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Summary: A message of encouragement to Christians who were being persecuted for their stand. A reminder that as God’s children, we are called and set apart to be a different people.

ILLUSTRATION: THE SLEEP SON

A mother watched her son begin to drain of energy as the week went on. By the end of the week he’d lost his desire to get out of bed. She heard the alarm go off through his bedroom door. Apparently he just kept punching the little snooze button on the top. Finally, after 3 or 4 extra rings she walked in and said, ‘Son, it’s time to get up.’

He peeked out from under the covers, ’Can you give me a good reason to get up?’ She said, ’Yes. First, it’s Sunday - time for church. Second, you’re 43 years old and you know better. Third, you’re the pastor and they expect you to be there.’

(as funny as it is [and it probably applies to all of us at times does it not?]

– (Still) - WE ALL NEED ENCOURAGEMENT – which brings us to our study of 1 Peter.

THEME:

…to ‘Encourage and Strengthen’ a small group of Christians whose world had been and was continuing to be turned upside down!

1. those scattered in Acts 8:1b-4 [SCR]

2. those scattered would soon to see more persecution (1 Pet. 3:14-16) [SCR]

written at a time of an Emperor named Nero was in reign. One Writer – a’ deranged man’.

• Nero executed Paul upon his 2nd arrest.

• Nero used Christians as a scapegoat for the fire of Rome in July AD 64

• Nero’s example caused other emperors to follow his example.

QUICK SUMMARY OF THE LIFE OF PETER [SCR]

• Originally called Simon – ‘hearer’

• His Father, “Jonas” was a fisherman. He had 1 brother Andrew.

• Simon and Andrew Partnered with John and James to continue in their father’s profession.

• They all were disciples of John the Baptist before being called by Jesus.

• Upon his calling, Simon seemed to be closest to the Lord and also the leader of the disciples.

• Simon was given the name ‘Peter’ signifying a stone or a rock.

• He led the disciples to begin the first NT church.

• Peter was forced to watch his wife executed. He shouted ‘remember the Lord’ to her

• At Peter’s execution, he requested that he be hung upside down as he felt he was unworthy to be put to death in the same manner as Jesus.

• It is believed that Peter and Paul both were put to death approximately the same time in Rome.

As I read about the history of this people, I began to believe that OUR DEFINITION OF PERSECUTION IS DIFFERENT THAN DURING THIS PERIOD!

TRANSISTION

This is a group that needed encouragement – THEY UNDERSTOOD THAT THERE WAS A COST TO FOLLOW JESUS!

cost some their family; -- cost some their homes;

Yet, Peter encourages them to feel blessed. As I read of the history of Peter and this group he is writing to, I couldn’t help but Consider What It has COST FOR ME TO FOLLOW JESUS?

[SCR] WHAT ABOUT YOU? WHAT HAS IT COST YOU TO FOLLOW JESUS?

Now let’s be real:

i. Is it something other than a little time?

ii. A Friend or Two

iii. Any Persecution

Think about it: WHAT HAS IT COST?

We normally think of a COST in a negative sense. But Peter shows that the COST is negative ONLY when one considers this earth as all there is to life. But in the weeks to come, Peter reminds us and encourages us that this life is all there is ONLY TO THOSE WHO HAVE DECIDED THE COST IS TOO MUCH!

I WANT TO ENCOURAGE YOU TODAY!

WE ARE CALLED for a PURPOSE. Our lives have a TREMENDOUS MEANING.

BEGIN TODAY TO CAPTURE THIS SIGNIFICANCE! Allow God the freedom through the Holy Spirit to BRING VICTORY AND JOY IN YOUR LIFE – EVEN IN TIMES OF PERSECUTION!

PRAYER

READ VERSE 1[SCR]

1. Peter – ‘an apostle’

‘One Sent Forth’ – Specially trained by Jesus & specifically called by Jesus

- not only was he sent forth as a disciple but also as the leader of the 1st NT Church

2. We need to break this opening up IN TWO DIFFERENT PARTS:

NIV – ‘to God’s elect’ – ‘strangers in the world’

NKJ – ‘… the dispersion’

LIT – ‘to the chosen … the dispersion’

PART 1: ‘elect’ – ‘chosen’

Q: What does it mean to be one of ‘the elect’ or ‘the chosen’?

Does this mean that God chose who would or would not be saved? If so, then it would not matter your choice would it?

A: Although GOD initiated our calling, WE STILL must CHOOSE TO RESPOND to that calling!

READ 2 PETER 3:9-10

It is God’s desire that ‘none should perish’ - 2 Pe 3:9 BUT (Vs. 10) ‘will come like a thief’. IF his WILL is that ‘no one perish’, then WHY VERSE 10?

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