Sermons on 1 Peter
Near the end of his first letter, Peter encouraged the elders in his audience to “shepherd the flock of God that is among you” (1 Peter 5:1-3). He followed his encouragement with a promise – if the elders faithfully fulfilled their duty, Jesus, “the chief Shepherd”, would give them an “unfading crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4; cf. Hebrews 13:20; John 10:7-18). The connection Peter makes between elders who “shepherd the flock of God” and Jesus “the chief Shepherd” offers an insight into being an elder – elders follow the example of Jesus. Our elders have announced the beginning of a process to appoint additional elders for our church family. This lesson, which concludes a series about elders, reminds us of elders’ responsibility to follow the example of Jesus, “the good shepherd” (John 10:7-18), whose teachings and behavior outline the expectations God has for those to whom He entrusts the care of His church.
1 Peter 3:21-22–Why did John baptize Jesus? Why do we baptize today? Scripture leads us to the conclusion that you must repent and be baptized to obey the gospel. By reading what Scripture says and illustrates about baptism from Jesus through the New Testament, we also begin to grasp the core truths proclaimed by the Christian faith. As we’ve seen recently among our congregation, God is always working. People are searching and responding. The Christian faith, so beautifully summarized in Scripture’s teaching on baptism, shows us God is not far from us if we will reach out to him.
Certain beliefs and practices define us as a religious group in our thinking and other religious groups’ thinking. Because we have a responsibility to be “prepared to make a defense” for the things we believe (1 Peter 3:15), we need to have a conversational understanding of our beliefs and practices that we can share with others. This lesson continues a series looking at some of the beliefs and practices that tend to define us, things like baptism, communion, and music in worship, and will offer a biblical explanation for them. In particular, this lesson explores some of our beliefs about the church: We believe the church exists as God’s new Israel and has the responsibility of mediating between God and the world through its dedication to thinking and acting like Jesus.
Our government’s response to events over the past few months has raised fears in many people that it is taking away their rights. While they do not usually characterize it as ‘oppression’, we generally understand that claims about have one’s rights revoked or repressed belong in the category of oppression. The growing debate in our nation about these concerns raises the question about the relationship we, as Christians, ought to have with our government. We will therefore consider Peter’s message in 1 Peter to see what wisdom the early church can offer us that will help us better understand our relationship to our government.
Tell the Story 1 Peter 3:15 If someone asked me why I put my hope in Jesus, what would I say? I could probably give several reasons, but have you ever been caught off guard and later wished you’d said something better, or different? It’s hard to always be ready. But Paul’s recollection of his conversion in Acts 22 help us to have our eyes open. He helps us to be on the lookout for those seeking a reason for hope. He also reminds us of why we place our hope in Jesus.
God, in the Bible, gives His people a very real, very pressing mission. Understanding that mission prepares us to think about this month’s theme – following Jesus means dedicating one’s life to declaring his sovereign identity and its meaning for peoples’ lives. This lesson will therefore offer a big-picture understanding of the mission God gives to us and its meaning for us.”
The New Testament offers a few curious statements about suffering. Paul, for example, embraced his suffering while Peter even told people they should rejoice in their suffering. We, I think, would (rightly) agree that following Jesus would include helping persecuted people, so what are we to do with Paul and Peter’s comments? This lesson will consider suffering’s place in the new identity God gives to us through Jesus and its place within our lives today.
Peter wrote that Christians are created for the purpose of loving one another (1 Peter 1:22). This lesson will continue to explore the purposes Jesus gives to our lives by considering the purpose of love and the way Jesus’ example and teachings shape the love that should define us
1 Peter 2:9 — Covenants play a major role in the Bible’s narrative but do not, in my experiences, have much – if any – role in our day-to-day lives. While we might not commonly talk about covenants, our daily lives do include binding agreements (marriages, contracts, loans, etc.) that offer a way for us to begin thinking about the Bible’s emphasis upon covenants. This lesson will draw on those insights to help us think about God’s covenant with Israel in the Old Testament, the special mission it gave to the nation, and how the New Testament extends that same mission to the church today.
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:9-12 Christ is the center of the gospel, but that in no way makes the church unimportant or optional. Fellowship is a word frequently used to describe the special bond that exists between us, God and each other. The Greek word translated “fellowship” (koinonia) refers to what it is that we have in common that makes the church a special community. The idea of community suggests the closeness of relationships and the life of many members acting in community, rather than the simple faithfulness of an individual Christian.
1 Peter 3:18-22 – When we follow the context, we can often understand even the most difficult passages. Peter wrote to encourage suffering Christians for whom righteous living didn’t seem to be rewarded, and those who persecuted them seemed to thrive. Christians are encouraged by the example and actions of Christ. He suffered and died, but then triumphed over death. Those who accept the preaching of the gospel will share in his victory, and those who reject him will hear words of judgment.
1 Peter 2:20-25 We are fully aware of the extreme pain and suffering involved in a crucifixion. But during his last night, Jesus suffered a full assortment of cruelties both great and small. He was abandoned, disappointed and betrayed by friends. It’s happened to us, and it hurts. Lies were told about him, and he was ridiculed, even in front of friends and family. He was hung on a cross, exposed naked in public, and saw his mother witness his shame and pain. All comfort, recognition and vindication came too late – after he died. Jesus knows every pain we suffer, and has shown us how to keep it all in perspective.