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Summary:

Introd.: (Show an assortment of Christmas toys -- What do these toys all have in common? They operate on batteries -- they need power to perform as designed.)

We need power to perform as God has designed us. We have learned a lot in the last several months in 1 Peter about how God wants us to perform when we face persecution.

Review: From the perspective of living for eternity, accept persecution and commit yourself to the will of God (maintaining commendable conduct-- particularly submission to human authorities)--knowing you will be vindicated and victorious.

Those are some pretty heavy expectations. How can I carry them out? We lack power; we lack the resources; we feel like somebody put us together and left out the batteries; or we feel used up and we need to recharge our batteries.

As Peter closes his epistle he is burdened that the persecuted church not just understand his message, but appropriate the grace of God to live as our faithful Creator has designed us.

STAND STRONG IN THE GRACE OF GOD

(V.1-4) FAITHFUL LEADERS HELP THE PERSECUTED CHURCH TO STAND STRONG IN THE GRACE OF GOD

(V.5A) FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS HELP THE PERSECUTED CHURCH

(V.5B-7) MUTUAL HUMILITY HELPS THE PERSECUTED CHURCH

(V.8-11) FIRM RESISTANCE AGAINST THE ADVERSARY SATAN HELPS THE PERSECUTED CHURCH TO STAND STRONG IN THE GRACE OF GOD (not fighting each other)

(V.12) SUMMARY VERSE

(V.13-14) CLOSING GREETINGS

the shepherding work of the elders in the local assembly -- profile of spiritual leadership; "elders, bishop, pastor" all synonomous here = same leadership position -- emphasize diff. roles involved

These 4 verses are especially significant when viewed in the context of church history. As early as the middle of the second century the Christian church as a whole seems to have lost the vision for how Christ wants his church to be organized and to function. Even today many evangelicals would probably equate shepherding with preaching + counseling (in specific crisis situations) + administration of church programs. Much more intimate fellowship than this is required from this passage alone.

I. THE PROFILER'S CREDENTIALS (:1)

Why should these elders listen to Peter or be concerned about the right way to pastor the flock? Is Peter really the first Pope? How concerned is God with the quality of shepherding His flock receives?

Our society tends to overemphasize academic credentials

What were Peter's credentials:

A. EXPERIENCE IN THE TRENCHES

His present ministry was that of a fellow-elder. He was not pressing his apostolic authority here, but he also is not speaking from an ivory tower sanctuary. He speaks out of maturity and a full life of feeding the flock--His earthly ministry is almost at an end.

B. INTIMATE FELLOWSHIP WITH THE GOOD SHEPHERD-- LORD JESUS CHRIST

He could ask these elders: How close are you to Christ? Peter is a witness--giving testimony to what he saw of the sufferings of Christ. When Christ first taught His disciples that He must die, Peter's response had been: "God forbid it Lord! This shall never happen to You!" But Peter came to appreciate the sufferings of Christ:

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