Monday, January 8, 2018

Intrduction to 1st. Peter (Overview)

1 Peter 1:1-2

I.  The Author = Simon bar Jonas (son of John), fisherman, "Peter" by Jesus - John 1:41-42, Matt. 16:15-18
Peter = Cephas (Rock) in Aramaic, Peter in Greek..
Was unofficial, unelected, undesignated leader of the 12, one of the three (inner circle), eye witness to the Resurrection, church leader, Apostle.  But, not a prolific writer!  (only have 1st. and 2nd. Peter).  However, was a mover, shaker, man of action.

II.  The Form = letter  (1) Epistle (letter)  (2) general Epistle - not to a specific individual or a specific church, but to many churches.

III.  The Recipients - 1st. Pet. 1:1-2   in short = Christians in Asia Minor *modern day Turkey)
Peter's description = elect strangers - scattered - chosen (Are we reading somebody else's mail?  Maybe not!)
        (1)  God's Elect - have you ever been called?  invited?  selected?

        (2)  Strangers in the World - Ever feel at odds with society?  uncomfortable in culture?  like you don't fit?

        (3)  Scattered - on one hand = in many places, however, also = NOT GATHERED with your people.  ie:  workday setting.  Is tougher to live Christian life when scattered than when gathered.
 POINT being:  might be your mail!!!  If so, then you are:

      (4)  Chosen   a.  according to the foreknowledge of God
                           b.  through the work of the Holy Spirit
                           c.  for obedience
                           d.  for obedience to Christ
This letter not just to churches in Asia Minor but to churches in 21st. century as well.

IV.  The Occasion  (reason for the letter)  1st. Pet. 5:12
      (1)  to testify to the truth of the gospel (2 Pet. 1:16) - was eye witness
      (2)  to encourage believers to "stand fast"

Question:  Why is such encouragement needed?? - 1st. Pet. 1:6, 4:12, 5:9 -

Two types of Trials  (Christians face)
#1.  Life Trials:  are fallen people in a fallen world, therefore:
           A.  Stuff happens - physical, mental, emotional, relational, financial, etc.
           B.  to Christians!!!  - 1 Cor. 10:13 - 'what is common to man'

#2.  Faith Trials - (come as a result of your Christian faith)
            A.  Trials of persecution - if you live in a society that is: 
                          1)  ignorant of the Christian faith
                          2)  suspicious of the Christian faith
                          3)  critical of the Christian faith
                          4)  hostile to the Christian faith
Companion Verse - 2 Tim. 3:12 - "will"

         B.  Trials of obedience ("chosen for obedience"!!)
examples:  give, forgive, love neighbor, deny self, bear with one another, bear up, be kind, be holy,
add:  "extra mile" obligations

        C.  Trials of disappointment  (expectations not met!)
Example:  growth, transformation, maturity, influence, impact

Trials tend to - wear down --> discouragement --> despair --> drop out!! 

Good news!! - we have great resources - 2 Pet. 1:3
Bad news = contained in "jars of clay" - 2 Cor. 4:7
(nobody knows this better than Peter - example:  the denial)

Therefore:  on one hand is an Epistle of trials, suffering (major theme), However, = Epistle of Hope, expectation - 1st. Pet. 1:3,13,21

 V.  The Content = Pastoral (remember "feed my sheep"?)

        (1)  Encouragement  (contrast with discouragement)
        (2)  Exhortation  to call, entreat, beseech, to urge, appeal, inspire, to provoke, stir up, goad on;;;
but with
       (3) Instruction = how to!!  (because we need more than inspiration!)
       (4)  Warnings  Bible + example:  GLOBAL WARNING!!
       (5)  Reminders - 2 Pet. 1:12-15

This = a pastor's heart for his people - his longing, his desire.

So, 1st. Peter not necessarily "somebody else's mail"!   maybe for you!!

And, though the New Testament is mostly for Christians/ believers, also serves a 2nd. purpose:  ie: to convince 'not yet' believers who God wants in His flock!!  THAT may be you!!!

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