From the beginning, God wanted all of humanity to be holy priests serving him on earth. Adam and Eve were commissioned to care for and keep the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15), terms used later of the holy work of priests at the temple. After humanity fell in sin, God chose Israel to be a nation of priests (Exodus 19:5-6), but they refused. So, the sacred privilege was bestowed on a single tribe within Israel—Levi. Through Jesus Christ, God’s original plan for the priesthood of all believers is being realized in the Church (1 Peter 2:9). In this sermon, we will explore the honor and privileges we bear as holy priests in God’s kingdom and how the local church should be the most safe, healthy, and personally esteeming community on earth. To prepare, please read 1 Peter 2:1-10.
Life In Exile
January 17, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross
To This You Were Called
Life In Exile • February 28, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross
Pew Research surveyed 10,000 American adults over a 20-year period (1997-2017) and found that the polarization of our society in 2017 was at a 20-year high. The division is even greater today. Jesus called his people to be peacemakers—to stand in the gap of conflict. Today, Christians have an unprecedented opportunity to bless one another and their host communities (as spiritual aliens and exiles) with a clear and compelling picture of what Jesus' love looks like, in the midst of intense conflict. Please read 1 Peter 3:8-12 to prepare for this sermon.
Submitting In Unhappy Marriages
Life In Exile • February 14, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross
It’s not surprising that the most primal human relationship in God’s creation—the loving, life-long, one-flesh union of one man and one woman in the sacred bond of marriage—is the source of such dehumanizing pain. The world, our flesh, and the devil have so badly misconstrued the majesty of marriage, we cannot read Peter’s instruction about godly submission in marriage without it raising our hackles. Ironically, this sermon was preached on Valentine’s Day, and, once again, we will see what Peter does and does NOT teach about Christ-like submission in a broken world. Please read 1 Peter 2:21-3:7 to prepare
Submitting To Unjust Masters
Life In Exile • February 7, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross
Peter’s next point on Christian submission to authority is especially difficult, not because of what he says, but because of what he doesn’t say. If we are honest, we would have to admit that a passages like 1 Peter 2:18-20 is confusing, if not embarrassing. We believe the Bible is God’s word, so why doesn’t Peter emphatically denounce slavery as an insidious evil? Good question. In pre-civil war days, pastors in the south preached from passages like this to justify the enslavement of Africans—a very dark and heinous time in American history. In this sermon, we will answer this troubling question and see what Peter is and is NOT saying in this passage.