1 Peter 1:3–7ESV
- God Omniscient
- The Solid Rock
- My Hope Is In The Lord
- O Lord My Rock And My Redeemer
- 1 Peter: A Living Hope for Holy Living in a Hostile WorldINTROShifting gears: We are taking a break from our study of Samuel in the Old Testament, having completed 1 Samuel, and now beginning a series in 1 Peter (which will undoubtedly run through the summer and into the fall). It’s definitely a change in pace. We were moving pretty quickly through narrative in our study of God’s work amongst his chosen people Israel and in the lives of men and women like Hannah, Eli, Samuel, Saul, Jonathan, and David; now we’ll be taking a New Testament letter with a doctrinal and practical focus which will require a deliberate pace to look more closely at phrases and often-times even words.Themes: suffering, salvation, (living) hope, hostile culture, holy living - Cling to the certainty of salvation, especially through suffering. ?Recommended “homework” for additional depth as we journey through this letter:1. Read all of 1 Peter once per week. When you’ve gone through it a few times, try to summarize it yourself in your own words.2. Recommended resource online: www.desiringgod.org/scripture/1-peter/1/labs3. Discuss with others what you are learning. (What is gripping you? What are you grappling with? What steps can be taken… to answer questions, to deal with sin, to pursue God and his will more faithfully?)Chosen Sojourners - 1 Peter 1:1-2 (Part 1)Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.The author introduces himself as Peter.Peter - That one fisherman whom Jesus shaped into the leader of his Apostles and the early ChurchPeter knew something about being chosen and changed.You remember Peter, right?It was Peter who left the boat to walk on the water to Jesus (Matthew 14:28-29)—and promptly took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink (verse 30). It was Peter who took Jesus aside to rebuke Him for speaking of His death (Matthew 16:22)—and was swiftly corrected by the Lord (verse 23). It was Peter who suggested erecting three tabernacles to honor Moses, Elijah, and Jesus (Matthew 17:4)—and fell to the ground in fearful silence at God’s glory (verses 5-6). It was Peter who drew his sword and attacked the servant of the high priest (John 18:10)—and was immediately told to sheath his weapon (verse 11). It was Peter who boasted that he would never forsake the Lord, even if everyone else did (Matthew 26:33)—and later denied three times that he even knew the Lord (verses 70-74). [from GotQuestions.org by S. Michael Houdmann]But it was also this same fisherman who left behind his profitable fishing business (the means of provision for his family) to follow Jesus, whom Jesus called and gave a new name, Cephas (in Aramaic) and Peter (in Greek), meaning “stone” or “rock.” Around this same time, it was Peter who, after catching no fish at all, obeyed Jesus when he was told to cast the net on the other side of the boat and ended up with an overflowing catch of fish. It was this same Peter, probably by shear force of personality and natural initiative-taking, who became the spokesman among the disciples. Of the twelve, Peter was among the three with James and John who formed a small ‘inner circle’ closest to Jesus. As a part of this small group they witnessed Jesus raising Jairus’s daughter from the dead (Mk 5:37) and later Jesus’ transfiguration (Mt. 17). It was Peter who actually had faith to get out of a boat on walk on water to Jesus… and who had the sense to cry to Jesus for help when he became too focused on this environment. Significantly, it was Peter who confessed Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” which Jesus says he only knew because of revelation from the Heavenly Father (16:16-17). It was Peter who was near enough at the beginning of Jesus’ trial to be recognized… thus spurring his denials. It was also Peter who, after the resurrection, received forgiveness from Jesus and was recommissioned to now demonstrate his love for Jesus by tending His flock (Do you love me? Feed my sheep - Jn 21:15-17). In this same context Jesus informed him that he too would glorify God by suffering death for the sake of Christ. (and important theme in Peter’s letter to these believers: suffering)We can observe, through the brief glimpses into Peter’s interaction with Jesus, that Peter often had misdirected passion. He wanted to protect Jesus at any cost, and he wanted to honor Jesus and Elijah and Moses at the transfiguration, and he wanted it to be true that he would be loyal no matter what. But in his own weakness, he could not accomplish them, no matter how much he thought he wanted it. Peter, as we all do, needed to lean less on his own sufficiency, his own ability, his own determination, and to depend on God, to submit to God’s will through Christ’s sufficiency, trusting in God’s ability to accomplish his will. Peter needed to grow in dependence on and submission to God.What other things did the Lord use to continue transformation in Peter? What else made the lessons from Jesus sink in?The resurrection for sure! - Peter was an eyewitness to the resurrected Christ. - BTW, this should be noted as a point of interest for the recipients of this letter. They, and we, are reading a letter from someone who was WITH JESUS! (see 1 Peter 5:1)Pentecost - the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell believers (as Jesus promised) (See Acts 1-12)He himself received the Holy Spirit in power and was the primary speaker that day to the crowd in Jerusalem (Acts 2:14ff) - and performed notable miracles in the earliest days of the church (Acts 3-9)Peter was present when the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8)And Peter was submissive to God’s direction to take the gospel to Cornelius, a gentile, and also witnessed these same gentile believers receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 10)With Paul, Peter defended what God was doing among the Gentiles before the Jerusalem council. Of course, in yet another growing experience, Paul tells us in Galatians that he confronted Peter for giving in to the pressure of Judaizers and sitting with them separately from the Gentile believers. Believers are one in Christ!Once we come to Peter’s letters, we can see how many of these truths have taken deep root in his life. - BTW, this first letter was probably written before the great fire in Rome in July 64 AD that Nero blamed on Christians, launching a more severe and official persecution, and before the execution of the Apostle Paul (64-67 - Peter himself was also martyred during this timeframe). [Some believe this letter may have been written shortly after the great fire.]So too Peter calls himself an Apostle of Jesus Christ, not simply meaning that he is a messenger, but using apostle in its more technical sense to mean one of the twelve selected by Jesus from among his disciples. Peter mentions it here not to elevate himself but to establish clarity for who he is and particularly authority for such communication. - This writing then is a binding apostolic word for the church and should be received as the word of God. (Note the difference between that emphasis and the concept of merely good advice from someone who is perhaps an authority on a subject. No, this word comes with the backing of the very authority of God. We might (and SHOULD) read and weigh it accordingly.)Finally, here are some Application thoughts from GotQuestions.org by S. Michael Houdmann (on Peter’s life):Jesus overcomes fear. - Whether stepping out of a boat onto a tossing sea or stepping across the threshold of a Gentile home for the first time, Peter found courage in following Christ. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).Jesus forgives unfaithfulness. - After he had boasted of his fidelity, Peter fervently denied the Lord three times. It seemed that Peter had burned his bridges, but Jesus lovingly rebuilt them and restored Peter to service. Peter was a former failure, but, with Jesus, failure is not the end. “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).Jesus patiently teaches. - Over and over, Peter needed correction, and the Lord gave it with patience, firmness, and love. The Master Teacher looks for students willing to learn. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go” (Psalm 32:8).Jesus sees us as He intends us to be. - The very first time they met, Jesus called Simon “Peter.” The rough and reckless fisherman was, in Jesus’ eyes, a firm and faithful rock. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6).Jesus uses unlikely heroes. - Peter was a fisherman from Galilee, but Jesus called him to be a fisher of men (Luke 5:10). Because Peter was willing to leave all he had to follow Jesus, God used him in great ways. As Peter preached, people were amazed at his boldness because he was “unschooled” and “ordinary.” But then they took note that Peter “had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Being with Jesus makes all the difference.To whom does Peter write?Chosen Sojourners - Those individuals whom God chooses, setting them apart to himself, who then live as only temporary residents of this worldChosen / Elect: (eklektois)
The word in the New Testament (twenty-two times) always refers to persons chosen by God from a group of others who are not chosen, and chosen for inclusion among God’s people, as recipients of great privilege and blessing (Matt. 20:16; 24:31; Rom. 8:33; etc.).[chooses] out of the world, bringing out from the dead, out of sin and darkness[set apart to himself], to be united with his Church and to serve his mission until he returns… at which point they will receive the promised inheritanceExiles:The Greek word for exile here “always refers to a temporary resident in a foreign place.” - Wayne A. Grudem, 1 Peter: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 17, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 52. - Some of our translations have exiles or strangers, but both words have connotations in English that are not really meant here. “Pilgrim” could be used as well, although that connotes a long journey toward a holy land, an idea appropriate for the Christian life but not a specific connotation of this word.Although not commonly used, our best English word is sojourners - meaning in this context temporary residents of this world away from their heavenly homeland.Paul takes a similar emphasis in Philippians:But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,In the context of 1 Peter, the idea is that “Believers are exiles because they suffer for their faith in a world that finds their faith off-putting and strange.... God’s election is what accounts for their being exiles.” (Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 50-51.) - When you suffer in a culture that is hostile to christianity, remember whose you are and where you are heading.Diaspora (“the dispersion”) is lacking the Greek definite article, as it is used in James 1:1 as a technical term for Jews scattered throughout the world, apart from their homeland in Israel. - Here, it almost certainly is used by Peter as a reference to believers in general who are estranged from their true homeland, heaven. - We can tell from the letter that Peter isn’t not speaking only, or even primarily to Jews:As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,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.For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;
The readers are therefore best thought to be mixed congregations of Jewish and Gentile Christians.Scattered or dispersed throughout said provinces [map] - 5 names listed for four provinces of the day…. Probable explanation [another map]?
The order in which the provinces are listed suggests the order in which a courier would deliver the letter as he traveled roughly in a circle.He writes an encyclical letter to believers spread throughout a large area, who will undoubtedly receive the letter in groups of believers who congregate together, meeting together to study and listen to the apostles’ teaching, praying together, caring for one another, doing life together as people set apart to God… local churches.Which Home Are You Living For?
Those who understand themselves as God’s elect have the ammunition to resist the norms and culture of the society they inhabit. Divine election reminds the readers that they have status, not because they are so worthy or noble but because God has bestowed his grace upon them.8 Hence, they have the energy to counter accepted cultural norms and to live in accord with God’s purpose.(The power of God to change our lives and the lives of others)The Lord’s Supper
- God Omniscient
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