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An overview of 1 Peter
An overview of 1 Peter

This morning we are going to take a look at 1 Peter together

-Written by the Apostle Peter
-Formerly a fishermen, brought to Jesus by his brother Andrew
-Leader the twelve, of the inner circle of Jesus' disciples
-walked on water to Jesus
-saw Jesus in his heavenly glory on the Mount of Olives
-On the night of Jesus' arrest, Peter denied knowing Jesus 3 times
-Restored by Christ
-On the day of Pentecost, by the power of the Holy Spirit, when Peter preached about Jesus, 3000 people became followers of Jesus
-Was the leader of the Jerusalem church
-probably wrote this book around A.D 64-65- just after Nero burned Rome down and then blamed the Christians for it-- resulting in a outbreak of great violence against Christians
-In the end he was crucified upside down by Nero
READ 1 Peter 1

AN OVERVIEW OF 1 PETER

1. 1 Peter presents us with a compelling and powerful portrait of Christ

-He is the "Lord Jesus Christ"
-A great emphasis is placed on Jesus' resurrection from the dead in 1 Peter 1:3, 21; 3:21
-He is at God's right hand in a position of authority 3:22
-He is presented as a suffering and yet gentle Savior- who is to be emulated -- particularly when we are treated unjustly
-He is presented as the exalted Lord, a compassionate Savior, all sufficient
-He is going to be "revealed" in glory 1:5,7,13, 20-- He will come in power and glory and deliver, lift up, and reward those who love him
-He is the Living Stone 2:4. He is precious, the cornerstone, the only Savior
-He is a stumbling block to this who disobey the message of Christ and the Scriptures 2:8
-He is the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls 2:25
-He is one upon whom we are to cast all of our cares (1 Peter 5:7). He is attentive to the prayers of the righteous 1 Peter 3:12 (reminds me of how James 5 ends)

Note this from 1 Peter 1:10-12 We live in a very privileged time, for the prophets longed for the time and redemptive work of Christ. READ 1 Peter 1:10-12

2. 1 Peter presents us with a moving/motivating picture of the work of Christ for us

Note what 1 Peter 1:18-19 says; "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake."

We would do well to note from these verses the great cost of our salvation and how everything else is inadequate in attaining it. There is no other way to be saved.

Note what 1 Peter 2:23-24 says of Jesus; "When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed."

1 Peter 3:18 says of Christ; "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,"

Jesus continues to watch over us as the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls 1 Peter 2:25


3. 1 Peter says some incredible things about who we are in Christ

Do you know who you are? Some people don't. If you have any questions about who you are in Christ and value, read 1 Peter.

a. We are strangers and aliens in this world.

Note how Peter begins his letter "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world...."

1 Peter 1:17 says; "Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear."

I Peter 2:11 says; "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul."

We must not forget that this world is not our home. Our citizenship is in Heaven.

a. We are a chosen people! A royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God. Read 1 Peter 2:9-10

c. Further: We are also called "living stones"

I Peter 2:4-5 As you come to him, the living Stone- rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him- you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."


4. 1 Peter has a lot to say as it regards how to live as the followers of Jesus.

It is with the person and work of Christ and our identity in Christ in mind that Peter exhorts us to serve and obey Christ with devotion and passion

Peter gives 30 plus instructions to us in 1 Peter as it regards how to live as the followers of Christ. To seek to obey out of a legalistic fashion would be wrong. To seek to obey them with the person, sacrifice, and work of Christ in mind-- This is the motivation that 1 Peter supplies. God wants us to love and obey Him from our hearts.

a. We are to strive after Holiness

1 Peter 1:13-15 says; "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

The call to holiness touches every facet of lives: our attitudes, our speech, what we read, what we do with our bodies, how we respond to hardship and trials, how we conduct ourselves in relation to our leaders, how- if we are married- we relate to our spouse (1 Peter 3). Always are goal must be to emulate Christ.

One might argue that all the instructions in 1 Peter relate to holy living.

We need to take very seriously the call to be holy. Holy living is a daily thing. Every day we there are decisions of holiness to make- wherein in our hearts we say; "As a follower of Jesus I am going to do...."

If you want to know how to live a holy life, read your Bible regularly, pray, keep your eyes on Jesus.

b. We are to leave the world and our old ways behind

1 Peter 1:14 "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance".

1 Peter 4:1-5, which says; "Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do-living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead."

We are not to live as the people of this world do. Take care as to what you watch, read, recommend, say, think, and do. Are lives, thoughts, and conduct is to be markedly different from those who are not the followers of Christ.


c. We are to love one another

In every chapter of 1 Peter, we are exhorted to love one another.

1 Peter 1:22 says; "...so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.".

I Peter 2:17 says; "Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers,..."

1 Peter 3:8 says; "...live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble."

1Peter 4:8 says; "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."

1 Peter 5:14 says; "Greet one another with a kiss of love."


Application: Pray for patience. Pray for the love of Christ to flow through you. Forgive those who trespass against you.


d. We are to Endure hardship and suffering--looking to Jesus who has set for us an example of how to respond to harsh people, persecution, and trials

As every chapter 1 Peter bids us to love each other, every chapter of 1 Peter addresses the subject of unjust suffering/suffering for righteousness sake/suffering for being a follower of Christ.

As was indicated, the context of 1 Peter was the Neronian persecution. Many Christians died in all sorts of nasty ways. Additionally Christians were mocked, maltreated, taken advantage of, economically oppressed, etc.

Consider then what Peter says

In I Peter 1:6-7, Peter, after reminding us of the eternal inheritance that awaits us, says; "though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire -may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

In 1 Peter 2:19-23 Peter writes; "For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

In 1 Peter 3:13-14 Peter writes; "Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened."

In 1 Peter 4:12-19 Peter writes; "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" 19 So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good."

In 1 Peter 5:8-9 Peter writes; "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings."

Application

When we have or feel we have been treated unjustly we often struggle with anger, bitterness, and resentment.

When wronged, often our desire is to strike back.

1 Peter portrays Jesus facing injustice and yet responding in forgiveness, quietness, sacrifice, gentleness, and love.

We are to follow Christ. We are to pray for those who persecute us. We are to turn the other cheek. We are not to retaliate. We are to continue to do good-- even to those who have wronged us.

We are to take heart in the fact that Christ blesses those who suffer for what is right.

When we face difficult times, we must hold on to Christ and our faith.


Let us pray.