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1 Peter

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God Sends Encouragement

1 Peter 1:1

Peter had been a failure, but Jesus made him into a pastoral leader.  In this letter, Peter writes to Christians who needed encouragement, just as Jesus had encouraged him in the past (Matthew 16:18).  Many believers had been scattered because of persecution; living as refugees away from home and family, adjusting to a different Christless culture in, what is now, Northern Turkey.  Although they were scattered, they were not abandoned: although they might not feel ‘at home’ where they lived, they still belonged to God, part of His family and precious to Him.

Fully Understood and Full of Peace

1 Peter 1:1-2

Followers of Jesus Christ often feel like exiles in the world and are sometimes despised by friends and family, colleagues and community.  But God knows each believer very well.  They are fully loved by God, and included into His family.  He not only knows where they are and how they are doing, now, but He also knew, ages ago, that He had chosen them to belong to Him.  We may not know how the twin Scriptural truths - that God chooses us, and that we must choose Him - work together, but it is wonderfully reassuring to know that He longs for us to receive His grace, and be filled with His pea

From Fear to Fulfillment

1 Peter 1:3

Love, especially when expressed in praise, is the antidote to fear and failure (1 John 4:17-18).  Peter’s readers had been scattered away from their family homes (1 Peter 1:1-2).  They felt isolated and some were afraid. Others had wandered away from Jesus, living to please themselves (1 Peter 2:11), and feared His wrath. So, this letter was to encourage them, and us, to respond afresh to God’s love: to praise Him who has given a new birth, a new hope and new peace through His overwhelming mercy and grace.  Peter wrote from personal experience.

Confident about the Future

1 Peter 1:4-5

Troubles make us worried.  Yet the anxiety is not so much about being able to cope today, but the fear of not being able to handle all the tomorrows.  Peter was writing to Christians who were isolated and under threat of suffering because of persecution (1 Peter 5:10).  They faced the temptation of, ‘Shall I give up on Jesus today so that I will not have trouble tomorrow?’  Peter does not deal with that by simply encouraging them to keep going (although that is often good short-term advice); instead, he shows them what the long-term future will really look like, if they keep trusting Jesus.

The Building Blocks of Joy and Grief

1 Peter 1:6-7

Most people would like troubles to go away, so that they can 'get on with the rest of their life'.  However, it is our reaction to unwanted distress which shapes much of our character and conditions the rest of our lives.  The Christian's starting point in trouble should be joyful gratitude for God's mercy and grace in salvation; and for His promise not to withhold what is good (Psalm 84:11; Romans 8:32).  When praise sets the scene, difficulties become God's tools. (2 Chronicles 20:20-22).

Loving without Seeing

1 Peter 1:8-9

We all know that love does not depend on seeing our loved one: indeed, as the English expression says, 'absence makes the heart grow fonder'.  But without a personal encounter of some kind, true love can never start.  One kind of false love is infatuation - a one-way desire for a person (who may not even know who you are!).  Some people think about God like that.  They admire His awesome majesty and immense power, but do not believe they can be known by Him.  But the truth is: when we believe the Good News about Jesus, repenting of our sins and desiring His rule in our lives, His Holy Spiri

The Unseen Truth-Giver

1 Peter 1:10-12

Peter was writing to encourage Christians in trouble.  The danger of persecution and sense of isolation made them vulnerable; they might be tempted to abandon their faith.  Peter had urged them to keep obeying Jesus, reminding them of their future inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-5) and their present joy as they experience Christ's love (1 Peter 1:8-9).  Now he presents the Old Testament as a major encouragement for Christians.  Although the prophets did not know Jesus, the Spirit of Christ was within them and enabled them to write accurately about His death and resurrection (Psalm 22:15-18; Isaiah

Active Self-Control

1 Peter 1:13

Christians should have active minds.  God does not intend us to be passive or indifferent to Him or to our human circumstances.  If we take the preceding verses seriously (1 Peter 1:3-12), we know that we should live each day joyfully waiting for Jesus Christ to come back, trusting God's written Word.  Yet in times of suffering, troubles and persecution, some are tempted to give up the struggle against sin, the world, the flesh and the devil.  They put their minds into neutral gear, ignoring God's commands, hoping the battles will go away.

Choosing the Right Mould

1 Peter 1:14

By nature, we tend to become like the people around us.  It is as though they set the shape into which we pour our lives.  Moulding technology is commonly used for reproducing anything from car parts to toys, in metal or plastic, and even chocolate.  Once the mould has been designed, whatever goes into it will come out with the same shape and characteristics.  The same is true with the 'factory' of our hearts.  Our desires provide the mould which produces behaviour (James 1:14-15).  Sinful desires lead to sin.

Holiness is for Everything

1 Peter 1:15-16

Some people think that 'holy' is dull, boring, restricting and without excitement.  They are wrong.