See full series: studies-in-1-and-2-peter
Sermon by Thomas Thornhill Jr
Passage: 1 Peter 1:1-2
Sunday, November 1, 2020 pm
STUDIES FROM PETER’S EPISTLES (2)
Last month, we began a study of the book of the letters of Peter. This will be an ongoing expository study typically presented the first Sunday evening of each month. In our previous lesson, we introduced this book, noting it was written by Peter, likely in the early 60s, to Christians who had been scattered (dispersed) into the region mentioned in vs. 1 – Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. Based on the letter, he writing to Christians who are facing persecutions in a hostile region. He encourages subjection throughout this letter and to endure with a living hope, holy living in very practical ways.
In this lesson, we will begin examining the text by noting Peter’s greeting.
I. 1 Peter 1:1-2 – Greetings
- As already noted, Peter identifies himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ. We addressed a little about his character in our last lesson. He was outspoken and one willing to take the lead. His lesson is the one recorded in Acts 2. He was the one sent to Cornelius, the first Gentile convert. He was one whose failed from time to time, even as an apostle. In this, we can relate to him.
- To the pilgrims – this is one of many words that remind us of how we are out of place in this world. That actually is one of the points Peter seeks to remind his readers of – 1 Peter 4:3-5 notes how we should not be surprised if the worldly no longer accept us (even old friends) because we have changed.
In 1 Peter 4:12-13 – do not think it strange concerning the fiery trials you are enduring.
1 Peter 2:11 – Peter begged them “as sojourners and pilgrims”
This same word is found in Hebrews 11:13, where we read that many of the patriarchs died in faith not having received the promises and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims.
This also accords with Ephesians 2:19 which reminds us that we are citizens of God’s kingdom, as does Philippians 3:20
- The Dispersion – The idea of the dispersion is that they were scattered (dispersed), which most likely means as a result of persecutions.
Remember how in Acts 8:4 after persecutions began in Jerusalem they were scattered and went everywhere preaching the word. The dispersion (lit – diaspora)
The word is only found 3 times in the NT – John 7:35 where Jews questioned teachings of Jesus about His going to a place where they could not find Him. They asked themselves, “Does He intend to go the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks?” This was a reference to Jews who had been scattered throughout the world centuries earlier.
James 1:1 – he also writes “to the twelve tribes scattered abroad.” Many believe that was one of the earlier letters and was addressed primarily to Jewish brethren after they had been scattered due to persecutions in Rome. But this could have reference to spiritual Israel – (those belonging to Christ)
More than likely the meaning of OUR text is that it is addressed to Gentiles and Jews alike, ALL believers. There are hints to this throughout the book of 1 Peter.
- Peter proceeds to mention a specific region consisting of several provinces as we noted earlier in the introduction.
- Elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father– or chosen by God.
- The point Peter is making here – he is writing to the saved. Those who have been washed in the blood of Jesus and are now Christians.
- Election is a doctrine that has been misinterpreted to teach that God randomly selected certain individuals to be saved and all others will be lost. Calvinistic election teaches that man has no choice in this. And while the word “elect” does mean to choose some over others, how that “election” takes place needs to be understood. Calvinistic election takes away freewill, makes God a respecter of persons, limits the sacrifice of Jesus (He only died for those randomly selected), and quite honestly is unjust for those not elected, should they be condemned to an eternal hell.
- BUT election can also mean a certain plan which if followed causes one to be part of that chosen group – like joining a club that has requirements. You meet the requirements, you join. The Bible teaches this description. Consider:
- Salvation is available to all –
– John 3:16 tells us that whoever believes in Him might be saved.
– 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 tells us that Jesus died for all – that is, His death is available to everyone.
– 1 Timothy 2:3-4 tells us that God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth.
– Finally, in Acts 10:34 as Peter is sent to Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, He begins teaching by saying, “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.”
- Man has a choice – from the very beginning, man has had a choice to obey or not. Joshua 24:15, Matthew 6:24, 7:24-27; Acts 13:46 – they judged themselves unworthy by rejecting the word of God.
- Those chosen for salvation are called by the gospel.
– 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 – “to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Consider, what is the real purpose of the “Great commission” if God randomly selects the saved? (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:46-47.
- What about passages that call for a response from us? Mark 16:16, Philippians 2:12, Acts 3:19, Galatians 3:27, etc.
- These thoughts and passages make it clear that you can be part of the elect, if you will accept it!
- Salvation is available to all –
- His foreknowledge is a product of His omniscience and omnipotence. He has the power to make happen whatever needs to occur. That is why prophecies in the Old Testament point to Christ, the church and redemption.
Understand that this does NOT nullify election as we have discussed it.
- Sanctification in the spirit –
Sanctification – means to set apart, consecrate, to dedicate to the service of and loyalty to God. It is a word associated with both saints and holiness.
– Here we are simply reminded that through the work of the Holy Spirit, we are set apart to God. His word convicts us (Hebrews 4:12, Romans 1:16). 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 says, But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
– There will be substantial reference to holiness as we go through this book and will be address that when we get there.
– It is through the gospel (and possibly by other means) that the Holy Spirit does His work. But it is an invitation available to all.
- For obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ – this is what it is about.
– Whatever work the Holy Spirit does in sanctifying us (in this text), is related to our obeying the gospel.
– We are called upon to obey the gospel – Acts 22:16, 2:38 (in such, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit), etc.
It is in the act of baptism that we come into contact with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6:3-4) which is where He blood was shed.
– Hebrews 5:9 – He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.
– “the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus” is an important concept in scripture. It is related to how His blood purifies us. In the wilderness, the book of the law, the altar, the tabernacle, as well as the people of Israel were sprinkled with blood to purify them (Exodus 24:3-8). It was a ceremony to set them apart for God. Hebrews 9:18-26 elaborates on this and ties it to the blood Jesus shed for our sins.
– It is through His blood that we obtain our forgiveness – Matthew 26:27-28, as Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper, He noted His blood was shed “for the remission of sins.”
1 Peter 1:18-19 will revisit this, knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Jesus obeyed (Philippians 2:8) and died for us. He shed His blood which God accepted, and now we need to obey Him and His gospel. Romans 5:6-9.
- Grace and peace be multiplied – Peter begins with common greetings – to both Gentiles and Jews alike.
The words are obviously significant to Christians as we desperately need both the grace of God and peace with Him and one another.
2 Peter 1:2 adds to this, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord.” It is THROUGHT His word that we find this grace and peace.
Peter is writing to those who were Christians scattered abroad. This letter is written to them to encourage them to stay that way, even in the face of hostilities. As I read this letter, I see just how equally relevant it is for us today. We are living in ungodly and evil times. But we must endure and we cannot quit. Peter will help us to see that and give us some understanding as to HOW we should live and WHY. I commend this lesson AND letter to you.