Different Values in an Unholy Culture
God has chosen every believer to be set apart for Himself to have fellowship with us in a special way. Every follower of Christ has been called to live different lives than the rest of the world. We’ve been set apart by God. 1 Peter 2: 9 says, “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light”
Bottom Line: You were not created to fit in. You were created to stand out.
Something To Talk About:
Nobody wants to be different. We want people to like us, and one of the safest ways to do that is to blend in, to be like them. But following Christ has never been about “blending in.” Following Him means to be like Him, to respond to life and relate to people the way He did. That makes you different:
- The desire to fit in: We all want to fit in. It’s a human thing. Society tells us something is wrong with us if we can’t fit in so when we fail to be part of a group, we start to believe that there is something wrong with us. For the Christian, completely fitting in with our culture means there is something wrong with you. We all want to be liked, cherished, and appreciated by our peers. But God could care less about these things. God doesn’t care how many Facebook friends you have, or how many people follow you on Twitter. Or how popular you are. In fact, the purpose of the Gospel isn’t to fit in at all, but to in fact stand out. Realizing you don’t fit in is a good thing. You weren’t made to fit in. You were made to fulfill your calling in Christ. You were made to fit out. Be Different. Set apart.
- The courage to be different: God’s Word is clear on our call to be different, to be completely set-apart for Him: “Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord….”(2 Corinthians 6:17). Of course, this doesn’t mean that we barricade from the world somewhere. In fact, God commands us to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Mark 16:15). The Bible says that we should expect to look strange to the world because of our set-apartness: “Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you.” (1 Peter 4:4) To be different, set apart means that God has His hand on you for a specific purpose. He is the one that issues the drumbeat of the different drummer. He is the one that calls us to stand out of the crowd, to be distinct, separate, unusual. He calls us to be different. And He calls us to be holy.
- The commitment to follow Jesus: How can commitment be defined? Commitment can be defined as the decision to do what needs to be done, whatever the cost. Love for Christ does not mean merely a feeling or affection but a commitment to follow Him all the way. It means He has our heart, He has everything. “‘…If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23). God wants us to be committed to Him so the world would know how important He is to us. God want us to be committed to Him so that he can strengthen us to be what he created us to be. To be fully committed, Jesus has to be first. Absolutely first in our lives. Bible passage after passage tells us we must put God above every other single thing in our lives: Psalm 73 (in its entirety); John 3:31; and Ephesians 1:20-23 to name a few.
- 1 Peter 2:9 lists four truths about the identity of Christ-followers: we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people belonging to God. How does each of these descriptions shape the way you view God? The way you view yourself?
- Take a few minutes and examine your life. Do you believe you are set apart?
- What are three areas you struggle most trying to fit in? Why do you think it’s so easy to start looking like everyone else?
- What are the biggest ways that you are different from the world? What is the area that God wants you to be different?
- Describe a time you put your happiness above God’s call for you to be different. How did it turn out?
- What’s something in this message that keeps replaying in your mind?
- What’s one way you know God is asking you to be different?
- Being different isn’t just subtraction—it’s also addition. What good, godly things can you add to your week?
Take one thing home with you.
Written by the Apostle Peter, 1 Peter encourages believers to live in such a way that others will notice our changed lives. When we are saved, God changes the identity of those who put their faith in Christ. By His grace, He chooses us and gives us a new identity in Christ. This new identity includes being a priesthood, a holy nation, and a people belonging to God and receiving His mercy (1 Peter 2:9-10). Before we can fully understand and live out the purpose He has for us in this world, we must be sure of what God has done to us and for us: He has made us new. The next step is for our new identity to become our holy calling—to present our lives to Him to use as He chooses. In Christ, we have renewed purpose—letting the world see this new identity—so that our good deeds will cause unbelievers to give glory to God. God changes people from the inside out, and He then turns them around and shows the world that Christian faith is more than talk.