1st & 2nd Peter are foundational books for the new testament church. Peter’s Story gives His letters great weight and authority. God used Peter for important reasons, his complexity helps us understand faith.
Who was Peter? We have few trusted sources, basically Scripture. In Scripture, Peter is depicted as hasty & violent and also as kind and caring. He could be resolute at times and in the case of the church at Antioch, vacillating. He is pictured as gentle yet firm, he speaks clearly about who Jesus is. Peter was unschooled, yet he is always depicted as the leader of the 12.
Peter presents a broad study of human nature, all by himself. He was complex man of passion & weakness who was transformed by ‘The Christ’. One moment he’s doing the right things, and then his flesh and sin would take over. Peter experienced the wonder of walking on water…and then overthought it and sank. Peter insisted, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” (not so much). Peter was deeply ashamed of his betrayal of Jesus…’he wept bitterly’
Then after the Resurrection we start to see the transformation. 1st we see the restoring of Peter…do you love me? Then the Pentecost sermon. Then his vision & mission to the non Jews. Then his leadership of the Jerusalem Church and ultimately the Roman Church.
Peter was flawed & poor bad decisions but through that God made him a new creation. He grew in humility, he was faithful, and he was obedient. He was able to admit when he was wrong, and he was able to change. Peter’s absolute surrender to Christ was used by God to make Peter a servant leader of the early Church.
He became a prophet of God = writer of Scripture (speaking for God). He is believed to have written the Gospel of Mark (dictated it to Mark). In writing this letter to the scatted Jews in Asia Minor he starts with the basics
The original Audience. How does that relate to this body as the audience? We do well to read this letter as a refresher course in the fundamentals of our faith. We do well to approach this letter with childlike humility, not thinking this is too basic
1 This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
- Peter, not ‘Simeon Peter’
- Apostle = ‘A Sent One’…’One Sent on Behalf of Someone with their message’
- God’s Chosen = Jewish by ethnicity (mission to Jews / transition to church)
- Jewish Christians fled from the area surrounding Jerusalem 35-40 AD
2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and His Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed Him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.
- Clear communication of Biblical doctrines of ‘Election’ and ‘Predestination’
- We are known and chosen as Jesus’s Christ’s Body (set apart = Holy)
- Obeyed = surrendered to His Lordship / Cleansed by His Sacrificial death
- THIS IS AMAZING GRACE… yet Peter asks God to give us more
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
- The Biblical doctrine of God being the sole focus of ALL our worship & praise
- Expression of HIS mercy / WE get Resurrection life because God raised Christ
- Now Jesus Christ’s Church gets to live expecting an eternity of priceless value
- ‘Non-Fungible Eternity’
5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
- Peter assumes his readers have ‘faith’… (their lives have displayed it)
- Our faith is how God’s power acts as protection for the rest of this life…
- When we are in heaven we will no longer need protection!
- On the last day God will reveal to everyone that eternal salvation is in Him
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.
- The basis for Christ’s church to be truly glad is our inheritance
- What is coming is worth whatever you may have to endure to get there
- The struggles are going to reveal true faith & purify it, increasing it’s value
- Nothing is as important as faith in Christ (It should be the center of our lives)
So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
- There is an emphases on our faith remaining strong in the midst of trials
- How we live during the hard stuff says everything about what we have faith in
(No matter what I go though nothing changes my faith in Christ for eternity)
- Trusting in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the ultimate reward in itself
8 You love him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls.
- We can know and love Christ without seeing Him (Scripture)
- Trusting in what you cannot see is difficult
- God gives us assurance by His Spirit living in us
- This is how that ‘Faith’ thing works (Peter knows what faith is)
- When we know we are bound for eternity with Christ is is a source of great joy
- The joy comes from know that our faith will be rewarded with Heaven
10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.
- Biblical Salvation is the point of all God’s revelation, all through the OT
- God works through ‘Progressive Revelation’…information on information
- Prophets were given bits of info & told more would be revealed in the future
- This is how our faith walk works, (learn & apply…repeat)
12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.
- God’s people (prophets) have always been asked to live for others…by God
- God’s Spirit is the author of all Scripture, of the Gospel message
- Angelic beings are watching to see how us human respond to God’s love
How amazing this salvation!
How we need to be reminded and encouraged to focus on it!
How we can live in ways that honors what God has done for us!
Might we live each day, each moment in light of the eternity Christ gives us!
He died for us, let’s live for HIM!