I Peter 1-4
We are in the Church Stream reading from the Modern English Version.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Lord, what an inspiration Peter provides us with. Peter knew you personally. We want to know you deeply as well. Teach us your way, oh Lord. Amen.
Peter was a sinful man called to serve Christ in a much larger role than feeding the population around Galilee their needed fish ration. He was the most vocal and eager of the disciples. He was one who “wore it on his shirtsleeve” laying it all out there. His trademark was to jump in first and think things through later. His fervent heart, eager spirit, and reckless commitment to Jesus had him to be among Jesus’ inner circle. He writes this first of his two letters to the churches of “Asia Minor”. Paul worked tireless to bring these congregations along. Peter writes these vital and rich letters to these congregations to add his poignant perspective to what they must know to be growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Suffering was mounting and the days ahead were about to grow more difficult. Peter’s joy in his Savior was a trait that needed to be infused into Believers.
1 – Peter reminds them of the marvelous hope and glorious future they have in Christ. The hope of this glory is in fact so marvelous that the sufferings being endured at present are practically ‘inconveniences’ by comparison. What is coming for those who believe is so worth it – so guard yourselves against the world that so badly wants to drag you into it’s culture. The eternal wonders of Christ are great and the holiness that is going to be rewarded is unimaginable. So let’s attach ourselves to Christ who shall never perish. It is Peter who talks about being elected. The doctrine of “election” pivots heavily from I Peter 1. We understand where this comes from for Peter. It was he who was stared our Lord straight in the face when Jesus ordered him, “follow me”. Christ chose Peter. It was a moment that never left Him.
2 – Stop all evil and do what you must to grow in Christ. Let Christ nourish you is what Peter is saying. Let Christ Jesus help you grow. We either want that or we don’t – we’re in or out. What do we want? – as for the flesh v.s. spirit war inside of us, Peter encourages us to ‘call it over with’, yield to Christ, and be a good and honorable testimony among the lost souls in this world. Let doing right be your weapon in this world. Then the criticism aimed at you will remain hapless – if you always do what is right. This entails honoring people and respecting God. Please realize and exercise the power that is demonstrated in submission. [Peter is speaking to Christians who were slaves as well.] Ugly retaliations were never in line with faith. Christ endured far worse. We too can endure for the sake of remaining a gracious testimony for Jesus.
3 – Wives honoring their husbands was a powerful witnessing tool. It was not long before word got out and men across the Empire wanted a Christian wife. This too brought men into the Kingdom….millions of them! [Ugly- hearted women work against the Kingdom.] And men are to cherish and protect their wives like the priceless jewels that they are. What has been the result of men following this maxim? The Christian women of this world are the most gracious, insightful, attractive, empowered, wealthy, and engaged women on earth. And all this even though they do not belabor their appearance. The beauty of Christ merely shines through. The passage that Christ preached to the spirits in prison – this is what happened in the time between the crucifixion; Christ’s death and the Resurrection on the third day. He testified to even those who had been gone. There were 4,000 years between Cain/Abel and Christ’s arrival. Those scores of generations that lived in between those times needed to hear from Christ. So He told them. It’s a single passage doctrine and we cannot construct a huge theology around this concept. So we will drop that matter and finish chapter three with Peter’s note about baptism. Baptism cleanses. It washes away the former and starts us anew. It is a blessing. There are too many arguments about ‘First baptism/ second baptism, first Baptist this and that, Southern Baptist yada yada, water baptism sprinkle baptism. Hey, let’s just let God bless us with baptism and share this blessing v.s. arguing over it.
4 – With tremendous reverence for his Savior, Peter again encourages us to be ready to deepen our discipleship as suffering was intensifying here in the 60’s A.D.. Nero in Rome was particular to use the Christians as his scapegoats. Nero, an excessively sadistic and pagan man, especially enjoyed burning Christians to death. The Christian church in this part of the world was a mere 35-or-so years old. Would this end the church? Strangely enough it only made the church grow! The compassion this suffering caused, the love that the young church had for eachother as they huddled and worshipped (sometimes fearfully) was the phenomenon of the first century. It’s a truth of history, those who suffer together are more endeared to each other. This suffering purified the church. And a purified church is a powerful church!
The Thread Through the Streams
The thread that was sewed through the week was, “you better suit up for this. A greater covering is needed.”
-Deuteronomy 4-6 they better cover their lives with obedience. Do whatever you need to do to make sure you remember what I’ve commanded of you. Put things on your hands, foreheads, houses. Cover yourselves with these Ten Commandments and God will cover you. Strip them from you and YOU will be exposed to great evil. Loving God and your neighbor will cover everything in God’s eyes.
-II Chronicles 30-34 Hezekiah remembered the cloud that covered Israel by day, the fire by night, the blood on the door posts that covered them during the Passover, the Exodus that covered over the Egyptians. It was time to spiritually cover the Judeans again and have Passover. After that enough offerings came in to cover everything. When raging Assyrians had surrounded Jerusalem Hezekiah covered the matter in prayer. God told them to not suit up for war – he would cover this matter.. God shielded them from decimation. After him, Manasseh cloaked himself, his city, and every hill with unspeakable evil before he did the opposite in humility. Josiah was suited as king at 8 years old. He stripped the evil and covered the land with blessing.
-Proverbs 21-23 tells us to suit up our hearts with humility, and to cover our words in humility. And to cover your lives with wisdom, be sure and cover your destiny with your father’s teaching. Be diligent to suit up your children and so cover your future. And as a reminder, if you give yourself to alcohol you won’t be suited for anything.
-Ezekiel 27-29 says that the Babylonians were swooping down on Tyre and they would cover the place. What is Tyre’s covering? 28:13 said “…every precious stone was your covering.” Well Tyre got stripped bare; nothing left! Their lives were covered in sin as was Sidon. Babylon uncovered everything and left them ghost towns. Israel, however, would one day dwell in safety. That would suit them perfectly. And Egypt was going to be laid out and barren across the desert. It’s wealth, it’s animals and even it’s fish were going to be strewn in the desert. I bet they would be covered in vultures!
-Zechariah 3-4 is the vision when “Joshua” the Savior is covered in filthy robes; our sin. And they are changed to regal clothing; a suit of righteousness when Christ covers us by his sacrifice that changes everything in a day!
-John 9-10 Christ covers the blind man’s eyes and he can soon see. The healed man had best be warned to suit up for the hailstorm of hostility that would shower on him. His parents couldn’t cover him from the criticism.
-I Peter 1-4 warns the Christians to basically get emotionally suited up to endure great hatred from the Romans. This would require a great covering of humility and perseverance and a heart of love. They would need to cover each other in prayer and cover for each other. This they did as the Holy Spirit covered them to do mighty things in this first century church as the gospel then covered Europe and Asia from one end to the other before the close of the 1st century.