1 Peter

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“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8 NLT).

November 26, 2018

The apostle Peter emphasized the importance of staying together as a Christian community in the face of increasing persecution. The “most important” feature of such a unified community is love. For love doesn’t look for offense or imperfection. Indeed, it overlooks such things, keeping “no record of wrongs” (1 Cor. 13:5).

In Genesis 9, Noah’s son, Ham, saw his father’s drunken nakedness and told his brothers about it. However, Shem and Japheth backed into Noah’s tent, covering him with a robe, not wishing to see their father in such a state. Which of the sons acted in love? Wasn’t it the ones who covered their father’s sin?

Peter’s instruction is a reference to the Proverb, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins” (Prov. 10:12). This is not an encouragement to cover-up, compounding one’s sin by lying about it or failing to confront it privately. No, it is a covering of love that patiently seeks to maintain relationship through thick and thin. It looks for the best in others, rather than fault-finding. Love helps the sinner make things right.

It was God’s great love that moved Him to send Christ to be the covering for our sins. For Christ is our covering. His blood has covered our sins. And we are hidden in Him, having “put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27), we are now all one in Him. And since our sins are covered, there is no need to cover-up. We can be ourselves in Christ, knowing that we are deeply loved.

“Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.” (1 Peter 3:22 NLT).

November 25, 2018

In the context of encouraging the suffering recipients of his letter, Peter reminded them of Christ’s sufferings, His resurrection and current position of honor. This reminds us that suffering is temporary and that one day we shall be raised to eternal life with Christ. It also strengthens us in our suffering, for Christ is already in authority over all things, so that He is able to help us when we call on Him.

Yet, one other truth is implied, which Paul named in his letter to the Colossians. Speaking of our position in Christ, Paul wrote, “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-3). So, even though we may suffer experientially in this world, our “real life” is already positionally at the right of the Father in Christ. One day, our experience and our position will be one. For we “shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn. 3:2).

“And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God” (1 Peter 2:5 NLT).

November 23, 2018

The Church is not a place, but a people. We have not built it, we are being built into it. While God builds the Church, we are to be the Church. For we are all “holy priests,” offering worship to God through meditation of Christ, the Cornerstone and Great High Priest.

Christ told Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). So, Christ is Cornerstone, Capstone and Builder. And we are the bricks. Our role is not to BUILD the church. Our role is to BE the church. If we will BE the church, Christ will BUILD the church.

“May God give you more and more grace and peace” (1 Peter 1:2b NLT).

November 22, 2018

On this Thanksgiving Day 2018, may this benediction be yours. For God has already given so much and more to us. He loved us so much that He gave us His Son, Jesus. This is grace, which is God’s unmerited favor, freely given to those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Peace is the result of this grace received, peace with God and with one another. For Christ is our reconciliation with God and following Him, we have received the ministry of reconciliation, declaring to everyone that God is no longer counting our sins against those who trust Christ.

Yet, the benediction goes further, asking God to give “more and more,” so that our cups runneth over with grace and peace!

Blessings to you and yours this Thanksgiving Day!

“and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Peter 5:4 NKJV).

November 26, 2017

The pastor is to serve as an under-shepherd, caring for the “flock of God,” which is the church. He serves under the authority of the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. His service is not to be motivated by vainglory, power, nor riches. Yet, he is to rely on the Lord who called him to also provide for him and his family from the work of shepherding. His ultimate motivation is to stay busy with kingdom work, while looking for the Chief Shepherd’s appearing. For on that Day, he will “receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”

As I look back on 26 years as a pastor, it has been the awareness that I work for Jesus as an under-shepherd, that the church is His flock, not mine, and that my reward is in His hand, that has sustained me. I have often felt as Isaiah did about my work as a shepherd, but just as he did, I have been encouraged by the Lord’s promise:

“I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand,
and my reward is with my God.” – Isa. 49:4

“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” (1 Peter 3:18 NKJV).

November 25, 2017

Peter gave the whole gospel in a single verse. The sinless Christ died for sinners that they might be reconciled to God. Peter emphasized that Christ suffered “once.” There was no need for more. His suffering and death on the cross was sufficient for perpetuity without any need of repetition. The weight and value of His singular sacrifice was sufficient to redeem all who accept His payment for sin. The eternal One exchanged His eternal life for our death sentence. The righteous One paid our sin debt, the “just for the unjust,” with His perfect righteousness. The Son of God offered His sonship, experiencing our separation, that “He might bring us to God” as His children.

O, the worth of His solitary Life! Christ has died “once” and His sacrifice is sufficient for all.

“as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2 NKJV).

November 23, 2017

How much does a newborn desire mother’s milk? With that level of desire for nourishment and intimacy, the believer is to desire the Word of God. It contains all that the believer needs for spiritual health and growth to maturity. The newborn longs for mother’s breast not only for food, but for comfort. In this too, the Word offers solace and care for the believer as the Spirit applies the “Theopneustos” (“God-breathed” – 2 Tim. 3:16) comfort to their troubled soul.

Do you desire the pure milk of God’s Word today? It’s study is necessary for your spiritual growth. Your desire for it is evidence of your spiritual birth. Do you love God’s Word?

Living in Harmony

November 27, 2016 | 1 Peter 2:4-17 | culture, exposition

It can be hard to find a way to live in harmony with the culture around you. Do you feel that it is difficult to be a believer in your workplace, when your with friends or even at home? Do you sense this tension between being an authentic Christian and getting along with others in certain sectors of your life?

In Peter’s first letter to believers in Asia Minor, he tells them that they can live in harmony as exiles in their world by truly becoming God’s people. We too can live in harmony with our world by living as His people.

“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16 ESV)

November 24, 2016

As exiles in this world, citizens of the kingdom of heaven, we have been set free from slavery to sin and the world’s system. We live in this world, but we are not of this world. Our citizenship is in heaven. Yet, this “freedom” is not a license to sin, but liberty to live for Christ. As Paul said, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (Rom.6:14). So, we live as “servants of God,” freely submitting to the authorities ordained by God, not out of fear or duty, but out of the grace and love of Christ. We have been set free to serve God.

Living in Holiness

November 20, 2016 | 1 Peter 1:13-2:3 | culture, exposition

In Peter’s first letter to believers in Asia Minor, he tells them that they can live in holiness as exiles in their world as God’s chosen people. In this message, we learn some practical advice Peter gives us to live as a people set apart, or holy.