Wednesday, April 25, 2012

1 Peter 1-2

1 Peter 1:1-12 – Living Hope

Peter wrote this letter to Christians throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia to encourage them, because they were being persecuted for their faith.  Peter’s name was Simon, but Jesus changed it to Peter in John 1:42.  The name Peter means rock or stone.

We have every intention to do what is right.  Then sometimes life just takes over and we say “Oh, whatever”.  Have you ever felt that way?  Peter knew what it was like to mess up and he failed Jesus miserably.  He thought he had faith until he was tested.  He denied Jesus 3 times.  God knew his heart and completely changed him.  The Christians to whom he was writing were messing up and said, “Oh, whatever” and “Why should I be different?  We as Christians should be different, because we were chosen.  There is always a redemptive purpose in every mistake we make.  We don’t know what today will bring, but we know to whom we belong.

Peter describes Christians as God’s elect, strangers in the world and having been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God through the sanctifying work of the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by His blood. – (1 Peter 1-2).  Elect means chosen to be given new life.  Verse 2 shows us the Blessed Trinity – The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Peter praised God and all He has done through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (1 Peter 1:3).  Lord means He has complete authority.  Jesus is His human name and means God who saves.  Christ means Messiah meaning the one whom God has anointed.  Peter reminds the suffering Christians why they should praise God.  “In his mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you.”(1 Peter 1:3-4).  Suffering should be expected.  It’s God’s way of purifying and validating our faith. 

The living hope of Jesus Christ can transform our response to life today.

Where is your focus when you are suffering?
How much do events of today impact your hope?
How is your faith in Jesus Christ resulted in glorious joy?
How confident are you that your salvation is secure?

1 Peter 1:13-2:3 – Living Holy

What is God’s purpose for His children?  He wants us to be holy, because He is holy.  He wants us to be self-controlled and to prepare our minds for action.  He wants us to set our hope fully on grace given to us.  He wants us to be obedient and do not conform to the evil desires we had when we lived in ignorance. – (1 Peter 1:13-16).  Holy means to be good, pure, set apart, spiritually whole or sound.  Holy means to belong to God alone.  The Holy Spirit makes us holy.  Does that sound like you?  This doesn’t mean Christians will never sin, but with God’s help we must try to avoid it in our lives.

Peter refers to Jesus as the Lamb without blemish or defect.  (1 Peter 1:19).  In the Old Testament God commanded a sin offering for the peoples’ sins.  They were to sacrifice a lamb without blemish or defect to atone for their sins, but this sacrifice was only temporary.  They had to keep doing it over and over because they kept sinning.  Jesus was perfect with no sin.  He was our sacrificial lamb who died on the cross once and for all for all the sins of mankind.   If we believe this and trust and obey Him, we are a new person in Christ.  We are born-again, which means we died in our sins and our old ways of life.  We are born-again in the Spirit through Jesus.  We are now living as a new person made possible through the saving blood of Jesus.

As believers live a life of holiness others will encounter God’s pure sincere love and goodness.

How are you prepared for a life of goodness?
How are you under indoctrination of the world?
How will you describe the way you love people?  Is it conditional or like Jesus?

1 Peter 2:4-25 – Living Example

Peter says we are like living stones.  What does that mean?  Jesus is the cornerstone or the foundation like that in a building.  The cornerstone is the first stone put into place.  He is also the capstone, which is the last stone put into place.  He is the beginning and the end.  God builds a house with people.  We are being built into a spiritual house (the church) to be a holy priesthood.  We are living stones and are to be like Jesus. – (1 Peter 2:4-6).

Jesus is the stone that makes man stumble or reject Him, because they disobey the message He brings.  People continue to stumble over Christ today by refusing to believe the Bible.  They think it is not relevant today.  They don’t believe what Jesus says.  They think He is not the only way to the Father.  They think He was a good man and teacher, but not the Christ.  They think they know the truth and refuse to find out for themselves who He really is.  He does not desire people to stumble.  We do that ourselves.  We are not chosen because we are perfect, or from a certain family, or have wealth.  We are chosen because He loves us.

As Christians we have privileges.  We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God and we have received God’s mercy.  We are aliens and strangers in the world, but we can still live without conforming to the world’s standards.  We can abstain from sinful desires, live good lives so others will see our good deeds and glorify God when He returns.  The Holy Spirit lives in us.  We are children of God and should live differently from the world. – (1 Peter 2:9-12).  People look at Christians and see how we behave.  Be careful people are watching you.

All authority comes from God. – (Romans 13:1-2).  We are to submit for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men.  We complain about the government and others in authority just like they did then.  We should remember God put them in their positions and we are to respect them and leave their judgments to God. – (1 Peter 2:13-25).  How are we able to do that?  We can do this by being conscious of God and knowing we are doing what He commands.  Then this is commendable before God. – (1 Peter 2:18-21). 

Jesus was our example of how to suffer unjustly.  When He was arrested and beaten, He did not retaliate or make threats or even complain.  He entrusted Himself to God who judges justly. – (1 Peter 2:23).  We are to persevere in unjust suffering as Christ did.

Believers are called to live as examples of the attitude, character and commitment of Christ by entrusting ourselves to God.

Do you complain about the government?
How do non-believers describe you?
What attitude or character of Christ do others see in you?
What do you need to do to entrust yourself to God?
Do you have faith and courage to do that in everything in your life?

As believers we are chosen for hope and empowered for holiness so others will have a glimpse of the Savior.

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