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1 Peter

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Different Suffering

1 Peter 4:15

The Bible says a lot about suffering – the result of mankind’s rebellion against God (Genesis 3:17-19) which also caused His own suffering (1 Peter 2:24).  Peter makes suffering a theme of his letters, partly because he saw the early martyrs, Stephen (Acts 7:55-58) and James (Acts 12:1-3); partly because of Jesus’ promise that Peter would die a martyr’s death (John 21:18-19) and partly because of the imminent persecution of the early church.  

Pain Without Shame

1 Peter 4:16

Physical pain is intended to be very helpful.  It is a way of telling us that something is wrong, and a remedy is needed.  But in many diseases, pain can play tricks on us - either failing to give the right signal or giving the wrong ones.  In this corrupted world, even moral pain can be manipulated by Satan.  Sometimes, we get into trouble for doing what is right, just as Jesus did (Luke 23:32-34) - from those who are resisting Jesus (even if they do not realise what they are doing).  The devil can then deceive a believer's sensitive conscience by suggesting that the reason for their pain

Just The Beginning

1 Peter 4:17-18

People say that God is love and will never harm His children.  That is true.  But in the same way that a truly loving father will discipline his children, our loving God disciplines us (Revelation 3:19).  However unpleasant persecution may be, it is used by God to refine His people and strengthen those who want to trust Him more (James 1:2-4).  So, for the devoted believer, persecution enables faith to grow. The sad reality is that without problems, we would be inclined to live in our own strength and not by faith in the Lord.

Simply Trusting

1 Peter 4:19

What do you do when you cannot do anything?  The Bible gives one answer, simply trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6).  Indeed, this advice is also very helpful when there are many possible courses of action - when our human flesh incites us to take action to mitigate a problem, before the Lord has given any instructions.  Peter had made that mistake (John 18:10-11).  Suffering makes us want to rise up above it; but Peter says, don't ... put yourself under the Lord’s good hand of command.

Leadership Temptations

1 Peter 5:1

Every leader with human motivations will tend to use their authority to make themselves great.  They want certainly to achieve the purpose of their appointed job and devise ways of combating problems.  But they will also want to fulfil personal ambitions and gain personal benefit by gathering a group of supporters to ensure that their role in office is held as long as they want to remain.  This is the world of business, the professions, and politics.  No Divine help is sought; they simply apply the energy and wisdom of the flesh.  Alas, all too often, church leaders are tempted to act in th

Leadership Diversions

1 Peter 5:2-3

It is not easy to be a leader, in any field.  Although this passage refers to spiritual leadership in the church, the principles also apply to those who lead in the professions, business, academia and in the family.  Indeed, it is amazing to see how modern books on leadership, management and parenting advocate a return to Christian ethics (even if they are not described as such, nor their Biblical origin recognised).  Shakespeare was a good observer; he wrote, "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them" (Twelfth Night A

Long Term Benefits

1 Peter 5:4

Peter had just told church leaders not to serve with reluctance or be greedy for money or power (1 Peter 5:2-3).  Such behaviour is the way of the world, inspired by Satan's lies and is unprofitable to God's kingdom.  To fight against those temptations and go against the grain of the world would be costly.  Indeed, 1 Peter 5:1 says that suffering is the inevitable pattern for Christ-like leadership; yet there is a wonderful reward, a share in the glory of God.

The Spiritual Chain of Humility

1 Peter 5:5

In the same way that church leaders must accept the authority of the Lord Jesus (1 Peter 5:2-4), younger men should submit to their leaders.  Young and energetic men often feel an urge to steal power or influence from their elders: but that is a fleshly impulse, encouraged by the Evil One.  Peter himself had to be rebuked for countermanding Jesus’ prophetic words (Matthew 16:21-23), so he wrote gently and with personal humility.  Those who are truly spiritual will want to accept the authority that God has placed over them.

Transformation In God's Time

1 Peter 5:6

Every follower of Jesus, and especially every Christian leader and trainee, is commanded to dismiss pride and embrace humility.  In this chapter alone (1 Peter 5:1-5), Peter has given five reasons: Jesus was humble; we are saved to serve; God opposes proud people; God gives grace to humble people; Jesus is bringing His reward to humble people.  In today's verse, Peter stresses that true humility does not come by an externally applied, enforced submission; it has to be a voluntary personal choice which leads to willing lifestyle changes in line with God's Word.

Stress Management

1 Peter 5:7

Have you noticed all the training resources in 'soft management skills'?  At considerable cost, businesses are teaching their staff that people matter more than things.  They send employees on courses to explain that how you do things matters as much as what you do.  They teach how to handle other people's aggression, and how to prevent internal stress from crippling the individual and the business.  The objectives are right, but hardly original.  Jesus demonstrated how to do it all perfectly and the Bible has been training the followers of Jesus to live like Him for 2000 years.  It is simp