Peter

1 Peter 4

SCRIPTURE  
1 Peter 4 1-2 Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.

OBSERVATION
If a person really believes in eternity, then he will make the best use of time. If we are convinced that Jesus is coming, then we will want to live prepared lives. Whether Jesus comes first, or death comes first, we want to make "the rest of the time" count for eternity.  Warren Wiersbe

UNDERSTANDING
I want to make my time on earth count for eternal things so I strive hard to live in such a way.  The truth is that anyone who chooses to live in their new identity as a child of God will encounter suffering.  Peter tells us that we should not be surprised at that, it is par for the course and we are simply following in Jesus' footsteps.  Look at the suffering as a way to give you focus and to help you pursue what God wants rather than what you want. 

The problem with suffering in many of our lives is that we allow it to make us self-absorbed.  We go on about how difficult life is for us, and it becomes all about me, me,me.  Peter says, let the suffering remind us of our eternal goal.  And be careful, don't confuse suffering because of your own bad decisions as you suffering for the cause of Christ. 

LIFE APPLICATION
Lord let my life count for the things of heaven and for your purposes.  When I encounter hardships and trials in this life I will choose to let it bring glory to you and not allow it to pull me into self-absorbtion and self-pity.


1 Peter 3

SCRIPTURE
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight... Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

OBSERVATION
Continuing from chapter 2 Peter gives the believers some advice on living out the witness of Christ's love and grace by challenging them to submit.

UNDERSTANDING
He tells them to submit to rulers, their bosses, he shows Jesus as an example of that kind of submission. Now in chapter three he brings this submission issue closer to home.

Taken in the full scope of the New Testatment I don't think that we can read this as wives are to be slaves to their husbands, at their beck and call. Nor is Peter launching a tirade against lipstick and beauty. Rather he is reminding us that what counts is a person's inner beauty rather than the outer beauty. A beautiful spirit in a woman will do far more to win her husbands admiration and respect and allegiance to Christ, than any outward show of beauty.

And to ensure that men didn't fall into the trap of thinking this granted them domination, Peter reminds them of their role of respect and mutual submission.

Marriage is a partnership and each partner must understand their roles and live fully in them. A marriage based on mutual respect and submission, with each spouse understanding their role becomes a loud witness of Christ's grace to the world around us.

LIFE APPLICATION
If you are married take some time to thank God for your spouse and continue to work on loving and respecting each other in mutual submission.

The greater picture of this passage is the understanding of submitting to authorities and rulers. In the last couple of days Facebook has been filled with people gloating or complaining. Why don't we put that all aside and continue to pray for and submit to those in authority over us. Let us show respect for those leaders and just as Peter encouraged wives to let the fruits of the Spirit shine from the inside out, let us do the same and see what incredible change we can make in our world.


1 Peter 1

SCRIPTURE
Be glad about this, even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer. Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honor on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed.

OBSERVATION
On your best or worst day remember there is a much better day that's coming for those who are Christ-followers.

UNDERSTANDING
As Peter sat down to pen this letter, the writing was already on the wall of what was going to happen to those who were and are believers - persecution. Beginning with Jesus and for all who are His disciples, we are told to expect persecution, and sure enough it came.

As Peter is writing the Roman Emperor Nero is preparing persecute the Christians in terrible and brutal ways. This persecution has continued throughout the ages with many Christians being tortured and persecuted in our day as well. We in America really do not have an understanding of what it means to be persecuted for our faith in Christ Jesus.

Peter's desire in this letter is to encourage his readers to stand firm and not give up in the face of rising persecution and suffering.
In laying the foundation for standing firm he reminds them (and us) of our sure hope of our heavenly inheritance - there is a better day coming!!!
He also reminds them (and us) of the privileges and blessings of knowing Christ and then he tells them how they are to conduct themselves in this hostile world.
Even though it is necessary for us to suffer in this life - be glad! Rejoice! This kind of suffering makes our faith strong.
In the middle of the suffering and hardships, live holy lives (there's a better day to come). Put your hope in God, be obedient to Him and don't let your circumstances determine your course of action.

LIFE APPLICATION
Yes, we can live triumphantly in the middle of the hardships of life and the sufferings we face as a result of our faith. Dont give up your hope in Christ. don't become bitter, don't lose your faith in Him and remember that there is a better day that's coming. As we do that we become living witnesses of the gospel.


2 Peter 3

14-16So, my dear friends, since this is what you have to look forward to, do your very best to be found living at your best, in purity and peace. Interpret our Master's patient restraint for what it is: salvation.

I can imagine that in the first century that the believers thought that when Jesus said "I'll be back!" they believed that the return was imminent.  They probably watched the skies eagerly awaiting his return.  By the time Peter writes this, many years have passed and I am sure there would have been discouragement and disappointment that Jesus had not yet returned to take the church.  Peter encourages them that they should not give up hope for there is a reason for the delay...
God's view of time and our view of time is different.  Man how often I have come face to face with that issues - God's view of time and timing is so different than minie, but in the end His timing is what is important. 
Peter goes on to say that another reason that there seems to be a delay is that God's desire is that all would come to repentance.  He is giving time for us to share the good news with people so that they can repent and be saved. 

Our responsibility, during the waiting period, is to partner with God in spreading the good news and to live our lives in a way that is holy and pleasing to him.  Let's us continue to be faithful to God's calling on our lives as we eagerly await His return.  Many of us wait not just for His return but for His promises to be fulfilled in our lives - the admonition is still the same...continue to live lives holy and pleasing to Him and partner with Him in helping others come to salvation.

I like this song by John Waller that talks about waiting...While I'm Waiting


2 Peter 1

 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Everything we need to live a life pleasing to God has been provided for us.  We access it by getting to know Jesus personally and intimately.  How  do we do that?  It really isn't anything new - we need to read, study and be taught the Word of God.  We need to develop and maintain a ongoing relationship with Christ where we spend time with Him.  We discover Christ in being with His people as well.

So don't waste any time, get on with it!  You have been given a basic faith through Christ Jesus now you are to build on that faith.  Work on building good character, a deeper understanding of the things of God, be disciplined, develop patience, friendliness and love for God and others.  These are the things that are part of your maturity in Christ.  We should be able to look at our lives and point to the growth in those areas.

How are you doing building on your basic faith?


1 Peter 5

 

Peter could well remember that night walking on water, experiencing one of the greatest moments of his life, and in an instant he started looking at the wind and the waves and got anxious about sinking and began to sink.  He knows what he is talking about when he admonishes, don't be anxious, cast your cares on Christ and believe that He cares and will take care of you! 

So often we stop "standing firm in our faith" when the hard times and suffering come.  We think we are the only ones going through anythng hard and our faith in God becomes shaky.  We get discouraged.  The enemy is prowling around looking for those who are in that place because he realizes that they are vulnerable.  Peter tells us, be alert and aware of this strategy of the enemy - understand that you are vulnerable and when the depression and discouragement come and the enemy begins to tell you that God has forgotten you, resist Him.  Encourage yourself in the faith.  Don't isolate and throw a pity party, but look to have fellowship with other believers so that you can strengthen and encourage one another.

Understand that hardship and suffering is a part of the Christian life, anyone who tries to tell you differently is selling you something.  Peter acknowledges it, Paul talked about it, James said it as well.  Suffering is part of the Christian life and when it happens dont allow the enemy to use it as a tool to detract and distract you from following hard after God.


1 Peter 4

1-2Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.

"Learn to think like Jesus" 
How do we learn to think like Jesus? 

Well the more we read His Word and study it the more we discover how He thinks.  The more we spend time listening to the directing of the Holy Spirit the more we will discover how He thinks. 
Peter says that one of the ways that we naturally don't think like Jesus is when we live life with the attitude that we must get our own way. 

That kind of thinking pervades much of what we do, doesn't it? 

As humans we seem to have this natural bent to wanting the world to revolve around us and Peter says that this is something we have to guard against.  He calls it sinful.  Paul tells us that the way Jesus thinks can be seen in how He had every right to have His own way as God, but He laid down those rights and became a servant so that others could benefit.  (Philippians 2)  Peter goes on to say that this sinful habit of wanting our own way tyrannizes our lives - it wreaks havoc on us because it keeps us from God's best. 

Think about the ways we subtly or not so subtly fall into this sinful habit of wanting our own way.  How does it show itself in your lives?  I see it in my relationship with my wife and kids - I want them to acknowledge all that I am doing for them but I frequently miss seeing how much they are doing. 
Or how many times when hard times hit I start the pity party, "Why do these things always happen to me?"  I fall into the trap of believing the world revolves around me, instead of looking up and seeing that God has a greater picture that in this moment requires suffering on my part. 

How do you see this sinful habit showing itself in your life?


1 Peter 3

8-12Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that's your job, to bless. You'll be a blessing and also get a blessing.

It is our job as recipients of God's grace and salvation, as heirs of Christ, to bless others.  We are to bless those who belong to the family of God as well as the world around us.  It's our job, it's what we do...or should be doing as good "slaves" of God.  How are you doing at your job of blessing others?  Peter says that we can bless others by treating them with honor and respect, being sympathetic, compassionate and humble.  Instead of retaliating and cutting them down verbally we are to speak blessings over their lives.  Does anyone else think that this a bit difficult at times?

Will you take some time today and for the next couple of days and share with us in the comments section how you have blessed others in your day to day living?  As you share you encourage others and bless others who are reading them as well.  Looking forward to hearing from you.

 


1 Peter 2

Peter tells us that we are individuals chosen by God but strangers in this world.  Our salvation is our common bond and we who are redeemed are called to serve our redeemer.  As priests we are called to serve, not to be served.  And we are to serve both the family of God and the world. 

This serving, Peter says, is living the "beautiful life".  The life of Christ that produces a sweet fragrance to an onlooking world.  This beautiful life reflects the grace and glory of God.

Peter then begins to describe what constitutes this beautiful life of Christ living in and through us. 

  • Submit yourselves to those in authority.
  • Live freely but with godly responsibility - echoes of all things are permissible but not everything is beneficial.
  • Show respect to everyone.
  • Love those in the family of God.
  • Fear God.
  • Honor President Obama and others who govern over us.
  • Submit yourselves to your boss even if they are horrible bosses.

Not an easy list by any means.  And remember we must do these things because of the grace and salvation we have received and not just as a mindless jumping through hoops in order to somehow earn God's favor.


1 Peter

Submission and Suffering

This First Epistle of Peter was probably written about A.D. 64 or 65. But its theme of submission despite unjust suffering remained particularly relevant to the church for several hundred years. During this period Christians experienced significant persecution. A letter written about A.D. 110 by the younger Pliny, a provincial administrator, asks the Emperor Trajan “whether it is the mere name of Christian which is punishable, even if innocent of crime, or rather the crimes associated with the names.” Trajan’s answer instructs Pliny not to accept anonymous charges against anyone as a Christian, or to “hunt them down.” But he says that “if [Christians] are brought before you and the charge against them [that they are in fact Christians] is proved, they must be punished.”
Less than 50 years after Peter wrote, to bear the name “Christian” in the Roman Empire was considered a capital offense. What a need for Peter, aware of growing hostility even in the 60’s, to write and show believers how to live in times when maintaining allegiance to Jesus means suffering, discrimination, ridicule, and even death.

Peter begins by laying a vital foundation.
To stand up to suffering the Christian must have a strong sense of his or her identity in Christ (1:3-2:10).
This is rooted first of all in a salvation granted to us by God (1:3-12), a salvation through which we embark on a life of holiness, reverence, and genuine love (1:13-25).
In that life we serve our God as His chosen priesthood (2:1-10).
Our response to suffering must be made in view of who we are as God’s people, for privilege brings with it responsibility. And that responsibility is to “live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God in the day He visits us” (2:12).
That “good life” is one characterized by a submissive respect for others and human institutions, despite the fact that they may treat us unfairly (2:13-3:12).
Should persecution come even though we do nothing but good, we are to trust God and remember that Christ also suffered unjustly—with blessed results (3:13-4:11).
Now Peter turns to another, related subject. We’ve seen how individuals are to respond to suffering. What are the responsibilities of the church and its elders in times of trial (4:12-19) and judgment? (5:1-11)
For the elders the challenge is to shepherd God’s flock. For the congregation, it is to remain humbly responsive to God’s will, self-controlled and alert. And to wait for God to restore us after we have “suffered a little while.” The letter closes with brief greetings and a benediction (5:12-14).

Throughout church history this letter has spoken to thousands who have remained committed to Christ despite persecution. Peter has more to say about suffering than any other NT or OT book. He reminds us that God uses suffering to purify our faith, and help us experience His own presence in our lives. And, Peter teaches, God uses our suffering as a witness to the world—a witness which will bring God, and us, glory when Jesus comes again.

The Victor Bible Background Commentary