This week, Pastor Chris began a new series drawing from 1 Peter on what it means for a Christian to stand firm. In many ways, the life of Peter is highly relatable for the average Christian. His life can be described as a parable of extremes, be it of great fear or great faith. Though he denied Jesus three times, Peter knew grace, stood firm, and endured to the end in close relationship with the Lord. He writes his first letter to encourage Christians who are experiencing great persecution in Rome. Peter shares the importance of being rooted and grounded while living in a world that is hostile to the gospel. There is triumph and trial in every season with the Lord, and Peter’s key to making it through difficulty is joy.
1 Peter 1:1-12
4 attitudes are necessary in order to be triumphant in persecution:
- Expect it
- Rejoice in it
- Evaluate its cause
- Entrust it to God
1 Peter 5:12 (NLT)
12 My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.
- Imperfect People: As Christians, our goal is not to live perfectly. Our goal is to seek to become more like Jesus every day.Our lifestyle is one of sanctification, meaning that God is working in us every step we take toward eternity. We must allow ourselves to be honest before God, allowing Him to purify us as we yield to His ways.
1 Peter 1:1–2 (ESV)
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
- Our Living Hope: This hope is not based on emotion or circumstance. The world can do nothing to tarnish it and the devil can’t hold anything against it. This is hope only found in the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the inheritance of every Christian who calls on His name.
1 Peter 1:3 (ESV)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
“Hope” means confident optimism, and:
- Comes from God (Ps. 43:5)
- Gift of grace (2 Thess. 2:16)
- Defined by Scripture (Rom. 15:4)
- Reasonable reality (3:15)
- Secured by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (John 11:25, 26; 14:19; 1 Cor. 15:17)
- Confirmed in the Christian by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:13)
- Defends the Christian against Satan’s attacks (1 Thess. 5:8)
- Confirmed through trials (Rom. 5:3, 4)
- Produces joy (Ps. 146:5)
- Fulfilled in Christ’s return (Titus 2:13).
Hebrews 6:19 (ESV)
19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,
1 Peter 1:3–4 (ESV)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
1 Peter 1:5–6a (ESV)
5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice
- Blessings Outweigh Burdens: Whatever we give the most attention to will likely control us. Biblically speaking, our blessings outweigh our burdens, and we are called to live in light of this reality.
1 Peter 1:6-9 (ESV)
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7
What we see about trials through Peter:
- Trouble does not last (“little while”)
- Trouble serves a purpose (“if necessary”)
- Trouble brings distress (“grieved”)
- Trouble comes in various forms (“various trials”)
- Trouble should not diminish the Christian’s joy (“In this, you rejoice”)
1 Peter 1:7 (ESV)
7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 25:4 (NLT)
4 Remove the impurities from silver, and the sterling will be ready for the silversmith.
Malachi 3:2–3 (ESV)
For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.
1 Peter 1:8-9 (ESV)
. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
- Blessings Outlast Your Burdens: Rest in the reality that Jesus is coming. The angels are on the edges of heaven, watching God’s people to see how we will respond to His beckoning amongst a broken world. God is tuning us to His melody and His song.
1 Peter 1:10–12 (ESV)
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
- What does it mean to yield when driving? In the life of faith, what does it mean to live yielded?
- What does it look like to practically stand firm in today’s culture? Do you find it easy or difficult to do this?
- What does it mean to have a “living” hope? How is this different than the hope the world seeks to preach?
- Does Peter’s life of extremes bring any encouragement to how you view your walk with Jesus?
- Why do you think Peter’s answer to difficulty is joy?
- Has the Lord ever brought heat and trial into your life? Is he doing so now? How can you choose to respond with joy in this season?
- Does your life exemplify living hope? Do the non-believers in your life easily recognize where your hope comes from? Ponder this question this week.
- Do you need recalibration in this season to plant your feet and stand firm? Ask the Lord for revelation on how you can realign with Him.