Archive for the ‘1 Peter’ Category

1 Peter 5

1 Peter 5 has him reminding the elders to “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory”.  The label ‘elder’ is more about wisdom and maturity than age. Peter was qualified to speak because he is a fellow elder.  There is a responsibility to use our wisdom to help those in our patch.

Peter then speaks to the younger crowd and says “you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you”. His word to be submissive to one another and be clothed with humility applies to everyone.  Leaders mus still be under authority.  Only God is an authority with no other. True humility is shown by our ability to cast our care upon God. It is pride and presumption to worry and care about things that God has promised to take care of.

He reminds us that we have a very real enemy who is out to destroy us.  “Be sober-minded; be watchful.Your  adversary the devil prowls around  like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world”. Peter exhorts us to remain clear-headed (sober) and watchful, because Satan has not yet been bound and restrained.  We know what happens at the end of the war, but for now, the enemy is still out fighting battles seeking to destroy us.

And Peter wraps up his letter reminding us what lies ahead.  “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you”.  We may indeed go through some suffering, but it won’t be without a reward.  Peter lists four things that God Himself will do for us as Christ Followers if we endure and come before Him one day. But what does this glory looks like.  Guzik shared this list:

– It is the glory of purified character.

– It is the glory of perfected humanity.

– It is the glory of complete victory.

– It is the glory of being honored by a King.

– It is the glory of reflecting the glory of God.

– It is the glory of the immediate and constant presence of God.

– It is the glory of the enjoyment of God Himself.

God, who will do this great work in our lives is certainly worthy of our praise.

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1 Peter 4

In 1 Peter 4, he challenges us to love each other.  “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins”.  Love does cover a multitude of sins, both the sins of the one loving and the sins of the one who is being loved.  Grudem wrote “Where love abounds in a fellowship of Christians, many small offences, and even some large ones, are readily overlooked and forgotten. But where love is lacking, every word is viewed with suspicion, every action is liable to misunderstanding, and conflicts about – to Satan’s perverse delight.”  Love should define us as Christ Followers.

God has equipped us to function together in the body of Christ.  “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ”.  There are several principles of spiritual gifts that Peter points out here:

  1. Gifts are given to all of us as Christ Followers
  2. Gifts are given to serve others, not for our own benefit
  3. Gifts are given to glorify God, not ourselves

This chapter speaks about the end times, and it won’t be rosy as we approach that time.  “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed….if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God  in that name.”.  Guzik wrote “We should never deny the place of suffering in building godliness in the Christian life. Though there is much needless pain we bear through lack of knowledge or faith, there is also necessary suffering. If suffering was a suitable tool to teach Jesus (Hebrews 5:8), it is a suitable tool to teach His servants”.

He reminds us that we will all stand before God someday and give account for our lives.  “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God….Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good”.  Christians can rejoice that the sufferings they face in this life are the worst they will ever face throughout all eternity. We have seen the worst; those who reject Jesus Christ have seen the best of life their eternal existence will ever see.  What lies ahead for them will be much worse.

1 Peter 3

1 Peter 3 begins with him speaking directly to wives.  “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct”.  A godly wife will be submissive to her husband. This submission isn’t a reward for the husband’s good behavior; God commands it as the proper order of the home.  Submission has no requirement of any action by the husband.  But God has a different expectation of men.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered”. A godly husband lives with his wife. He doesn’t merely share a house, but he truly lives with her. The godly husband understands the essential unity or oneness God has established between husband and wife.  Men are not superior to women in any way.  In fact, submission is man’s responsibility to protect and care for a woman.

Peter goes on to talk with all mankind.  “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind”.  Most of us are willing to have one mind, as long as that one mind is my mind! But the one mind is to be the mind of Christ.  The world does not revolve around us.  It needs to revolve around Christ in and through us.  Peter described the kind of warm love that should be among the people of God.  We are part of the family of God and as such, need to express real love for one another.  He is watching.  “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil”.  How we live and treat one another matters!

We should live in a way that “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame”.  Jesus is the center of our universe and we need to be prepared to share the truth of our relationship with Him.  We need to be prepared to share our faith with gentleness and respect, but be prepared for the response we may receive which may not be positive at all. Our future is secure as Christ “has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him”.  He is able, more than able, to save us from all things!

1 Peter 2

In 1 Peter 2, he writes about how we should focus on growing as Christ Followers.  “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good”.  The failure to either desire or to receive this pure milk of the word is the reason for so many problems in both individual Christian lives and in congregations.  It is how we can grow.  God has provided us what we need to grow spiritually, but we have to take in the truth which is contained in His Word.  It’s there for us.  We merely have to make it our own.

Peter’s picture here is that God is building a spiritual temple (a spiritual house) using living stones (Christians), those who have come to the ultimate living stone (Jesus).  “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”.  As God builds us up, we become holy priests that are empowered to offer spiritual sacrifices to God.  We have direct access to God through Christ!

Peter defines who we are in Christ: “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies 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”.  Now in Jesus we belong to God as His own special people.  We’ve been called by Him to Himself.  We are chosen, royal, holy, and His.  Why?  To proclaim His glory and Christ crucified.  God didn’t select us for our own benefit alone, but to be light in the darkness and point people to the Cross.

We will face difficult times.  “If when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God”.  We will struggle and even suffer.  But Jesus did too.  “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By his wounds you have been healed”.  Jesus set the example of how we need to live.  He was perfect, and yet suffered.  We are not, and will suffer.  But Christ paid the price for our sins.  He has set us free and healed us, soul and spirit, and allows us to live righteously in God’s sight.

1 Peter 1

1 Peter 1 has the writer we learn about the reality of our life as a Christ Follower.  “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”.  Here’s the result of the gospel – Jesus gives us the opportunity to be born again and receive an inheritance that can never be lost.  It is guarded by God’s power for eternity.

Our relationship with Christ is based on faith.  “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls”.  Faith is the assurance of things not seen.  That’s what we have to have in order to have a relationship with Jesus.  Some struggle to find that faith.  But we have to dig into Scripture to understand the blessings of God’s truth and realize that believing in Jesus will lead to salvation for eternity.  Faith is the key.

Peter goes on to describe how we should live as a Christ Follower.  “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct”.  Because of our salvation, we need to put our hope fulling on God’s grace.  Grace is God’s riches at Christ’s expense.  It is unmerited favor.  We need to stay focused on the promises of God and live in a way that is pleasing to Him, as holy just as God is holy.

Peter breaks it down to the most basic way we can be holy, to “love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again”.  Being born again should change us.  It should fill us with love.  That love should flow from a pure heart.  Being born again makes us different.  We have a new mission, to live God’s way and love those in our patch.  Our heart can become pure and we need to stay focused on walking with our Savior.  Our orders will never change.  “The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever”.  We are to love!

1 Peter 5

1 Peter 5 ends this letter from Peter.  Short but packed with truth that matters.  He begins with admonition to the elders about their role and how they should exercise it.  We are given some contrasts in how the job should be done but it all focuses on the idea of “shepherd the flock”.  The elders are to be responsible for the protection, care and leading of the people in their patch.  They are the ones who will have to give account.  Check out the contrasts Peter gives in doing the shepherding well in “exercising oversight”:

–       “not under compulsion                                     but willingly

–       Not for shameful gain                                       but eagerly

–       Not domineering over those in your charge                 but being examples to the flock

Bottom line is that shepherds are to be willing, eager examples for the flock to follow.  Shepherds lead.  They set direction and take their flock to the place they are safe and can grow.  And when done well, scripture tells us those elders will “receive the unfading crown of glory”.  There is an eternal reward when leaders lead well!

He goes on to remind “you who are younger, be subject to the elders “.  Many resist the idea of being under the authority of another person spiritually.  After all, we each have our own relationship right with the Father Himself – we don’t need someone else telling us what to do.  Right?  Isn’t that how many think?  But it is not God’s plan.  He is orderly and structured and knows that left to our own devices we will fail.  We don’t do the right things just because we have access to the King.  We still go into the weeds and get lost in sin.  We need to have others who are leading and guiding our path, and particularly protecting and correcting us.  That means we need to learn and practice humility.  “Clothe yourselves….with humility toward one another….Humble yourselves…. so that….he may exalt you”.  It really is a pretty simple plan.  We are told to humble ourselves – which means to put others in a place over us – SO THAT – we may be exalted.  Humility brings us to the end game – exaltation before God.  The opposite is also true – if we refuse we miss out.  This is an if…then kind of action.  Humility leads to our hearts and souls being in right relationship with God’s plan and economy.  It is not optional.  We must submit to authority – just as God Himself is authority – so are the elders He allows in our lives to lead us.

Peter ends his letter with some important direction for us.  First the admonition to pray: “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you”.  Are you a prayer warrior or a worrier?  God has told us to let Him take care of the burdens in our life.  Yet we hang on and are unwilling to let Him be God.  We just refuse to let Him have them.  Why?  Obviously we don’t believe He is able.  We don’t trust Him.  We have to remember that He cares for us.  He sent Jesus to prove that point.  God can handle whatever the issue is – so let Him have it.  Peter goes on to warn us that we should be “sober-minded; be watchful”.  So many of us live our Christ Follower lives on autopilot and pay no attention to what is happening around us.  Bad answer.  Why is it important to pay attention?  “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”.  We have a very real enemy and his goal for our lives is destruction.  That is not the outcome God desires. 

SO what do we need to do?  “Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world”.  We can defeat the enemy prowling around us.  But it requires that we recognize him, resist him and have a faith that we can stand on.  We have to be living and walking actively as Christ Followers – plugged into God’s Word and standing on our faith.  We can win in the battle with evil.  But we have to be in the game.  It does not mean that life will be a bed of roses.  Suffering is real and happens.  And it is likely part of our growing up in the faith but look at the promise that comes with it: “after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you”.  God won’t abandon us at all – He will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us.  He has a plan.  A little suffering will likely occur to help clean up some areas in our life that need attention but only for a period before we are restored to God and His blessing.  Be encouraged.  God has a plan.  He loves us.  He is in control!

1 Peter 4

 1 Peter 4 begins reminding us that we will suffer and it is all about our attitude when that happens.  “Arm yourself with the same way of thinking” as Jesus had.  We will have difficult days – we will struggle and suffer – but that does not define us.  What does is how we respond when those challenges come our way.  We should not respond by whining and saying that life is not fair.  We should face trial just like Jesus – head on and fully prepared.  Peter tells us “do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you”.  But he goes on to say “rejoice”.  Now that is a different attitude for sure.  So often we want to have a pity party when things don’t go our way.  We want to go into hiding and feel like life is against us.  There will be trials and temptations – and our response needs to mirror that of Jesus – not loving the fact that suffering is happening – but realizing there is a purpose for it and rejoicing in the cleansing it can do in our life if we deal with it God’s way.  “If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God”.  Do you see a recurring theme here?  Rejoice….glorify God…..same way of thinking.  The key to dealing with suffering is how we respond to it.  It is not whether or not we will face it – we will.  But how will we respond when it comes our way?

Peter reminds us that “the time is past” for “living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry”.  Those things are part of the old nature and must be put away. The key is that when we walk from the ways of the world others will be “surprised when you do not join them”.  Our life should separate us from the status quo.  Too often I hear Christ Followers say they just want to fit in – they don’t want to stand out and be different from those around them.  So they participate in activities that are not pleasing to God.  They continue living their lives like they did before Jesus.  That cheapens our salvation my friends.  Jesus went to the cross to change our lives for eternity – not to give us a pass to keep on sinning.  Peter reminds us that we have to put the old way behind us.  I often get questioned about why I don’t join in around things that most people do – and my answer is that I don’t think that is what God wants me to spend my time on.  It isn’t an attitude of superiority when we don’t join in – it is standing apart because God has called us to be different.

It isn’t because we don’t want to be “judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does”.  We need to live the way God does.  That is our charge.  So what does that look like?  Peter tells us it is “self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling”.  The goal of how we live should not be fitting in – but loving others as God loved us.  It is about relationship built upon God’s love.  And part of the way we do that is how we serve.  Peter says it this way: “as each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace”.  God has equipped us to make a difference.  He has gifted each of us with gifts – not for our own benefit – but to serve others.  It is about using what God has entrusted to us to make a difference in the lives of those in our patch.  How are you doing with that?  Are you serving others?  Are you living God’s way in your patch?

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