Loving the Brethren (1 Peter 1:22 – 2:3)

God commands Christian to always love one another out of a pure heart. He said it in the Old Testament. Jesus repeated it in the New Testament. It’s important. Most of us probably don’t do it well.

This past Sunday School, I discussed the first bit of Peter’s command from 1 Peter 1:22 – 2:3. It’s an important topic. So much more can be said. It’ll probably take me three lessons to get through this material.

The PDF notes are available here. As always, the entire 1 & 2 Peter teaching series is available here. Unless I note otherwise, assume the English translation in my notes (and in the Scripture graphics, below) is mine.

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Living With Fearful Reverence (1 Peter 1:17-21)

The Apostle Peter has a lot of practical advice for real life. But, he doesn’t issue commands and then stop. He tells you why:

  • Why should a Christian try his best to be holy, because God is holy?
  • Why should you prepare your minds for action, by being sober-minded?
  • Why should you not conform yourself to the wicked lusts you had during your earlier ignorance, before you were a Christian?

We talked a bit about that last week, but here Peter gives us one all-important reason – gratitude. Peter could have answered in so many different ways. He could have emphasized judgment and wrath. He could have stressed God’s holiness. He could have warned about certain punishment. He didn’t, even though all those answers would have been right.

Instead, Peter focuses on loving obedience that flows from your gratitude and thankfulness to God because of what Christ has done. This is at the heart of what it means to “live with fearful reverence.” Listen to today’s Sunday School lesson for more:

The PDF notes are available here. As always, the entire 1 & 2 Peter teaching series is available here. Unless I note otherwise, assume the English translation in my notes (and in the Scripture graphics, below) is mine.

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What Does it Mean to Be Holy?

Peter wrote that Christians must be holy, because God is holy. Great. Fantastic. Things like this always sound nifty in the abstract. So, forget abstractions – what on earth does this actually mean? You know, in real life?

We talked about that in Sunday School this past week. Juicy topics included:

  • What areas of our lives should Christians be holy in?
  • Is personal holiness an external thing, an internal thing, or both? What does this say about your motivation for wanting to “be holy?”
  • How do you avoid being legalistic about all this?
  • What is repentance, and what on earth does it have to do with personal holiness?

I’m sure you can’t wait to dive in. I’m here to help. Behold, the audio for this past Sunday’s lesson:

The PDF notes for the entire passage (1 Peter 1:13-16) is here. As always, all notes and audio for the entire series are available here.

Next week, Peter talks about why we should be holy. Yes, God is holy, so we ought to set ourselves apart for His use. But, specifically, why? I’ll paraphrase the learned philosopher Janet Jackson, and ask, “what has God done for you lately?”

Well, swing by church this coming Sunday and, verily, it shall be made manifest to thee.

Prepare Your Minds for Action!

If you’re a Christian, are you serious about your faith and your great God and Savior, Jesus Christ?

  • Do you try to begin each day (after a few cups of coffee!) by dedicating yourself to serve the Lord?
  • Have you prepared your mind for action?
  • Are you sober-minded about the realities of real Christian life, in the real world? We all know how to “pretend” when we gather to worship on Sundays – what about the other six and a half days?
  • What is your hope completely set on? Is it money? Career? Education? Your own self-righteousness? Your reputation? Your spouse? Sex? The Apostle Peter said your hope ought to be fully set on the grace that will be brought to you when Christ returns.

Of course, nobody is perfect. We all lose focus. We each have good days, and bad days. I understand. So does the Apostle Peter. So does the Lord. This is why the Apostle Paul characterized the Christian life as a race, an endurance event (cf. 1 Cor 9:24-27). It isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon – a long marathon. If you’re a Christian, you’ve already been given every single need you need for life and godliness (see especially 2 Pet 1:3-15). You have it. All of it. You’re not lacking anything. We just need to be reminded sometimes where our focus should be.

That’s what the Apostle Peter does, beginning in 1 Peter 1:13. This is where he takes all the wonderful things God has done for His children, and tells us all what that should mean for our lives:

“Therefore,” he writes, “in light of all this, you must prepare your minds for action! Ne serious! Be sober-minded! Put your hope completely in the grace and deliverance Christ will bring you when He returns. Keep your eye on the prize!”

Well, what does it look like to be “sober-minded?” How do we “prepare our minds for action?” What does this actually look like? Peter tells us all about that in the following verses . . . next week!

For this week, listen and follow along as Peter tells us how to become sober-minded, how to prepare our minds for action. I pray that the Apostle’s words comfort and encourage you:

PDF notes

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They Were Serving You . . .

If you’re a Christian, then you have an advantage Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel and all the prophets didn’t have. Do you know what it is? Do you know why it matters? Listen to the latest Sunday School lesson on 1 Peter 1:10-12, and find out! Read the PDF notes, too.

The rest of this teaching series is available here.

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Why Do Christians Suffer?

This is a complicated question, and the Apostle Peter tackled it head on. I discussed this during Sunday School today, when we studied 1 Peter 1:6-9. The audio and PDF notes are available here, along with the rest of the audio and notes from this teaching series.

See also this recent article I wrote, focusing on the Book of Job and the one thing his friends got horribly wrong.

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