TEACHING SERIES: TALKING WITH THE TWELVE
Living as Jesus did is a daunting task, especially when we try to figure out how He actually lived. The best way to see how Jesus lived, is to look at the Gospels and absorb all that it says. We will look specifically at how Jesus interacted with the 12 in 6 unique stories.
Week 1: Grace + Peace // 1 Peter 1:1-2
Writer: Lamar Allen
Big Idea: Peter’s early life was at times a model of self-reliance. What we see in his letter to the churches in exile, is a life that has been transformed from self-reliance to a life marked by grace and peace.
Many years ago, a lunch invitation had a much larger impact on my life than I could have imagined! "If you are open to discussing a move to Los Gatos and serving at Calvary Church, I'll buy you lunch." It was said casually and really didn't seem like something that would influence my future in a significant way. That question, resulted in a move from Colorado and my being part of the Calvary staff since 1980. What might cause you to "make a move?" Often the reasons for considering a new location relate to a new job opportunity, family relationships or the opportunity to start over, which are all quite positive. However, there are moves that occur because we believe there is no choice. The early followers of Jesus were in jeopardy from many directions, causing them to flee for safety. Their community often persecuted believers because of their faith. Some Roman government officials even sought to blame them for the burning of Rome. Threats and actual persecution became a way of life for people of faith. The Apostle Peter wrote to give instruction to these believers, encouraging them to remain faithful and communicating to them that God will continue to provide His grace and peace. Has a friend, relative, or co-worker spoken despairingly about your faith? Today, there are many around the world who live in present and growing danger because they identify with Jesus. In the weeks ahead, ask yourself if the message of I Peter is for them alone or is there a message for us living in the Silicon Valley?
In 1 Peter 1:1-2, Peter made his letter very clear to the intended recipients. Both Gentiles and Jews had identified themselves as followers of Jesus Christ, as a result they were scattered throughout Asia-minor (present day Turkey) because of persecution. He commended them for being people that were living in the light of their relationship with God the Father, God the Holy Spirit and God the Son. Peter wanted them to remember that they were pilgrims in this world and that their identity and destination was a heavenly world. The Apostle covered many topics but he primarily used the opportunity to emphasize the central truth of the Gospel, that Jesus endured the agony of the cross to save us from the bondage of sin. (1:2-5, 7-11, 17-21, 2:21-24, 3: 18-22) Jesus’ sinless life, His quiet endurance of suffering, and His commitment to truth should be a model in all the difficulties of life.
Peter wanted the believers to remember that they were included in God's forever family, not because of their effort but rather based on God's eternal wisdom. It was also important they have in mind that their sanctification was an ongoing process to become molded to the pattern of the Lord. And the Holy Spirit working in them created a holy and separated life from their old ways. It was the Spirit who would accomplish this process but the believers had a significant part to play as well. They were to see obedience as their part of the equation. The Spirit would direct and enable the process, but the believer was to show love and trust in the Lord by being obedient to God’s instruction and demonstrating a willingness to serve Him. All this was possible because of the new life they had through Jesus Christ!
Reading: 1 Peter 1:1-2
- How does it impact you knowing that you were on the mind of God when Christ died on the cross? Describe that kind of grace in your own words.
- How do you experience the peace of God in your life?
- If you were (are) experiencing persecution, does it encourage or discourage you to know God knows you and has chosen you? Why?
- Express in your own words how Philippians 1:16 describes sanctification.
- How does obedience relate to the claim of God on your life?
- What part has the Holy Spirit played in your spiritual journey? Be specific!
- If someone was seeking to identify you as a Jesus follower, what evidence would they list?
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