Palms Baptist Church Bible Study
1 Peter: 7 Disciplines for Effective Witness
December 1, 2020

1 Peter: 7 Disciplines for Effective Witness

December 1, 2020

*The second coming of Jesus was not the focus of this letter, BUT, the constant belief of His second-coming was so engrained in the expectation of the early church that it shadowed every element of the letter

  • Literary Point 1: 1 Peter 1-2:10 – Living Hope and Holiness
    • 13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy “ – 1 Peter 1:13-16
  • Literary Point 2: 1 Peter 2:11-3:7 – Submission
    • 13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.  “ – 1 Peter 2:13-15
  • Literary Point 3: 1 Peter 3:8-4:19 – Witness through Suffering
    • “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” – 1 Peter 3:8-9
  • Literary Point 4: 1 Peter 5:1-11 – Elder Instructions
    •  Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; “ – 1 Peter 5:2
  • Literary Point 5: 1 Peter 5:12-14 -Salutations

The Main Literary Point: 1 Peter 3:8-9

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Discipline 1: for your Witness Sake (1 Peter 3)

Discipline 2: to your Witness

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

  • We are defeated by sin because we want easy victories with no work, sacrifice, or fight
  • One who suffers for something is committed to it i.e. if you are comfortable in your faith, you are probably not as committed as you should be
  • Suffering manifests beyond simply physical pain

*Maybe, the urgency and commitment of the early church was due to the immediate anticipation of Christ’s return

*What does a commitment to marriage look like? If I’m not committed, what happens? Christ put our relationship in context of marriage…a uncommitted marriage leads to unfaithfulness, divorce, unhappiness.

  • Study showed that 90% of women find married men more attractive
    • Their flirtation is not with a physical attraction, but a commitment attraction…and they flirt with that too
    • Any commitment is tested, and therefore requires deliberate, focused effort to maintian

*Any commitment is tested, and therefore requires a deliberate commitment to your witness to “live the rest of your earthly life” separate from “evil human desires”

Discipline 3: A Witness not of, but amidst

 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

  • “you have spent enough time in the past”
    • Many believers still believe they have NOT spent enough time in the sin of the world
    • Being enthralled in sin is not a requirement for effective witness, but here Peter is talking about a demonstrated change in heart and behavior towards sin
    • Sin you’ve already entertained does not get better, the only reason you remain in it is because you:
      • A) think you need more of it as if it gets better
      • B) Have not experienced Christ in a way that has proved more satisfying than stagnant sin
  • “they are surprised when you don’t join them”
    • Note: You have to be present to be recognized you will not partake
      • Often, we remove ourselves from the situations or people, but that’s counter to our mission to be witnesses to those people and situations
      • Separation from people/situations may help your personal moral behavior, but is not an effective witness

*Do not be a spiritual “Bubble Boy” with you or your family

    • Its in the contrast of the worlds behavior that shows your separation
  • “heap abuse on you”
    • Peter’s audience witness was far more than choosing not to “Party,” rather, those activities were engrained in every societal, cultural, political, economic, and religious institution. The choice was NOT to simply refrain from drinking or fornication, rather to NOT be “Roman”
      • Example: Marine Corps and drinking

*Christ redeemed you for His Sake! You were not called to be a “holy” saint in the corner, but to be a “light in the darkness,” an effective witness amidst sin!

Discipline 4: A Witness Focused by

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 

  • “Alert and Sober-minded”
    • Second time Peter uses this term which means “focus on” or “prioritize” what follows
  • Many Christians take political or world events and prophecy charts and prioritize interpretation of events to God’s will, Christ’s second-coming, and their role in witness, but Peter would say that is a mis-application. We really should be driven to prayer

*Work place project example: If you are given a task or project to complete, and being perfectly clear of intent and mission you still have questions as to how to accomplish that task

*Your witness cannot be deliberate if your prayer is not deliberate!

Discipline 5: A Witness through

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

  • “love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins”
    • Holy Love is counter to every self-serving idol we possess
    • Love is only possible if we are deliberate/committed to Jesus and our witness
    • If Love is present in situations and relationships, then many sinful offenses are quickly and easily forgiven
  • Whatever gifts/talents we possess, we should use to serve others and God

*Our witness is identified not simply by how we behave personally, but how we LOVE others deeply

Discipline 6: A Witness In

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 

  • Many American Christians seem so surprised when they go through trials or suffer
    • This comes from a heretical view that “God is for us” as defined by whatever we are “for” at the time (money, power, fame, promotion, etc.); and because no one is “for” suffering, then suffering is not inline with God’s will
      • God is only “for YOU” if you are “FOR GOD”. In Romans 1, Paul says “no one is for God,” but Christ restored our hearts to God; therefore, what we are now FOR is not what the world is for, and we will suffer for it. Furthermore, areas of our life is still not for what God wants it to be (finances, marriage, work, calling in life, etc.), and we will suffer daily in combatting what we want versus what God wants
    • Life is suffering, and every human being will always be a in one of two states of suffering:
      • A) Sufferings from being out of purpose, identity, and blessing with God
      • B) Sufferings from being out of purpose, identity, and blessing with the world
        • One suffering leads to ultimate glory, and thus, is the worst it will ever be
        • The other suffering leads to eternal suffering, and is the best you will ever have
    • Jesus says, Choose your suffering
      • Sadly, many Christians remain half-hearted in their faith, and experience suffering from both suffering states

*Your witness is tied to what you suffer and sacrifice for. If you do not suffer/sacrifice for Jesus, you are suffering/sacrificing for something else (Marine Corps, family, business, etc.) and therefore proclaim a witness to that

  • Simply, many Christian’s witness is one that says Christ is important, but not more important than the interests of the U.S. or political party, or my wife’s happiness, or my financial stability….

Discipline 7: A Witness to withstand God’s

17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[a]

19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

  • Judgment begins in the church, and can your witness withstand Christ’s judgment?
    • Can you say, “I loved for your sake?” or “I prayed for God’s mission?” or “I honored God through my sufferings and trials?” or “My witness remained committed and true amidst sin?”
  • In whatever situation or environment your in, can you say “My witness remained true?” or is your witness contingent on your situation and environment?

 

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