Summary: Even though this world is not our home, Jesus has called us to be his witnesses while we are here.
Called To This Rock
Text: 1 Peter 1:1-2
1. Today we are beginning a new series on the Book of 1 Peter that I have entitled, "Living Right Side Up In An Upside Down World."
2. Peter was expertly qualified to speak about living right side up.
a. He was a follower of Jesus almost from the very start, and in fact, was one of Jesus closest friends.
b. He walked with Jesus and understood first hand what it meant to live like Jesus.
c. He also understood what it was like to disappoint Jesus because he regularly stuck his foot in his mouth by saying the wrong things at the wrong time.
d. However, he also was the one who proclaimed Jesus was the Christ, and he was the one who preached the greatest sermon, outside of Jesus, on the Day of Pentecost.
3. Furthermore, Peter also knew what it was like to live in an upside down world.
a. He saw first hand what they did to Jesus when he was crucified.
b. He experienced the persecution and harassment of the world for being a follower of Jesus.
c. He also saw first hand what an upside down world we live when he was martyred (show slide of Peter's cross).
4. So as we begin this letter Peter tells us...
a. We Don't Belong Here, but...
b. We Have Been Called Here
5. Let's stand as we read together 1 Peter 1:1-2
Proposition: Even though this world is not our home, Jesus has called us to be his witnesses while we are here.
Transition: The first thing we learn from 1 Peter is...
I. We Don't Belong Here (1)
A. Living As Foreigners
1. Many people in the ancient world regarded Christians as strange, superstitious, and disloyal to Roman society.
a. They gathered in secret, practiced strange rituals (such as the Lord's Supper, widely misunderstood as involving bloody sacrifice), and practiced a countercultural lifestyle...
b. This refusal to go along with the prevailing culture created tensions even more than it does in the modern world.
c. Christians were often discriminated against and accused of misbehavior and were even brought into court on trumped-up charges
d. It was this situation that Peter addresses in this letter.
2. He begins by saying, "This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ."
a. Peter's salutation is one of the richest greetings to open a letter in the New Testament.
b. It contains pastoral warmth and theological sweep. Whereas some salutation orient themselves around Christology, salvation, or the church, and others are "bare bones greetings, Peter's salutation contains both a penetrating description of the audience and a theological explanation of how they became Christians.
c. Peter was an "apostle of Jesus Christ." An apostle is one who was personally called by Jesus to a special ministry of founding the church; the corollary of that calling is that an apostle represents, as an ambassador does a president, the one who sent him.
d. Peter, like the other apostles, was a personal representative of Jesus, and how people responded to Peter reflected how they responded to Jesus (McKnight, The NIV Application Commentary – 1 Peter, 43).
e. By identifying himself as an apostle, Peter gives his credentials and authority to write a letter which will convey the promises and commands that God has given to his for his people.
f. He was personally commissioned by Jesus Christ as a missionary, and this carries with it authority to convey his message to the church (Marshall, IVPNT: 1 Peter, 29-30).
3. Now that he has identified himself as the writer, Peter now addresses whom he is writing to. He says, "I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia."
a. First, Peter identifies his audience as "God's chosen people."
b. chosen: to make a special choice based upon significant preference, often implying a strongly favorable attitude toward what is chosen
(Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Symantic Domains, 361).
c. Peter wanted them to know that they did not follow Christ by accident, but that Jesus himself had chosen them and called them to follow him.
d. He said they were chosen by God, but that for the time being they were living as foreigners.
e. living as foreigners (literally exiles of the dispersion): An exile had been uprooted from his or her homeland and taken to live in a foreign country.
f. Peter uses the concept metaphorically to remind Christians that they are living in a world dominated by anti-Christian values and ways of life (NLTStudyBible).
g. The NIV gives us a little clearer understanding of what Peter was saying. It translates this verse as, "God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,"