What 1 Peter is all about
- We know that when we are saved, we become adopted into the family of our dear father God
- He loves us passionately
- He is good and kind and wants only the best for us
- If we are children of the king, how come we have problems?
- Why does our great and infinitely powerful and loving heavenly daddy come and solve all our problems for us?
- I have been doing a lot of study in 1 Peter recently
- to start with I thought: What a depressing book this is
- Why does it have to have so much about suffering?
- 2:19-21 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
- 4:12,13 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christís sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
- My problems and suffering are relatively minor:
- My vehicle being stolen
- Immigration problems
- Then I discovered that Peter wrote this just before the persecution began,
- the horrific wave of persecution under the emperor Nero
- He was prophetically preparing them (see 4:12-14)
- This letter is an actual detailed example of a N.T. prophecy being delivered
- There must have been thousands of prophecies, but most of them were only relevant to an immediate need
- But this one the Holy Spirit preserved, and caused it to be added to the books of the N.T. because it was of value to the Christians throughout the ages
- Personal example of a prophetic warning of problems ahead
- This can totally change our perspective on the suffering and take away much of the pain
- But why could Peter not be a bit more upbeat? Paul would have said:
- put on the armour of God,
- stand in the power of his might,
- the gates of hell will fall before you
- Peters message seems to be, suffering now, glory later
- (pie in the sky when you die)
- Paul spends a lot more time telling us about the blessings we have now!!
- thought this was a gloomy book...
- But then as I prayed about it, and read it and prayed and read it and prayed...
- The Spirit suddenly showed me what the answer was
- Whenever Peter talks about suffering, he talks about glory
- It wasnt that Peter underestimated the blessings we have now, it was that he had a massive revelation of the joy of heaven.
- He speaks as someone who had paid a visit to heaven and is blinded to everything else.
- That is why he talks about salvation in terms that are mostly futurethe best by far is yet to come.
- He is writing like someone standing in heaven, looking back
- Peter had a revelation on the mountain of Transfiguration
- But more than that, he saw the risen Jesus
- for the joy that was set before him, he despised the shame...
- We need a revelation of heaven
- We need to have some idea of the glory of it
- More especially of Jesus himself
- That is what transforms us
- Herman Riffel Learning to hear Gods voice, p.106-9. (the story of Vanya)
- But actually Paul is not too different: see 2 Cor 4
What do we know about heaven?
- discussion & questions...
- real body (not just a spirit)
- We tend to put heaven into a box
- but: it is a reality that colours everything
- It is already in existence and we are already there in the Spirit
- e.g. renovating a home: this is what it will be like
- e.g. person in hospital in traction
- How are you doing? Ill be out in two weeks!!
- we are now living in the shadow. The reality is to come.
- Look at the text again: 1 Peter 1:1-13
- inheritance (are you worth it?)
- very close, just a hairs breadth
- glow of the face (for example, my dad. Stephen as he died. Moses)
- Joy that will fill our whole being and light it up like a lamp
- The joy of the bride
- so this leads into how we live, in the 2nd half of 1 Peter
- Pray that God will give you some kind of experience of heaven that will totally transform you, as it did Peter, so you will consider the glory to come as even more real than the present world around you!
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