July 12, 2020

Peter’s Letter: “The True Grace of God"

Scripture Reading: I Peter 5:1-14
Today we hear the final chapter of Peter’s first letter. In this Chapter, verses 1-11 contain some more teaching and encouragement, and verses 12-14 have what might be called the “final signature” of the apostle. In this series of sermons, we have read the whole letter because all of it is the Word of God to us. Every chapter, every paragraph, every thought, has been carefully written by the apostle so that the Church of Christ might be built up in this world. Even though it was originally a letter for some churches in the first century, we also believe that by the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit this letter is written for us. What Peter says is a relevant Word for the Church of today. In a time of a global pandemic, rising political, international, and social tensions, economic worries, and whatever else may be on our minds, this truth remains: Peter proclaims “The true grace of God.” In his own words, “I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.”
This is a testimony to something so profound that it can shake the world and transform hearts and lives! Do you want to have new life? Do you want to see beyond the pandemic and all the empty and trivial promises of the world? Do you want a better Word than that being shouted by every special interest group and latest fool with a Twitter account? Then you need to step up, hear the Word of the Lord, and put yourself and your family under its authority. It’s too easy to become comfortable in the materialism of the world, the comforts of our lives, the privilege of our place in the world. From the past comes the voice of one who speaks to life in the present. After all is written Peter says, “This is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.”

Questions:
Looking back to the opening words of this letter, what are the names of some of the places to whom Peter sent this letter?
I Peter is a New Testament Letter. How has communication changed since the time when Peter wrote this? How is Peter’s letter not like our communications today?

In I Peter 5:1-11 the apostle gives some practical teaching and words of encouragement. He speaks specifically to elders, young people, and the church as a whole.

Questions:
“No congregation will ever rise above the love, grace, and spirituality of its leaders.” What does this say about those who would be leaders within the church?
How is Peter’s instructions to younger persons still relevant for us today?

The Final Signature: I Peter 5:12-14
It is possible Peter did not write the letter himself, but instead had a scribe write it down for him as he spoke his thoughts. Who actually penned the letter? Many biblical scholars believe it was a person named Silas. In Verse 12 the signature begins, “With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother.” This could mean Silas is the one who wrote the letter or delivered the letter to the churches (maybe both). Whatever the case, it’s Peter’s letter and his message to the Church. With that in mind, notice what else he then says in verse 12. “I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.”

Questions:
Do you think Peter’s letter is “brief” as he calls it?
Peter was an eyewitness of the ministry of Jesus when he was on earth. Think about this: What else could Peter have written about?
Who is “she who is in Babylon”? Who is Mark?

The Conclusion:
To God’s people wherever they are, the apostle blesses us with a final word of “peace” in the last verse. True peace comes to those who are oriented to the grace of God shown in Jesus Christ. Those who live for Christ and his glory have a vision of the Kingdom of God as it unfolds in this world. Stand fast in the grace of God and he will give you peace. On this gospel we take our stand. This is the true grace of God. Amen.