They were astonished at His words. With an authority that could not be denied, they heard words of affirmation that were inconceivable just a short while ago. His words pierced through the darkness of their minds and illuminated the reality of heaven – that they were valuable.
We call it the Sermon on the Mount but it was much more than a sermon. To the humble hearers, that day was revolutionary. For many, Christ gave context to their lives. Although poor in spirit, Jesus pronounced that theirs was the kingdom of heaven.
The meek, those who had nothing of worldly value to boast about, who resided in the shadows of obscurity, now heard from Jesus that they would inherit the earth. On and on He went pronouncing blessings on the least of those.
It is in this context that we read the memory verse of this week’s lesson, Peter on the Great Controversy. If we listen carefully we will hear the same sentiment being echoed that blessed the lives of those gathered on that mountain with Christ – we are valuable.
“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 marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9
What if we really believed this? What if we really believed that God has called us into holiness and righteous living?
We are often intimated by the concept of being righteous. Our go-to verse that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” gives us relief from any expectations and accountability for the command to “live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” Isaiah 64:6, Titus 2:12
Sure, we are proud of our signature sign of being “a peculiar people” – the Sabbath. But what if it means more than the day we attend church or the day we cease from worldly labor and concerns? What if being peculiar included living righteously in an unrighteous world?
Using as an example this one chapter alone, 1 Peter 2, Peter is exhorting the church to live to a high standard. In fact, such a high standard that if accused of being evildoers, their good works would overrule false accusations and lead to the glory of God.
If we boiled all of Peter’s injunctions down we would take away this fact – we are valuable in the eyes of God and we should conduct ourselves accordingly.
We’ve often seen this concept played out in real life. A son is about to embark on a journey in life. As he prepares to leave, the father reminds his son that he is carrying the family name and that he must protect it by living with integrity and honor. He’s not just anyone but he’s a (insert your surname)!
Peter is telling the church the same thing. You bear your Heavenly Father’s name and you should carry that name in such a way that it brings glory to Him.
The controversy we are engaged in includes a battle of our minds. When the enemy of man whispers we are defeated and all we can hope for is what this world offers, God says through His word that we are more than conquerors and that there is a place prepared for us in heaven. Remember who you belong to.
We are valuable in God’s sight but our value is not determined by our lineage, accomplishments, talents or possessions. Our value is determined by something much more significant. It is determined by the price paid for our redemption. And that is what governs not only how we are to view our worth but also how we are to conduct our lives.
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:20
Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:
- What does a “chosen generation” mean to you?
- How does being a “royal priesthood” apply to all believers?
- Does a “holy nation” imply that its members are holy? Explain your answer.
- What does a “peculiar people” mean to you?
- What does it mean to “shew forth the praises”?
- Explain what being called out of darkness into His marvelous light means.
We close this week’s lesson with words from Christ that indicate our value, not just to ourselves but to everyone we come in contact with. Our heavenly family name means much.
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
Until next week, let’s all continue to Hit the Mark in Sabbath School.
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