“The Hope Filled Life” – Part 10
Text: I Peter 3:18-4:11
Intro: “Calm Endurance” – Story about “The problem with red lights”
Read verses 3:18-20
Although this section of text includes some passages well-known for their interpretational challenge, there are three examples of patience (or suffering) for us to consider:
I. The Patience of God Toward Mankind (v.18-20)
A. Jesus – For the purpose of “bringing us to God” (v.18, judicial term – word-picture of gaining access to the court)
B. Pre-flood years leading up to the event
- God could have miraculously made an ark and directed Noah/the animals to it, but, instead He had Noah build the ark and preach (2 Peter 2:5)
- God’s heart was already grieved (which brought the decision for judgment), so the mere act waiting for the construction, showed patience on His part
C. The heralding of the truth (v.19)
- Once His redemptive work was accomplished, Jesus declared to the “spirits in prison” from that era (the details of the announcement we do not know) a message somehow related to the overall plan of redemption.
- Note: “spirits” versus “souls” in verses 19 & 20 shows the difference between humans (souls) and fallen angels (spirits)
II. Patience of Noah During the Build (v.20)
(during the construction of the Ark-“Preacher of Righteousness”)
A. Courage to begin
- Sometimes the hardest part is the first step
- Once he fell the first tree and laid the keel, everyone would know and ask questions
B. Courage to endure ridicule
- Daily-then the years began pile up
- His family would have been ridiculed too
- Over the years, no mention of Noah getting an “at-a-boy” or “warning rain” to validate him either
C. Courage to simply keep going
- There would have been many chances to quit
- He continued to put one foot in front of the other
III. Patience of Believers in this life
A. Baptism (v.21)
- Picture of judgment (watery grave)
- Picture of deliverance/new life (resurrection from the dead)
- Statement of faith (answer of good conscience-the “I attest to” answer as a “courtroom testimony”
B. Resisting appetites and impulses (v.1-3) – even though they are not all bad (the need for food, etc.), we are to cease from crossing the line and giving into sinful urges
C. Enduring ridicule (v.4)
- Being mocked as weak, small-minded, old-fashioned, etc.
- Being lied about or having words taken out of context
- Being excluded because of beliefs
D. Proactive posture (v.7-8) – pursue these things
E. Humility (v.9-11)
- Exercise gifts with humility
- Speak wisdom with humility
- Glorify God through all things with humility
The bigger picture throughout Peter’s letter has been God being glorified through the difficulties of a fallen world through the faithfulness of His people.
Question for us today – What circumstances may God get glory from in your life this week?
“The Hope Filled Life” – Part 9
Text: I Peter 3:13-17
Intro: An “even-if” mindset
There is a picture in the scriptures of an “even-if” mindset – the story of “Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah”, aka Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (Daniel 3)
- They were pointed out and accused
- The pressure was real and urgent
- Compromise was calling
- It’s calling today as well
Let’s look at what Peter had to say about such things:
Read verses 13-17
Three elements of the “even-if” mindset:
I. Walk in the fear of God and not men (v.14-15a)
The context of the O.T. quote in verse 14 is important:
- Northern Kingdom (Israel) and Syrian alliance
- Southern Kingdom (Judah) and Assyrian alliance
- Both kingdoms had abandoned God and turned to political strategy to save them
A. Remember God’s sovereignty
He is still in charge (even when there are kings like Nebuchadnezzar, Assyrian kingdoms, or modern cultural changes)
B. Remember God’s definitions of right and wrong – He’s never “updated” his opinions to be “in step with the times”
- Whether it’s the origin of mankind
- Whether it’s the definition of marriage
- Whether it’s the value of life
- Or the need to be saved through Jesus
C. Remember to hallow God’s name above all names
- Isaiah 8:13 9 (part of the passage quoted in 1 Peter 3:14)
- Matthew 6:9 (Jesus’ model prayer)
(A “you-first” mentality)
II. Walk in readiness (v.15b)
(A proactive posture)
A. Ready to give a reason for the hope – The idea of giving witness in a courtroom
B. Ready to maintain a meek attitude
(A form of the Greek word “praus”, which is the picture of a spirited horse that’s “usable” (under control)
C. Mature words
- Lovingly share thoughts and experiences
- The three “t” words – Tact – Timing – Truth
III. Walk in good conscience
(a mind at ease)
(that you’ve nothing to hide-transparency-no fear of being “found out” as a fraud)
B. Peace – John 14:27 (the context of which was the Last Supper)
C. Courage – the opposite is discouragement, which the enemy often attacks with
Question – Are you walking in an “even-if” mindset?
Perhaps fear, uneasiness or thoughts of spiritual inadequacies hold you back from walking in peace. Share it with the Lord. Ask for His empowerment today.
“The Hope Filled Life” – Part 8
Text: I Peter 3:8-12
Intro: A personal anecdotal story about unity.
Peter summarizes his thoughts for us on the major points he made throughout the previous verses (2:11-3:7). Passages that are “summaries” are important and great to highlight, mark, etc.
Read verses 8-12
He’s giving us two thoughts regarding “blessing”:
- He references the future inheritance of the blessing (at the end)
- Mostly, he’s talking about the now which is the act of blessing (verb)
Three ways we are to bless:
I. We are to have thoughts to bless
A. A unified purpose (v.8) – One mind-same priorities
B. Mutual value
- Compassion for each other
- Loving each other
- Taking an interest in each other
- Celebrating with each other
- Weeping with each other
C. Genuine humility
(A “you-first” mentality)
II. We are to have words to bless
A. Controlled words – Just because it’s true, doesn’t mean it needs to be said
B. Nourishing words
C. Mature words
- Lovingly share thoughts and experiences
- The three “t” words – Tact – Timing – Truth
III. We are to have actions to bless
A. Controlled Response (v.11) – don’t let their standard become your standard
B. Pursue Peace (v.11)
- Desire it
- Pray for it
- Initiate it
C. Actively pray (v.12)
- We have God’s attention as His children
- Talk to Him on other’s behalf
(An inheritance of blessing)
The Christian life is forward-looking, but with immediate purposes
Question – Is your life a blessing?
Question – Are your thoughts, words and actions, blessings to others?
“The Hope Filled Life” – Part 7
Text: I Peter 3:1-7
Over the years, I’ve had the chance to be part of many marriage conferences and the counseling of couples. There’s a certain paradox about it that baffles me-the fact that we have more resources now than ever before to help guide couples but the statics are as bad or worse than ever.
For example, a simple search on Christian Book Distributors website for the word “marriage” returns listings for 7,374 products…that’s a lot! And if you we to widen the search outside of just Christian material it would be even larger. The solution lies in the actual practice of the principles taught in scripture.
As Peter continued his letter, he turns his attention to the marital relationship of church members. Let’s take a look:
Read verses 3:1-7
It’s important to note the connection to the broader context. “Likewise” is the link back to 2:11-25. First, he mentions:
First, there are some general principles to be mentioned:
- His instructions are part of God’s ordained order and roles
- “Own husband” narrows the instruction to marriage, and are not general comments on the roles of women in society at large
- New found freedoms for Christian women coming out of pagan lifestyles presented new challenges
A. Conduct (v.1-2)
Actions that are based on the way Jesus acted and reacted
B. Adornment (v.3-4)
Norms of the day in the Roman world consisted of elaborate, jeweled hairstyles and garments for the purpose of impressing others
- Focus more on “adorning” the inside
- Comparisons should be made to what God values, not T.V. or social media images and lifestyles
C. Trust God in the process (v.5)
Sarah could have “taken issue” with much of Abraham’s leadership, but she trusted God (Hebrews 11:11)
Next, he mentions:
First, there are some general principles regarding husbands:
- Peter was married so he’s also speaking from experience
- Honor the wife entrusted to you
- Remember that you lead your home as an under-shepherd to the Chief Shepherd
A. Dwell with understanding
- Dwell physically – make the effort to be present physically (be intentional)
- Dwell mentally – make the effort to be present mentally (What are you thinking about? Who are you thinking about?)
- Dwell heartily – make the effort to be present with your heart (what’s close to your heart? Who/What are you passionate about?)
B. Give honor
- Esteem her publicly and privately
- Handle with care like a fine vase (weaker vessel) – no careless/hurtful/reckless words or actions
C. Grow together
- As co-heirs of the “grace of life” (chapter 1 – all about inheritance)
- Life together is a beautiful thing
- “that your prayer not be hindered” – “rightness” at home starts with us men
The overall picture of this entire section is honoring God through our lives and relationships.
Question – Do all your relationships honor God?
Question – Do any need tending to, investing in, or even ended?
“The Hope Filled Life” – Part 6
Text: I Peter 2:18-25
As we continue to move through Peter’s first letter, we see that he’s started with hope for the future, but now also instructions for the now.
- He addressed our hearts and appetites
- He addressed our attitude toward society
- Now he addresses our attitude toward work
Read verses 11-17
We are to have:
I. A Commendable Attitude Toward Work
A. Choose submission
- Again, it’s a Christian principle
- Peter had to learn it too
- Illustration – Personal story building on the previous sermon’s story
B. “Fair” can be a trap
- The problem with “fair” is who determines the comparison (opinions can vary greatly when deciding equality)
- It has the potential to poison our attitude
- Bitterness over “unfair” can cloud our judgement (I’ve seen it happen – personal illustration)
C. Doing right when we’re wronged may be the very reason we’re there
- Stop to think about that
- Your reaction to pressure may be what reveals Christ in you to others
II. A Commendable Attitude Toward God
A. Mindful of the things of God
- Mark 8:31-33
- Resistance to the leadership of God is of the flesh and our enemy
B. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit…really!
III. Commendable Service is Based on Christ’s Example
Read verses 21-25
- To this we are called
- It wasn’t just Jesus’ “job to do”, (and somehow making it an invalid comparison)
- He chose it because of love – love for the Father and love for us
A. He committed Himself to the Father
- He modeled a deferral to God’s will
- It was God’s best
- God’s best is always the best for us…always
B. He knew the costs – there was no softening of it in any way
C. We are to die to sin and live for righteousness (v.24)
- In context, that means to swallow our pride and set aside our “rights” for the sake of the gospel
- There are bigger things at play than our pride
Question – Where do you land on the issue of submission?
- We can be quietly rebellious (with no outer appearance of rebellion) but God knows (and we miss the chance for His best)
- Let’s die to sin and live for righteousness!
“The Hope Filled Life” – Part 5
Text: I Peter 2:11-17
Have you ever had a child, employee or team member that you had to get “eyeball-to-eyeball” with to get a point across?
Well, this was Peter’s “eyeball-to-eyeball” moment (although not in person).
- He’s pleading!
- He’s encouraging!
- He’s reasoning!
Let’s take a look:
Read verses 11-17
Three things for us to remember:
I. Abstain from Fleshly Lusts (.11)
Not to kill our fun, but for our own good and the good of others.
For what purpose then?
A. Fleshly lusts war on the soul
- They aren’t harmless trivialities
- They aren’t ever satisfied…ever
B. You are observed and will be criticized
Yes, it’s “unfair”!
- When they speak of you as evil-doers
- When they spread gossip about you
- When they try to twist your words to accuse you
- When they outright lie about you
It can and will happen! But,
C. Conduct yourself honorably to give an authentic witness
- For the “day of visitation
- Tell personal story of friend in the Army
II. Choose Submission
A. Bond-service is an underlying principle of service to God (v.16)
B. They were often accused of being subversive (as we are starting to be)
C. The power is in the choice
- 1 Peter 5:5-7
- James 4:7-8
- Phil. 2:8-9
Setting aside pride is Christ-like, liberating and powerful!
III. Honor People
It’s been said that we’re supposed to love people and use things, but often love things and use people instead.
A. Love the brotherhood – “agape” the fellowship
B. Fear God – Have a high view of God with reverence
C. Honor the king – Be ok with giving appropriate honor to authorities (meant for order v.14)
- Example of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego
- Give appropriate, honor not worship
Question – Is there an area in your life the Holy Spirit is trying to get your attention?
Question – Is there a need for Him to have an eyeball-to-eyeball conversation with you?
- It’s about bond-service to Him
- For a purpose…His purpose
- He will lift you up!
- He cares for you!
“The Hope Filled Life” – Part 4
Text: I Peter 2:4-10
Note: I did not prepare a sermon on these verses, but here are the major points taken from the sermon given by Joey Brewer (one of our Fellowship’s Elders).
Three things we are united in:
I. We are all positioned to the Living Stone
A. We are connected to Christ as our foundation
B. We are the picture of a new spiritual house (temple)
II. We are part of God’s winning plan
A. We are not put to shame
B. Even if the world rejects Him, He is still the Chief Cornerstone
III. We are citizens of the same nation – He chose to include us as His own special people
These are all great privileges, but for what purpose?
- To offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Him (v.5)
- For proclaiming the praises of Him (v.9)
“The Hope Filled Life” – Part 3
Text: I Peter 1:22-2:3
At the dawn of the 20th century, there was an incredible amount of change happening. The potential was huge:
- Internal Combustion engines
- Electricity powering a new way of life
- Major advances in science, medicine and manufacturing
- Powered flight
Even on the political front, there were a lot of changes and a growing movement toward international peace. There were conferences and books written about mankind moving into a new era, then:
- Word War I – 17 million people die
- Treaty of Paris and the “War to End All Wars” comes to a close
- League of Nations established to prevent future wars like WWI
- World War II and 70 million people die
- United Nations established to prevent future wars like WWII
- Cold War begins
- Korean War
- Vietnam War
- Humanitarian crisis after crisis
- Terrorism rises
The reality of mankind’s efforts to create lasting peace is one filled with disappointments. However, hope and peace are two things meant to be a central part of the church (even though it often isn’t). In the next verses, Peter addresses love among the church. Let’s take a look:
Read verse 1:22-2:3
I. The Goal is Authentic Love (v.22)
A. Love among the fellowship (brethren)
- A general atmosphere of love (welcome, kindness, etc.)
B. Love of one another
- God’s love
- Decision of the will
- Fervently (constantly)
- Person-to-person level
In our power we will fall way short of this. In the immediate verses after Jesus spoke the words we just looked at in John 13:34-35, Peter completely ignored the comments about love and made his famous boasts about never denying the Lord. In the end, he learned the “glory of man” is “like the grass” (I Peter 1:23) and pointed the readers to a higher goal.
Second, we are to…
II. The Flesh is Prone to Corruption
A. The flesh’s idea of “peace” is an absence of conflict – (falls way short)
B. The fleshly appetites are always present
- Like Edmund in “Chronicles of Narnia”
C. Fleshly pride ruins relationships
- A “me-first” mindset
- Words that hurt
- Less-than-honest actions
- Loss of trust
But Peter gives us the answer to this generational plague (read 2:1-3 again)
III. Focus on the incorruptible (v.1-3)
A. First, admit and identify that v.1 exists
- Malice – general ungodliness
- Deceit – no genuineness
- Hypocrisy – two-faced
- Envy – I deserve what he/she has or is
- Slander – gossip
B. Lay it aside (v.1)
- We can’t let it co-exist
- Prayerfully root it out
- To be different, we must do different
How? How do we do different? By:
C. Developing an appetite for the Word (v.2)
- Appetites can be developed both good and bad
- An admission that we’re not even beyond the basic tenants (we still must re-visit them)
- Spirit and Word together empower us to overcome
- This enables us to move beyond “phileo” into “agapao”
Question: What seed are you sowing?
Question: Seed with fleshly origins?
Question: Seed with incorruptible origins?
May we go back to the Word and love one another as He has loved us!
“The Hope Filled Life” – Part 2
Text: I Peter 1:13-21
“The Airport Terminal”
Imagine you’re at Hartsfield Airport. You find your Gate area, find a comfortable seat in the corner away from the crowd, and someone sits down beside you. He begins to talk and it’s clear you’re on the same flight that boards in an hour. As you’re talking with him, delivery people start unloading furniture, groceries, appliances, and clothing, gadgets of all kinds from carts and having him sign for them.
Confused, you ask, “Are those for you”?
He answers, “Of course.”
You ask, “What are they for?”
“To be comfortable while I wait.”
“But you’re on this flight, right?”
As you mentally process the odd event, the plane begins boarding. You walk toward the flight crew with your new friend, and you ask, “What about your stuff?”. He answers, “Oh, someone else will get it now I guess.”
Such is the case with life, we’re all waiting to board a plane bound that’ll take us from here to the other side of eternity. This life is so temporary and Peter is encouraging his readers to think about it that way. Let’s look:
Read verse 13-21
“Therefore” is the hinge that connects the previous verses with these. Since we are pilgrims with a heavenly life and inheritance waiting, we must:
I. Gird our Minds (v.13)
(word picture of man in the ancient near east pulling his robe up and tucking it into his belt for running or fighting)
A. Time to get serious
- Take inventory of your thought life
- What do you contemplate most?
B. Time to get prepared
- The “girding” is in preparation for something
- We “gird” our minds to be prepared for Satan’s attempts to distract and deceive
- It orients our thoughts toward God’s truth
Second, we are to…
II. Be Sober
(Not just a thought related to alcohol where we good if we don’t drink, it’s way more)
A. A disciplined mindset
- Set boundaries
- By contrast, the non-sober mindset has less boundaries
B. A mature attitude
(Immaturity should steadily go away with time)
Third, we are to…
III. Rest our hope (v.13)
(Set your hope)
A. Hope is forward looking – we value the past-but we look forward!
B. Hope is positive in nature – especially Christina hope!
Lastly, we are to…
IV. Honor our Father (v.14)
Re-read verse 14-16
A. Holy means “set-apart”
- Not perfection
- For a purpose – God’s purposes
B. There will be accountability (v.17)
- An impartial judge
- A judge that sees motive
C. Live as sojourners (v.17) – Abraham versus Lot
D. Redemption is not dependent on my own method of payment
- I’m not working to earn it
- I’m living to display it
Question: What does it look like around your “seat in the airport terminal”?
Question: Are you a “forward-looking passenger”?
Question: If not, are you willing to be?
“The Hope Filled Life” – Part 1
Text: I Peter 1:1-12
I remember the front page of the newspaper in October of 1983 that shouted, “US Invades Granada!”. Considering that we had recently come from:
- The decade of the 1970s with Jimmy Carter
- The Iran hostage Crisis
- Various Cold War threats
It felt good to be an American again. There was a national pride growing again, and as one who wanted to serve my country, I joined the Army.
It a similar way. Peter (as a Galilean), had a streak of nationalism in him. He was part of a Jewish region known for their “patriotism” of sorts. The historian Josephus (referring to the Galileans) as “ever fond of innovations, and by nature disposed to changes and delighting in seditions.”
Peter was a fisherman by trade (which meant he didn’t make the cut in school to be a follower of one of the Rabbis). However, when Jesus came along and called him and his brother to “follow”, it was the opportunity of a lifetime.
It was his chance to be:
- Part of something more (something bigger than himself)
- Part of something secure (after many years of subjugation to many different groups, now a leader (Jesus) was rising who would make it all right again in the spirit of David)
- Part of God’s plan (prophets had spoken of God’s deliverance through the coming Messiah, and now He was there leading them)
However, 3 years later, that excitement would crash to the ground during an evening of disillusionment when Jesus was easily arrested, and the bravado would melt away by the fire in the courtyard as he was accused of being a disciple. He no longer felt like he was:
- Part of something more (now he just felt alone)
- Part of something secure (now he felt insecure and afraid)
- Part of God’s plan (now he felt confused and angry)
Then the unexpected happened, Jesus came back to life and everything changed. Peter and the rest had their thinking adjusted and “reset”. His letters to the scattered Christians across the empire reveal a different Peter than the one feeling abandoned and afraid by the fire that night. Let’s look:
Read I Peter 1:1-12
First, when challenges come…
I. We are part of something “more”
A. A living hope (v.3)
- Biblical hope is not wishful thinking, it’s a confident expectation!
- We’re confident in the “Who”, not the “What”
B. Our hope comes from Christ
- Daily renewal is part of being connected to Him
- That’s the “more”
- Read Hebrews 7:19
Second, as challenges increase…
II. We are Part of Something Secure
A. An imperishable inheritance (v.4)
- Our inheritance is beyond our ability to grasp it
- Our inheritance is beyond our ability to squander it
- Our inheritance is beyond the reach of the world around us
B. We are kept by God
- Our salvation is not dependent on our performance
- Our salvation is not dependent on how we feel
- Our salvation is not dependent on someone else’s pronouncement (pastor, church, other)
- Our salvation is dependent on placing faith in/relationship to Christ
And third, if the changing world doesn’t make sense, remember…
III. We are Part of God’s Plan
A. Trials “if need be” (v.6) – God loves us enough to keep developing the unique picture we’re meant to be
B. Refined for a purpose (v.7)– Purification reveals the gold that was already there, not visible to everyone else
C. Connected to the prophets (v.8-12) –
- The grace they talked of is shown to us
- The glory they talked of is through us
- The work of the Holy Spirit in us even intrigues the angels
- What is your hope connected? Or who?
- Peter, early on had misplaced hope that failed under pressure, but later had hope that endured to the end
- Whatever you’re facing, whatever you’re feeling, look to Jesus as the “living hope”, because He is!