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1 Peter

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Good or Bad Pain?

1 Peter 2:20

Although it would be nice to think that we live in a world full of kind people, that is an illusion. And sometimes, followers of Jesus are not much better. Alas, every believer has the potential to make wrong decisions and behave in an ungodly way. The reality is all too obvious: no Christian is perfect, and various griefs may follow sin. But it should never be mistaken for the suffering of persecution. Neither should we pretend that God is pleased with us simply because of suffering, when we have brought it upon ourselves.

A Tough Call

1 Peter 2:21-22

Every job has its difficult times and hard moments: but when Jesus came to earth in order to die on the cross (paying the penalty for the sins of all of us), it was the toughest job ever. The worst agony was not physical pain, but bearing our shame - and being cut off from Father God as He died. He was totally innocent, committed no wrong deed and never spoke to deceive anybody; yet He suffered in every way.
 

Actively Accepting

1 Peter 2:23

Insults and injury always lead to suffering. There are two natural human reactions: retaliation or passive cowering. But Jesus did neither. Nor did He use the verbal retaliation of threats, as a way to protect Himself. This was not because He failed to feel the wounds, indeed the pain was intensified knowing that He was bearing God's wrath against our sin.

God's Strategic Investment

1 Peter 2:24

The global recession of 2008/9 shook financial markets as investments became unstable with diminishing yields. Nevertheless, much of the capital was not withdrawn because investors hoped to benefit in the long term. This is a very weak illustration of God's long term strategy of investing all His hopes and plans for the future of the world into Jesus. Although Christ's death may have looked like a disaster, His resurrection showed that the greedy domination of evil was not all-powerful; God's sacrificial investment would be realised in Christ's church.
 

Returning To Security

1 Peter 2:25

Being lost is awful: being found is awesome. In the early days of following Jesus, that contrast is often so marked. Can you remember the relief of sins forgiven, of being found and welcomed into God's family and embraced with His love? Being lost is so wasteful of everything; so purposeless and so hopeless. That is the state of all those who have not welcomed Jesus into their hearts, whether they know it or not.
 

Godliness At Home

1 Peter 3:1-2

In the previous chapter (1 Peter 2), we have seen the need to submit to Christ, the government, the church and our human employers - even if that involved suffering. Peter's reason was that Christ submitted to the suffering of the cross; in order to set us free from sin to serve the Lord, in a wicked world where we will suffer too.

The Source Of Beauty

1 Peter 3:3-4

It should not be surprising that feminine beauty catches the eye. God designed women to be beautiful. But the global industry in fragrances, make-up, jewellery, fashion and beauty accessories indicates a consumer market that is unsatisfied. And men can be vain as well! As with all other areas of greed, when becoming beautiful becomes an obsession, the mirror reflects spiritual values as well as physical appearance.

Holiness Breeds Confidence

1 Peter 3:5-6

Holiness should not make people dull or dowdy. Instead, holiness (the desire to be set apart for God and His service) should be very attractive. The English saying, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" misses the key to real beauty - which is a deep love for the Lord and a heartfelt passion to please Him. Beauty comes from a God-loved heart, a quiet conscience and a satisfied spirit; which no jewellery can ever manufacture. The key to these qualities is submission, the willing acceptance of God's right over us, and to accept what He allows.
 

When Husbands Stop Answers To Prayer

1 Peter 3:7

Peter has been instructing wives in the responsibility of holy living (1 Peter 3:1-6); now he addresses the husbands. Despite the strength that men possess, they are urged to treat their wives with gentleness and respect.

Living Under Pressure

1 Peter 3:8-9

We all live under pressure to some degree. How we live, is determined by what we believe. Peter's personal relationship style was rather bold, blunt and opinionated; but he let God work on His character. He had found out the hard way that working with God's people was better than fighting against them; and humility was better than pride ... not just because the relationships became harmonious, but also because it was the lifestyle that God had called him into. It was not right because it worked: it worked because it was right.
 

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