Route 66 - Stop 60: I PETER

Audio File: 
Speaker: 
Dr. Rich McCarrell
Date: 
Sunday, November 18, 2018

Author:           

The apostle Peter (1:1). He may very well be the best known of the 12. He was a fisherman in Galilee, who first became interested in the preaching of John the Baptist. He was later brought literally and spiritually to Jesus Christ by his brother, Andrew, who had heard John’s testimony (John 1:35-42). His original name was Simon or Simeon, but he was re-named Peter by the Lord. We also know from references to his mother-in-law that he was a married man. Because of his failures, we may be tempted at times to criticize Peter, but consider a few comments about his life.

 

Many events in Peter’s life stand out . . . Walking on water, a great confession of who Christ is (Matt. 16:15-16), a powerful boast that he would never forsake Christ, his repentance and restoration with the resurrected Christ, his great sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), his powerful sermon after healing the lame man at the gate called Beautiful (Acts 3), his deliverance by the angels from his imprisonment (Acts 12), preaching to the first Gentiles (Acts 10), his firm testimony of salvation through faith and for Christian liberty at the Jerusalem council (Acts 15). Yes, some failures, but also great accomplishments. Peter was a Biblical author, a member of Christ’s inner circle (James/John) and the imprint of Peter upon the early church was stronger than probably any of the other original 12. He was the most prominent disciple during Jesus’ lifetime, and the first 12 chapters of Acts are devoted to his ministry. He was a pillar within the early church and a powerful proponent of the truth he preached on the day of Pentecost. We also note that Paul mentions Peter quite freely throughout the book of Galatians as well as 1 Corinthians.

 

Date:              

It’s not clear when Peter wrote this letter, but the date most scholars generally agree upon is somewhere in the early-middle AD 60’s, when the believers were suffering persecution. Probably around (just before or during) Nero’s persecution in 64. Peter was martyred about A.D. 67. This was written from Rome (5:13a). Babylon was a symbolic name for Rome.

 

Recipients:     

Jewish believers that lived outside Palestine (1:1,2).  (Lit) – “Sojourners of the       dispersion”. Note that he speaks to them not      as Jews, but as Christians. They had come     to claim Christ as their Messiah/Savior and    now were included in His body and bride.         In this light, this book is also addressed to Christians everywhere (1:18-19, 23;                         2:10,24, etc.). Again, we note that Peter was especially the apostle to the Jews as Paul       was especially the apostle to the Gentiles (Gal. 2:7-9). This does not mean though that either of them limited themselves exclusively to these groups.

 

Purpose:         

The purpose of this book is twofold.

   1. To fulfill the commission given by our Lord Himself to Peter (Luke 22:31-32)

   2. To encourage and equip believers who were undergoing persecution and were facing even more persecution.

   One of the worst persecutions to have struck the early church took place early in the second century in Bithynia, which is one of the provinces to which 1 Peter was written (1:1). Around A.D. 110, there is correspondence between emperors explaining how the execution of people who were confessing Christ as Savior was being carried out and, how those who would renounce their faith and worship Roman gods were being set free. So as Peter wrote, it was to encourage believers who were undergoing local, persecution, (similar to any believer of any age living faithfully in a pagan/hostile culture ~ slander/rejection/protests) and also to the entire church, facing persecution of the severest kind only a few decades away (1:6-7, 4:12-13, 5:8-9).

 

In his encouragement he:

   * Focuses on Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is central in this book. In chapter 1, He is the Lamb of God. In chapter 2, He is the chief cornerstone. In chapter 3, He is our example in suffering. In chapter 4, He is our reason for suffering. In chapter 5, He is the One who is coming again to reward His servants who were faithful in suffering. We would do well to learn from this church leader that Christ must be central in the   life of the church and in the life of the believer, no matter what circumstances we may be going through. Our rock is Christ, and when all we have left is Him, we find   that He is enough.

   *  Shares the wonderful hope that lies ahead (1:13).

   * Encourages them to suffer as Christians, not as lawbreakers. He exhorts husbands, wives, servants, elders, in fact all people, to fulfill their individual duties and responsibilities before God and in submission to proper authorities so as not to give the enemy any ground for a true complaint (4:15-16).

   *  Peter shares one of only 3 instances of the word “Christian” to be found in the New   Testament        (Acts 11:26, 26:28, 1 Peter 4:16).

   *   Note a record of John Mark’s spiritual Father (5:13)

 

Theme:           

Peter himself states the theme of this letter (5:12). “True Grace of God”. Note that the words “suffer” or “suffering” occurs 15 times (implied 6 more) and that the word “glory” and “glorify” occur 16 times. A reminder that the glory comes following our glorifying God with patient endurance through times of suffering.

 

Outline:          

1. “Salvation” – our suffering in light of this position (1:1-12)                                

2. “Sanctification” – our suffering in light of this process (1:13-2:12)         
     This has to do with holiness of life

3. “Submission” – our suffering in light of this principle (2:13-3:12)

4. “Suffering” – strengthened and faithful through the grace of God (3:13-5:14)

5. “Stand fast in the light of our hope in the resurrected Redeemer”

 

* Peter was not an ignorant man. Peter developed this book with a very smooth flow. The Christian life begins with salvation, our main calling is then purity of life, one of the chief characteristics is submission, even as we understand all who live godly lives in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

 

Pastor preached through 1 & 2 Peter from January 13, 2013 to August 10, 2014 in the evening services. The messages are available on the Podcast.