Saturday, March 6, 2021

1 Peter Introduction - March 7, 2021

These are the Sermon Notes for March 7, 2021. We are meeting at the church with specific procedures and protocols that need to be followed. Read our Covid-19 plan here. You can still watch our livestream service every Sunday at 9:37 am on our facebook page or watch the livestream recordings any time.

 1 Peter Introduction

Good morning! I’d like to thank Mr. Aron for bringing the message last week. It seemed appropriate to me to take a break after finishing our study in the Gospel of Mark, and I do so appreciate it when the Lord speaks through His people.

So we began studying the Gospel of Mark with our eyes on Peter. The scholars believe that Mark’s Gospel was Peter’s account of the earthly life and ministry of Jesus and now we are going to begin a study on works that we know for sure were written by Peter because his name is at the top of the page.

But first, let’s pray.

Peter’s first epistle starts on page 1014 in the pew Bibles.

Now as is appropriate at the beginning of any study of a particular book of the Bible, we need to consider who the author was, who the audience was, and what was that original author’s intent in writing and then we will take in the whole letter together.

Fortunately we don’t have to do a lot of digging to get to who the author was and who the audience was, it’s right there in verse 1, the intent however, is hiding all the way in the last chapter.

But I don’t want to go in that order. First I want to look at the audience.

Who was the audience? The elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. Clear enough, right? Maybe not. The cities and regions mentioned here are all in the northern part of modern-day Turkey, that’s the easy part, and those in those regions that Peter is writing to he refers to as the elect exiles of the dispersion. 

What does he mean by “elect”? He explains that in verse two with the definition of election: “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for the sprinkling of His blood…”

These were believers in Jesus Christ, saved and sanctified by the foreknowledge of God just as every believer is, just as we are.

What does He mean by “exiles of the dispersion”? This is a reference to Jewish believers, those who had been dispersed, scattered from their homeland and now living as exiles in Northern Turkey. Peter is often referred to as the Apostle to the Jews just as Paul was referred to as the Apostle to the Gentiles. That doesn’t mean that Gentile believers are not included in the instruction and encouragement included in this letter, by the time this letter was written Jewish and Gentile believers were together in one holy church.

So what was Peter’s intent in writing this letter to the church in Turkey? Unlike the books of Luke and Acts where the author’s purpose is right there in the first few verses, in 1 Peter we have to skip all the way to chapter five, verse twelve to get it. Although as we read everything before chapter 5, verse 12, it will be fairly obvious. Either way, I’ll read it anyway.

I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.

So what was Peter’s intent? To encourage the church to stand firm in the grace of God. As we’ll see as we go through the letter, it’s specifically to stand firm in the grace of God in the face of trials and persecutions. You will also hear a message of hope woven throughout the letter.

So there’s the audience and the author’s intent, but what about the author himself?

What comes to your mind when you think of the Apostle Peter?

Now we’ve just finished the Gospel of Mark and we learned a lot about Peter mostly about his failures. He was willing to jump out of the boat at night and walk on the water to Jesus but as soon as he started relying on himself to stay afloat he promptly sank, we saw him try to set up tents for Jesus and Moses and Elijah in order to set up a new kingdom on earth, but that didn’t work out either. He was brave enough to cut off Malchus’ ear in the garden to defend Jesus but lied to the slave girls about knowing Jesus. Peter has quite a story, but the Gospels only give us part of his story.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, and dictated to Silvanus, also known as Silas, the Apostle Peter wrote this epistle in the mid 60s AD from Babylon. This wasn’t a mystical type of symbolic Babylon, it was the real Babylon on the Euphrates River, which is modern-day Baghdad, Iraq.

Simon Peter, also known as Cephas, “the man of rock,” was the brother of Andrew, who was a disciple of John the Baptist. He was born in Bethsaida, but lived and worked in Capernaum as a fisherman. 

He is always named first in the four times in Scripture that the disciples are all named but that doesn’t make him superior to them or give him a higher rank, it simply displays that he had the dignity of being their spokesman. 

Peter did walk on water, he did witness the transfiguration of Jesus, he had his feet washed by Christ, he defended Jesus at His arrest, denied the Lord at His trial, yet he repented and was restored. 

He saw the empty tomb and the Risen Lord, he was charged by Jesus to feed His sheep, to feed His lambs, he pastored the church in Jerusalem for a time, tongues of fire fell on him and he preached the gospel on the day of Pentecost where over three thousand people were saved. 

He healed people in the Name of Jesus, he carried the gospel to Samaria and the coastal regions of the Mediterranean. 

He was the first to receive gentiles into Christ’s church after being instructed in a vision to call no one unclean who God has made clean. He defended the Gentile believers from the yoke of the Law and the necessity of circumcision to be saved. 

He was arrested by Herod Agrippa but was rescued by an angel, he preached the gospel throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor, and Bithynia, he also worked in the Parthan Empire, and finally in Rome where he cofounded the church with the Apostle Paul. 

In the fourteenth year of the reign of Emperor Nero, between 67 and 68 AD, Peter was martyred, crucified upside down.

There was a lot more to Peter than what we saw in the Gospel of Mark. What a difference the Holy Spirit makes! And now we have his words from thirty-plus years after Mark’s Gospel concluded.

So let’s read it and allow the Holy Spirit to be our interpreter. 

Read 1 Peter.

Close in Prayer.