Welcome to this week's ToGather.church!
The United States has just gone through another election cycle. Political parties jockey back and forth over how they can make our world better. Unfortunately, our world shouts back with unmuted voice, "We are a system in decay; we have no answer for your biggest questions; the destruction you see on your planet and the violence you see between nations and in your cities is a cancer politics can't fix!"
So, what are we as followers of Jesus — God the Son who took on human flesh and lived among us as Immanuel, God with us — supposed to do, say, and be? How are we to live in this broken world?
Peter's letter, which we call 1 Peter in the New Testament, was written to people in a world as corrupt, morally bankrupt, and self-destructive as our own. On top of that, those believers in Asia Minor were facing increasing persecution and pressure for their faith — like many of our brothers and sisters today in various parts of the world. Peter wrote to help them understand their place in the world. In one breathtaking passage he told them:
...you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 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 (1 Peter 2:9-10 NRSV).
Despite being the minority culture, despite facing ridicule, and despite living under the threat of persecution and martyrdom, these Jesus-loving people were the hope of their world. They were the priests that God had placed there to be his 'divine go-betweens' to declare his freedom, goodness, and glory to those they encountered! So are we.
Our focus for this week's ToGather.church comes from Verse of the Day, taken from 1 Peter 2:15-16:
It is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
Let's join Phil in his video message on our focus verses for today, as he encourages us to catch this grand vision for God's purpose in us in our broken world!
Let's remember we have been liberated from:
- Fear of death.
- Power of sin, Satan, and hell.
- Law-keeping to earn salvation.
- Being alone to fight our battles.
- Purposelessness in life.
Our full worship video invites us to celebrate all that God has done to liberate us from all the destructive power that evil has unleashed into our world. As we sing, we will remind each other of God's power and promises for us as his people and commit to living into his purpose for us: Using our freedom to liberate those in bondage. May the Holy Spirit fill and empower us as we sing, pray, share Communion, open God's Scriptures, and bless one another in the name of Jesus!