Thursday, February 12, 2009

1 Peter: Lesson Four

"For our light affliction

which is but for a moment, is working for us a

far more exceeding and eternal weight

of glory..."

2 Cor 4:17


Let's seek the Lord this day.....

"Holy Father God, thank You for leaving us Your word that we may know more about You and how to serve You. For You alone are worthy of our praise and adoration.

Forgive us our sins, this day, Lord and search us for the hidden secret sins in our hearts that we may not even know about. Purge us with Your hyssop and cleanse us with Your blood. Fill our hearts with Your Holy Spirit to overflowing that others may see You in us.

Guard our speech and keep us from causing harm to those around us with our spoken and written words. Teach us Your precept...for Your precepts are perfect and complete. Lead us in Your ways, Lord, and set us apart from this world that is perishing.

In Jesus' name...amen."


1 Peter

Faith in Trials

In today's passage, we notice how Peter encourages the reader to prevail through the hard times that are in the future for each believer. Peter exhorts his readers by revealing how amazed he is that these people did not see Jesus walk the earth and yet the love Him and are faithful to Him. He encourages the reader by reminding them of the reward that awaits them for their enduring faith: the salvation of their souls.

1 Peter 1:6-9

"(6)In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, (7)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, (8)whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, (9)receiving the end of your faith- the salvation of your souls."


Various Trials

One of the main themes of Peter's first epistle is that Christians will suffer for their faith in Christ. But he never leaves the reader without the hope that is given to us by the Holy Spirit.

When reading and studying the epistles of Paul, Peter, and can't help but notice the common themes running through each letter: hope endures through suffering.

Paul, Peter, and John all suffered for their faith. But because they were like-minded, intent on one purpose, they constantly write about the reward of enduring through trials because they experienced it time and time again. Each man encountered the hatred that comes with persecution and yet each man endured to the end. The Lord was faithful to them in their suffering. He will be faithful to us as well....

Please read:

Matt 5:11-12

2 Cor 4:17

James 1:2-4

Those trials produce something. With God, there is never any waste. He always has a plan...a perfect plan. Those trials will produce faith...and that "testing of our faith" will produce patience, and patience will lead to completion or perfection. That is the example that Christ gave us...

John 19:28-30

John 17:4

Jesus completed all the works His Father had for Him here on earth. Now we must complete the works God has planned out for us.


The Purpose of Trials

Here Peter gives us the reason for the trials we face: that our works may be found praiseworthy.

Again, God never does anything without a perfect plan because He is perfect and complete. Therefore, a perfect and complete being will do everything perfectly and complete. So, our lives here weren't by accident. Nothing happens here within the limits of time by accident. It is all under God's control...He is sovereign.

There is great hope and peace in knowing this attribute of God. We can endure the persecutions that will arise against us in the coming years knowing that it is all happening for a perfect and complete reason: that we may stand before God and be praiseworthy before Him.

This is another theme that runs through all the epistles of Paul, Peter, and John. They want believers to be able to stand boldly (in confidence) before the Lord rather than cower in shame from sin like Adam and Eve did.

No, Peter wants us to endure the testing by fire of our souls so that we "may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ". That is our final goal.

Rom 2:7

Rom 5:3-5


Blind Faith

Imagine Peter's amazement as he writes to his fellow believers about their faith in a Savior they had never met. He must have been awe struck by these people.

Peter had walked with Jesus for 3 years. He had witnessed the miracles of Christ as he, too, even performed some. He denied Jesus then saw Him resurrected before his very eyes. So we can see how Peter's faith would be strong since he went through so much with Jesus and heard the Great Commission straight from His own mouth!

But these believers dispersed throughout the Mediterranean had never seen Jesus during His earthly ministry. They had never seen the miracles nor the crucifixion. They did not meet Jesus personally nor hear His words. Yet they believed! They believed so strongly, that they were willing to suffer and perhaps die for Jesus, whom they had never seen. Peter must have been so encouraged by this! I know I am....

1 John 4:20

John 20:29

John 17:20-21

How amazing that we have Peter's words echoing Jesus's words! We can clearly see how these men of God (Paul, Peter, and John) truly were moved by their experiences and changed dramatically by their faith in Christ. They treasured Jesus' words. We should do the same. For by these words we will be transformed and held when we suffer.



And as we have seen before, all this suffering is for a reason: Salvation

If Jesus suffered, and He was perfect, then why are we so surprised by our suffering from both natural and moral evil?

Natural evil, or the evil that happens from natural disasters or disease, etc. happens to believers regularly. But moral evil, (murder, hatred, rape, etc.)rarely happens to a believer in this country. We Christians rarely face persecution for our faith in America. I believe that will soon change.

But the purpose of evil...(and yes, there is a purpose.... Remember God is perfect and therefore everything in His plan is perfect?) to bring His children closer to Him or push non-believers farther away from Him. We can see that when we read through Christ's ministry and the ministry of His apostles.

That is how we are to react to any suffering in our lives: come closer to God.

Acts 12:17

Here Peter gives glory to God for bringing him out of prison. Peter's suffering drew him closer to his Lord and not farther away. How many of us can say that being thrown in prison would draw us closer to God?? I would like to think I would be faithful....but I have never been in that situation.

Acts 5:41

Here the apostles with Peter glorified God that they were able to suffer for His name. They had endured beatings and council hearings warning them not to preach in Christ's name...and yet they were not deterred from their mission. Instead, the moral evil drew them closer to Christ.

We are always to remember that everything we endure will be rewarded with the salvation of our souls. So, when we suffer...and we will suffer....we must rely on these words in the Bible. For they have been tested by martyrs who came before us. And these words have held true.

Always rely on the word of God.

Matt 24:13


Next time we will look deeper into what suffering for Christ is about.....



Wednesday, February 4, 2009

1 Peter: Lesson Three

"The Spirit Himself bears witness

with our spirit that we are children of God,

and if children, then heirs-heirs of God

and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him

that we may also be glorified together."

Romans 8:16-17


1 Peter

Hello! Let's begin our time together with prayer....

"Holy Father God in heaven, we praise Your holy name which is above all names. You are worthy of our worship and honor and paise.

I pray that You will seek me for hidden sins and purge me of my iniquities against You. I know that with sin in my heart, my prayers are an abomination to You. Please purge me, cleanse me, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

I pray that today You will speak to all who read this study through Your word. I pray that You will teach us new and exciting precepts that we will take with us this day.

In Jesus' name...amen."


A Heavenly Inheritance

In the book of 1 Peter, we have looked at the opening verses where Peter explains to whom he is writing and why he is writing this letter. So far we have seen the importance of what God's mercy has done for us: given us that living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is through Him we receive our inheritance.

Today we will look further into what that inheritance is and why it is important for every Christian to understand this concept of inheritance.

1 Peter 1:4-5

" 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."

When you read through the book of 1 Peter, you should have noticed some key words-words repeated over and over- that jumped out at you. Here are some of those key words:








In these key words we almost see a story....the story of Christ. Peter is trying to tell his readers something in this letter. Remember his purpose: to exhort and to testify.

Peter was there with Jesus as He walked the earth. Peter prayed with Him, broke bread with Him, watched as He performed many miracles. But mostly, Peter saw...witnessed....the suffering of Jesus.

Peter heard the words of Christ, but didn't truly know what they meant until after Jesus rose again and breathed the Holy Spirit onto him. Only then were his eyes opened to the reality before him:

He, too, would suffer, submit, experience true grace and faith, preach the word, and love others as Christ did.

This, my friend, is what we have been called to as well.

This inheritance we have is reserved for us in heaven. It is waiting there for us as a reward for the suffering we will experience here on this earth. Peter wanted to encourage those new believers out among the pagan worshipers of the Mediterranean region. He wants to encourage you as well.

Please read:

Rom 8:16 & 17

Heb 1:14

Obviously, when we become Children of God we receive something special: an incorruptible inheritance, Spiritual guidance, ministering spirits, protection by the power of God, faith, and finally a revelation at the last times.

Once our eyes are opened, we finally see the things God has done for us.

Ps 103:20-22

Dan 7:9-10

Isn't it amazing that we can see all these wonderful things in God's word now that our eyes have been opened? We now have these gifts that were given to Christ. God has now given us that inheritance along with Jesus.

When we have trouble, we are ministered too by spirits. When we die, we have a place waiting for us in heaven. When we suffer, we receive glory as Christ did when He suffered.

All this for us.......not because of anything we did, but because of everything Jesus did for us.


I want you to take some time to look up verses regarding God's "chosen". It is important for us to see what it means....

1 Pet 2:9

Col 3:12

Rom 8:33

1 Tim 2:10

Titus 1:1

Rev 17:14

Eph 1:3-4

After you read these, take time to summarize what you learned. We will look further into what it means to be chosen of God later. Peter wants us to truly understand that we are no accident of nature. We did not come as a suprise to God. No, He knew us beforehand and has a plan for us.

We will look into what that plan is in the coming lessons.....