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1 Peter

Gospel Identity and Witness

This sermon is part of an 11-week series on the book of 1 Peter.

September 29, 2019
1 Peter 2:1-12
preached by
Pastor Jon Needham

Sermon text

1 Peter 2:1-12

¹ So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. ² Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—³ if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. ⁴ As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, ⁵ you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ⁶ For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” ⁷ So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” ⁸ and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. ⁹ But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. ¹⁰ Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. ¹¹ Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. ¹² Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Understanding the text

How we live is an expression of what we are. In other words, what we do and how we act flows out of who and what we are. This text is full of identity words. Peter uses rich Old Testament words like “chosen race,” “royal priesthood,” and “holy nation” to describe every Christian’s identity. He then connects these identity words with our conduct as he urges us to live holy lives for the sake of our neighbors and community.

It is not uncommon for discussions regarding evangelism to focus almost exclusively on words, arguments, and apologetic methods. However, 1 Peter reminds us that one of the most important things we can give our community is our holiness. It is through putting away our “malice and all deceit and envy and all slander” that the world is attracted to Jesus and His gospel (1 Peter 2:1). This means that there is a direct connection between the sanctification of believers and the conversion of skeptics.

Additional scripture

  1. John 15:18-19
  2. James 5:7-11
  3. Philippians 3:8-11
The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. —Tertullian

Applying the text

  1. Take a moment to look through the text and make a lis of all of the identity words that Peter uses. What themes can you identity in his language?
  2. Look over the text again, but this time make a list of all of Peter’s activities or imperatives. What themes can you identify?
  3. Why do you think Peter makes a direct connection between the holiness of Christians and the conversion of skeptics? How does this transform the way we think about mission and evangelism in our own community?

Call to Worship

Psalm 17:1-7

¹ Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit! ² From your presence let my vindication come! Let your eyes behold the right! ³ You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing;I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress. ⁴ With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lipsI have avoided the ways of the violent. ⁵ My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped. ⁶ I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words. ⁷ Wondrously show your steadfast love,O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.

Prayer of Confession

King of love and mercy, how different would our lives be if we remembered that You are good and that You love to give good gifts to Your children? Our sinful hearts are darkened and blind to the truth. Father, forgive us for our treasonous betrayal. Thank You for Your patience and unshakeable love. Precious Savior, You were punished for our crimes so that we could receive all the good things You earned through Your perfect obedience. Thank You that Your Spirit is at work within us, transforming us into Your beautiful image. Holy Spirit, help us to remember the goodness of our Father. Melt our stony, determined hearts with Your undeserved love, until we fall at Your feet with hearts full of love and wonder. In Christ’s name, we pray, amen.

Resources for Parents

On Family Worship Sunday, the Juniors class, (the 2 and 3 year olds), receives a special lesson on next month's catechism question. All of our classes work through one question per month from the New City Catechism.

Parents! You can download the New City Catechism app with all the questions and children's songs for free.

New City Catechism Question #30

Question: What is faith in Jesus Christ?
Answer: Receiving and resting on him alone for salvation as he is offered to us in the gospel.

Additional questions:

Q: What do we all have?
A: Sin in our hearts.

Q: Who saves us from our sin?
A: Jesus!

Q: What does faith mean?
A: Knowing and trusting in Jesus.


Jon is the lead pastor and founding pastor of Coram Deo Church. He and his wife live in Bremerton with their three kids. He loves spending time with his family and riding motorcycles.


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