Saturday, October 9, 2021

Conclusion- Grace, Love, and Peace - 1 Peter 5:12-14 - October 10, 2021

 1 Peter 5:12-14 Conclusion- Grace, Love, and Peace

Good morning! We are continuing our study in 1 Peter this morning with chapter five, verses twelve through fourteen, page 1017 in the pew Bibles.

It was very tempting to just lump these verses in with our text from last week as they are just a brief conclusion of this letter, almost like Peter’s signature at the end. This few verses were most likely written by Peter’s own hand but they carry much more weight than just a signature and so I want to look at them on their own as we close our study on this book.

12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. 13 She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. 14 Greet one another with the kiss of love. 

Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

Let’s pray.

In our very first look at the letter of 1 Peter, in our introductory study, we looked at the three major factors in studying any given text, the author, the audience, and the author’s intent.

If you remember from that study we determined that the author was Peter, that’s usually how you get epistles named after you, unless you’re the Apostle Paul.

The difference between this first letter of Peter and all of Paul’s letters is the audience. Paul wrote to specific churches in specific cities as well as specific people and the letters were given the names of those cities and churches and people, Peter, however, wrote to groups of people in various places spread out over what is now northern Turkey.

The first few verses of chapter one give us this exact information.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, 

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 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.

And though these introductory verses give us both the author and the audience, and maybe a hint at the author’s intent in writing this letter, it isn’t until we get to our text for today that Peter’s intent in writing to the elect exiles of the dispersion is made clear.

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

Peter mentions Silvanus there in verse 12 as well. Silvanus appears elsewhere in the New Testament, you may remember Paul’s companion Silas, they are the same guy. He is mentioned several times as a leader in the church in Acts 15, 16, 17, 18. He accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey and co-authored 1 and 2 Thessalonians.

Peter regarded Silvanus as a faithful brother, which is a high compliment in my opinion, and he most likely functioned as Peter’s secretary in writing this letter down as well as delivering copies himself to the churches in northern Turkey.

Peter, with the help of Silvanus, wrote this brief letter to encourage the churches to stand firm in the true grace of God.

And as I look at our text for this morning, as I often do, I can see three key words Peter used there and grace is the first, stand firm in the true grace of God.

The word grace means, “gift,” an unearned gift. In my mind the verses that best describe grace at work and the Father’s motivation for giving us grace were written by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:4-10.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

He loves us because He made us, we are his workmanship, even though we were spiritually dead because of our sin and rebellion against Him, in His grace He made us alive together with Christ, raised us up from death, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places. He saved us from the consequences of our sin, not because of anything we had done to earn that saving, but He gave us salvation as a gift through faith in Jesus Christ.

So there is no boasting about being worthy of that gift, there is however, standing firm because the Father will never revoke that gift. Last week we talked about the Legionnaires standing firm, as if fastened to the ground, this grace is the foundation that we are to be fastened to.

In verse 13-14 Peter mentions the other two key words, love, and peace.

13 She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. 14 Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

Before we look at those other two key words we need to deal with “the mysterious lady,” and also Mark. 

First, the easy one, Mark is Mark. John Mark, who wrote the book of Mark, as you may remember it was really Peter’s telling of the life and ministry of Jesus and Mark wrote it down. John Mark was a cousin to Barnabas and joined he and Paul on a missionary journey but chickened out and ran home to Mama. He was later restored and became a leader in the church and obviously quite useful in gospel ministry both to Peter and to Paul, and also to us as it turns out.

“She who is at Babylon,” sounds a lot more mysterious than it actually is. Peter wrote this letter from the actual city of Babylon, the church did not start referring to Rome as Babylon until after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD you can see that in the book of Revelation which was written thirty years or so after this letter.

The mysterious lady is the church, “she who is at Babylon,” simply means the church in and around the city of Babylon. No mystery, no codes, no secret meaning, it wasn’t Peter’s wife or some other noble lady as mentioning an individual in this way is not consistent with Peter’s style of writing, not to mention the fact that he names to other specific people by name on either side of this phrase.

This testimony was to serve as an encouragement to the churches that Peter was writing to, to remind them that they were not the only churches that remained, that they were not alone in the world, that other brothers and sisters throughout the world were suffering as they were but were standing firm in the grace of God.

So verse 14 hold our other two key words and the first builds off this idea that the churches were not alone, “Greet one another with a kiss of love.”

Now before you start thinking that the Bible commands us to go around kissing everybody, “Pastor told us that we have to kiss everybody!” Don’t forget the context and the original audience.

Putting your hands on both shoulders and kissing on the cheek was a First Century oriental greeting, most commonly used by a disciple to their teacher. This is why Judas used this greeting to signal to the soldiers which man in their troupe was Jesus.

Peter exhorted everyone in the churches to greet each other in this way. As you may have figured out the church has done away with this tradition and rightly so. It was misused and abused over the centuries and by the Thirteenth Century was abandoned altogether. Hugs and handshakes, fist bumps, high fives, all will suffice to replace the kiss.

But what must not be replaced in our greetings is the love part.

Remembering, like the churches that Peter was writing to, that we do not walk alone, we do not stand alone, but are united in the love of Christ and love for one another. Our greetings and our meetings should reflect that love.

And finally, “Peace to all of you who are in Christ Jesus.”

Peace is something the world truly craves, but Peter shows us here that true peace is only possible one way, and that is in Christ Jesus.

In order for anyone to be at peace, to know the peace of God, they must first experience peace with God. Paul outlined this beautifully in Romans 5:1-11.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

By means of the preaching of the gospel the church has been brought through faith in Christ to the possession and enjoyment of the grace of God, the love of God, and the peace of God.

That was Peter’s desire for the churches of the dispersion and is the Holy Spirit’s desire for the church today.