Who wrote this letter?

It is generally accepted that it was Peter, the chief of the 12 disciples of Jesus wrote this letter, although some have posited other authors.  Those of you that have followed the bible study from our beginnings in Galatians in  early 2018 (February if memory serves) will recall that it is our position that so-called “scholars” that attempt to deny things like the authorship of books to whom the early church ascribed them are either willingly or unknowingly part of the attempt to assault the sufficiency and inerrancy of Scripture.

One may well ask what this means, but it is in reality very clear.  The Scriptures, as compiled by the Council of Nicea to give us a set of commonly accepted and divinely inspired set of standards for the church, in their original form were not only divinely inspired, but through the means and direct influence of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, were without error, and enough for the church to make her way through history and any situation.  Modern translations still bear this in mind when they opt for a word-for-word model of translation.  The idea of thought-for-thought equivalence can in fact seek to interpret the words for people, all in an attempt to make things easier to understand, and in every case, they have missed the mark from the NIV to the NLT, both translations after the tradition known as dynamic equivalence.  Having said that, we will studiously AVOID telling you what translation you should use.  I personally use the NASB 1995, and I absolutely love the King James translation, and the New king James, and the English Standard Version.  However, you should know I have 28 different translations in English in hard copy, and I have more electronically.  These include the NIV and NLT, and I use them ALL.  My most common thing these days is to use an interlinear that has the 1894 Scrivner’s Greek text and the NASB 1995 together on the same page.  I use a couple of different lexicons and a couple of commentaries to inform my understanding at times, but I find it best to let the Scriptures speak for themselves.  This is an entirely reformed understanding of the Scriptures known as sola Scriptura, that is, “the Scriptures Alone.”

Scripture tells us that a man named Peter wrote this letter.  We will take the Scriptures (and 1700+ years of church history minus the so-called “higher critics”) at their word, and simply say that Peter wrote the letter.

Who was (is?) Peter?

We first meet the man in Matthew 4:18 as Jesus strolls along the seashore, I suspect with purpose, because he has just spent all night in prayer, from the context, to speak with the Father about which men to pick as His disciples.  I’m guessing there was a great deal of discussion over Judas Iscariot, but that’s speculation on my part.  Jesus knew who He was though, and he isn’t the subject here.  I wonder how much discussion regarding Peter went on.  I don’t think it was argument, I think it was details of how and what to do with respect to each man, and then of course that intimate fellowship between Father and Son that only they and the Holy Spirit know. 

Peter himself was a commercial fisherman, and was in business with his brother Andrew, and possibly with the sons of Zebedee, James and John, who also both became apostles along with Andrew.  As a fellow that has read the Scriptures now for a while, the read I get of Peter is that he is a lot like me.  He’s a really emotional guy, doesn’t always think about what he says or does, and lets his emotionalism dictate his actions, lets his mouth run, and beloved, I am JUST like that.  If you don’t see that in me, that is only the grace of God doing its work through the holy Spirit as I follow Christ.  If you do see it, you can understand why I can relate to what Peter says in his letters.

Peter is known for a number of things.  Just quickly off the top of my head, He is the one who first vocalized that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God (Mt. 16:16, Mk. 8:29, Jn. 6:69).  This was in fact a realization that Peter had, an actual epiphany, not the season of the year that we call Epiphany.  He is the disciple that actually walked on the water at the bidding of Jesus.  He didn’t get far, but God saved him from the sea when he called out as he began to sink.  He was there on the Mount of Transfiguration, and is the guy that thought to at least try to do something with the inspiration that the vision of a glorified Jesus gave him.  Sure, he put his foot in his mouth, but hey, A+ for effort!  He is also the disciple that denied the Lord three times during his illegal religious trials at the hands of Anias and Caiaphas.  I find it interesting that for every time that he denied Christ, Christ restored him too in John 21.  And his story didn’t stop there.

Literally 50 days after the Lord rose from the dead, on a Jewish feast called “Pentecost,” the feast of first fruits, He preached the first Gospel sermon of the church age, within 5 minutes of being filled with the Holy Spirit come to live in his heart by faith.  At that sermon, about 3000 people became believers in Jesus, and there were added daily many after that as the newborn church began to run the course laid down by Jesus.

He was the first to be persecuted for preaching the name of Christ with John.  He was the first to preach the gospel to the Samaritans (Acts 8) and the Gentiles (Acts 10).  Ultimately, he found his way to Rome, where tradition tells us that he was ultimately martyred by inverted crucifixion, where it took him something like 3 days to die, all because he felt he was not worthy to be crucified the way our Lord was.  Just as a note of commentary, Satanists claim the inverted cross as one of their unholy symbols, but I don’t think that is valid because of how Peter chose this means to be crucified.  Beloved, Peter was a man like us, and God changed Him, causing him to be born again or ‘justified” and sanctified to a new and living hope, and that is what this letter is largely about.

He began his leadership of the believers by initiating the replacement of Judas Iscariot, and after the arrival of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, he became the foremost preacher of the Gospel.  He performed notable miracles as an Apostle of Christ, including the raising of Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:36-43) at Joppa.

These events (and others) are worth mentioning, especially in the face of unbelievers saying that Jesus never existed, Peter never existed, these are all collected, carefully engineered stories, made to promote the lie of Christ’s resurrection.  I find that argument itself specious, because if these men didn’t exist in the way Scripture records them and preserves their historical footprint, then how could they even promote a lie about a Jewish Rabbi (that didn’t exist) and his disciples (that didn’t exist) to promote a lie that has impacted the entire world since the days when they are supposed to have not existed?  And they call ME a conspiracy theorist!  Sadly, I don’t think they’ve taught logic, and how to actually think through evidence at institutions of higher learning anymore, or at least will not apply it equally to all source material like the Scriptures, for example.  I wonder why that is?  Actually I don’t, and neither do any of you.

This actually introduces a problem for folks, because in those days there was no shortage of fictional material that was falsely attributed to Peter (and the other apostles).  Without logic and the ability to think through what things say and mean, how can we know anything?  Think about this.  We must be able to compare it to other historical sources.  The book of Acts by Luke, who knew Peter and hung around with Paul wrote his book as a kind of a history, and this letter under study now very closely parallels Peter in the book of Acts.  More than this, the author of this letter makes the claim that he was a witness to the sufferings of the Christ.  On top of that, early Christians UNIVERSALLY accepted this as Peter’s work and words.

The only real significant argument raised by the so-called higher critics is that Peter, being an uneducated man, could not have been familiar with Greek enough to write this letter.  To such individuals, I must state for the record that “uneducated” does not mean “illiterate.”  It means that he was without formal education, something I understand very clearly.  As regards computer science, I must tell you that I have NEVER taken a computer science class beside the course I took in high school.  Yet, I have the work-equivalent experience of a Computer Technologist and Web Developer.  I am what is referred to as “self-taught.”  That’s not to toot my own horn, I’m just using me as an example.  Yet, If I were to apply to a tech firm where I could perform at least as well as any other technologist, the very first question I would have to answer is “Where did you go to school?”  I guess I would tell them the school of hard knocks, right?  They would never accept that as an answer because I didn’t have the right ticket punched.  And yet, I maintain an active network in my home office that serves not only me, but the Canadian Government (my wife is a federal employee that works from home), and two young adults and a teenager.  It is state of the art Wi-Fi, has a secured subnet that passes Canadian Government security standards (though to be fair, they also use VPN tunneling), and even allows us to watch video on our television.  I bet the other folks had to become Microsoft certified to do their jobs.  I’m not only an MCSE that hasn’t written the exams, but I have administrated at least two internet Linux web servers based on Apache architecture, including an IMAP mail server.  I had a business for a couple of years with a buddy from Montreal that we did work for people through.  Our company motto?  “We can do that…”  I could go on for a while, but I believe I have made my point.  Although I have had no formal education in computer science, I can do it better than most tech nerds.  Though Peter was uneducated, it did not mean he was unintelligent or illiterate.  Plus as a commercial fisherman, I bet he dealt with Greeks on a semiregular basis and had more understanding of Greek than these “scholars” (please note the use of quotes indicating that I am using the word in a way it is not normally used for ironic emphasis) ever did or perhaps ever will.  Aramaic might have been Peter’s primary language, but Greek was a widely spoken tongue in the area at the time of these events in history.  Some “scholarly” criticism that is.  Today, I think we call that fake news.  I’ll stop there.

Peter also wrote this letter “through Silvanus” (Silas), and that means he was the messenger that was sent to take this letter to its intended audience.  It also means that Silas served as Peter’s amanuensis, basically the guy that took the dictation of the letter.  We know Paul did this (Tertius served on at least the letter to the Romans), and it was in fact a common practice in the Roman world.  In fact, Paul had to make it a point to write a line in his own hand in the letter so people would know it was actually from him as a defense against what happened in Thessalonica. Where there was a false letter from a false source that claimed to be Paul, the entire reason for the second letter to the Thessalonians, as you will recall from our study of that letter.

The date most scholars give for this letter is around July of AD 64, right around the time of the burning of Rome.  Most Romans seemed to believe at the time that Nero, the great builder, ordered the burning of Rome’s poorest districts, and as you can imagine, it killed a lot of people, and Nero, who was no fool, realized he needed to redirect that hostility elsewhere.  He chose as his target, this upstart new group that had a God apart from all the gods of Rome, Christians. It certainly didn’t help that Christians were associated with the Jews, who were already hated by the Romans.  This resulted in something else we see today – guilt by association, and it instantly galvanized the Romans against these Christians.  As a direct result, persecution of Christians, for what people believed were legitimate reasons in an attempt to gain vengeance for lost countrymen, was instantaneous, and it was zealous.  It spread like wildfire through the empire, quickly reaching Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, where the people that were the target audience for this was.

This is my own supposition, but I think that this letter makes more sense when we view it as written in response to these events, and maybe even specifically the re-arrest of Paul, but like I said, that’s all conjecture on my part.  Peter writes in a kind of code sending his greetings at the end of the letter (5:13) in referring to Babylon, who is “chosen with you,” suggesting that he is in a place that at lease HE is calling Babylon.  It isn’t likely that it is Babylon in modern Iraq at that time, the city was in ruins, and no one lived there.  It also isn’t likely that it was the other “Babylon,” a Roman outpost in Egypt where it was more like a very small garrison and obscure even by the standards of that day.  Most sources I could consult think that this is Peter hiding the location he is writing from in case it was discovered.  We think he was actually in or near Rome at that time.  It was the custom of the writers of the New Testament to disguise things like location to avoid discovery because of intense persecution, and that fits Peter’s use here.

Theological themes seen in the book are a result of the breakdown I made.  I am aware of things that have been said by Dr. John MacArthur, or Matthew Poole, or Matthew Henry, like that, but as you will recall, I an advocate of doing at least some of the work for yourself, because that’s when it really sinks in and takes hold.  With that in mind, I broke the book down into the following divisions:

KT 2:2:  We are called to follow Christ Himself

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…

1:1-12 – Born again to a living hope

1:13-25 – Be holy as He is Holy

2:1-12 – You are living stones – be built up!

2:13-25 – Follow Christ’s example

3:1-22 – A Ready Defense is not optional

4:1-19 – Don’t be surprised this has a cost

5:1-14 – Willingly Serve the Lord how He called you

KT 2:2:  We are called to follow Christ Himself

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…

With all of the world falling apart around him because of the fake news of the day, that his peer group, Believers in the Christ and followers of Jesus, being blamed for everything, Peter’s message was very plain and very simple–persevere.  A modern military phrase captures this meaning for me, and it is a senior officer’s instructions to his troops:  “Hold the line.” 

Beloved, it is absolutely critical that we hear Peter’s burden here in a day when our world also seems to be dominated by fake news and everything is being blamed on God’s servants by those who claim to be Christians and are not, that we are to follow Christ and His example in everything.  He became the archetype of humble, and so must we.  He suffered the ignominy of false accusations from false followers and brothers.  So must we.  He suffered for wrongs He did not Himself commit!  As hard as it is to say this or even think it, SO MUST WE.  I’m not saying go down without speaking the truth, but if go down we must, then let’s go down for what we are…Believers in the Christ and followers of Jesus.

1:1-12 – Born again to a living hope

There is a song I like to listen to by the group Acapella called “Angels long to look into these things.”  It is based on this passage of scripture, and very uplifting.  Remembering that Peter lived in a world where being revealed as a Christian meant intense persecution and even death by whatever the meanest tyrant could conceive for you, including being turned into a human torch for Nero’s garden, used for target practice by Roman spearmen or archers, fed to the wild animals in front of cheering pagans, even being crucified, or any other torture that could be devised, Peter’s message begins with (care to guess?) the gospel!  Writing from the perspective of a believer in the Christ, Jesus, He outlines the kind of joy that we should have on a continual basis, regardless of our circumstances.

Peter covers our new birth, our inheritance, it’s reality, it’s permanency, and its need for genuineness.  He says some very blessed things, and we will say more about that when we study this text, which, Lord willing, should be next week.

1:13-25 – Be holy as He is Holy

I broke this text into two parts, and it is the only place I did so in the book.  That is because there is so much in both sections, I fear we will blow our time by a couple hours, and it isn’t something I want to do.  I’m learning to keep my time under control, so bear with me.  Some of YOU have actually reasoned with me that this is a good idea anyway, because you really hate leaving change on the table so to speak, so that’s what we will employ here.

With everything that Peter talks about in the first half of the chapter, the second half of the chapter moves directly into application, and so will we.  For those of you that are regulars to our Bible study and Book group, you will notice that we’ve had a great deal of discussion on this.  We will speak a bit about what it means to be holy in behaviour, which is God’s instruction to us through, as we saw in the Key Text I picked out for the whole book:

2:2:  We are called to follow Christ Himself

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…

Being Holy as God is Holy is literally equated by Peter in this letter to following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.  In this section, we will begin our consideration in 1 Peter as to what exactly that means.

2:1-12 – You are living stones – be built up!

Here we will consider Peter’s ecclesiology.  As those of you that have been here before, you will know it is not the idea of the Roman Catholic church that Peter puts forward.  Knowing their doctrine as some of us here do, we can say without any equivocation that Roman Catholicism is in fact antithetical to following Jesus Christ.  There is no reason hide my meanings here:  at least three confessions of faith I am aware of (the WCF, the LBC, and the Heidelberg Confession) actually take apart that notion and name the pope at least a type of Antichrist.  In fact the Council of Trent (1545-1563) under Pope Paul III convened in Trent, Italy, in three parts over a long time span, is the Council that ruled against Martin Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith alone and the authority of the Scriptures alone in 1547 (I think, I couldn’t find the dates of the decisions).  With a clear reading of this text, we can see that it is not Peter’s theology, and it does not cause their doctrine of salvation through good works and the sacraments to even enter into one’s mind unless they wish to deliberately confuse themselves about Peter talking about the process of Sanctification, that is of being made holy, that takes place in believers ONLY.

Instead, as a shepherd caring for the sheep as he was charged by Christ in John 21 (three times you will remember), he talks about going through the trials and not running away or avoiding them in other ways.

2:13-25 – Follow Christ’s example

In this chapter, we see Peter’s main encouragement to all of the believers in his target audience, and by extension, US!  In fact, instead of just saying “be encouraged, follow Jesus, God loves you,” he gives us a definitive how-to for the purposes of walking in the Sanctification that God is giving all of His chosen ones.

These are what I would refer to as issues of discipleship of the believer.  These are not things one does in order to be saved, these are things one does BECAUSE one is saved.  When we do this in the company of other believers, it is called a church activity, which according to Peter, is not limited to potlucks and singalongs…although I enjoy those social activities as well.  The importance of walking as a disciple cannot be overstated for believers, and as I have already stated, that is Peter’s main reason for writing the letter.

The consequences of weak or worldly disciples is easy to see in all of Christendom today.  The failure of those who name the name of Christ to learn the basic teachings of the Apostles about Christ and the resulting teachings of the need to be a holy testimony and example is clear in the apostate churches that dot the map around the world.  Christ’s Great Commission to His Church is found in the last few verses of Matthew’s gospel.  They read:

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (28:18-20)

Please note that Peter is giving the exact same message as Paul and James did–Walk with the Master, our Lord Jesus, and this is how you do it.  James told us that faith without the resulting works is dead.  Paul said we must walk in a worthy manner.  This is Peter’s version of the same thing, and we will look at it in detail.

3:1-22 – A Ready Defense is not optional

Now when you walk differently than the rest of the world around you, people WILL notice.  This will inspire comments and questions from them.  You will have to be able to explain yourself!  It’s called sharing the gospel when you do!  And Beloved, this is not an option.  Peter says in v.15 of this text, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”  The context of the immediate passage is that of suffering for the sake of doing right, and dealing with the pressure from the world to conform to it, and the intimidation tactics that are, and I will say, deliberately employed to make you give in.  Don’t give in.  Ever.

Instead, learn the word, the teachings of Christ’s Apostles, and live your lives publicly.  This is what Daniel practiced, and it landed him in the lion’s den.  He was miraculously delivered by an angel, according to what is recorded in his own prophetic book.  Many examples could be given, some by myself, of miraculous deliverance.  I won’t do that here, because it is NOT the miraculous deliverance that is the point, it is the commitment of faith you make to live as you say you believe.

One cannot expect immediate and ultimate deliverance from any trial.  A great example of what I mean is also from the book of Daniel.  Daniel had three friends, and I will use their Hebrew names:  Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael.  I’ll explain who they are by using the names that Babylon gave them:  Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego.  It seems that during their day, Nebuchadnezzar made a statue of himself and commanded that everyone bow down at a given signal and worship the idol.  These three men did not.  Of course, you can see how this would get the king’s attention, and perhaps garner his displeasure.  Yes, that was an understatement.  I should mention that they were first turned in by their neighbours.  Nebby told them to get with the program, of course.  And they did not–in fact, they WOULD not.  Here was their reasoning:

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Dan. 3:16-18)

After the king had threatened to burn them in a furnace, that was what they said to him.  That’s a ready defense, friends.  The king was so angry, he had the furnace heated to seven times its normal hotness and it was so hot that the strongest warriors were ordered to throw them into the furnace.  Those men lost their lives in the action of doing so.  And yes, those men were also miraculously delivered, but this text shows that they did not expect it.  And neither can we.  Those martyred under Jewish or Roman persecution certainly didn’t.  My friend Steve in Florida didn’t when a bunch of homosexuals that he had shared the gospel with beat him patiently and tolerantly beat him so badly they put him in the hospital for a week or so.  My friend Angela didn’t as her killer put the knife into her…13 times.  Paul didn’t.  He lost his head, literally.  Not even Peter escaped.  When they told him that they he was going to be crucified, he requested that they do it upside down because he did not consider himself worthy to die in the same manner as his Lord did.  And he is the very man that tells us that we must be ready to give an account for the reason for the joy within us.  What is that?  That Jesus Christ has reconciled us to God through the sacrifice of His own body on the cross to pay for all of our sins if we will believe in Him and His sacrifice and Resurrection, the proof that our sins were washed away in the cleansing flow of His own life’s blood.

I know people, in fact some of you may know them too, that tell me that the idea of blood washing things is too disgusting to speak about.  I disagree–because He did that for ME.  Personally.  Willingly and knowingly, even knowing what kind of a disgusting sinner I am.  I stand with the hymn writer:  “Amazing Love!  How can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldest die for me?”  It is a hint about the state of someone’s soul that they view conversations about that act being done for them personally as anything but beautiful, friends.  It isn’t a good state, and I pray for them, for the mercy of God on them to save them if it is His will.  So if you don’t want to give a defense, then don’t.  Just know it has consequences.  Moving on.

4:1-19 – Don’t be surprised this has a cost

This is the part of the letter that Peter outlines a lot of things that relate to his main point, and to tell us the MECHANISM of how we are being made holy.  It seems that we are being given opportunities to PRACTICE holiness by relying on Him and walking in the Spirit and not the flesh.

In fact, Peter tells us that the degree to which we undergo the “sufferings of Christ,” we should maintain a state of joy!  Just some highlights to point out:  “sufferings” is plural.  There will be more than one area or way in which we suffer.  In fact, if we are suffering because we are followers of Christ, “if anyone suffers and a Christian,” we are not to ashamed, but instead are to giving thanks to God and glorifying his name, regardless of the kind of suffering, I would presume. 

And with that in mind, why are we surprised that we suffer?  Even Jesus suffered.  Clearly, Jesus was not suffering because HE lacked faith.  He was also fully God.  How could He not believe in Himself?  Why did He suffer?  He carried the penalty of judgement for OUR sins IN HIS OWN BODY on the cross.  And in this chapter, Peter talks about how judgement on the world is going to begin with the house of God.  As a result, we will all suffer that judgement.  And if it will produce suffering in us that produces holiness as a result, can you imagine how bad it will be for those who, as Peter puts is, “will not obey the gospel of God?”

As we suffer, God is getting in us holiness as He burns away all of the things from us that  bring shame to us and cause Him great sadness and anger.  It is for our good!  And we should not be surprised at this if we are truly His followers.

5:1-14 – Willingly Serve the Lord how He called you

The Lord has called each of us in a certain, special, and I daresay UNIQUE way.  I am not Alex, or Geoff, or Dan, or anyone else for that matter, and neither are they me.  Each of us is called with a unique mix of gifts and a unique way to express those things.  I can only speak about my own gifting, so that’s where I will draw from for examples, but feel free to make your own applications.

Peter has a decided reason for giving this chapter as encouragement for the elders of the church, because it would be these men that would be under the heaviest assault spiritually, physically, or otherwise, and by men and the principalities that serve the evil one, however they decide the most effective attack would be on these ones chosen by God and set aside to do His work, especially under the persecution that was beginning at that time.  I can categorically tell you that nothing has changed in the nearly 2000 years since peter wrote this letter.  The world still has its demands and we should resist those demands uncompromisingly where we must.  The same goes for those principalities I mentioned.  To do this, however, one must have made up their mind ahead of time that you will walk with Christ no matter what happens.  We have our excuses and manipulations that we have made work for us to allow us to continue in our sin and fleshly desires, but remember, we WILL all stand before God to give an account for it all before a judge that is completely impartial no matter what one does to attempt to manipulate Him, and one who cannot be lied to, bribed or otherwise bought, or negotiated with.  There will be NO plea deals, unlike our human “justice” system currently has.

I titled this section as I did, because of it’s clear instruction to me as a shepherd and preacher.  Verse 2-4 is what I find particularly poignant:

…shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Although this verse is primarily written to the leaders in the house of God, leaders are but examples to the rest of the flock, and that means it is something everyone should aspire to willingly.  If you are not doing everything you can to follow Christ, well, you aren’t really following Christ, are you.  That isn’t a question.

What kind of general application can we glean in the context in the book itself?  You will recall that I titled this section “Willingly serve the Lord how He called you.”  Let me apply that verse to everyone this way:  [However God called you to serve Him,] serve the flock of God that way, not because you feel forced to do so, but voluntarily, and I will add a nuance that I think is reflected in the text, whether anyone asks you or not.  Some folks, and I know because I tend to be one, sit around and wait to be asked to serve.  Look, if God puts something on your heart, see it done, Beloved.  There’s nothing wrong seeking Godly counsel on that, either.  God has called everyone to serve in some way, even if it is to simply “watch the stuff,” as David’s exhausted men did when David pursued those who robbed and razed Ziklag.  We can go into that another time.  If God called you to watch the stuff, watch the stuff without being asked, and the best way you can.

Then it says, “not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;”  People, and some people around here, make the mistake of serving God for what they can get out of the act.  I would say that’s an occasional failing of all of us at a minimum.  Instead of trying to work for your own sorry desires, how about doing it with a ready mind (eagerness) to simply please the Lord that you are serving Him the way He called you to do so?  Or how about so you can be in charge?  That in itself is a motivation at times.  How about instead of being a mini-tyrant, try to lead from the front and be the one that leads the change?  Ever hear the phrase “Be the change?”  This is Peter’s proto-version of the same concept.  You want people to follow you?  Start following the Lord and being an example, and pretty soon they’ll start walking in the same direction, and be following the Lord also! 

There are other things Peter has to say here, but we will cover those when we study that text.

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Beloved, that’s a brief overview of 1 Peter, and an outline of the direction Peter took with it, and the circumstances under which it was written.  This is all important information, because I have noticed a tendency, even in myself, to treat the text of a given passage as isolated and in a kind of vacuum apart from other texts and applications.  This is not a good thing to do, because there is a REASON Peter wrote this letter, and we talked about how the Romans were beginning to heavily persecute the church about this time.  This letter is a command from our heavenly Captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, through Peter to say to us, “No matter what you are going through, stay the course.  If you finish the race, you will finish it well, and meet Christ in joy at the end of it. 

On a more personal note, I confess that despite my acumen for teaching the scriptures, that last concept is new to me in the sense that I have lived my entire life not thinking about HOW to walk with Him, although I have certainly done that over time.  If I had to make an application for the entire book, it would be this:  God has called us all for a reason, and though He has not necessarily told us all of the details of what He wants us to be doing (although He has given us the basics, and a lot of it, all doable through the Holy Spirit, and Christ living in our hearts by faith), We are headed to a meeting with Him finally.  At that time, we will be judged, and rewarded as believers, and then given our ultimate job in which we will serve Him for an eternity.  That kind of thinking puts a different spin on human mortality.  I still don’t want to die, but if I do, if I am willingly following Him to the best of my ability and beyond through Christ alone, I will arrive at the end of that journey filled with joy and ready to meet the Master.

That’s what I saw about the book as an overview, and next time we meet, Lord willing, next Thursday evening, we will look at the first section of text we outlined here, 1 Peter 1:1-12.  It is such a classic passage, I confess I can hardly wait to study it in depth with you.

Text: 1A | 1B | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Video: 1A | 1B | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

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