"For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." ~ Deuteronomy14:2

Friday, February 6, 2009

God's Peculiar People

Gods Peculiar People, by Rev. G.R. Procee
We are all familiar with the well know expression, “a peculiar people,” from 1 Peter 2:9. “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.” This is how God's Word characterizes the people of God. In this verse there are various expressions describing the people of God; several of these characterizations we can more or less understand. They are a chosen people; they are elect sinners. They belong to Christ the King and so they are a royal priesthood, called to be holy, devoted to the Lord. But then comes the expression that we find rather strange. God's children are characterized as being a peculiar people.
God’s Personal Possession
You should know that the word used in Greek has the meaning of gaining a personal possession. The expression, therefore, describes a people the Lord has gained especially for Himself. They are a people, who have been especially gathered in and redeemed for God’s personal possession. Yet there is something beautiful in the word peculiar. It shows that God's children are special; they are different. That is because they belong to the Lord. The word peculiar does not mean weird or strange here. But in the eyes of the people of this world God's children will come across as being strange, and even peculiar. That is because they do not understand God's children.
The World’s View
Peter speaks of that in 1 Peter 4, where he says in verse 3 that at one time God's children used to walk “in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.” But now this has changed and they no longer walk according to the principle of this world. The response is stated in 1 Peter 4:4: “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.” The result is that the world considers God's people to be peculiar and strange. That may bother us at times. We can be overly concerned about what the world thinks of us. Due to the fear of being considered peculiar, we can easily join in with the foolishness and wickedness of the world. By avoiding to be seen as peculiar the church gives up a part of its confession. Maybe you are very concerned about what people think of you? But the greatest concern should be: What does God think of you? We must not be afraid to be considered peculiar and strange. For the world does not understand the people of God. They do not know God. They do not know His love or the blessedness of His service. Rather than giving up even one inch of our confession, we must be content to be considered peculiar. We must not fear these things.
Reproach for the Name of Christ
Christ told us that His people will be mocked and will suffer persecution. “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). They have mocked the Lord Jesus and they will mock His followers. Of course, God's children may never give needless offence. It is also possible to suffer and to be reproached because of our own foolishness. Peter warns us of that. “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.” (1 Peter 4:15). If we are reproached because we uphold a Christian confession and consider sin what God's Word calls sin, we should not be ashamed to be viewed as being peculiar. Peter tells us that we should not think this as something strange. “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye” (1 Peter 4:14). That means you are blessed, you have a share in His salvation. Therefore in verse 16 Peter writes that “if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed.” Unbelievers do not understand you and they will consider you peculiar or eccentric. This is unavoidable. In a certain sense they are correct. God's children are eccentric. To be eccentric means to deviate from the centre, not having the same centre as another circle. One wheel can be eccentric to the other. That is exactly how God's children are. They are different from other people. Worldly people will see this and will scorn them for it. But do not let this deter you, ever. We are called to focus our lives on the centre, on Christ, whereas the people of the world focus their attention on the dictates of this world, the devil and their own flesh. Therefore God's children will be considered eccentric or peculiar. Scoffers have spoken against ministers, simply because these ministers vehemently opposed sin and zealously expounded Christ.
Thomas a Kempis wrote: “My son take it not grievously if some think ill of thee, and speak that which thou wouldest not willingly hear… Let not thy peace depend on the tongues of men… Where are true peace and true glory? Are they not in God?”
The Seriousness of the Matter
Because of the seriousness of everlasting perdition, ministers may even come across as being crass or crude. Ministers may even do away with an elegant style because the seriousness of the matter weighs upon them. Such ministers will be considered peculiar or eccentric. C.H. Spurgeon writes about this:
"I make bold to say that some men have been styled eccentric because they are really in earnest, and earnestness defies rules. I do not believe that it is possible for man in downright earnest to be always ‘proper.’ I suppose there is a proper way of getting a lady out of her bedchamber where her house is on fire, but doubtless our firemen often violate the proprieties when they have such a thing to do. They have to rush in anyhow to save life, and they cannot stay to make apologies. The flames are urgent, and so must the rescuer be, or life will be lost. I suppose there is a proper way of pulling persons out of the water wherein they are drowning, but I have known brave fellows drag them by the hair of their heads: this was rough and rude, but it answered the purpose. Did anyone ever blame the doer of the deed for his roughness? Is not the soul more precious than the body and who would suffer it to be lost for the sake of etiquette? A man may go into the pulpit as prim as you please, …but let him feel an inward anguish for the souls of men and he will forget his dignity…"
How different North America would be if all its ministers would preach with such zeal and fervency. Then the out-breaking wickedness would be brought down. Things would be very different if there would be more love, more earnestness, and more passion for souls in the pulpit; yet at the same time many ministers would be considered eccentric. Likewise, if God's people would be more fervent in their prayers and in their testimony, they would be a salting salt in this society. By the same token they would increasingly be viewed as being peculiar. Too many fear to be less than ordinary and thus their witness is stifled. How necessary it is for a minister to be filled with zeal to preach the Word of God! But he may be criticized for it. John Berridge, an eighteenth century minister of the Church of England was reproved for preaching too much. A complaint was lodged against him. The bishop sent for him and admonished him for preaching at all hours and every day. Berridge responded modestly, ”I preach only at two seasons.” “Which are they, Mr. Berridge?” “In season and out of season, my Lord.” Berridge was a man zealous for Christ and because of his ceaseless preaching revivals broke out.
Let us never be ashamed of being called peculiar for the sake of Christ. Let us flee from sin. Let us not follow the majority by doing evil. Let us keep our homes and lives unspotted from the world. Fear no man’s frown. Court no man’s smile, but act and live and speak the right thing. Do this as well as you can and ask for God's help that you may speak in such a manner that other people may feel you are serious about what you are saying, even though you may offend them. Blessed is that man or woman who has a clear conscience before God. Be fools for Christ’s sake. Be vigilant, be forthright in your witness to those outside, and so “others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 1:23).
Do you and I belong to God's peculiar people? Or do we fear men more than God? Let us seek grace to bear His testimony on our lips. If we suffer with Him, we shall also be glorified with Him. Other Scriptural references on God's Peculiar People...
1. Exodus 19:5, Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine. Exodus 19:4-6 (in Context) Exodus 19 (Whole Chapter)
2. Deuteronomy 14:2, For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth. Deuteronomy 14:1-3 (in Context) Deuteronomy 14 (Whole Chapter)
3. Deuteronomy 26:18, And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments; Deuteronomy 26:17-19 (in Context) Deuteronomy 26 (Whole Chapter)
4. Psalm 135:4, For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure. Psalm 135:3-5 (in Context) Psalm 135 (Whole Chapter)
5. Ecclesiastes 2:8, I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. Ecclesiastes 2:7-9 (in Context) Ecclesiastes 2 (Whole Chapter)
6. Titus 2:14,Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:13-15 (in Context) Titus 2 (Whole Chapter)
7. 1 Peter 2:9, 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 2:8-10 (in Context) 1 Peter 2 (Whole Chapter)
Peculiar People, Mute Math
We can fly with the wings of eagles We can fly with the wings of eagles We are peculiar people this I know We can fly with the wings of eagles We are peculiar people We are peculiar people We must set our hope and future to the sky We are peculiar people We are peculiar people We will shed our human skin and learn to fly With a word we can drown a mountain With a word we can drown a mountain Into the seas surrounding don't you know With a word we can drown a mountain We are peculiar people We are peculiar people There is more to who we are than meets the eye We are peculiar people We are peculiar people And no one will convince me otherwise We were born to, we were born to fly You and I, we're summoned to the sky We were born to, we were, we were born to fly

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