Summary: A study in 1st Peter
An older sister was sitting next to her younger brother in Church one Sunday morning unsuccessfully trying to keep him still and quiet. Finally she said, “I wish you would calm down.” “I can’t”, he said, “it’s just so boring.” With that his sister turned and said, “It’s supposed to be boring.”
Maybe you have thought that this is the purpose of the Church, be let me share something else with you.
Bill Hybels writes, “Recently, I saw a letter written by a relatively new Christian to the person whose life had influenced hers so greatly. She actually lists about a dozen qualities she found contagious in the life of this older Christian. Listen to some of what she wrote:
You know when we met; I began to discover a new vulnerability, a warmth, and a lack of pretense that impressed me. I saw in you a thriving spirit - no signs of internal stagnation anywhere. I could tell you were a growing person and I liked that. I saw you had strong self-esteem, not based on the fluff of self-help books, but on something a whole lot deeper. I saw that you lived by convictions and priorities and not just by convenience, selfish pleasure, and financial gain. And I had never met anyone like that before.
I felt a depth of love and concern as you listened to me and didn’t judge me. You tried to understand me, you sympathized and you celebrated with me, you demonstrated kindness and generosity - and not just to me, but to other people, as well.
And you stood for something. You were willing to go against the grain of society and follow what you believed to be true, no matter what people said, and no matter how much it cost you. And for those reasons and a whole host of others, I found myself really wanting what you had. Now that I’ve become a Christian, I wanted to write to tell you I’m grateful beyond words for how you lived out your Christian life in front of me.
Basically, she was saying, "Thanks for being a Contagious Christian." Reading a letter like that motivates me to live as a contagious Christian too. How about you? I’ll bet you want your life to count for a whole lot more than trinkets and toys and zeros on a paycheck, too.
From Becoming A Contagious Christian by Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg
Suffering from Happiness:
An Eye for an Eye
I. What is required of Christian in their mutual relationship (inside the church)? vs. 8
A. This is written to Christians. “all of you”
B. The ideal portrait of the Church.
1. Live in harmony with one another
To be like minded – with the mind of Christ
2. Be sympathetic
Concern for those in the church – share in the suffering
3. Love as brothers
Live as a family
4. Be compassionate
Root word deals with the inner organs – the bases of any feelings… The (Luke 10) Samaritan
Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
C. These are the virtues that should be reflected in the church when brothers and sisters live harmoniously.
II. What is required of Christians in their relationship with those outside the church? vs. 9 –
A. To have the right response – Matthew 5:38-45
B. The reward for the right response.
Notice to this you are called – Testimony of Grace to the world
III. A lesson from history. vss. 10-12
A. This must be Peter’ favorite Psalm. – Psalm 34 – 2.9; 2.12-16a; 3.10-12
B. Notice the word “For” vs. 10
C. An overview of Psalm 34
Song of praise – vss. 1-7 (singing)
Instruction in the ways of righteousness vss. 8-12 (teaching)
Vss. 4-7 story of the psalmist
Peter quotes vss. 12-16 of Psalm 34 –
D. Five thoughts for the Christian
1. Life is a gift of God. vs. 10
2. Do not repay evil words with evil words. vs.10
3. Avoid the appearance of evil. vs. 11
4. God hears the believers prayers vs. 12
5. Nothing escapes the eyes of God. vs. 12
IV. So what?
A. God can see you even when you do not see him. “bomb story”
B. God hears you even when you think your prayers are not “getting there.”
C. Your life will have a testimony to a watching world.