Missional Life – 1 Peter 5:1-14 – Sermon Notes

We all hope for all kinds of things. Some are good, some aren’t so good. If we’re Christians, God calls us to a different hope. Our hopes are often about our own situations in our lives now. The book of 1 Peter has lots to say about the hope we are called to (1:3-4). Hope is central to this letter. It’s a future hope (v1, 4, 6, 10). The Christian life is one of a living hope, sharing in Jesus’ glory until he returns.

The Christian life can only be explained by this living hope

Live a good life now (2:12) even if it means being hated and accused of being wrong because Jesus is coming back. Our hope isn’t just for now but for the future promised by God. Why would a Christian slave keep working hard? Only if they’ve got a living hope for something more than this life. Why would you go out of your way to show kindness to someone who’s hated you? Only if you have a living hope. It’s a wonderful way of living but it’s still hard. When Jesus comes back he will remake the world as it should be. We don’t deserve to be part of that.

It’s only possible to lead a church in the way Peter describes if you have this living hope. He was one of Jesus’ closest followers. What’s the motivation to be a humble serving church leader? Verse 4. Isn’t it just easier to want an easy life? Peter says to be submissive to church leaders. Humble service is only possible if you have this living hope.

The Christian life is shaped by this living hope

Living a missional life is about remembering that the whole Christian life is lived for the glory of God. That’s what helps us share the good news of Christianity with others. It’s hard (v7). It’s okay to be anxious if we’re taking our anxieties to God because he cares for us. Be self-controlled and alert (v8). The devil wants the pain of suffering to stop people from being Christians. He wants you to keep the fact you’re a Christian secret. The best way to resist him is to meet Christians in local churches. We are to support and challenge each other. We need to be reminded that we’re not alone when we suffer.

Are your choices shaped more and more by your living hope for Jesus’ return in glory, even knowing that this might mean suffering for you? How do you use your time, money and home? Seeing a Christian living with this hope speaks volumes.

Being Missional – 1 Peter 2:13-3:22 – Sermon Notes

Christians can live distinctively because of the living hope that we have. We live distinctively in order to point others to Jesus. Living distinctively, especially in tough times, is what allows Christians to share the hope that we have.

Noah is an example of a distinctive life. It’s a story of God’s judgement on the world. Noah is far from a perfect person but was the best of a bad lot. He listened to God and built the ark. He was ignored by others. Only eight were saved. Through Jesus’ death, God declares throughout history the justice of his rescue. Jesus rules over all. In one sense, the ark saved Noah, but it was simply the evidence of his faith in God. Baptism is a symbol of us dying and being risen to new life. We don’t think of it as being distinctive. For Peter’s first hearers that might have meant death. Peter says it’s worth it to be distinctive. It’s a way of saying that we’re not good enough.

Imagine living in a country with a corrupt government. The world says to get out of that situation. Start a resistance. We think it makes sense to get even. Peter says to submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake (2:13). It’s not easy to submit to injustice. Why? It’s distinctive. It gives Christians the opportunity to tell others about Jesus. What does our culture say? Fight back. It’s controversial to submit yourselves to your masters (2:18). Peter says even when they’re beating you, stay, because it’s a way of being distinctive. What does our culture say? Get out.

Peter says to be distinctive from the world. He says to repay evil with blessing (3:9). This isn’t a call to stay in harm’s way. We should encourage people to move away from abusive partners. Don’t take vengeance into your own hands. We’re called to follow Jesus’ example (2:21). We know that Jesus suffered unjustly. He lived the only perfect life (2:22-23). We point people to Jesus as we inherit a blessing (3:9). Peter quotes Psalm 34 in 3:10-12. We are called to live distinctively in every area of our lives.

Are you ready to give a reason for the hope that you have (3:15)? When we live distinctive lives for Jesus, people will ask us why. That gives us the chance to give a reason for the hope that we have. We have this hope because Jesus has rescued us.

Everyday Mission – 1 Peter 2:4-12 – Sermon Notes

Are there things that we find easy to talk to others about? There are also things that we find hard to talk about. Do we find it hard to talk about Jesus? We are commanded to do so. We know that everyone needs Jesus yet we find it harder to talk about him than about football. Christians are to offer sacrifices acceptable to God (v5) and declare his praises (v9).

The Problem

The problem is that we all find evangelism difficult. If a building was on fire we wouldn’t sneak out, we’d tell others to get out. So why do we find evangelism hard? We’re lazy. It’s easy to keep our heads down. There’s a spiritual battle as well. The devil doesn’t want people to become Christians. It can be hard to be rejected. Sometimes we’d rather not know what people think. Another problem is that we don’t know what to say.

Peter knows that telling others about Jesus is hard. He was so frightened of a little girl that he wouldn’t admit he was a follower of Jesus. Yet God used him to tell lots of others about Jesus. Part of being a Christian is that this world is no longer our home. We’re aliens and strangers in the world. People will think we’re strange. Even if you live a good life people will accuse you of doing wrong, because that’s easier than accepting the message of Jesus. What do we do?

The Answer

We are to keep seeing who we are together because of Jesus. He is the living stone, the one that shapes what the building will look like. The cornerstone of a building always needs to be right; it’s the key stone for the whole building. Jesus shapes the building that Christianity is. Yet this cornerstone was rejected (v4). The same thing happens today. People reject him as King. Christianity says we are not good enough for God. It causes people to stumble. Jesus is precious to God as he’s his own son and is precious to us as he rescues us. The more we look at Jesus the more we will see who we are because of him.

We are a spiritual house and a holy priesthood. We are now God’s priesthood (v9). That’s why he uses Christians to call others to follow him. We are royal because we are children of the King. We are a chosen people. Once we weren’t a people (v10) but now we have received mercy because Jesus died to rescue us. One person doesn’t make a nation. This is what Christians are called to be together. It’s who we are so that we live good lives among the pagans (v12). This is how God calls Christians to live for him, to live distinctively because of who we are in Jesus. This gives us opportunities to declare his praises so that others follow him.

Sometimes we can either not live distinctively or hide away and not spend time in this world. When others become Christians you can see the change in their lives. People see when Christians live distinctively. It’s only possible to do this together, when we love and support each other when times are tough. People will see this and will be drawn into the community of the church.

Related Bible Studies:

Missional People – 1 Peter 1:13-2:3 – Sermon Notes

When it’s tough being a Christian the temptation is to live like everyone else. These people had similar struggles. It’s hard to live distinctively as a Christian when times are tough.

Christians live distinctively because we have a living hope

Leviticus is quoted, which is all about how God’s people are to live differently from those around them, but not be separated from them. They are to shine as a light for all to see. It’s tough to live distinctively. Not joining in gossip. Not speaking out about issues from a Christian viewpoint. Thankfully it’s not about what we do, it’s about what Jesus has done.

So why live distinctively? If we are Christians this is who we are. Living distinctively shows the truth of who we are. We have been purified, born again. If we are a Christian we are a child of God and so we show the family likeness. Whether we’re close to our families or not, we still pick up things from them. It’s no different being a Christian. We don’t conform to the evil desires we used to have. We are to live as our Father expects us to. We are to live in reverent fear.

We’ve been redeemed (v18). We’ve been bought back. We’ve been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus (v19). His life for our life. His death for our death. Jesus was willing to come and pay that cost so that we could be redeemed, freed. If you’ve been a hostage and are then rescued, you are free from that life so you can live differently. We’ve been purified (v22), washed clean. Why would we go back to where we were?

The way that we purify ourselves is by obeying the truth. It’s not about our actions, it’s about putting our trust in Jesus. Peter reminds us about needing to be born again of the Spirit. Our bodies don’t last. We’re all born once but through Jesus we are born again. We are born imperishable, lasting forever because God’s word lasts forever. Once you’ve tasted this truth (2:3), of course you’ll live in light of it. Nothing compares. We long for it even if life can be hard.

In light of this

We are to be prepared for action. We are to fix our eyes on the prize. The hope of Christianity is not for today (fully). It’s nothing compared to every day in heaven. We are to love one another. Christians are a family. We are to live our lives distinctively together. We are to get rid of destructive qualities (2:1). They’re things that are part of the world rather than part of God’s people. We are to be supported by other Christians who aren’t jealous, but honest about the difficulties. We spur one another on and help each other live distinctive lives. It can be hard but it’s who we are. We are called to live this way as we wait for Jesus’ return.

Missional Identity – 1 Peter 1:1-12 – Sermon Notes

What is God doing in this world? He is gathering a people for himself. Christians are called to show and tell what God is like. One of the big ideas in 1 Peter is that being a Christian can be tough. A tough life is normal for Christians. That’s good news as you don’t need to despair that you’re doing something wrong. It should be normal to not feel at home in this world, to an extent. The trials Peter refers to are persecution and even death. It’s the normal reality for lots of Christians.

The challenge is that Christians rejoice even when times are tough (v6). They’re not rejoicing in the trials, but rejoicing despite the trials. How can we rejoice when what’s in front of us is so difficult? The secret is that Christians have a living hope. It’s a hope that’s for the future – life forever. We shouldn’t expect to be at ease in this world. An inheritance is something we have to wait for (v5). If we are Christians we are saved but are waiting for Jesus to come back to restore the world to the way it should be. The aim of our salvation is eternal life with Jesus.

Our hope is rooted in the past. It’s certain (v3). It has already been won. It was through Jesus’ death that this future has been won. We have nothing to fear for the future. Jesus has come and rescued us and died the death that we deserve. This is what the Old Testament prophets were longing for. Jesus is what the Bible is all about. This hope is wholly dependent on God. He is the one who has chosen us and is the one who will keep us. Peter reminds us we are shielded by God’s power. Doesn’t that mean we can rejoice when things are tough? It is worth keeping going.

Peter is writing to churches scattered throughout the world. We need to listen to each other and encourage each other. It’s our responsibility to point each other to this hope that will never fade or perish. We need to live in such a way that people will ask us the reason for the hope that we have. We need to pray that we will live our lives in light of that hope, even when times are tough.

Godly Suffering – 1 Peter 3:8-4:2 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

V8-9:

1. Peter turns his attention to addressing everyone. What does it mean to be of one mind, or like-minded?

Our common mind is to be Jesus’ mind. How? The word of God shows us the mind of Jesus. This also concerns unity.

2. What kind of love should be shown among God’s people?

Compassionate, brotherly, tenderhearted, polite. Jesus didn’t command us to like our brothers and sisters in Christ, but to love them.

3. What’s our natural response when someone wrongs us? How can we break this cycle of returning evil for evil?

To retaliate. Only the love of Jesus for our enemies can break the cycle. It’s easy to love those who love us. The real test of love is to demonstrate compassion to our enemies.

4. What’s the outcome?

By blessing those who have wronged us, we will inherit a blessing.

V10-12:

5. What does the quote from Psalm 34:12-16 show? How does it relate to what Peter is saying?

It demonstrates the blessing that comes to those who turn away from evil and do good.

6. Why is doing good often difficult?

As a general rule, evil is rewarded immediately and the reward of doing good is often delayed. The rewards of good are better and far more secure than the rewards of doing evil.

V13-17:

7. How is Peter encouraging his readers?

He knew that people often repaid good with a response of evil. There is a blessing for us when we suffer for righteousness’ sake. God will care for us, especially when we suffer unjustly.

8. What should we do instead of being afraid or frightened?

Give a special place to God in our hearts and always be ready to explain our faith with a right attitude.

9. What can stand in the way of revering Christ in our hearts (or giving a special place to God in our hearts)? How can we avoid this?

Our own selfish desires, the opinions of others, worldly wisdom, can all cause us to turn away from our allegiance to our one Lord. At the centre of life there is to be one Lord, Jesus Christ.

10. How can we be ready to give a defence?

Know the Bible. Rely on the Holy Spirit.

11. Why is it better to suffer for doing good?

Our good conduct will prove others wrong in their opinions about us and it will make them ashamed for speaking against our godly lives. None of us want to suffer, but if we must, may it be for doing good and not evil.

V18-22:

12. How is Jesus the perfect example of suffering for doing good?

He suffered for all of us who are the unjust and the purpose of it all was to bring us to God, to restore our broken and dead relationship with him.

Jesus was raised by the Holy Spirit. The Father raised Jesus (Romans 6:4) and Jesus raised himself (John 2:18-22). The resurrection was the work of the Triune God.

[It’s likely that the spirits in prison were demonic. The days of Noah were a time of gross sin for both demons and humans, when there was an ungodly mingling of humans and demons (Genesis 6:1-2). Jesus preached a message of judgment and final condemnation in light of his finished work on the cross; his triumph over evil.]

13. How is Noah an example of salvation in the midst of difficulty?

What saves us is the answer of a good conscience towards God, made good through the completed work of Jesus.

4:1-2:

14. What attitude should we have?

The commitment God calls us to have is nothing greater than the commitment Jesus had in enduring suffering for our salvation. We need to have a commitment to God that will endure through great struggles.

15. What’s the challenge in living for the will of God for the rest of our earthly lives?

We need to follow Jesus, otherwise we won’t be able to live for God. We should no longer live in sin.¬†We should consider how to live the rest of our time.

Living Stones – 1 Peter 2:4-12 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

1 Peter 2:4-5:

1. What is God building (v4-5)?

A spiritual house using living stones (Christians) who have come to the ultimate living stone (Jesus).

2. Why are Christians a holy priesthood?

God chose Israel and the church is also chosen. As much as Israel had a priesthood, Christians are a holy priesthood.

3. What’s the purpose?

God does the work of building but we do the job of offering sacrifices pleasing to him, as we come to Jesus as who we are – living stones made by him.

1 Peter 2:6-8:

4. How does Peter back up what he says?

Provides scriptures for evidence.

5. Why is it significant that Jesus is the chief cornerstone?

The starting point of a building. Everything is laid out according to its connection to the chief cornerstone. Jesus sets out the course for both Jew and gentiles to be joined together into one glorious house for God.

6. What are the implications for Christians and those who aren’t?

Jesus is precious to those who believe. Those who reject him instead stumble over him. Jesus becomes to them a rock of offence.

1 Peter 2:9-10:

7. How does Exodus 19:5-6 link to this?

The things that once exclusively belonged to Israel now belong to every Christian. A new life principle (chosen generation), new access to God (royal priesthood), new government (holy nation), new owner (his own special people).

8. Why are we special? Do you think of yourself in these terms?

We’re special because we belong to God. God takes ordinary people and because he works in them, they are special.

9. How are we to respond to these privileges?

We are not to be proud, but we are to proclaim the praises of him who has done such great things for us.

1 Peter 2:11-12:

10. In light of what Peter has said, what does he call us to do?

Live godly lives among the pagans so that they might become Christians and glorify God.

The day of visitation is probably a reference to their ultimate meeting with God, either when they go to meet him, or when he comes to meet them.

Related Sermons:

Called to Live in Hope – 1 Peter 1:1-21 & 3:8-17 – Bible Study Notes

These are notes from the seventeenth part of a Bible overview series.

Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, writes this letter from Rome to Christians in Turkey. They were being persecuted and this is a letter of support.

Read 1 Peter 1:1-21

1. What can we look forward to (v3-5)?

Eternal life. Christianity deals with death. An inheritance. We’re guarded and He won’t let you go.

2. If we have eternal life to look forward to, what do we have to deal with now (v6-9)?

We’re not immune to grief. Faith in Christ will be worth a universe of gold.

3. How does the Bible help us (v10-12)?

The whole story was foretold. The prophets spoke about a future time for our benefit.

4. How can we look to holiness (v13-17)?

Holiness is the quality of God that makes him who he is. This is a living hope if ever there was one.

5. Why should we look to the cross (v18-21)?

It doesn’t depend on you at all. What we’ve inherited in this world without Christ is rubbish.

6. Is it worth being a Christian? Why?

Yes! It’s living with hope. You don’t have to live long to know how easy it is to live without it.

Read 1 Peter 3:8-17

7. How can we show unity as a church?

We should be united because of the gospel. We should honour Christ above all things.

8. How can we persevere when we suffer?

We have the hope of Christ. People who cause us to suffer may be ashamed and turn to Christ.

9. How can we ensure we are ready to give a reason for the hope that we have?

Know the gospel. Know why it’s important to you. Live it out.

Called to do the World Good – 1 Peter 2:11-3:7 – Sermon Notes

So much of the world encourages us to make our homes right here. This world isn’t our home. We must remember that we’re aliens and strangers.

We must understand who we are in order to live in a way that’s pleasing to God

Peter is saying that Christians are a different kind of people. We’re pilgrims. We are people on a long march home. This world is not our home. We’re wrestling with our own sinful nature. Peter is concerned to encourage us to live a particular quality of life as a call to others to enter this faith as well.

We must understand how we relate to others in order to live in a way that’s pleasing to God

Peter lists different types of people. There is a call to a certain kind of submission and to live in a particular way as we submit to the relationships God has put us in. Peter is saying that you’re aliens and strangers. Live such good lives that in all those callings, the gospel is commended. The good life of a Christian should promote praise from a pagan. The good life of holding out hope, of holding out life. Provoke unbelievers.

Live such good lives. What power is in an exemplary witness for Christ. Live as servants of God. Peter addresses slaves, wives and husbands. Jesus hasn’t called us to do anything he hasn’t endured. If you work for someone who is harsh, follow Christ. Emulate him in bearing reproach. We are called to live this kind of life. We can do so because there is another home. This hope will lead to the redemption of others who are lost.

Rescued – 1 Peter 3:8-18 – Sermon Notes

We become overfamiliar with the idea of the cross. Vibrant Christianity is done when you’ve got the guts to say you follow Jesus. These people knew the cross was precious.

Christ died

He was hanging there for our sins. The word sin means missing the mark. We have no idea how huge it is. The consciousness of the gap is so enormous, how could I have a relationship with him?

Once for all

Sin is a pollution. God is angry at sin. The chasm is enormous. It’s never popular but it’s at the heart of the Bible. We are filthy without Christ. God put Jesus forward as a propitiation by his blood. He took my pollution and filth on a cross. His perfect life and his death purifies us from our sin.

The righteous for the unrighteous

There is a penalty for sin and we’re not justified. God hates injustice. If he has to punish injustice, if there’s a penalty for unrighteousness, we’d have to pay it. Is the cross awesome? Is the cross wondrous? This is our life. Jesus paid the penalty to pronounce us not guilty. Nothing we’ve done can ever be held to account against us.

To bring you to God

The power of sin. It grips us. We worship it. Everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Sanctification. Perfect love casts out fear. We are set free from the failure and power of sin. The pathway to change. Christianity is unbelievably brilliant. Is there a better philosophy of life? It’s full of realism and full of hope.

The partition of sin

In Christ God was reconciling himself with the world. His back isn’t turned on us. It cost him everything. Christ died and he smashed death to bits.

If we come to our senses and turn to Christ, we will be rescued from God’s anger and from guilt, from the penalty of sin. Rescued from fear. Rescued from failure to escape the power of sin. Rescued for life as a family member beyond the partition of sin.

One day we will be free from the presence of sin forever. No more pain. Medics can go to heaven but they’ll have no jobs!