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:
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.
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.
The latest audio and PDF notes from my Sunday School series, on 1 & 2 Peter, are available here. All the audio and notes will be posted here as I progress through this teaching series. Today’s lesson was on 1 Peter 1:3-5.
Peter, [an] apostle of Jesus Christ – to [the] chosen who are resident foreigners; that is, [the] diaspora in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, [chosen] according to God the Father’s plan, by the Spirit’s sanctification, for the purpose of obedience, as well as sprinkling with Jesus Christ’s blood. May grace and peace be always increasing to you! (1 Peter 1:1-2).
Peter isn’t trying to teach the Trinity; he just assumes it as he writes the opening words of the letter. It’s interesting that Peter doesn’t feel he needs to teach these Christians about the Trinity. We worship one being who is God, and within God three co-equal and co-eternal Persons have always existed – Father, Son and Spirit.
Here are some foundational pillars for understanding the Trinity:
There is only one God
God consists of three distinct Persons, with different roles and responsibilities
Each Person has always existed
Each Person is fully divine (e.g. not ⅓ divine)
Each Person is one with the others
Here is the point:
In 1 Peter 1:1-2, Peter discusses something specific each Person of the Trinity does when God saves somebody. Why do you think Peter spends so much time emphasizing God’s grace in salvation?
Knowing this is the truth about God, put yourself in a Christian’s shoes who heard this letter read, somewhere in Northern Turkey, on the shores of the Black Sea in the early 60s A.D.
You’ve a Gentile, and you’ve grown up as a pagan. You’ve offered sacrifices to pagan idols at your temples, and worshipped many gods your entire life. Before you became a Christian, the Roman officials began encouraging people to offer incense to an image of the Roman Emperor
You’ve become a Christian, and joined a small group of disciples. Most of these Christians are former Jews, whose parents first became Christians after making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover and Pentecost about 33 years before. They witnessed Jesus’ triumphal entry, His execution, and heard the rumors about His resurrection. They saw the miracle at Pentecost, when tongues of fire descended upon Christ’s disciples. They saw the results, as these men began to preach and teach the Gospel in languages from all over the world! They, like so many others, repented of their sins and believed in Jesus that day. They brought that faith back home, all those years ago.
You’ve stopped worshipping the gods, you don’t go to the pagan temples, you don’t offer incense to the gods, and you refuse to worship and reverence the Emperor’s image. Your family has disowned you, and kicked you out on the street. Your entire community has disowned you; maybe they’ve even driven you from your hometown with threats of death.
You have no friends, family, or social support structure – all you have is your brothers and sisters in Christ, who help provide for you as best they can.
How tempting would it would be to try and mold your pagan beliefs back with your Christian beliefs? How easy would it be to try and rationalize this kind of move? After all, you live in a syncretic culture – your friends and family would love if you’d just add Jesus to your list of pagan gods!
You’d need some pretty good reasons to stick it out and remain a faithful Christians in this kind of environment – so Peter gives you some:
God has chosen you for salvation
You’re resident foreigners, and part of a group of pilgrims who live in a very unholy land
You’re not alone – there are others just like you scattered all throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia!
You, and every single other Christian, were each chosen according to God the Father’s plan. This means you’re important (not in and of yourself), but you’re important to God
You were set apart for divine service (i.e. “sanctified”) by the Spirit. God sent the Spirit to shine the Gospel light into your heart and change your mind about sin, righteousness and judgment, so that you would repent and believe
This was all done so that you’d become a Christian, obey the Gospel, and have Christ’s work applied to your soul
All three Persons of the Trinity are involved in your salvation. If you’re the new Christian in Bithynia, this gives some extraordinary comfort to you as you think about life, late at night, when all your family, friends, community and entire life has gone up in smoke because of your faith. If you’re a Christian today, it does the very same thing.
Peter focus on the Trinity to give you hope. God chose you. The Spirit set you apart for service, so you’d be obedient to the Gospel and have the Son’s work applied to your soul. This is why you can continue on, day by day, week by week, month by month. This is why you can and must persevere for Christ.
To remind and encourage Christians what God has done for them, and in light of that, encourage them to trust God, grow and live Godly lives in the midst of trials and sufferings, which all Christians have been called to endure for good and holy reasons.
This is a book for real people, living real lives, facing real problems, in a society and culture that really hated Christ and everything His Gospel stands for. Peter is a very practical man:
He wrote 1 Peter to tell us why trials and suffering comes our way, and how to deal with them.
He wrote 2 Peter to tell us why false teachers and deceivers come our way, and how to deal with them.
Peter gives us a Christianity completely different from the glossy, pop-Christian shallowness that largely characterizes the evangelical world in the West. Peter lives in a world that is very hostile to Christ and the Gospel. So do the people he writes to.
This background informs the way he writes, what he emphasizes, and the warnings he gives. Peter is a very serious man, a very sober man, a very concerned man – and he says all Christians should be, too
This seriousness, this soberness, this practical and “real” mindset is the worldview, the lens, through which he views the world and the faith. It should be ours, too.