THAT YOU MIGHT DECLARE THE EXCELLENCIES OF HIM."
A. God wants us to be what He wanted Israel to be.
B. Our lives are to be a witness to the world of how great it is to know and serve the true and living God.
1. People who do not know God have all kinds of false concepts about God.
2. Most people have formed their opinions of God by what others have said about Him.
3. Many times the others who are eager to share their ignorance about God, hate God in their hearts.
4. Oft times this hatred of God comes from a disappoint or tragedy in their lives.
5. Most of the time it comes from a hatred of purity.
6. You cannot get a true picture of a person by listening only to what his enemies say of him.
7. I have heard some pretty bazaar things about me, rumors that people have spread, who really don't know me or have never met me. Yet for some reason they hate me and spread vicious rumors about me.
8. God desires that our lives give to others a true picture of what God is like.
a. My life is to be marked by love, joy, peace, longsuffering graciousness, gentleness, goodness, meekness, moderation,
b. These are the characteristics of God's nature and He wants me to show them to the world.
c. There is an interesting verse in the New Testament that speaks of a time when the Apostles were witnessing of Jesus Christ to the Jewish leaders. It declares concerning the Jewish leaders, that they took stock of them that they had been with Jesus.
d. When you have been with Jesus it will show in your life, and your life will show forth the excellencies of our God.
III. SPEAKING OF GOD HE DECLARES THAT HE CALLED YOU OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT.
A. When Jesus apprehended Saul who was on his way to Damascus to persecute the Christians there, He called him to go to the Gentiles
To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
B. When John the Baptist was born, his father Zacharias who was a priest began to prophesy of his future, he said,
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
To give light to them that sit in darkness and [in] the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
C. The prophet Isaiah when prophesying of the Messiah declared:
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
1. Matthew confirmed that the prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus.
The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
2. Later Jesus us to declare, "I am the light of the world, He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
D. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said to His disciples, "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid."
1. The prophet Isaiah said to the people of the Lord,
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
And the heathen shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
2. Look how darkness covers the earth today, the ignorance of God is appalling.
3. As a result of the darkness their is strife covering the globe.
a. Look at all of the slaughter of innocent people in this past month. Angola, Iraq, Kosovo, Indonesia, in the homes and on the streets here in Southern California.
b. The world is like a boiling caldron. How true the scripture that declares that the wicked are like a troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
4. We the church of Jesus Christ are to be a light shining in the darkness of this world.
a. We are to show forth the excellencies of God.
b. We are to declare the love of God.
c. We are to show the transforming power of God.
d. A person need not to live controlled by the powers of darkness. There is deliverance and help from God.