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    • December 15, 2016 10:58 PM EST
    • Amen Faithy !!

    • December 15, 2016 10:16 PM EST
    • 1 PETER 5

       

      OPENS WITH...FOR SHEPHERDS AND SHEEP

       

       

      Verse 1 tells us A call to elders to be FAITHFUL shepherds.

       

      The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:”

       

       

      The elders who are among you I exhort…

       

      Peter will give a word of exhortation to the elders who are among the Christians reading this letter. These elders had SPECIAL responsibilities that Peter addressed.

       

       

      DID YOU KNOW…

       

      The idea of the elder came into church life from Jewish culture (Exodus 3:16, 12:21, 19:7). The word "elder" simply speaks of the maturity and wisdom that an older person should have, making them qualified for leadership. In its application, it is more about wisdom and maturity than age.

       

       

      DID YOU KNOW…

       

      It was the practice of Paul and Barnabas to appoint elders in the churches they had founded (Acts 14:23).

       

      There was also the development of the office of PASTOR, who was essentially a TEACHING ELDER (1 Timothy 5:17) who appointed and guided elders and other leaders (1 Timothy 3:1-13, 2 Timothy 2:2, Titus 1:5-9).

       

      I who am a fellow elder…

       

      Peter WAS qualified to speak because he is a fellow elder. Though Peter was clearly the prominent disciple among the twelve, he claims NO special privilege or position, such as the "Pope" that the early Catholic Church FALSELY claimed WAS PETER’S title for the beginnings of their early church. Instead, Peter saw himself only as one fellow elder among all the elders in the church.

       

      A witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed…

       

      Peter was qualified to speak because he WAS AN EYE WITNESS of Jesus' sufferings BEFORE HE DENIED JESUS THREE TIMES OUT OF FEAR AND FLED INTO THE NIGHT OF JESUS ARREST AND BEATINGS. BUT PETER WAS ALSO a partaker of Jesus' glory, probably referring to when he saw the transfiguration of Jesus.

       

      HIEBERT clarifies for us, "The gospels do not state that Peter was personally present at the crucifixion; only John is the only disciple who specifically said to have been there with Jesus through it all. Never denying, fleeing, or leaving Jesus.”

       

      SPURGEON says it well, “Yet we also consider that many saw Jesus suffer, and it did not affect them. There were thousands who were eyewitnesses of our Lord's sufferings who, nevertheless, saw not the true meaning of them, as John and Mary Jesus mother did. Most saw only the Great Sufferer besmeared with his own blood; but into his wounds they never looked by faith. Thousands saw the Savior die, but they simply went their way back to Jerusalem, some of them beating on their breasts, but none of them believing in him, or really knowing the secret of that wondrous death."

       

       

      Verses 2-3 tells us What leaders in the church MUST do.

       

      Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;”

       

       

      Shepherd the flock of God…

       

      This was the FIRST aspect of leadership. Peter seemed to remember Jesus' three-part commission to him in John 21:15-17. In that passage, Jesus told Peter to show his love for Jesus by feeding and tending Jesus' sheep.

       

       

      A spiritual shepherd does his job in TWO main ways.

       

      1. The first job is to feed the sheep. Jesus emphasized this to Peter in John 21:15-17.

       

      2. Another aspect of the job is to tend the sheep, which means protecting, guiding, nurturing, and caring for the sheep.

       

      The most important "tool" to shepherd the flock of God is a heart like the heart of Jesus, one that is willing to give one's life for the sheep, and who genuinely cares about and is interested in them (John 10:11-14).

       

      Serving as overseers…

       

      For Peter, the job of being a shepherd could also be understood as being an overseer. This word for leadership comes to the church from Greek culture, and it meant someone who watches over, a manager, or a supervisor (Acts 20:28, 1 Timothy 3:1-2, Titus 1:7).

       

       

      Not by compulsion but willingly…

       

      Shepherds should NOT do their job by compulsion, as if they were being forced into a task that they really hated. Instead, they should serve God and His people willingly, from a heart that loves sheep and wants to serve.

       

       

      MEYER says it well, "None of God's soldiers are mercenaries or pressed men: they are all volunteers. We must have a shepherd's heart if we would do a shepherd's work."

       

       

      Not for dishonest gain but eagerly…

       

      Shepherds should NOT do their job for dishonest gain. The gain is dishonest because it was their motive for serving as shepherds. Instead, they should serve eagerly, willing to serve apart from financial compensation.

       

      Nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock…

       

      Shepherds should NOT do their job as lords, because the sheep do NOT belong to them. The sheep are entrusted to them. Instead, shepherds are to serve by being examples, NOT dictators.

       

      Nor as being lords shows that in the mind of Peter, shepherds had significant authority in the early church. If the office of shepherd was so powerless that a shepherd didn't rule and lead, then there was little potential for being lords.

       

       

      But because Peter gives this warning, it shows there was the potential for lording over.

       

      The sobering fact is that pastors are examples to the flock, whether they intend to be or not. It is interesting to see how a congregation takes on the personality of its pastor in good ways and bad ways.

       

      Those entrusted to you...

       

      "That noun means 'a lot,' and then 'that which is assigned by lot,' a portion or a share of something . . . . God has assigned the various portions of His precious possession to their personal care."

       

      The idea is that God has entrusted the responsibility of the spiritual care of certain individuals to particular shepherds.

       

       

      Verse 4 tells us The reward for leaders in the church.

       

      And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”

       

       

      When the Chief Shepherd appears…

       

      Peter reminded shepherds in the church that they would answer one day to their Chief Shepherd, who will want to know what they did with His flock.

       

       

      It is important for shepherds - pastors - to realize that they lead Jesus' sheep.

       

      He is the Shepherd, He is the Overseer (1 Peter 2:25). In this sense, the Christian shepherd does NOT work for the sheep, he works for the Chief Shepherd.

       

       

      You will receive a crown of glory…

       

      Faithful shepherds are promised a crown of glory, but not like the crown of leaves given to ancient Olympic champions. This crown will not fade away.

       

      Crowns are not only for shepherds, but for everyone who was faithful to Jesus and who did what He called them to do (1 Corinthians 9:25, 2 Timothy 4:8, James 1:12).

       

       

      Verses 5-7 tells us A promise for the humble.

       

      Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

       

       

      Likewise you younger people…

       

      Peter began this word of humility to you younger people, in contrast to the elders he has just addressed. But he soon realized that it is of application to all of you. This word to be submissive to one another and be clothed with humility applies to everyone, but perhaps especially to the young.

       

       

      Clothed with humility…

       

      Humility is demonstrated by submission. It is the ability to cheerfully put away our own agenda for God's, even if God's agenda is expressed through another person.

       

      Be clothed with humility…

       

      The phrase "be clothed" translates a rare word that refers to a slave putting on an apron before serving, even as Jesus did before washing the disciple's feet (John 13:4).

       

      Some marks of humility:

       

      1. The willingness to perform the lowest and littlest services for Jesus' sake.

      2. Consciousness of our own inability to do anything apart from God.

      3. The willingness to be ignored of men.

      4. Not so much self-hating or depreciation as self forgetfulness, and being truly others-centered instead of self-centered.

       

       

      For "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble"…

       

      Humility is essential to our relationship with God. If we want to walk in God's grace (His unmerited favor) then we must lay aside our pride and be humble - not only to Him but also to one another.

       

       

      Resists: The verb vividly pictures God as one who places Himself in battle array against such individuals.

       

       

      Grace and pride are eternal enemies.

       

      Pride demands that God bless me in light of what I THINK I deserve.

       

      Grace will only deal with me on the basis what is in God (love), NOT on the basis of anything in me.

       

       

      MEYER says it well, “Pride is one of the most detestable of sins. We call it - independence, self-reliance. We do not always discern it in the hurt feeling, which retires into itself, and nurses its sorrows in a sulk …We are proud of our humility, vain of our meekness; and, putting on the saintliest look, we wonder whether all around are not admiring us for our lowliness.”

       

       

      That He may exalt you in due time…

       

      If God has us in a humble place at the present time, we must submit to God's plan. He knows the due time to exalt us, though we often think we know that time better than God does.

       

       

      Casting all your care upon Him…

       

      True humility is shown by our ability to cast our care upon God. It is proud presumption to take things into our own worry and care about things that God has promised to take care of (Matthew 5:31-34).

       

      If we would heed the command of 1 Peter 5:6 and truly humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, we would have far fewer cares to cast upon Him as invited in 1 Peter 5:7. Worries about covetousness, ambition, popularity, all evaporate under the command to humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.

       

      SPURGEON says it well, in his illustration of a man who came to move your furniture, but he carried a huge and heavy backpack of his own. He complains that he finds it difficult to do the job of moving your furniture; would you not suggest that he would find it easier if he laid his own burden aside so that he could carry yours? In the same way, we can not do God's work when we are weighed down by our own burdens and worries. Cast them upon Him, and then take up the Lord's burden - which is light burden, and a yoke that fits us perfectly.”

       

       

      There are many anxieties that we can NOT cast upon God, and Peter's word here purifies us of these ungodly anxieties.

       

       

      1. "I am worried that I will never be rich."

       

      2. "I am burdened that others enjoy sinful pleasures and I do not."

      3. "I am worried that I am not famous or even popular."

       

      4. "I am burdened that I cannot get revenge on those who wronged me."

       

      All cares of covetousness, anger, pride, ambition, and wilfulness must be cast to the winds; it would be criminal to dream of casting them upon God. Do not pray about them, except that God will redeem you from them. Let your desires be kept within a narrow circle, and your anxieties will be lessened at a stroke.

       

      CASTING is a rather energetic word. He does NOT say, "Lay all your care upon Him," because we have to do it more energetically than that. Throw it away from you. The pressures and the burdens of your life are so heavy and difficult that it takes great concentration of effort to put them on Jesus.

       

       

      This work of casting can be so difficult that we need to use two hands to do it: the hand of prayer and the hand of faith.

       

      Prayer tells God what the care is, and asks God to help, while faith believes that God can and will do it. Prayer spreads the letter of trouble and grief before the Lord, and then faith cries, 'I believe that God cares, and cares for me; I believe that he will bring me out of my distress, and make it promote his own glory.’

       

       

      For He cares for you…

       

      At their best moments, the religions of Greek culture could imagine a God who was good. Yet they never came to the place where they believed in a God who cared. The God of the Bible - the God who is really there - is a God who cares for you.

       

       

      It is the belief that God cares that marks off Christianity from ALL other religions, which under all varieties of form are occupied with the task of making God care, of awakening by sacrifice or prayer or act the slumbering interest of the Deity.

       

       

      We often judge the parents by the children, do we not?

       

      When a child of God is full of worry and fear, does NOT the world have reason to believe that their Father in heaven does NOT care for them?

       

      Our worry and fear reflects poorly - and unfairly - upon God.

       

       

      Verses 8-9 tells us Be watchful for the devil.

       

      Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”

       

       

      Your adversary the devil walks about…

       

      Peter exhorts us to remain clear-headed (sober) and watchful (vigilant), because Satan has NOT yet been bound and restrained for 1,000 years as Revelation 20:1-2 says he will be.

       

      At the present time, the devil walks about.

       

       

      CLARKE says it well, "Satan walketh about-he has access to you everywhere; he knows your feelings and your propensities, and informs himself of all your circumstances; only God can know more and do more than he, therefore your care must be cast upon God."

       

      The devil certainly walks about; though he is a FINITE being and can only be in one place at one time, his effort, energy, and associates enable him to extend his influence all over the world and in every arena of life.

       

      Like a roaring lion…

       

      For Christians, Satan is a lion who may roar but who has been de-fanged at the cross (Colossians 2:15).

       

      Yet the sound of his roar - his deceptive lies - are still potent and he has the power to devour souls and rob Christians of effectiveness.

       

       

      Psalm 91:3 suggests that Satan may come against us like a fowler, one who captures birds. The fowler is always quiet and secretive, never wanting to reveal his presence.

       

      2 Corinthians 11:14 tells us that Satan can come as an angel of light, appearing glorious, good, and attractive.

       

      Yet other times, Peter tells us, Satan comes against us like a roaring lion, loud and full of intimidation.

       

      1. He roars through persecution.

      2. He roars through strong temptation.

      3. He roars through blasphemies and accusations against God.

       

       

      We note Satan's goal: seeking whom he may devour.

       

      He isn't just looking to lick or nibble on his prey; he wants to devour. "He can never be content till he sees the believer utterly devoured. He would rend him in pieces, and break his bones and utterly destroy him if he could.

       

      Do not, therefore, indulge the thought, that the main purpose of Satan is to make you miserable. He is pleased with that, but that is NOT his ultimate end.

       

      Sometimes he may even make you happy, for he has dainty poisons sweet to the taste which he administers to God's people. If he feels that our destruction can be more readily achieved by sweets than by bitters, he certainly would prefer that which would best effect his end.

       

       

      Resist him, steadfast in the faith…

       

      The secret of spiritual warfare is simple, steadfast, resistance. As we are steadfast in the faith, we resist the devil lies and threats and intimidation.

       

       

      Scripture urges believers to flee from various evils (1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22), but nowhere are they advised to flee from the devil. That would be a futile effort.

       

       

      Resist comes from TWO ancient Greek words…

       

      STAND AND AGAINST.

       

      Peter tells us to stand against the devil. Satan can be set running by the resistance of the lowliest believer who comes in the authority of what Jesus did on the cross.

       

       

      SPURGEON says it best, "Resist. Be more prayerful every time he is more active. He will soon give it up, if he finds that his attacks drive you to Christ. Often has Satan been nothing but a big black dog to drive Christ's sheep nearer to the Master."

       

      Knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world…

       

      We also take comfort in knowing that we are NEVER alone in our spiritual warfare. Our brothers and sisters in Jesus have fought, and are fighting, the same battles.

       

       

      Verses 10-11 tells us A prayer for their spiritual strengthening.

       

      But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

       

       

      May the God of all grace … perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you…

       

      Peter, knowing the suffering and danger Christians face, can only conclude with prayer. He asks God to do His work of perfecting, establishing, strengthening, and settling.

       

       

      These things are God's work in us and through us. Peter personally knew the futility of trying to face suffering and danger in one's own strength. His own failure taught him the need for constant reliance on God's work in our lives, so he prays for his dear Christian friends.

       

      After you have suffered a while…

       

      We almost want to ask Peter, "Why did you say that?"

       

      But the truth remains. We are only called … to His eternal glory … after you have suffered a while.

       

      We wish we were called to His eternal glory on the "no suffering" plan. But God uses suffering to perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle us.

      We are called us to His eternal glory; but what does this glory entail?

       

      - 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.

       

       

      To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever…

       

      The God who can do this great work in our lives is certainly worthy of our praise.

       

       

      Verses 12-14 tells us the Conclusion to the letter.

       

      By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand. She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son. Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.”

       

       

      By Silvanus … I have written to you…

       

      This portion was probably written by Peter's own hand, after he (according to the custom of the day) had dictated the bulk of the letter to Silvanus. This man Silvanus was probably the same one known as Silas in many of Paul's letters.

       

      This is the true grace of God in which you stand…

       

      Peter summed up his message as an exhortation to understand and recognize the true grace of God in which you stand.

       

      We must understand not only what God's grace is, but that grace is our place of present standing before Him.

       

       

      She who is in Babylon … greets you…

       

      She probably refers to the church, which in Greek is in the feminine. Peter apparently writes from Babylon.

       

      This may be the literal city of Babylon (which still existed in Peter's day), or it may be a symbolic way of referring to either Rome or Jerusalem.

       

      These were two cities that in Peter's day were famous for their wickedness and spiritual rebellion, just like ancient Babylon.

       

      In any regard, this is one church greeting another.

       

       

      There was of course, the literal city of Babylon on the Euphrates.

       

      There was also a place known as Babylon in Egypt, and it was a Roman military fortress near the present city of Cairo.

       

      Yet many think that Peter meant "Babylon" in a symbolic sense to represent the city of Rome.

       

      As a Biblical concept, "Babylon" as the city of this world stands in contrast to "Jerusalem" as the city of God. He may have meant Rome as Babylon as "the center of worldliness."

       

       

      So does Mark my son…

       

      This verse connects Mark with Peter, apparently the same Mark of Acts 12:12, 12:25, and 15:37-39. When the style and perspective of the Gospel of Mark are taken into account, many to believe that Peter was Mark's primary source of information for his gospel.

       

       

      Greet one another with a kiss of love…

       

      Peter concludes with a command to greet and display God's love to one another, and by pronouncing a blessing of peace.

       

      These two things - love for each other and peace - are especially necessary for those who suffer and live in dangerous times.

       

      AND THESE TWO THINGS SET US APART FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD...JUST AS JESUS INTENDED!

       

    • December 15, 2016 10:56 PM EST
    • Amen Faithy !!

    • December 15, 2016 10:28 PM EST
    • 1 PETER 3

       

      OPENS WITH…GODLY SUBMISSION

       

       

      Verses 1-2 tells us The HEART of a godly wife.

       

      Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.”

       

      Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands…

      The godly wife will be submissive to her husband. This submission is NOT a reward for the husband's good behavior; it is commanded by God as the proper order for the home.

       

       

      DID YOU KNOW...WHY PETER SPOKE OF THIS?

       

      The teaching about submission was especially relevant to a first century married woman who had begun to follow Jesus. She would ask questions such as "Should I leave my husband?" or "Should I change my behavior towards him?" or "Should I assume a superior position in Jesus?"

       

      WHY?

       

      In the culture of the ancient world, it was almost UNTHINKABLE for a wife to adopt a DIFFERENT religion than her husband. Christian women who came to Jesus before their husbands NEEDED HELPFUL instruction.

       

       

      Likewise…

       

      Proper submission in the home follows the same principles of submission as towards government or our employers. It is a submission not only of the actions, but also of the heart - as demonstrated by the surrendering heart of Jesus, reminded to us in 1 Peter 2:21-25.

       

       

      The call for submission is NOT merely a call for love and considerate action. It is a call to relate in submission to authority. The term submission is used outside the New Testament to describe the submission and obedience of soldiers in an army to those of superior rank. It literally means "to order under."

       

      Yet, submission to authority can be totally consistent with equality in importance, dignity, and honor. Jesus was subject to both His parents and to God the Father, but was NOT lower than either of them. "Thus the command to wives to be subject to their husbands should never be taken to imply inferior person or spirituality, or lesser importance.

       

       

      Of course, submission in marriage follows the same principles as submission in other spheres. We submit to God appointed authority as our obligation before God, unless that authority directs us to sin. In that case, it is right to obey God rather than men, confirmed to us in Acts 4:19-20.

       

       

      Be submissive to your own husbands…

       

      Peter carefully observed that wives are called to submit to their own husbands, NOT to men in general. Male headship is God's commanded principle for the home and the church, NOT for society in general.

       

       

      The principle of submission in presented in many different ways in the New Testament.

       

      1. Jesus submitted to His parents (Luke 2:51).

      2. Demons submitted to the disciples (Luke 10:17).

      3. Citizens should submit to government authority (Romans 13:1 and 5, Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13).

      4. The universe will submit to Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:27 and Ephesians 1:22).

      5. Unseen spiritual beings submit to Jesus (1 Peter 3:22).

      6. Christians should submit to their church leaders (1 Corinthians 16:15-16 and 1 Peter 5:5).

      7. Wives should submit to husbands (Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:5, 1 Peter 3:5, and Ephesians 5:22-24).

      8. The church should submit to Jesus (Ephesians 5:24).

      9. Servants should submit to masters (Titus 2:9 and 1 Peter 2:18).

      10. Christians should submit to God (Hebrews 12:9 and James 4:7).

       

      NONE of these relations are reversed. For example, masters are NEVER told to submit to servants, Jesus is NEVER told to submit to the church, and so forth.

       

      So while there must be a servant-like love and attitude on the part of those in positions of authority, it does NOT eliminate the concept of God's order of authority and the corresponding submission.

       

       

      That even if some do NOT obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the CONDUCT of their wives…

       

      The benefit of submission is shown in the way that it affects husbands for God. A wife's submission is a powerful expression of her trust in God. This kind of faith and obedience can accomplish GREAT things, even without a word of verbal testimony and witnessing to the UNBELIEVING HUSBAND.

       

      Wives may want to shape their husbands; either guiding them to Jesus or guiding them in Jesus through their words.

       

      Peter reminds them that God's plan is that wives impact their husbands NOT through persuasive lectures, but through godly submission, chaste conduct, and the fear of God.

       

       

      There is a sense in which a wife's efforts to shape her husband through her OWN words and efforts may HINDER the power of God's working on the husband. It is much more effective to submit God's way, demonstrating trust in Him, and to let God have his way with the husband.

       

       

      GRUDEM states it well, "The attractiveness of a wife's submissive behavior even to an unbelieving husband suggests that God has inscribed the rightness and beauty of role distinctions include male leadership or headship in the family and female acceptance of and responsiveness to that leadership … The unbelieving husband sees this behavior and deep within perceives the beauty of it. Within his heart there is a witness that this is right, this is how God intended men and women to relate as husband as wife. He concludes, therefore, that the gospel which his wife believes must be true as well."

       

       

      Do not obey the word…

       

      This refers to an unbelieving husband, but it is a stronger idea than merely "do not believe." It has the idea of someone in active disobedience to God's word. Even these husbands can be won through the godly conduct of loving wives.

       

       

      Verses 3-4 tells us The true beauty of a godly woman.

       

      Do not let your adornment be merely outward; arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel; rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”

       

       

      Do not let your adornment be merely outward…

       

      Peter did not forbid all adornment. But for the godly woman, outward adornment is always in moderation, and her emphasis is always on INWARD adornment.

       

       

      Arranging the hair…

       

      According to William Barclay, in the world Peter lived women often arranged and dyed their hair. They also wore wigs, especially blonde wigs made with hair imported from Germany. Peter had this in mind speaking of the adornment that is ONLY outward. Peter did NOT forbid a woman fixing her hair, or wearing jewelry, any more than he forbade her wearing apparel (fine is not in the original).

      Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart…

       

      Real beauty comes from the hidden person of the heart. It is NOT something you wear or primp for. It is something you ARE DAILY.

       

      My grandfather called my grandmother beautiful until the day she died. He said she was beautiful when he met her and even though time had stolen much of her outward beauty by age 97, her real beauty that comes from the inside out, is more beautiful now than when she was a young woman.

       

      That is what Peter meant, true beauty never fades it only shines brighter.

       

       

      The real question is "What do you depend on to make yourself beautiful?"

       

      Peter's point is NOT, AS SO MANY WRONGLY TEACH AND PROCLAIM, that any of these are forbidden, but that they should NOT be a woman's adornment, her source of beauty.

       

      The incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit…

       

      The inner beauty of a godly woman is incorruptible. This means that it does NOT decay or get worse with age. Instead, incorruptible beauty only gets BETTER with age, and is therefore of so much MORE value that the beauty that comes from the hair, jewelry, or clothing.

       

       

      A gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God…

       

      Peter describes the character of true beauty - a gentle and quiet spirit. These character traits are NOT promoted for women by our culture TODAY; yet they are VERY precious in the sight of God.

       

       

      Verses 5-6 tells us Examples of submission.

       

      For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.”

       

       

      In former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves…

       

      Peter reminds women that he does NOT call them to a new standard, but to something that was practiced by holy women of former times.

       

       

      Who trusted in God…

       

      When women submit to their husbands and when they do not put trust in their outward adornment, they are like the holy women of former times who trusted in God. They powerfully demonstrate their faith.

       

      A woman can trust her own ability to influence and control her husband, or she can trust God and be submissive.

       

      A woman can trust her outward beauty and adornment, or she can trust God and cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit.

       

      It all comes back to trust in God, so she should be like the holy women who trusted in God.

       

       

      As Sarah obeyed Abraham…

       

      Sarah's submission to Abraham was demonstrated by two things.

       

      FIRST, she obeyed Abraham, even when it was difficult and even when he was wrong (as in Genesis 12:10-20).

      SECOND, she honored Abraham by calling him lord. It is possible to obey someone without showing them the honor that is part of submission. True submission knows the place of both obedience and honor.

       

      If you do good and are not afraid with any terror…

       

      True submission, full of faith in God, has NO room for fear or terror. It does good and leaves the result to God and NOT to man.

       

      Ruth Graham once said, “I love and honor Billy, but it is God’s job to make him worthy of my love and honor.”

       

       

      The words "do good" remind us that true submission is NOT a sulking surrender to authority. It is an active embrace of God's will, demonstrating trust in Him.

       

       

      Verse 7 tells us The heart of a godly husband.

       

      Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”

       

       

      Dwell with them…

       

      A godly husband abides with his wife. He does NOT merely share a house, but he truly lives with her. He recognizes the great point of Paul's teaching on marriage in Ephesians 5: 28, which says, “That husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.” The godly husband understands the essential unity or oneness God has established between husband and wife.

       

      With understanding…

       

      A godly husband undertakes the important job of understanding his wife. By knowing her well, he is able to demonstrate his love for her far more effectively.

       

      When a husband has this understanding, God directs him to use it, in that he is to dwell with his wife with understanding. He is supposed to take his understanding and apply it in daily life with his wife. This is where many men have trouble following through. They may have understanding about their wives, but they do NOT use it as they dwell with them.

       

      Giving honor…

       

      A godly husband knows how to make his wife feel honored. Though she submits to him, he takes care that she does not feel like she is an employee or under a dictator.

       

      In giving honor to the wife, the word in the ancient Greek language for the wife is a rare word, meaning more literally "the feminine one." It suggests that the woman's feminine nature should prompt the husband to honor her.

       

       

      DID YOU KNOW...This was a RADICAL teaching in the world Peter lived in.

       

      In that ancient culture, a husband had ABSOLUTE rights over his wife and the wife had virtually NO rights in the marriage.

       

      In the Roman world, if a man caught his wife in an act of adultery, he could kill her on the spot. But if a wife caught her husband, she could do NOTHING against him.

       

      All the duties and obligations in marriage, AS WELL THE BLAME, were put on the wife.

       

      SO, Peter's radical teaching is that the husband has God-ordained duties and obligations toward his wife too.

      As to the weaker vessel…

       

      In this context, “weaker” speaks of the woman's relative PHYSICAL weakness in comparison to men. Men are NOT necessarily stronger spiritually than women, but they ARE generally stronger physically.

       

      As Peter brought in the idea of the woman's feminine nature with the words the wife, he continues in appreciating the feminine nature and how a husband should respond to it.

       

      Therefore, a godly husband recognizes whatever limitations his wife has physically, and he does NOT expect more from her than is appropriate.

       

       

      Heirs together…

       

      A godly husband realizes that his spouse is not only his wife, but his sister in Jesus. Part of their inheritance in the Lord is only realized in their oneness as husband and wife.

       

      Heirs together…

       

      This "reminds husbands that even though they have been given great authority within marriage, their wives are still equal to them in spiritual privilege and eternal importance: they are 'joint heirs” and equals in Jesus.

       

       

      That your prayers may not be hindered…

       

      The failure to live as a godly husband has spiritual consequences. It can and it will hinder prayer.

       

      Some have thought that Peter has in mind here the prayers that husbands and wives pray together. But since he addresses husbands ONLY, and because says your prayers, he refers to the prayers of husbands in general.

      Peter assumed that the fear of hindered prayer would motivate Christian husbands to love and care for their wives as they should. Many Christian men have such a low regard for prayer that this warning may NOT adequately motivate them.

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "Indeed, to true believers prayer is so invaluable that the danger of hindering it is used by Peter as a motive why, in their marriage relationships, and household concerns, they should behave themselves with great wisdom. He bids the husband 'dwell' with his wife 'according to knowledge,' and render loving honor to her, lest their united prayers should be hindered. Anything which hinders prayer must be wrong. If any management of the family, or want of management, is injuring our power in prayer, there is an urgent demand for an alteration."

       

       

       

      Verses 8-9 tells us A plea for unity and love among God's people.

       

      Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”

       

       

      Be of ONE 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 (1 Corinthians 2:16). Our common mind is to be Jesus' mind.

       

       

      This command brings us back to the need to KNOW God's word. We can NOT be of one mind, the mind of Jesus, if we do NOT know what His mind is. The word of God SHOWS US the mind of Jesus.

       

      Be of one mind…

       

      This speaks to the essential UNITY of God's people. We are one; but we are NOT all the same. While we should all be of one mind, we can NOT expect everyone to be like us. God has built both unity and diversity among His people.

       

      REMEMBER TOO…

       

      Every cell of our body is different, and each one has its role to play. But every cell in your body has the same DNA code written in it, the master plan for the whole body. Every cell in your body has the same "mind."

       

       

      We could say that Christians are to be like a choir. Each one sings with their own voice, and some sing different parts, but everyone sings to the same music and in harmony with one another.

       

       

      Having compassion … tenderhearted … courteous…

       

      Peter describes the kind of warm love that should be among the people of God. We should be compassionate, brotherly, tenderhearted and even polite. Christians should treat each other with love!

       

      Remember that this was the measure Jesus gave to the world to identify His true disciples…

       

      JOHN 13:35 confirms this, “By this all will KNOW that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

       

      Jesus did not command us to like our brothers and sisters in Christ. But we are commanded to love them, and once we start loving them, we will start liking them.

       

      Not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing…

      The greatest challenge to our love for others comes when we are wronged. At those times, we are called to NOT return evil for evil, but to give a blessing instead.

       

       

      No dispute, argument, or personality conflict among believers should linger. Even if one Christian gets out of line, the loving response of other Christians should keep the problem small and short-lived.

       

       

      FOR THE WORLD AND OUR FALLEN NATURES…

       

      The natural response to hostility is RETALIATION...PAY BACK.

       

      This is what the terrible ethnic conflicts all over the world are all about - one group wrongs another, and dedicates the rest of its existence to repaying that wrong.

       

      Only the love of Jesus for our enemies can break that terrible cycle.

       

       

      MATTHEW 5:44-47 “Jesus reminded us that it is no great credit if we love those who love us in return; the real test of love is to demonstrate compassion to our enemies.”

       

       

      That you may inherit a blessing…

       

      We love one another, but not only for the sake of Jesus, whose body we are members of.

       

      We love one another, but not only for the sake of our brother or sister for whom Jesus died.

       

      We also love one another for our own sake - by blessing those who have wronged us, we will inherit a blessing.

       

      If you can NOT love for the sake of Jesus, or for the sake of your brother, then do it for your own sake!

       

       

      Verses 10-12 gives us a quotation from Psalm 34:12-16 demonstrates the blessing that comes to those who turn away from evil and do good.

       

      For He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil."

       

       

      Let him turn away from evil and do good…

       

      Doing good is often difficult because as a general rule, evil is rewarded immediately, and the reward of doing good is often delayed.

       

      But the rewards of good are better, and far more secure than the rewards of doing evil.

       

      God promises this in the passage quoted by Peter.

       

       

      Verses 13-17 tells us How to handle it when our good is returned with evil.

       

      And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled." But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

       

      And who is he who will harm you…

       

      Though Peter says that Christians should always answer evil with good, he also lived in the real world, and he knew that people often answered good with evil.

       

      MEYER says it well, "Not to be hated by the world; to be loved and flattered and caressed by the world - is one of the most terrible positions in which a Christian can find himself. 'What bad thing have I done,' asked the ancient sage, 'that he should speak well of me?' "

       

       

      If you become followers of what is good…

       

      Literally, become followers is "be zealous" for what is good.

       

       

      But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed…

       

      Peter reminds us that there is even blessing for us when we suffer for righteousness' sake. God will care for us, ESPECIALLY when we suffer unjustly.

       

       

      Jesus spoke of the same attitude in MATTHEW 10:28, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

       

       

      And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled…

       

      The presence or possibility of suffering for doing good should not make us shrink back from doing good. Instead we should give a special place (sanctify) to God in our hearts, and always be ready to explain our faith (give a defense), always doing it with a right attitude (meekness and fear).

       

      Other manuscripts render sanctify the Lord God in your hearts as, sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.

       

      MORGAN says it well, "The simple meaning of the injunction is that at the very center of life there is to be one Lord, and that is Christ.... Other lords are permitted to invade the sanctuary of the heart, and to exercise dominion over us. Our own selfish desires, the opinion of others, worldly wisdom, the pressure of circumstances, these and many other lords command us, and we turn away our simple and complete allegiance to our one Lord."

       

       

      We can be ready to give a defense if we have made ourselves ready in knowing the Bible.

       

      Peter knew how important it was to give a defense to everyone who asks you.

       

      He was put on the spot in situations described in Acts 2:14-39, Acts 3:11-26, Acts 4:8-12, and Acts 5:29-32. In each situation, Peter relied on the power of the Holy Spirit and was able to give a defense.

       

      Those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed…

       

      Our good conduct, when our good is returned with evil, will prove others wrong in their opinions about us, and it will make them ashamed for speaking against our godly lives.

       

       

      For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil…

       

      None of us want to suffer. But if we must, may it be for doing good, not for doing evil. Sometimes Christians are obnoxious and offensive, and are made to suffer for it. They may wish it were persecution for the same of the gospel, but really it is simply suffering for doing evil.

       

       

      Verse 18 tells us Through His godly suffering, Jesus brought us to God.

       

      For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,”

       

       

      For Christ also suffered once for sins…

       

      Jesus suffered ONCE for sins. There is no longer ANY sacrifice, nor ANY atonement that can please God. Even our own suffering will NOT pay for our sins. The price has already been paid by Jesus Christ himself FOR us.

       

       

      Though Peter uses the suffering of Christ as an encouragement and a strength to his afflicted readers, we must remember that Peter also set Jesus' completely apart from all others in his suffering.

       

       

      Spurgeon recalled the heroic suffering of one godly man: "I remember reading, in Foxe's Book of Martyrs, the story of a man of God, who was bound to a stake to die for Christ; there he was, calm and quiet, till his legs had been burned away, and the bystanders looked to see his helpless body drop from the chains to was black as coal, and not a feature could be discerned; but one who was near was greatly surprised to see that poor black carcass open its mouth, and two words came out of it; and what do you suppose they were? 'Sweet Jesus!' And then the martyr fell over the chains, and at last life was gone."

       

      That saint had the sweet presence of Jesus to help him through his horrible suffering; but Jesus did not have the sweet presence of His Father to help Him on the cross. Instead, God the Father treated Him as if He were an enemy, as the target of the righteous wrath of God. In this sense, the suffering of Jesus on the cross was worse than any ever suffered by a martyr; perhaps not worse in the physical pain suffered, but certainly in the spiritual suffering and total experience.

       

      "It is almost as if the apostle said, 'You have none of you suffered when compared with him;' or, at least, he was the Arch-Sufferer, - the Prince of sufferers, - the Emperor of the realm of agony, - Lord Paramount in sorrow.... You know a little about grief, but you do not know much. The hem of grief's garment is all you ever touch, but Christ wore it as his daily robe. We do but sip of the cup he drank it to its bitterest dregs. We feel just a little of the warmth of Nebuchadnezzar's furnace; but he dwelt in the very midst of the fire."

       

       

      The just for the unjust…

       

      Jesus is a perfect example of suffering for doing good. He, THE JUST, suffered for all of us, the unjust - and the purpose of it all was to bring us to God, to restore our broken and dead relationship with Him.

       

       

      Since Jesus did all this to bring us to God, how wrong it is for us to not come to God in fellowship! The ancient Greek word translated “bring” is the same word used for access in Romans 5:2 and Ephesians 2:18.

       

      In ancient literature, the word bring was used "of admission to an audience with the Great King.”

       

       

      Being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit…

       

      Jesus did die in His body, but was raised from the dead by the Holy Spirit.

       

      Here, the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead.

       

      It also tells us that the Father raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 6:4).

      And it says that Jesus raised Himself from the dead (John 2:18-22).

       

      The resurrection was the work of the Triune God.

       

      Verses 19-20a tells us Through godly suffering, Jesus preached to the spirits in prison.

       

      By whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient,”

       

       

      By whom…

       

      This means that Jesus was inspired by the Holy Spirit when He did the work of preaching to the spirits in prison. He was made alive by the Spirit, and then also did this work by the same Spirit.

       

       

      He went and preached to the spirits in prison…

       

      Apparently, this work was done in the period after Jesus' death, but before His first resurrection appearance to the disciples. Jesus went to Hades - the abode of the dead - and preached to the spirits there.

       

       

      Spirits in prison…

       

      Though some have regarded these spirits as human spirits, but this refers to the imprisoned fallen angels, demonic spirits.

       

      WHY?

       

      We know that their disobedience was in the days of Noah (1 Peter 3:20). We have evidence that this was a time of gross sin for both demons and humans, when there was an ungodly mingling of humans and demons (Genesis 6:1-2).

       

      Preached to the spirits in prison…

       

      We also do NOT know exactly why Jesus preached to these imprisoned spirits. In all probability, this was preaching in the proclamation of God's message, but it was not evangelism the proclamation of good news. Jesus probably preached a message of judgment and final condemnation in light of His finished work on the cross to these disobedient spirits.

       

      The FALLEN ANGELS AND THEIR DEMON SPIRITS IN ABSOLUTE BLIND DISBELIEF THAT JESUS COULD AND WOULD DO ALL THAT ALMIGHTY GOD CLAIMED...JESUS PROVED TO THEM ONCE AND FOR ALL THAT ALMIGHTY GOD DOES NOT LIE.

       

       

      In doing this, there was a completion in Jesus' triumph over evil, even the evil occurring before the flood.

       

      The Bible says that even those under the earth must acknowledge Jesus' ultimate Lordship. Here Jesus was announcing that fact: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth (Philippians 2:10).

       

       

      Verses 20b-22 tells us The salvation of Noah as a picture of baptism.

       

      When once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us; baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.”

       

       

      Eight souls, were saved through water…

       

      Peter drew a picture with his words here. Even as Noah's salvation from judgment of God was connected with water, so the Christian's salvation connected with the water, the water of baptism.

       

       

      The water of the flood washed away sin and wickedness and brought a new world with a fresh start before God.

       

      The water of baptism does the same thing, providing a passage from the old to the new.

       

       

      Not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God…

       

      At the same time, Peter was careful to point out that it is NOT the actual water washing of baptism that saves us, but the spiritual reality behind the immersion in water. What really saves us is the answer of a good conscience toward God, a conscience made good through the completed work of Jesus.

       

       

      Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God…

       

      We see the completeness of Jesus' work by His exaltation to the right hand of God the Father, and the subjection of all created spirits unto Him (angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him). So though Jesus suffered for doing good, He had the ultimate triumph.

       

      The example of Jesus proves Peter's point in 1 Peter 3:9: when we suffer for doing good, we will inherit a blessing.

       

       

      Our connection with Jesus is like the little boy with his kite. His kite flew so high in the sky that he could no longer see it. Someone asked him, "How do you know it is still up there?" The boy answered, "I can feel it pull." We can NOT see Jesus enthroned in heaven, but we can certainly FEEL Him pull us toward Himself.

       

       

      SPURGEON reminds us well, “Since Jesus has gone into heaven, His Church is safe. "Let not his church tremble, let her not think of putting out the hand of unbelief to steady the ark of the Lord. The history of the church is to be the history of Christ repeated: she is to be betrayed, she is to be scourged, she is to be falsely accused and spitted on; she may have her crucifixion and her death; but she shall rise again. Her Master rose, and like him she shall rise and receive glory. You can never kill the church till you can kill Christ; and you can never defeat her till you defeat the Lord Jesus, who already wears the crown of triumph."

       

    • December 15, 2016 10:53 PM EST
    • Amen Faithy !!awesome bible study!

       

    • December 15, 2016 10:31 PM EST
    • 1 PETER 2

       

      OPENS WITH...THE GLORY AND THE DUTY OF GOD'S PEOPLE

       

       

      Verses 1-3 tells us How to RESPOND to the eternal word of God.

       

      Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

       

       

      Therefore…

       

      Peter has just demonstrated the glory and eternal character of God's word. Now, therefore, in light of what God's word is TO us, we should receive the word, and receive it with a particular heart.

       

       

      As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word…

       

      The word desire is strong. In the Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, it is used for man's deepest longing for God.

       

      PSALM 42:1 says, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.”

       

      It speaks of the desire each believer should have for the word of God.

       

       

      Babes … desire…

       

      A healthy new baby has an instinctive yearning for its mother's milk. When things are right, you do NOT have to tell it to WANT the milk.

       

       

      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.

       

      MEYER adds, "The sickly condition of so many Christians sets forth a lamentable complaint of the food with which they are supplied. To say nothing of strong meat, they do not even get milk. Hence the Church of God too much resembles the wards of a children's hospital."

       

       

      That you may grow thereby…

       

      The word of God is NECESSARY for the growth of the Christian. We should all desire the pure milk of the word, even though Paul rebukes the Corinthians for being able to only receive milk (1 Corinthians 3:1-2), the Christian should NEVER get tired of the simple truths of the gospel simply presented.

       

       

      Who are the newborn babes?

       

      In a sense, we ALLl are. "The most advanced among us, in knowledge and attainment, are, in comparison with what they shall be, only as babes.

       

       

      Laying aside all malice, guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking…

       

      This described the attitude of heart that receives the word and grows by the word. This is a humble, honest, heart, willing to do what the word of God says.

       

       

      Evil speaking…

       

      This ancient Greek word has more the idea of spicy, hurtful gossip than the idea of profane speech.

       

       

      If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious…

       

      If we have received from God, if we have tasted (personally experienced) that the Lord is gracious, then we have all the more reason and responsibility to receive the word in the enthusiastic way that babies receive their milk.

       

       

      Verses 4-5 tells us Coming to Jesus.

       

      Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

       

       

      Coming to Him as to a living stone…

       

      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).

       

       

      This spiritual house shows that as much as Israel had a temple, Christians also have one. But the Christian's temple is spiritual, and they themselves are the temple.

       

       

      Jesus is FIRST called THE LIVING STONE; then we are called living stones. We live because we are connected with Him who is the source of life.

       

       

      Chosen by God and precious…

       

      As much as Israel was chosen by God, so is the church. As much as they had a priesthood, so Christians are a holy priesthood. And as much as they have sacrifices, so Christians offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God.

       

      A holy priesthood…

       

      The believer is his own priest before God. He does NOT need any mediator except his great High Priest, Jesus.

       

      There can NO longer be an elite priesthood with claims of SPECIAL access to God, or special privileges in worship or in fellowship with God.

       

      Peter's idea is NOT that God has abandoned Israel or that they have no place in His redemptive plan, but that Christianity is in no way inferior to Judaism.

       

      To offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ…

       

      God does the work of building (being built), but we do the job of offering sacrifices pleasing to Him, as we come to Jesus as who we are - living stones, made by Him.

       

       

      Even a living stone cannot build something great for God as it sits all on its own. What God does in us together is important. He is building something out of us together.

       

       

      We can only serve as priests as we do it through Jesus Christ. In ourselves, we have NOT priestly authority, but only IN Jesus.

       

      THEN AND NOW, PETER HAD, AND WE HAVE FALSE RELIGIOSITIES, THAT CLAIM ITS FLOCK CAN ONLY REACH GOD, OR HAVE THEIR PRAYERS HEARD AND ANSWERED, THEIR SINS LIFTED UP AND FORGIVEN, MUCH LESS ATTAIN SALVATION THROUGH THE INTERCESSION OF PRIESTS, PREACHERS, PASTORS, OR LEADERSHIP.

       

      PETER IS REMINDING US THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY TO SALVATION AND THE ONLY WAY TO FORGIVENESS, AND THE ONLY WAY TO GOD. JESUS CHRIST IS OUR ONLY HIGH PRIEST. OUR ONLY MEDIATOR. THE ONLY ONE WHO DOES HEAR OUR PRAYERS.

      PETER BOLDLY AND IN LOVING TRUTH PROCLAIMED IT THEN, AS WE SHOULD PROCLAIM AND TEACH IT NOW…

       

      NO MAN, BE HE OR SHE PRIEST, PASTOR, LEADER CAN SAVE, ALL OF THEM ARE NO LONGER OUR MEDIATOR IN PRAYERS FOR SALVATION, FORGIVENESS, HEALING, DIRECTION, OR INTERCESSION BUT FOR JESUS CHRIST.

       

      SO WE UNDERSTAND SOMETHING IMPORTANT HERE, ALL THE PRAYERS OF THOSE FALSE RELIGIONS AND FALSE GOSPEL TEACHERS AND FALSE LEADERSHIP...ARE NOT BEING HEARD BY ALMIGHTY GOD NOR JESUS CHRIST.

       

      THEIR PRAYERS MAY BE BEAUTIFULLY WORDED, LIMELIGHT AND ICONIC CENTER STAGE, THEY MAY BE REVERED BY THE WORLD, AND THEIR FLOCK, BUT THEY ARE NOT EVEN HEARD BY OUR JESUS.

       

      NOW WE BEGIN TO SEE WHY JESUS CHRIST RESERVES HIS HARSHEST JUDGMENT AND A SPECIAL PLACE OF TORMENT FOR THOSE WHO FALSELY PROCLAIM TO BE GOD’S REPRESENTATIVE, BE EQUAL TO GOD, HEAR FROM GOD, SPEAK FOR GOD, YET IN THE EYES OF ALMIGHTY GOD THEY ARE BLASPHEMOUS.

       

      THEY ARE LIARS. THEY ARE SEEKING TO ELEVATE THEMSELVES EQUAL TO OR ABOVE JESUS CHRIST. AND WORSE, ALL THE MONEY PAID THEM, THE PENANCES DONE, THE INCENSE BURNED, THE HOLY WATER SPRINKLED, THE PRAYER RUGS USED, THE ROSARIES SPOKEN, THE PRAYERS LIFTED GO NOWHERE, THEY ARE NOT HEARD AND THEY ARE NOT HONORED AND THE HURTING, SEEKING, FLOCK ARE DECEIVED AND ARE PUTTING THEIR FAITH AND TRUST IN MAN OR AN IDOL OR A CARVED IMAGE, INSTEAD OF IN JESUS CHRIST ALONE.

       

       

      Verses 6-8 tells us The glory of the Chief Cornerstone.

       

      Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame." Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, "The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone," and "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense." They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.”

       

       

      Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone…

       

      If we are being built into a spiritual house, there is no doubt who our Chief Cornerstone is. Even though men rejected JESUS CHRIST, He has become the Chief Cornerstone in the work of building the church.

       

       

      Jesus is:

       

      The cornerstone of Psalm 118.

      The stumbling stone of Isaiah 8.

      The foundation stone of Isaiah 28.

      The supernatural stone of Daniel 2.

      The rock that gave Israel water in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:4).

       

       

      Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious…

       

      Though this chief cornerstone, OUR JESUS CHRIST, is rejected by the disobedient and unbelieving, undeniably He is precious to those who believe. One way to know if a person has truly Biblical faith is to see if Jesus is truly precious to them.

       

       

      When Charles Spurgeon was 16 years old, he preached his first sermon in a village cottage to a handful of poor people, and he chose for his text 1 Peter 2:7: “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.” Spurgeon said that he didn't think he could have preached on any other Bible passage, "but Christ was precious to my soul and I was in the flush of my youthful love, and I could not be silent when a precious Jesus was the subject. Is Jesus precious to your soul? Remember, on your answer to this question depends your condition. You believe, if He is precious to you, but if He is not precious, then you are not believers, and you are condemned already because you believe not on the Son of God."

       

      - Christ is precious intrinsically.

      - Christ is precious positively.

      - Christ is precious comparatively.

      - Christ is precious superlatively.

      - Christ is precious suitably to the need of the believer.

       

       

      The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone…

       

      Those who reject the Chief Cornerstone, refusing to build on Him, instead stumble over Him. Instead of being their salvation, Jesus becomes to them a rock of offense.

       

       

      Jesus quoted this passage from Psalm 118 in regard to Himself (Matthew 21:42).

       

      A chief cornerstone is the starting point of a building; everything is laid out according to its connection to the chief cornerstone. Because it stands at the corner, the same stone is the starting place for two walls.

       

       

      Thus Jesus set out the course for both Jew and Gentile to be joined together into one glorious house for God. This, in itself, was a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense for the Jews, who thought that Gentiles should not have equal share with the Jews into God's great house.

       

       

      In the thinking of many Jews of that time, God should not have built a new building with both Jew and Gentile. He should have simply renovated the structure of Judaism at the time (adding Jesus as the Messiah) and invited Gentiles to come into that structure. But God did something different, and it was a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense for many first-century Jews.

       

      Therefore, these great titles of 1 Peter 2:9-10 now apply to all believers, Jew and Gentile alike; whereas BEFORE they only applied to the Jewish people as God's covenant people.

       

       

      They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed…

       

      It is appointed that those who are disobedient to the word should stumble over Jesus. When Jesus spoke of Himself as the stone of Psalm 118, He spoke of what those who rejected Him are appointed to: And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder. (Matthew 21:44)

       

       

      Verses 9-10 tells us The PRIVILEGED place of God's people.

       

      But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”

       

       

      But you are a chosen generation…

       

      The things that once exclusively belonged to Israel - their election (chosen), priesthood, and calling, are now no longer the property of Israel alone. These are now the property of every Christian, and we have them in a greater, spiritual sense.

      We are a royal priesthood.

       

      The offices of royalty and priesthood were jealously separated in Israel, but Jesus, who is our King and Priest, has brought them together for His people.

       

      His own special people…

       

      We are special because we belong to God. A museum may be filled with quite ordinary things: hats, canes, shoes, and so forth; but they are significant because they once belonged to someone famous. God takes ordinary people, and because He has taken them, they are special.

       

       

      These same titles were applied to Israel (Exodus 19:5-6, Deuteronomy 4:20, Deuteronomy 7:6, and Isaiah 43:20-21).

       

      Now, in Jesus, we belong to God as His own special people.

       

       

      MORGAN adds, "The description of the Church is systematic and exhaustive. It is a race, and this suggests its life principle. It is a priesthood, and so has right of access to God. It is a nation, and so is under His government. It is a possession, and so is actually indwelt by Him."

       

       

      Who once were not a people but are now the people of God…

       

      We once were without these privileges, and were not even a people before God. We had not seen the mercy of God, but now have obtained mercy.

       

       

      In our culture, with its Christian foundations, we do NOT understand the tremendous sense of privilege and relief that came to Gentiles as they were able to SHARE in the New Covenant with the God of Israel.

       

      Peter's message is nonetheless wonderful: "You didn't used to belong, but now you belong to God and among God's people."

       

       

      That you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…

       

      The purpose for these high privileges is not so we can grow proud, but so that we can proclaim the praises of Him who has done such great things FOR us.

       

      Since it is true that believers have a new life principle (chosen generation), a new access to God (royal priesthood), and a new government (holy nation), and a new owner (His own special people), it will affect the way the believer lives.

       

      That effect is described in the following verses.

       

       

      Verses 11-12 tells us When we come to Jesus, we are to abstain from fleshly lusts.

       

      Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

       

       

      Abstain from fleshly lusts…

       

      We can only abstain from fleshly lusts as we live as sojourners and pilgrims, as those who recognize that this world is NOT their home, and that they have a home and a citizenship in heaven.

       

       

      Which war against the soul…

       

      Peter understands that these fleshly lusts … war against the soul. To be a Christian means to fight against the lusts of the flesh, and the battle continues as long as we live in this flesh.

       

       

      It is easy for us to see how the pursuit of fleshly lusts can destroy our body physically.

       

      Just ask the alcoholic dying of liver disease, or ask the sexually immoral person with AIDS or one of the 350,000 people on this earth who contracted a sexually transmitted disease in the last 24 hours.

       

      But Peter reminds us that fleshly lusts also war against the soul. Some escape disease in the physical body when they sin, but the disease and death of the inner man is a penalty that no one given over to the flesh escapes.

       

       

      Having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles…

       

      This kind of godly living makes our conduct honorable among those who don't know God yet. Though we can expect that they will speak against you as evildoers, they can still be brought to glorify God by seeing our godly conduct.

       

       

      Christians were FALSELY accused of great crimes in the early church.

       

      Pagans said that at communion Christians ate the flesh and drank the blood of a baby in a cannibalistic ritual. They said that Christian "agape feasts" were wild orgies. They said that Christians were antisocial because they did not participate in society's immoral entertainment. They said that Christians were atheists because they did not worship idols.

       

       

      BARCLAY adds this history, “But over time, it was clear that Christians were NOT immoral people - and it was shown by their lives. The striking fact of history is that by their lives the Christians actually DID defeat the slanders of the heathen. In the early part of the third century Celsus made the most famous and the most systematic attack of all upon the Christians in which he accused them of ignorance and foolishness and superstition and all kinds of things - but never of immorality."

       

       

      The day of visitation…

       

      This is probably a reference to their ultimate meeting with God, either when they go to meet Him, or when He comes to meet them. The idea is that they might be persuaded to become Christians by seeing the lives of other Christians, and that they would glorify God when they meet Him instead of cowering before His holy judgment.

       

      ISAIAH 10:3 reminds, "That the day of visitation means a time in which punishment should be inflicted, is plain from Isaiah 10:3: And what will ye do in the DAY of VISITATION, and in the desolation which shall come from afar? To whom will ye flee for help? And where will ye leave your glory?"

       

       

      Verses 13-17 tells us When we come to Jesus, we are to show proper submission to the government.

       

      Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men; as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”

       

       

      Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man…

       

      As Christians, we should be good citizens, submitting to government. This was very different groups of zealous Jews in that day who recognized no king but God and paid taxes to no one but God.

       

       

      Peter wrote this in the days of the Roman Empire, which was no democracy and no special friend to Christians. Yet he still recognized the legitimate authority of the Roman government.

       

       

      For the Lord's sake…

       

      ACTS 4:19 confirms, This is why we obey the government. Since governments have a rightful authority from God, we are bound to obey them - unless, of course, they order us to do something in contradiction to God's law. Then, we are commanded to obey God BEFORE man.

       

       

      As to those who are sent by him…

       

      Peter also insists that governors are sent by him, that is, sent by God. Governments are sent by God for the punishment of evildoers and for the recognition of those who do good.

       

       

      God uses governing authorities as a check upon man's sinful desires and tendencies. Governments are a useful tool in resisting the effects of man's fallen nature.

       

       

      The greatest offense government can make IN THE EYES OF GOD, is to FAIL to punish evildoers, or to reward evildoers through corruption.

       

       

      That by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men…

       

      Peter knows that our conduct is a way to defend the gospel. He knows that those who never read the Bible will read our lives, so it is by doing good that we put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

       

       

      Yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bond servants of God…

       

      We are warned against taking the liberty we have in Jesus as an excuse for sin. Instead, we use our liberty in Jesus to show the kind of love and respect that Peter calls for.

       

       

      Verses 18-20 tells us When we come to Jesus, we are to show proper submission to our employers.

       

      Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.”

       

       

      Servants, be submissive to your masters…

       

      The command to submit to masters is NOT just to those who work for masters who are good and gentle, but also to those who are harsh. If we must endure hardship because of our Christian standards, it is commendable before God.

       

       

      For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? To be punished for our wrongs is no credit to us. But when we are punished for doing good, and endure it patiently, we are complimented before God.

       

      DID YOU KNOW…

       

      It appears from this that the poor Christians, and especially those who had been converted to Christianity in a state of slavery, were often grievously abused; they were buffeted because they were Christians, and because they would NOT join with their masters in idolatrous worship.

       

       

      Verses 21-25 tells us The example of Jesus.

       

      For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: "Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth"; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

       

       

      Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example…

       

      Jesus is our example as someone who endured punishment unjustly. When He was reviled, Jesus did NOT revile in return, but in His sufferings, He committed Himself to the Father.

       

       

      SPURGEON adds, "Which hour do you think of the sufferings of the Lord, from Gethsemane to Golgotha, would be most deeply engraved upon the memory of Peter? Surely it would be that space of time in which he was mocked and buffeted in the hall of the high priest, when Peter sat and warmed his hands at the fire, when he saw his Lord abused, and was afraid to own that he was his disciple, and by-and-by became so terrified that, with profane language, he declared 'I know not the man.' So long as life lingered, the apostle would remember the meek and quiet bearing of his suffering Lord."

       

      Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree…

       

      The suffering of Jesus is clearly an example for us; but it is far more than an example. He also bore our sins as sin-bearing substitute, and provided for our healing (by whose stripes you were healed).

       

       

      Peter clearly meant the cross of Jesus when he mentioned the tree (literally wood). Jesus bore our sins in His own body on the wood - the wood of the cross. He states it here both to constantly remind Christians of the great work of Jesus on the cross, and to show them that even as the suffering of Jesus accomplished much, so their own suffering can be used of God.

       

       

      That we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness…

       

      Peter reminds us that when Jesus died on the cross, we also died to sins. Our life is permanently changed by our identification with Jesus on the cross, even as the Apostle Paul described in Romans 6.

       

       

      We have died to sins in the sense that our debt of sin and guilt was paid by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. When we died to sins with Jesus on the cross, it means that He paid our debts. We do not trouble ourselves over debts that are paid. "He who bore my sins in his own body on the tree, took all my debts and paid them for me, and now I am dead to those debts; they have no power over me. I am dead to my sins; Christ suffered instead of me. I have nothing to do with them. They are gone as much as if they had never been committed."

       

       

      We have died to sins in the sense that now a greater passion fills our life; a passion for the Lord Jesus Christ that is greater than our previous passion for sin. A miser may be dead to many pleasures and allurements of this world; but he is alive to the love of money. So we should be dead to sin but alive to Jesus.

      By whose stripes you were healed…

       

      Peter quotes Isaiah 53:5, which primarily refers to spiritual healing, but also definitely includes physical healing. The provision for our healing (both physically and spiritually) is made by the sufferings (stripes) of Jesus. The physical aspect of our healing is received in part now, but only completely with our resurrection.

       

      In context, we see that Peter's main point is that if we are treated unjustly by a master, we don't fear whatever harm he causes. We can be healed and restored by Jesus' suffering for us.

       

       

      For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls…

       

      If not for Jesus' patient endurance under the persecution of the ungodly, we would still be going astray. But because of His work FOR us, we have returned to our Shepherd (pastor) and the Overseer (bishop) of our souls.

       

    • December 15, 2016 10:47 PM EST
    • Amen Faithy !! we shoukld live everday like we are bornagain!!

       

    • December 15, 2016 10:33 PM EST
    • 1 PETER

       

      1 PETER 1 OPENS WITH…LIVING LIKE YOU ARE BORN AGAIN

       

      WHO WAS PETER?

       

      Peter was originally known as Simon or Simeon, told to us in Mark 1:16; John 1:40,41.

       

      Peter was the son of Jonas (Matthew. 16:17) who was also known as John (John 1:42), and a member of a family of fishermen who lived in Bethsaida and later in Capernaum.

       

      Andrew, Peter’s brother, brought him to Christ (John 1:40–42).

       

      Peter was married, and his wife apparently accompanied him in his ministry (Mark 1:29–31; 1 Corinthians. 9:5).

       

      Peter was called to follow Christ in His early ministry (Mark 1:16,17).

       

      Peter was later appointed to apostleship (Matthew 10:2; Mark 3:14–16).

       

      Christ renamed him Peter, or Cephas, both words meaning “stone” or “rock” (John 1:42).

       

      The Lord clearly singled out Peter for special lessons throughout the gospels (Matthew. 10; 16:13–21; 17:1–9; 24:1–7; 26:31–33; John 6:6; 21:3–7,15–17).

       

      Peter was the spokesman for the 12, articulating their thoughts and questions as well as his own. His triumphs and weaknesses are chronicled in the gospels and Acts 1–12.

       

      After the resurrection and ascension, Peter initiated the plan for choosing a replacement for Judas (Acts 1:15).

       

      After the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1–4), Peter was empowered to become the leading gospel preacher from the Day of Pentecost on (Acts 2:12).

       

      Peter also performed notable miracles in the early days of the church (Acts 3–9), and opened the door of the gospel to the Samaritans (Acts 8) and to the Gentiles (Acts 10).

       

      According to tradition, Peter had to watch as his wife was crucified, but encouraged her with the words, “Remember the Lord.” When it came time for him to be crucified, he reportedly pled that he was not worthy to be crucified like his Lord, but rather should be crucified upside down (ca. A.D. 67–68), which tradition says he was.

       

      Because of his unique prominence, there was NO shortage in the early church of documents FALSELY claiming to be written by Peter.

       

      That the Apostle Peter is the author of 1 Peter, however, is certain. The material in this letter bears definite resemblance to his messages in the book of Acts. The letter teaches, for example, that Christ is the Stone rejected by the builder (2:7,8; Acts 4:10,11), and that Christ is no respecter of persons (1:17; Acts 10:34).

       

      Peter teaches his readers to “gird yourself with humility” (5:5), an echo of the Lord’s girding Himself with a towel and washing the disciples’ feet (John 13:3–5).

       

      There are other statements in the letter similar to Christ’s sayings (4:14; 5:7,8). Moreover, the author claims to have been a witness of the sufferings of Christ (5:1; 3:18; 4:1).

       

      In addition to these internal evidences, it is noteworthy that the early Christians universally recognized this letter as the work of Peter.

       

      The only significant doubt to be raised about Peter’s authorship arises from the rather classical style of Greek employed in the letter. Some have argued that Peter, being an “unlearned” fisherman (Acts 4:13), could not have written in sophisticated Greek, especially in light of the less classical style of Greek employed in the writing of 2 Peter.

       

      However, this argument is not without a good answer.

       

      In the first place, that Peter was “unlearned” does not mean that he was illiterate, but only that he was without FORMAL, RABBINICAL training in the Scriptures.

       

      Moreover, though Aramaic may have been Peter’s primary language, Greek would have been a widely spoken second language.

       

      It is also apparent that at least some of the authors of the NT, though not highly educated, could read the Greek of the OT Septuagint (see James’ use of the LXX in Acts 15:14–18).

       

      Beyond these evidences of Peter’s ability in Greek, Peter also explained (5:12) that he wrote this letter “by Silvanus,” also known as Silas. Silvanus was likely the messenger designated to take this letter to its intended readers. But more is implied by this statement in that Peter is acknowledging that Silvanus served as his secretary, or “amanuensis”.

       

      AND WE KNOW…Dictation was common in the ancient Roman world (cf. Paul and Tertius; Rom. 16:22), and secretaries often could aid with syntax and grammar. So, Peter, under the superintendence of the Spirit of God, dictated the letter to Silvanus, while Silvanus, who also was a prophet (Acts 15:32), may have aided in some of the composition of the more classical Greek.

       

      First Peter was most likely written just before or shortly after July, A.D. 64 when the city of Rome burned, thus a writing date of ca. A.D. 64–65.

       

       

      HERE IS WHAT WAS GOING ON AT THE TIME OF 1 PETER.

       

      When the city of Rome burned, the Romans believed that their emperor, Nero, had set the city on fire, probably because of his incredible lust to build. In order to build more, he had to destroy what already existed.

       

      The Romans were totally devastated. Their culture, in a sense, went down with the city. All the religious elements of their life were destroyed—their great temples, shrines, and even their household idols were burned up.

       

      This had great religious implications because it made them believe that their deities had been unable to deal with this conflagration and were also victims of it.

       

      The people were homeless and hopeless. Many had been killed. Their bitter resentment was severe, so Nero realized that he had to redirect the hostility.

       

      The emperor’s chosen scapegoat was the CHRISTIANS, who were already HATED because they were associated with Jews, and because they were seen as being hostile to the Roman culture.

       

      Nero spread the word quickly that the Christians had set the fires. As a result, a vicious persecution against Christians began, and soon spread throughout the Roman Empire, touching places North of the Taurus mountains, like Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (1:1), and impacting the Christians, whom Peter calls “pilgrims.”

       

      These “pilgrims,” who were probably Gentiles, for the most part (1:14,18; 2:9,10; 4:3), possibly led to Christ by Paul and his associates, and established on Paul’s teachings.

       

      But they needed spiritual strengthening because of their sufferings. Thus the Apostle Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote this epistle to strengthen them.

       

      Peter wrote that he was in “Babylon” when he penned the letter (5:13). Three locations have been suggested for this “Babylon.”

      FIRST, a Roman outpost in northern Egypt was named Babylon; but that place was too obscure, and there are no reasons to think that Peter was ever there.

       

      SECOND, ancient Bab-ylon in Mesopotamia is a possibility; but it would be quite unlikely that Peter, Mark, and Silvanus were all at this rather small, distant place at the same time.

       

      THIRD, “Babylon” is an alias for Rome; perhaps even a code word for Rome. In times of persecution, writers exercised unusual care NOT to endanger Christians by identifying them.

       

      Peter, according to some traditions, followed James and Paul and died as a martyr BY Rome about two years after he wrote this letter, thus he had written this epistle near the end of his life, probably while staying in the imperial city. He did not want the letter to be found and the church to be persecuted, so he may have hidden its location under the code word, “Babylon,” which aptly fit because of the city’s idolatry (Rev. 17,18).

       

       

      Since the believers addressed were suffering escalating persecution (1:6; 2:12,19–21; 3:9,13–18; 4:1,12–16,19), the purpose of this letter was to teach them how to live victoriously in the midst of that hostility:

       

      1) without losing hope.

      2) without becoming bitter.

      3) while trusting in their Lord.

      4) while looking for His second coming.

       

      Peter wished to impress on his readers that by living an obedient, victorious life under duress, a Christian can actually evangelize his hostile world (Peter 1:14; 2:1,12,15; 3:1–6,13–17; 4:2; 5:8,9).

       

      Believers WERE AND ARE constantly exposed to a world system energized by Satan and his demons. Their effort is to discredit the church and to destroy its credulity and integrity. One way these spirits work is by finding Christians whose lives are NOT consistent with the Word of God, and then parading them before the unbelievers to show what a SHAM the church is.

       

      Christians, however, must STAND against the enemy and silence the critics by the power of holy lives.

       

      In this epistle, Peter is rather effusive in reciting TWO categories of truth.

       

      The FIRST category is positive and includes a long list of blessings bestowed on Christians. As he speaks about the identity of Christians and what it means to know Christ, Peter mentions one privilege and blessing after another. Interwoven into this list of privileges is the catalog of suffering. Christians, though most greatly privileged, should also know that the world will treat them unjustly. Their citizenship is in heaven and they are strangers in a hostile, Satan-energized world. Thus the Christian life can be summed up as a call to victory and glory through the path of suffering.

       

      So, the basic question that Peter answers in this epistle is:

       

      How are Christians to deal with animosity? The answer features practical truths and focuses on Jesus Christ as the model of one who maintained a triumphant attitude in the midst of hostility.

       

      First Peter also answers other important practical questions about Christian living such as:

       

      1. Do Christians need a priesthood to intercede with God for them (2:5–9)?

       

      2. What should be the Christian’s attitude to secular government and civil disobedience (2:13–17)?

       

      3. What should a Christian employee’s attitude be toward a hostile employer (2:18)?

       

      4. How should a Christian lady conduct herself (3:3,4)?

       

      5. How can a believing wife win her unsaved husband to Christ (3:1,2)?

       

       

      Verse 1 tells us The writer and the intended readers of this letter.

       

      Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,”

       

       

      Peter…

       

      He was not merely an apostle, but there is a sense in which he was the leader of the apostolic group. Peter was an important and an influential man in the early church. This letter would have been received with a sense of importance.

       

       

      Peter's name is mentioned in the gospels more than anyone else's except the name of Jesus. No one speaks as often as Peter, and Jesus speaks more to Peter than to any other individual.

       

      - Jesus rebuked Peter more than any other disciple.

      - Peter was the only disciple who dared to rebuke Jesus.

      - Peter confessed Jesus more boldly and accurately than any other disciple.

      - Peter denied Jesus more forcefully and publicly than any other disciple.

      - Jesus praised Peter more than any other disciple.

      - Peter alone among the disciples was addressed by Jesus as Satan.

       

      Since Peter is so prominent in the gospel records, it is worthwhile to remind ourselves of some of the important mentions of Peter in the four gospels.

       

      MARK 1:35-39, When Jesus woke up early in the morning, to pray before the sun came up, Simon Peter led the other disciples on a hunt to find Jesus to tell Him what He should do.

       

      LUKE 5:1-11, He (PETER) put his nets out at the direction of Jesus to bring in a massive catch of fish.

       

       

      MATTHEW 10:1-42, He (PETER) went on a unique outreach trip with the other disciples.

       

       

      MATTHEW 14:24-33, He (PETER) stepped out of the boat during a raging storm and walked on the water with Jesus.

       

       

      JOHN 6:68-69, He (PETER) was the one who said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also, we have come to believe and to know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

       

       

      MATTHEW 17:1-9, He (PETER) saw Jesus transfigured in glory, together with Moses and Elijah.

       

       

      MATTHEW 18:21-35, He (PETER) was the one who asked Jesus how many times should we forgive a brother that sins against us, quoting the high number of "seven times".

       

       

      MATTHEW 19:27-30, He (PETER) was the one who asked Jesus, after the encounter with the rich young ruler, what the disciples would receive for giving everything up to follow Jesus.

       

      JOHN 13:6-10, He (PETER) was the one who insisted that Jesus would not wash his feet; then commanded Jesus to wash his whole body!

       

       

      MATTHEW 26:30-35, He (PETER) heard Jesus predict that he would deny Him three times.

      JOHN 18:1-11, He (PETER) was the one who cut off the right ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest, when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus.

       

       

      MATTHEW 26:69-75, He (PETER) denied Jesus three times, cursing and swearing that he did not even know "the Man," refusing to even name the name of Jesus.

       

       

      JOHN 20:1-10, He (PETER) was the one who ran with John the disciple to the tomb on the morning of the resurrection, after hearing the report of the women that the body of Jesus was not in its tomb.

       

       

      LUKE 24:34, He (PETER) was the one who received a personal visit from the resurrected Jesus on the day of the resurrection.

       

       

      JOHN 21, He (PETER) received a public restoration of Jesus in front of the other disciples, after the resurrection of Jesus.

       

       

      GRUDEM reminds us, “Significantly, Peter introduced himself as an apostle. "The supreme importance of the apostles is suggested by the fact that the phrase of Jesus Christ is attached to no other New Testament office: we do not read of teachers of Jesus Christ or prophets of Jesus Christ or evangelists of Jesus Christ, only of apostles of Jesus Christ."

       

      HIEBERT reminds us, “Peter did nothing to explain or justify his apostleship, and did not add a phrase like "by the will of God" as Paul did on some occasions (1 Corinthians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, and so on). "Unlike Paul, Peter's apostolic status was never questioned. This brief phrase indicates Peter's authority."

       

       

      To the pilgrims…

       

      The idea behind the word pilgrims is of someone who lives as a temporary resident in a foreign land. Pilgrims are sojourners and travelers, and pilgrims live in constant awareness of their true home.

       

       

      BARCLAY defines pilgrims for us, “The early Christian writing The Epistle to Diognetus gives the idea of what pilgrims are. "They inhabit the lands of their birth, but as temporary residents of it; they take their share of all responsibilities as citizens, and endure all disabilities as aliens. Every foreign land is their native land, and every native land a foreign land … they pass their days upon earth, but their citizenship is in heaven."

       

       

      To the pilgrims of the Dispersion…

       

      Peter is clearly writing to Gentiles (see 1 Peter 1:18, 2:10, and 4:3). Yet he calls them pilgrims of the Dispersion, a name that HAD IN THE PAST, ALWAYS was applied to the Jews. He calls them this because he sees the Christians of his day as being "sprinkled" throughout the world as the Jewish people were in the Dispersion after the fall of Judah and Jerusalem when it was conquered by the Babylonians.

       

       

      Pontus , Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…

       

      These specific areas were places Christianity had extended to in the first several decades after the beginning of the church. It was probably the route that the original courier of Peter's letter would follow in distributing the letter. This was not written to any one congregation, but intentionally written to ALL Christians.

       

       

      Verse 2 tells us Peter's DESCRIPTION of his readers and all Christians.

       

      Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.”

       

       

      ELECT according to the foreknowledge…

       

      Peter first describes his intended readers as elect. This means simply that they are chosen, chosen by God in a particular and unique sense.

       

       

      HIEBERT adds, "The opening characterization of the readers as elect was meant to strengthen and encourage them in their affliction. The doctrine of election is a 'family truth' intended to foster the welfare of believers."

       

       

      According to the foreknowledge of God…

       

      This describes the NATURE of their election. God's choosing is NOT random or uninformed, but according to His foreknowledge, which is an aspect of His omniscience. This foreknowledge includes prior knowledge of our response to the gospel, but is NOT solely dependent on it.

       

       

      Though God's election is according to … foreknowledge, there is more to His foreknowledge than His prior knowledge of my response to Jesus. Election is NOT election at all if it is ONLY a cause-and-effect arrangement between my choosing and God's.

       

      In sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience…

       

      An essential result of election is sanctification and obedience. While some would like to think that election has only to do with going to heaven or hell, Peter reminds us that it touches earth also. A claim to be elect is doubtful if there is NO evidence of sanctification and obedience.

       

      And sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ…

       

      However, since all the elect FALL SHORT of perfect sanctification and obedience, there is cleansing from sin provided for them through the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.

       

       

      DID YOU KNOW…

       

      There were THREE circumstances in the Old Testament where blood was sprinkled on people.

       

      1. At the establishment of Sinai or Old Covenant (Exodus 24:5-8).

      2. At the ordination of Aaron and his sons (Exodus 29:21).

      3. At the purification ceremony for a cleansed leper (Leviticus 14:6-7).

       

      The sprinkling of the blood of Jesus on us accomplishes the SAME things.

       

      HOW?

       

      FIRST, a covenant is formed.

       

      SECOND, then we are ordained as priests to Him.

       

      THIRD, we are cleansed from our corruption and sin.

       

      Each one of these things is ours through the work of Jesus on the cross.

       

      God the Father … the Spirit … Jesus Christ…

       

      Peter's effortless way of combining the work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in our salvation displays the New Testament approach to the Trinity. It is not detailed as a specific doctrine, but woven into the fabric of the New Testament.

       

       

      Jesus has a Father, but not in the sense of being higher than He who gave Him existence. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have existed TOGETHER throughout eternity, and each is equally God. Father and Son are terms used to describe the relationship between these first two members of the Trinity.

       

       

      Grace to you and peace be multiplied…

       

      Peter brings a greeting that had become common among the Christians, combining elements from Greek culture (Grace) and Jewish culture (peace).

       

      NOW PETER TELLS US WHAT IT MEANS TO BE SAVED AND TO LIVE SAVED.

       

       

      Verses 3-5 tells us Thanks to the Father for His work of salvation.

       

      Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

       

       

      Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…

       

      When Peter considered the salvation of God, all he could do is praise Him. This is especially because the motive for God's work is found in Him, not in us (according to His abundant mercy).

       

       

      SPURGEON says it well, “All His goodness to us begins with mercy. No other attribute could have helped us had mercy refused. As we are by nature, justice condemns us, holiness frowns upon us, power crushes us, truth confirms the threatening of the law, and wrath fulfills it. It is from the mercy of our God that all our hopes begin."

       

       

      Has begotten us again…

       

      The wording of begotten us again is different from born again (John 3:3), but the meaning is the same. Peter's idea is that when a person is saved, they are made a new creation (as in 2 Corinthians 5:17).

       

       

      To a living hope…

       

      We are born again to a living hope, because we have eternal life in a Savior who has conquered death Himself. The hope lives because it is set on an inheritance incorruptible, which can never fade away because it is reserved in heaven. This is a significant contrast to any inheritance on this earth.

       

       

      SPURGEON adds, "It is also called a 'living hope,' because it is imperishable. Other hopes fade like withering flowers. The hopes of the rich, the boasts of the proud, all these will die out as a candle when it flickers in the socket. The hope of the greatest monarch has been crushed before our eyes; he set up the standard of victory too soon, and has seen it trailed in the mire. There is no unwaning hope beneath the changeful moon: the only imperishable hope is that which climbs above the stars, and fixes itself upon the throne of God and the person of Jesus Christ."

       

      Incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away…

       

      Peter does NOT really describe our inheritance. All he can tell us is what it is NOT. What our inheritance actually is is something too great for him to describe. Yet we can know that our inheritance can NOT perish, it can NOT spoil, and it can NOT fade away.

       

       

      Our inheritance is like the inheritance of Aaron (Numbers 18:20) and the inheritance of the David (Psalm 16:5-6), which is the gift of God Himself. Since God GIVES Himself to us now, our inheritance begins here and now.

       

      We can NOT experience this inheritance unless we ARE born again. It would be like rewarding a blind man by showing him the most beautiful sunset or taking him to an art museum. Unregenerate man does NOT have the capacity to ENJOY this inheritance.

       

       

      In speaking with those who do NOT know Jesus, we should NOT just tell them of the agonies of hell they will experience, but also of the glories of heaven they will miss.

       

       

      Who are kept by the power of God through faith…

       

      The promise of our inheritance is certain, because we are kept by the power of God, ensuring that we will endure through faith until the coming of Jesus.

       

       

      We ARE kept by the power of God, but it is THROUGH faith, meaning our faith. The person who is kept is a person abiding in a continuing relationship of faith with God. We could say that faith activates the preserving power of God in the life of the Christian.

       

       

      MEYER says it well, "To have been told, as in the preceding verse, that our inheritance was reserved in heaven could have yielded us little comfort, unless that assurance had been followed and capped by this, that the heirs also are being kept for its full enjoyment."

       

       

      Verses 6-9 tells us The PURPOSE OF TRIALS for those who are saved.

       

      In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith; the salvation of your souls.”

       

       

      In this you greatly rejoice…

       

      We especially rejoice in God's keeping power when we are grieved by various trials, knowing that He will keep us as our faith is tested by fire.

       

       

      If need be, you have been grieved…

       

      Sometimes Christians imagine that trials and temptations are our present lot, and there is nothing we can do about them; yet, the true strong Christian will NEVER be grieved in a trial. They think that a Christian should be like Superman, and though bullets may be shot at Superman, they will all bounce off of his chest. Yet Peter here tells us that there is a "need be" not only for the various trials, but more especially that there is a "need be" for being grieved itself. God HAS a purpose not only for the trial, but for the heavy grief we feel in the trial.

       

       

      Faith … tested by fire…

       

      Our faith is NOT tested because God does NOT know how much or what kind of faith we have. It is tested because we often are ignorant of how much or what kind of faith we have. God's purpose in testing is to display the ENDURING quality of our faith.

       

      Much more precious than gold that perishes…

       

      If gold is fit to be tested and purified by fire, how much more our faith, which is far more precious than gold? God has a great and important purpose in testing our faith.

       

       

      WHY IS OUR FAITH IN JESUS TESTED?

       

      1. Faith is tested to show that it is SINCERE faith or TRUE faith.

       

      2. Faith is tested to show the STRENGTH of faith.

       

      3. Faith is tested to PURIFY it, to burn away the dross from the gold.

       

       

      Gold is one of the most durable of all materials. Yet it too will one day perish, but our faith will not.

       

       

      Receiving the end of your faith…

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      The end of your faith is the return of Jesus and the ultimate salvation of your souls. Testing and trials are inevitable as long as we are on this side of the end of your faith. As long as we do not see the God we serve, we must endure through trials, and face them with faith and joy.

       

      Whom having not seen you love…

       

      Peter knew that though he HAD seen Jesus, both before and after the resurrection, most every Christian in the early church had NOT seen Jesus. Yet they loved Him. Jesus was no less real simply because they had not seen Him.

       

      The word translated "joy inexpressible" "occurs ONLY here in the New Testament, and describes a joy so profound as to be beyond the power of words to express.

       

      Their joy was no ordinary, earth-born joy."

       

       

      Verses 10-12 tells us The PRIOR revelation of the salvation experienced by Christians.

       

      Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven; things which angels desire to look into.”

       

       

      Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully…

       

      It was important to Peter - and all the New Testament writers - to demonstrate that their teaching was NO novelty, but that it was testified beforehand by the prophets. Understanding this made salvation so much greater in the mind of Peter's afflicted readers.

       

       

      Peter did NOT seek to prove the truth of his teaching about salvation by showing its agreements with the prophets; rather, he sought to ENCOURAGE his afflicted readers by demonstrating the importance and comprehensive grandeur of the salvation for which they were being afflicted.

       

       

      Prophesied of the grace that would come to you…

       

      The prophets of the Old Testament longed to see exactly the grace of the New Covenant to come. Prophesying by the Spirit of Christ, they knew something of His sufferings and glories, but far less than they longed to know.

       

      One may only imagine how excited Isaiah would have been to read the Gospel of John. The Old Testament prophets knew so much; yet much was hidden to them, including the character of the Church (Ephesians 3:4-6) and the very essence of life and immortality (2 Timothy 1:10).

       

       

      To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering…

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      The prophets understood that they were ministering to people BEYOND them, as well as to people in their OWN day. These things the prophets predicted were reported as fact by the apostles (the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel).

       

       

      Because we know the Who (Jesus) and the when (Jesus' day) of these Old Testament prophecies, they should be of far more interest to us than they were even in the day of the prophets.

       

       

      Things which angels desire to look into…

       

      The unfolding of God's eternal plan is something that angels desire to look into. Angels observe our conduct (1 Corinthians 4:9), making it necessary that Christians conduct themselves properly (1 Corinthians 11:10).

       

       

      Part of God's eternal purpose is to SHOW His wisdom to the angelic beings through His work with the church (Ephesians 3:10-11). God wants the angels to look in on what He does in the church, and the idea is that the angels are bending over with intense interest and desire to learn as well.

       

       

      Therefore, they desire to see and learn. This word "Denotes a strong interest or craving. The present tense portrays a present, continued inner yearning to comprehend. The term does NOT imply that the desire can NOT or should not be fulfilled, but it does mark an enduring angelic effort to comprehend more of the mystery of human salvation."

       

       

      1 Corinthians 4:9, Ephesians 3:10, and 1 Timothy 3:16 likewise picture the supernatural world eagerly observing God's program of human redemption. The concept seems grounded in Jesus' words in Luke 15:7, 10 where angels are said to rejoice over one repentant sinner."

       

       

      Verses 13-17 tells us The CONDUCT of the saved.

       

      Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;”

       

       

      Therefore gird up the loins of your mind…

       

      Living the way God wants us to means that we must gird up the loins of our mind. The idea in this phrase is of preparing for action, much like our phrase "rolling up your sleeves." Then, we must also be sober, which means the ability to take a serious look at life.

       

       

      To gird up the loins of your mind is to get rid of loose and sloppy thinking; to bring the rational and reflective powers of your mind under control. It means to control what you think about, what you decide that you will set your mind upon.

       

       

      Be sober…

       

      "It denotes a condition free from every form of mental and spiritual loss of self-control; it is an attitude of self-discipline that avoids the extremes."

       

       

      Rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ…

       

      Peter has told us a lot about God's grace.

       

      1. He greeted us with grace (1 Peter 1:2).

       

      2. He told us of the grace that came to us in Jesus, predicted by the prophets of old (1 Peter 1:10).

       

      3. Now he goes further, writing of the grace that is to be brought to you when Jesus comes back.

       

      4. The only way we will be able to stand before Jesus on that day is because of the unmerited favor He gives and will give to us.

       

       

      Grace is NOT just for the past, when we first gave our lives to Jesus. It is NOT only for the present, where we live each moment standing in His grace (Romans 5:2).

       

      It is also for the future, when grace will be brought to us. God has only just begun to show us the riches of His grace.

       

      Grace is the unmerited love of God, stooping to save and bless; the source of all those bright and holy gifts which come from his infinite heart.

       

       

      As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance…

       

      Fulfilling God's call to holiness requires that we, as obedient children, break off with the lifestyle of the world (characterized by lusts and ignorance).

       

       

      But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy"…

       

      The main idea behind holiness is NOT moral purity but it is the idea of "apartness." The idea is that God is separate, different from His creation, both in His essential nature and in the perfection of His attributes.

       

      But instead of building a wall around His apartness, God calls us to come to Him and share His apartness. He says to us, "Be holy, for I am holy."

       

       

      When we fail to see God's apartness, we begin to believe that He is just a "super-man."

       

      Then we do NOT see that:

       

      1. His love is a holy love.

      2. His justice is a holy justice.

       

      3. And so on with all of His attributes. Holiness is not so much something we possess, as it is something that possesses us.

       

       

      And if you call on the Father…

       

      If we, as Christians, call on a holy God (presumably for help), we must understand we call on a God who shows no partiality - and will so judge our conduct, making a working, sober, holy walk all the more important.

       

       

      Verses 18-21 tells us The MOTIVATION for godly living.

       

      Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

       

       

      Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things…

       

      The high call for godly living makes sense in light of the price that was paid FOR our redemption. We were NOT saved by the precious blood of Jesus to then live as if we were garbage.

       

       

      From your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers…

       

      Peter describes a justification by law way of thinking as aimless conduct. It seems to have an aim - gaining merit before God by works - but it is in fact aimless because it cannot succeed.

       

      A lamb without blemish and without spot…

       

      Peter here speaks in reference to the completely sinless character of Jesus. If He were not without blemish and without spot, He would NOT have been qualified to be our Redeemer.

       

       

      He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world…

       

      The work of Jesus was NOT a plan developed late in the course of redemption. It was foreordained BEFORE the foundation of the world, though it was made evident in these last times.

       

       

      For you who through Him believe in God…

       

      The entire plan of redemption is for those who believe in God, though even their belief is through Him. Those who believe in God are not disappointed, because their faith and hope has been substantiated by Jesus' resurrection from the dead.

       

       

      Verses 22-25 tells us The NECESSITY for love among the saved.

       

      Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the LORD endures forever." Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.”

       

       

      Love one another fervently…

       

      Holy living is incomplete if it is NOT accompanied by love. To be a Christian means to have a sincere love of the brethren, BRETHREN MEANING OTHER JESUS LOVING, BELIEVING, AND TRUSTING MEN AND WOMEN, but we are encouraged to exercise that love fervently.

       

       

      Love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again…

       

      Such love is ONLY possible (and only to be expected) of those who have been born again by the eternal word of God.

       

      Again, Peter does NOT use the same wording for BORN AGAIN as is found in John 3; but he DOES use the exact same idea.

       

       

      Through the word of God which lives and abides forever…

       

      We are born again … through the word of God. But it does NOT only give us new life. It also tells us to love one another. If the word of God is as Isaiah 40:8 says it is - “the word of the Lord which

    • December 15, 2016 10:23 PM EST
    • 1 PETER 4

       

      OPENS WITH...SERVING GOD IN THE LAST DAYS

       

       

      Verses 1-2 tells us In the last days, Christians should have an attitude of COMMITMENT.

       

      Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”

       

       

      Since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind…

       

      The commitment God calls us to have is NOTHING greater than the commitment Jesus had in enduring suffering for our salvation. In the last days, we need to have a commitment to God that will ENDURE through great struggles.

       

       

      Jesus communicated the same idea when He told us that anyone who would come after Him must take up his cross and follow (Matthew 16:24). Taking up the cross meant that you were committed and NOT looking back!

       

       

      Arm yourself with the same mind…

       

      Many of us are defeated in our battle against sin because we refuse to sacrifice ANYTHING in the battle. We ONLY want victory if it comes EASILY to us. Jesus called us to have the kind of attitude that would sacrifice in the battle against sin (Matthew 5:29-30).

       

       

      He who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin…

       

      When a person has suffered physical persecution for the sake of Jesus, it almost always profoundly changes their outlook regarding sin and the pursuit of the lusts of the flesh. He is more likely to live the rest of his time in the flesh not for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

       

      Therefore,” which obviously ties us into what he has just said in chapter 3. Since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose. That’s really the summation of what he has just said, that’s why the therefore is there. You have seen Christ suffer in the flesh and his suffering was triumphant, so arm yourselves with that same purpose. What purpose? To be willing to suffer in the flesh knowing it produces potentially the greatest triumph. That is a marvelous statement and that is the application of all that has gone before. It is better to suffer for Christ than to suffer with the world. It is better because in our suffering for righteousness sake, when we suffer for doing what is right, when we suffer unjustly, when we are persecuted and treated unfairly and unkindly, it is that very suffering which can produce our greatest spiritual triumph, so we are to arm ourselves with that same purpose.

       

      Now let me look more specifically at this statement so that you’ll understand it because the verse itself can appear at the outset to be somewhat difficult. Please note that first statement, since Christ has suffered in the flesh. That simply means, Christ has died. That’s what it’s talking about. It’s talking about his death. Back in verse 18, it says, Christ died, at the beginning of the verse. At the end of the verse it says, he was put to death in the flesh, being put to death in the flesh, in verse 18 suffering in the flesh here in verse 1, both refer to the same thing. They refer to his death. That’s what Peter has been talking about.

       

      Since Christ died, implied and had such great triumph in his death, then arm yourselves also with the same purpose. Now what do we mean here by this arm yourselves, well, it is a military term properly translated. It refers to a soldier putting on weapons to fight. And in Ephesians 6:11, a form of this word is translated armor. Or the whole armor of God. Put on your armor. Arm yourselves. Take up your weapons, why? For a battle. Your life is going to be a battle and you need to be armed with this ultimate weapon. What is it? Arm yourselves also with the same ennoia, in the Greek, what does that mean? Same mind, same idea, same principle, same thought. What do you mean by that?

       

      Listen very carefully, arm yourself with the same realization, the same idea, and the same principle that was manifest in the suffering of Christ. What is that? The principle that even in death I can what? Triumph. That’s the idea. Arm yourself with that great thought. In other words, be willing, listen carefully, be willing to die. Arm yourself with that great thought, that’s exactly what I believe that Peter is saying here. It’s very simple statement. Christ died and you need to arm yourself with that same idea, that you too are willing to die, because you understand that in dying, there is triumph. Now you have an alternative, if you are persecuted, and they threaten your life, you can just recant.

       

      You can just deny Christ. You can just bail out. But that’s not an option, is it? So what he’s saying here is look, just what Jesus said in John 16 is going to come to pass in many of your lives, some of you are going to be persecuted, some of you are going to be killed. Some of you are going to be martyrs, arm yourself with that idea. That as Christ was willing to die because he knew in it there was triumph, you have the same thought, be willing to die for righteousness sake, because you know it can be triumphant.

       

      Now let me say it simply, voluntarily accept the potential of death as a part of the Christian life.

       

      Now is that a new thought to you?

       

      It shouldn’t be.

       

      Matthew chapter 10 verse 38 and 39, Jesus said this, take up your what? Cross and follow me. And he said, if any man is not willing to take up his cross, having denied himself, he is not worthy to be my disciple. What did he mean by that? What does he mean take up your cross? What does that mean? That means be willing to die. There’s nothing mystical about it. It isn’t some spiritual dedication he’s talking about, no. When he said to them, be willing to deny yourself and take up your cross, they knew exactly what he meant because a cross is where people got executed. He was saying, be willing to die for me. BE willing to give your life. And for many, many Christians, that has been a reality. Paul said, frankly, 1 Corinthians 15:31, “I die every day.” What did he mean by that? I’m living on the edge. In 2 Corinthians chapter 4 as he talked about the character of his own ministry, he said, we are persecuted. We are struck down, we are always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus. We are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus sake, Death works in us, in other words, he was always on the edge of death and one day he died for Christ, didn’t he? But he was ready for that.

       

      Remember when he wrote his last letter? He said, I am ready to be offered. You see, he had armed himself with the same idea. He had looked at the death of Christ and seen Christ triumph in it and so he armed himself with the same idea, that I am willing to die for Christ. And Peter here, like Paul, has the same thing in mind. You will find, dear friends, that that is the ultimate weapon, that is the ultimate weapon.

       

      Say, what do you mean that’s the ultimate weapon? Look, if the worst they can do to you is kill you and from your view point the best that can happen to you is to die, then you have ultimately thwarted them. That is the greatest weapon you possess. You see, that is why so many martyrs throughout the history of the church have been willing to die, because they armed themselves with that same idea, that there is great triumph in death.

       

      Jesus died and triumphed over sin. And if I die, look at it in verse 1. Because he who has suffered in the flesh, what does that phrase mean? To die, has ceased from sin. Did you get that? Is death so bad? You know what happens when you die?

       

      What happens?

       

      You don’t sin anymore. That’s good. Because you hate sin and you would like to be delivered from sin and you would like to be godly and virtuous and pure and holy and spotless. And you see, if I am armed with the goal of being delivered from sin and that goal is only achieved through my death and the ultimate that anything that anyone can do to me is kill me, they can only bring about that which is most precious to me. So I thwart them. So he’s telling these persecuted Christians to look for the triumph in death. The worst that the hostile persecuting world can do is kill the believer and if the believer is willing to die then that’s no threat.

       

       

      You read through Foxes Book of Martyrs or you read the story of John and Betty Stam or you read the story of the missionaries in Ecuador or even more contemporary missionaries who were really killed for the cause of Christ or people in communist lands or pagan lands whose lives were taken because of their faith in Christ and you ask yourself, how is it that they could endure that and the answer is, because they view death as triumph, they have armed themselves with that idea because they know that in death they cease from sin, then death has about it a certain sweetness, does it not?

       

      The one who dies has ceased from sin. It’s a perfect tense verb and it emphasizes a state or condition. You enter into a condition, a permanent, eternal state free from sin. Is that bad? Not if that’s the goal of my life. What am I trying to do through my whole Christian life? What am I trying to eliminate in my life? Sin. In one fell swoop, it’s gone. So if I have that idea in my mind, hey, kill me and I’m going to be where I’m trying to get. Free from sin. Then all the fear is gone. All the threatening is gone out of persecution.

       

      When a believer dies, he enters a permanent condition free from sin. Christ is the model of that. This was true of Christ, by the way. You say, wait a minute, he wasn’t a sinner. That’s right, he never sinned, he was without sin, but he came, listen carefully, into a world and it says in Romans 8:3, in the likeness of sinful flesh. And he came not only in the likeness of sinful flesh, but for sin. And then he subjected himself to evil men doing wicked things to him, so he felt the brunt of sin, didn’t he.

       

      And then on the cross, 2 Corinthians 5:21 says he was made sin and 1 Peter 2:24 says, he bore our sin. He came in the likeness of sinful flesh. He came to receive the worst evil that sinful men could do to him. He went to the cross and was made sin and bore sin, but when he died, he was what?

       

      Free from sin.

       

      And all of that which he suffered in his incarnation came to an end. He was no more in the likeness of sinful flesh. He had a glorified body. He will never again be subjected to the evil deeds by evil people and demons. He will never again bear sin, it was once for all.

       

      GRUDEM says,"Whoever has suffered for doing right, and has still gone on obeying God in spite of the suffering it involved, has made a clear break with sin."

       

       

      If we have not physically suffered for following Jesus Christ, we can still connect ourselves by faith to Jesus, who has suffered for us in the flesh.

      He no longer should live the rest of his time…

       

      Peter gave us two time references that are helpful in having the right attitude in our following of Jesus Christ.

       

      FIRST, no longer should we live in sin, and we should answer every temptation and sinful impulse with the reply, "no longer."

       

      SECOND, we should carefully consider how to live the rest of our time. God has appointed us some further days on this earth; how must answer to Him how we live this time.

       

       

      Verses 3-6 tells us In the last days, Christians should live with an attitude of WISDOM.

       

      For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles; when we walked in licentiousness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”

       

       

      For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles…

       

      Peter realized we all spent enough time living like the world. Now we are called to live like Christians. It is a profound, and foolish, waste of time for Christians to live like the world, and we must simply stop being double-minded and start living as Christians.

       

       

      Sadly, many Christians (in their heart of hearts) think that they have NOT spent enough time doing the will of the ungodly. They want to experience MORE of the world before they make a full commitment to godliness. This is a tragic what a mistake, and takes a path that leads away from eternal life.

       

       

      Licentiousness…

       

      This word begins a list of sins that Peter understood should only mark the past life of Christians, and not the present. This word means to live without ANY sense of moral restraint, especially in regard to sexual immorality and violence. It "denotes excesses of all kinds of evil. Involving a lack of personal self-restraint, the term pictures sin as an inordinate indulgence of appetites to the extent of violating a sense of public decency.

       

       

      When we look at this list (lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries), we see just how LITTLE fallen man has progressed in the last 2,000 years. These problems have NOT been solved in the time since Peter wrote this letter.

       

       

      They think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation…

       

      When the world looks at our godly living, they think it strange that we do not follow them in their flood of dissipation (wastefulness). If life lived after the flesh is anything, it is a waste.

       

       

      Speaking evil of you…

       

      When we do NOT participate in the sin around us, we convict those who practice their sin, and they do NOT like that - so they speak evil of us.

       

       

      "Since heathen religious ceremonies were part and parcel of ordinary life (e.g., all civic and national activities were bound up with them) the Christians were compelled to avoid what would have seemed to their fellows a wholly innocuous co-operation and to go much further than merely separate themselves from actual heathen worship." (Best, cited in Hiebert)

       

       

      They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge…

       

      When this account is required, the magnitude of their foolishness will be easily seen. Even if one seems to live the "good life" living by the world's rules, their life will be a waste in the measure of eternity.

       

       

      For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead…

       

      Peter also says that because of this eternal judgment the gospel was preached to the dead. The righteous dead know, and live in constant awareness of, the reality of eternity - and are rewarded by this understanding as they live according to God in the spirit.

       

       

      Peter has already told us that Jesus preached to the spirits in prison, preaching a message of judgment (1 Peter 3:19). Apparently during this same time, Jesus also preached a message of salvation to the FAITHFUL dead in Abraham's Bosom (Luke 16:22) who anticipated the work of the Messiah for them. This preaching to those who are dead was NOT the offer of a second chance, but the COMPLETION of the salvation of those who had been FAITHFUL to God under their first chance.

       

       

      In doing this, Jesus fulfilled the promised that He would lead captivity captive (Psalm 66:18; Ephesians 4:8) and would proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound (Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18).

       

      It may also be that Peter here referred to those in the Christian community who had already died, perhaps even dying as martyrs. If this is the case, Peter used their heroic example as a way to encourage his suffering readers to also be faithful.

       

      Now it is true that a believer hates sin. It is true that a believer desires to flee from sin. It is true that a believer longs to be freed from sin. All of us at some point or another in our lives in one way or another in some words or another have cried out, “Oh wretched man that I am. Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” We have all cried against our own wretchedness. We have all longed at some point in time to be delivered from the bondage of sin. Now the question comes, since sin is the evil of all evils, yes indeed, the only evil and since we hate it and long to be free from it, how can we avoid it?

       

      What is required of us if we are to stay away from sin? Well, obviously, it is the major effort of our life, would you not agree to that? It is the major effort of the life of every believer to avoid sinning. Now in order to avoid sinning, we must have three perspectives, in a sense we have to live in three tenses, future, present, and past. Some would say to us, in order to avoid sin, you have to have a future look. What we do mean by that? You have got to be watching for that temptation that hasn’t arrived yet. But you’ve got to be ready so you are not caught unawares. You have to look into the future. You need to do what the disciples failed to do and Jesus said to them, watch and pray lest you enter into temptation. We have to be on the alert. We have to be watchful, careful, always looking ahead, anticipating what might come, walking circumspectly, walking wisely in light of the danger ahead.

       

      We also have to have a present look. Not only are we looking ahead anticipating what might come, but we are looking at the present tense, what is surrounding us so that we are not duped unwittingly into sin. Paul reminds us in Romans 12:9, he says, “Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.” That is present tenses, whatever you see that is evil, hate it. Whatever you see that is good, cling to it. Paul said, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Paul said in Romans 13:14, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision of the flesh in regard to its lusts.” So we are constantly looking to the future anticipating what might come of sin. We are also very carefully assessing the present so that we may shun sin.

       

      But there is the need as well, to look to the past. One of the most important faculties for dealing with the evil of all evils, indeed, the only evil is a good memory, a good memory. And that is really what’s in Peter’s words here. He is calling on us to remember some things that will enable us to shun sin. The key to the passage is in verse 2 where Peter says that we are to live the rest of the time that we are in this flesh, no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. We are to live the rest of our lives, shunning sin and living out the will of God.

       

      Now, in order to do that, yes, we must look ahead and anticipate watchfully that which might come and yes, we must apprise ourselves of the present tense, but Peter’s main point is, we must look back, we must have a good memory. Now, remember where we are before we dig into this particular text. This whole epistle is written to people who are suffering. And it has reached a certain climax actually at the end of chapter 3. And the climax there was that Peter was saying in all of your suffering remember this, suffering can be triumphant. You can be a victor even in suffering and the model for that is whom? Christ.

       

      And Peter shows us in chapter 3, verses 18 through 22, how Christ in the midst of unjust suffering triumphed. In fact, he gained his greatest victory at the time of his greatest suffering. And we noted in our last several studies that when Jesus was being unjustly killed, on the cross, when he was being unfairly treated, when he was being punished, the result of hatred, the result of rejection, at the very time when he was suffering unjust treatment, dying the just for the unjust, he was triumphing over sin.

       

      He was triumphing over the demon forces of hell. He was triumphing over the judgment of God and he was gaining for himself the ultimate supremacy as it says in verse 22 of being seated at the right hand of God. So in the moment of his death, he triumphed over sin. He triumphed not only over sin, but he triumphed over the demon forces of hell. He triumphed over the judgment of God, which he endured and came out victorious and he triumphed over all created beings. And it was all in his greatest suffering that he gained his greatest triumph. Peter’s point is that when you view your suffering, remember it maybe the moment of your greatest triumph. So it was with the suffering of Christ and so it may be with you as well.

       

       

      Verse 7 tells us In the last days, Christians should live with an attitude of SERIOUS prayer.

       

      But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.”

       

       

      The end of all things is at hand…

       

      If we REALLY believe that we live in the last days, it is all the MORE appropriate that we give ourselves to prayer (therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers).

       

      Many Christians who believe that Jesus is coming soon based on prophecy charts and political events fail to apply that belief in the proper way. They fail to apply themselves to more diligent prayer.

       

       

      Therefore be serious … in your prayers…

       

      We must give ourselves to serious prayer. As we see the weight of eternity rushing towards us, we dare NOT take the need for prayer lightly.

       

       

      Therefore be … watchful in your prayers…

       

      We must give ourselves to watchful prayer, primarily having our hearts and minds watching and ready for the return of Jesus Christ. But this also means watching ourselves and watching this world, measuring our readiness for Jesus' coming.

      Verses 8-11 tells us In the last days, Christians should live with an attitude of LOVE.

       

      And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

       

       

      Above all things have fervent love for one another…

       

      If these are the last days, how much more important is it to love those you are going to spend eternity with? In light of eternity, we must have fervent love for one another.

       

       

      For love will cover 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 says it well, "Where love abounds in a fellowship of Christians, many small offenses, 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."

       

       

      Be hospitable to one another without grumbling…

       

      Love will show itself in hospitality. Christians should often open their homes to others and doing it all without grumbling.

      HIEBERT tells us, "'Without grumbling' is a frank recognition that the practice of hospitality could become costly, burdensome, and irritating. The Greek term denotes a muttering or low speaking as a sign of displeasure. It depicts a spirit that is the opposite of cheerfulness."

       

       

      As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another…

       

      Love will show itself as we give to the church family what God has given us as gifts. As we do so, we are good stewards of the many-faceted (manifold) grace of God given to us.

       

       

      In 1 Corinthians 15:10, Paul makes it clear that he was what he was only by God's grace. But at the same time, His grace toward me was not in vain because Paul put his own God-inspired efforts to work with God's grace. The idea is that if we are bad stewards of the manifold grace of God, it is as if that grace was given to us in vain. That grace is wasted, because it only comes to us, and doesn't move through us.

       

       

      If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies…

       

      Every part is important; each has its job to do. A man was rebuilding the engine to his lawn mower, and when he finished, he had one small part left over, and he couldn't remember where it went. He started the engine and it ran great, so he figured that the part was useless - until he tried to stop the lawn mower, and it wouldn't stop! Even the smallest, seemingly least important part of the body of Christ is important.

       

       

      As we serve one another, we do it with the strength God provides, the ability which God supplies - so that to Him belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever.

       

       

      Verses 12-13 tells us Enduring trials with the RIGHT attitude.

       

      Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

       

       

      Concerning the fiery trial which is to try you…

       

      Instead of thinking of trials (even fiery trials) as strange occurrences, we see them as ways to partake of Christ's sufferings. And if we partake of His sufferings, we will also partake of His glory and joy.

       

       

      REMEMBER Peter once told Jesus to avoid the suffering of the cross (Mark 8:32-33). "Once it seemed strange to the Apostle Peter that his Master should think of suffering. Now he thinks it strange that He could have imagined anything else."

       

       

      Partake of Christ's sufferings…

       

      We can only partake of Jesus' sufferings because He partook of our humanity and sufferings. He became a man and suffered so that our suffering would NOT be meaningless. It is good to share anything with Jesus, even His suffering.

       

       

      Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy…

       

      Our tendency is to embrace the glory and the joy, and to avoid any sharing of Jesus' suffering. Or, we morbidly fixate on the suffering and forget that it is but a necessary prelude to the glory and joy.

       

      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.

       

      To the extent implies a measure. Those who have suffered more in Jesus will rejoice more at His coming in glory.

       

       

      Verses 14-16 tells us The difference between suffering as a Christian and suffering as an evildoer.

       

      If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”

       

       

      If you are reproached for the name of Christ…

       

      Suffering for the name of Christ is a blessing, because it shows that we really are following Jesus, and that we suffer because we are identified with Him.

       

       

      On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified…

       

      We expect the world to blaspheme Jesus. But He should always be glorified among Christians.

       

       

      Let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody...

       

      Suffering as an evildoer is deserved and brings shame to the name of Jesus. Peter recognizes that not all suffering that Christians experience is suffering in the name of Jesus.

       

      We understand when Peter writes about the suffering that might come to the murderer, the thief, or the evildoer. Yet we should NOT be surprised that he also includes the busybody in other people's matters. Such people do suffer a lot of grief and pain, but NOT for the sake of Jesus!

       

       

      If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed…

       

      Suffering as a Christian is nothing to be ashamed about, even through the world may despise the suffering Christian. Instead, we should glorify God in these matters.

       

       

      We do NOT glorify God for suffering. But we do glorify Him in suffering, and we glorify Him for what He will accomplish in us and through us with the suffering.

       

       

      Christians were first known as "disciples," "believers," "the Lord's disciples," or "those who belonged to the Way" before they were known as Christians, first at Acts 11:26.

       

      DID YOU KNOW...This is the first of THREE places in the New Testament where the followers of Jesus are named Christians.

       

      WHERE?

       

      1.In Acts 11:26 it tells us the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

       

      2. In Acts 26:28 Agrippa told Paul, You almost persuade me to become a Christian. This shows that between Acts 11:26 and 26:28 Christian had become a popularized name for the followers of Jesus.

      3. In 1 Peter 4:16 the idea is that some are suffering because they are identified as Christians. This shows that the name had become very widely used, so much so that one could be persecuted for being numbered as a Christian.

       

       

      Verses 17-19 tells us Committing your soul to God in the midst of suffering.

       

      For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?" Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”

       

       

      For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God…

       

      In the context of suffering, Peter tells us that judgment begins at the house of God. God uses suffering as a judgment (in a positive, purifying sense) for Christians (the house of God) now.

       

       

      Now is our time of fiery trial (1 Peter 4:12); the ungodly will have their fire later. The fire we endure now purifies us; the fire the ungodly will endure will punish them. Yet we always remember that there is never any punishment from God for us in our sufferings, only purification. For the Christian, the issue of punishment was settled once and for all at the cross, where Jesus endured all the punishment the Christian could ever face from God.

       

       

      The same fire that consumes straw will purify gold. The fire is the same, but its purpose in application is different, and its effect is different upon the straw and the gold. Even so, Christians do suffer some of the same things the ungodly do, yet the purpose of God is different, and the effect is different.

       

      If it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

       

      Peter's sobering application is clear: if this is what God's children experience, what will become of those who have made themselves His enemies? How can they ever hope to stand before the judgment and wrath of God?

       

       

      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.

       

       

      If the righteous one is scarcely saved…

       

      Since this is true - that the salvation of the righteous does not come without difficulty - then it should make us pause if we ourselves or others seem to have an "easy" salvation.

       

       

      It is NOT that our salvation is difficult in the sense of earning it or finding a way to deserve it; it is all the free gift of Jesus Christ. Yet our salvation is hard in the sense that the claims of discipleship challenge us and demand that we cast away our idols and our sins. Real discipleship; genuine following after Jesus Christ is sometimes a hard thing, so we understand why Peter quoted the passage from Proverbs, the righteous one is scarcely saved.

       

       

      Those who suffer according to the will of God…

       

      Peter again draws a distinction between those who suffer according to the will of God and those who suffer otherwise. Not all suffering is the will of God.

       

      Commit their souls to Him…

      The word "commit" is a technical one, used for leaving money on deposit with a trusted friend. Such a trust was regarded as one of the most sacred things in life, and the friend was bound by all honor to return the money intact.

       

      It is the very word Jesus used when He said, Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit. (Luke 23:46)

       

       

      So when Christians commit their souls to Him, they leave their souls in a safe place. God is a faithful Creator, and we can give ourselves to Him as pliable clay in His hands.

       

       

      Faithful Creator…

       

      PETER REMINDS US...So much of the agony we put ourselves through in times of trial and suffering has to do with our disregard of God's faithfulness, or of His place as Creator. He is our sovereign Creator, with the right to do with us as He pleases. Yet JESUS is faithful, and will only do what is ultimately BEST for us.

       

      JOHN MACARTHUR sums up these last scriptures well, “ So, all of this helps us to see the importance of a clear evaluation of our suffering. It is to be for righteousness’ sake, not become of sin. We are not then to be ashamed when we suffer, but to honor God because He is purifying His church where judgment must begin if we’re going to be a pure people to reach the world. And so, when you see yourself suffering, look at it, see it for what it is, evaluate it. It should be a good reminder of how much more severe judgment could be and will be for those without Christ. How do you handle suffering? Expect it, rejoice in it, evaluate it, see it for what it really is. It’s God graciously purging His church for usefulness, for communion with Christ, for greater weight of glory. It’s not to be compared with that terrible suffering that the sinners and ungodly will endure forever.

       

      One final point: expect suffering, rejoice in suffering, evaluate suffering; fourthly, entrust yourself to God. A godless man can’t do that. The sinner can’t do that; it would be too late. You and I can in the midst of our suffering. Verse 19, “Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful creator in doing what is right.” The word therefore is there because of the true perspective on suffering just summed up. Because you now understand suffering, you now understand that it is remedial, corrective, purgative, instructive. You understand that God uses it to test you, to purge you, to make you more useful, to give you a greater weight of glory. “Therefore, in the midst of it, let those also who suffer according to the will of God,” it is in His will as He cleanses His church, “entrust their souls.”

       

       

      We are suffering according to the will of God. It is His purpose, it is His intended purpose for His children: to purge, purify, chasten, to make us tender, to make us effective. The word “entrust,” by the way, is a banking term. It means to deposit for safekeeping, just go through suffering taking your soul, and depositing it with God. The word “soul” means your life, your being, your person. “Give it to a faithful creator.” That’s the only place in the Bible where that phrase is used. Why does he use it? Listen to this, he uses the word “creator” to remind us that we’re simply giving back to God what He created, which means that He is most capable of caring for it, right? And when we say He is a faithful creator, we can trust Him with it. As creator, He best knows the needs of His beloved creatures. As a faithful creator, He will meet those needs because He is faithful to His promise. “My God shall supply all your needs.” By the way, the word “entrust” here, entrust their souls to a faithful creator, paratithÄ“mi, is the same word exactly used of Jesus when on the cross He entrusted His Spirit to the Father. Same word. In the midst of His suffering, He gave Himself to God. Peter says give your life to God for Him to sustain in the midst of the greatest suffering, and He is trustworthy, and He will be faithful. And that verse ends, “In doing what is right.”

       

       

      That’s where it ought to be. We do what’s right; we commit ourselves to God. We suffer, we entrust our souls to a faithful creator, and do what is right. To say it another way: while doing what is right, take what comes; commit yourself to God. No defection, obedience, commitment, faithfulness. Just keep doing what is right. So, when suffering comes to the believer, we expect it, we rejoice in it, we look at it closely and evaluate it. Is it a result of sin, or is it a result of righteousness? And is God just purging, purifying, testing, that we might be more useful, more glorious?