Summary: Living as a Church in a Foreign Land The God of all Grace Empowers us to Stand in Grace
Living as a Church in a Foreign Land
The God of all Grace Empowers us to Stand in Grace
This is our last week in our third mini series in 1 Peter, “Living as a Church in a Foreign Land,” We have a youth service next week; communion; then The Seven. In this last series we have seen a life of discipleship together as a church in the midst of suffering. We looked at “Six Reasons for Rejoicing in Suffering,” “Shepherding Among God's Flock,” “Humility in Hardship and Community,” “Battling our Adversary Together,” and today we see that Peter sums up whole letter with the theme of grace, “The God is all Grace Empowers us to Stand in Grace.” Two recurring themes we have seen are persevering in difficult times so that we can proclaim his excellencies to a lost world.
Big Idea – The grace that calls us is the grace that sustains us.
1. The Promise of Sustaining Grace
Peter does not want the church to lose sight of God's grace in the midst of suffering. He reminds them that suffering is temporary, 'after you have suffered a little while.' We have seen that God is sovereign over suffering and his good design in suffering is our purification, molding us into the character of Jesus Christ. God allows what he hates to accomplish what he loves . Peter purposely juxtaposes 'suffering for a little while' with 'called you to his eternal glory'. Suffering is the path to glory. God is described as the God of all grace. Everything in the christian life is undergirded by grace. Grace is like an ocean in which we swim, buoyed by God. The God of all grace has acted on your behalf, he has 'called you to his eternal glory in Christ.' Note this calling is not just to salvation. God's call is effective to bring about new birth but Peter says this call is to more than that. This call is to his eternal glory, which is the culmination of the work of salvation in eternity. God's call does not just secure your salvation, it also secures your eternal destiny, your inheritance, sustaining you to glory. This is why he promises that those who have been called to eternal glory will be restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established. Those fours words all point to one truth, the grace that saves us is the grace that sustains us. That is why he can break out in worship, 'to him be power for ever and ever.' Grace grasped us and grace sustains us to the end.
2. The Means of Sustaining Grace
So I ended last weeks message with can Christians be devoured? Devoured is not just mauled or wounded! The warnings in Scripture like this are real. But they are there to encourage genuine Christians to trust God, and thereby find sustaining grace, strength to persevere to the end. The commands and warnings in Scripture are given to us as the means of sustaining grace by which we find strength to persevere in the faith. Genuine Christians take to heart the warning to be sober and watchful and resist the devil and so are not devoured. The wrong attitude to take is that I am saved and eternally secure so I do not have to obey this warning. Saving faith says this is serious and heeds the warning to be sober minded and watchful and resist the devil. The one who called you to his eternal glory will ensure that you persevere to the end. The promise is the means and motivation of sustaining grace to encourage faith to resist the devil. And we must persevere to the end. Those who do not persevere will not inherit the crown of life. Then Peter goes on more about grace. 'And this is the true grace of God,' that is, the God of all grace enables you to persevere in the midst of suffering and hardship, even in the difficulties of life because God called you to his eternal glory. Peter gives us several means of grace that sustains us. The first means of grace is God's word. 'I have written to you exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God.' Most of the New Testament letters open with 'grace to you' because the content of the letter is a means of sustaining grace. This is why Peter tells them to stand firm in it. In other words, rest in the truth he has written in this letter. God's word has the power to overcome our stubborn and sinful hearts. It actually molds and shapes shapes the heart to the mind of God, correcting the way we think.
The second means of sustaining grace is God's people, 'by Silvanus, our faithful brother, I have written you.' Silvanus was an ministry partner to both Peter and Paul. He was a preacher, a prophet, and delivered letters for the apostles. We see this also when Peter tells them to greet each other with the kiss of love, showing affection and care and concern for one another in the midst of hardship. Last we see this with Mark identified as Peter's son. Peter had taken Mark under his wing spiritually and discipled him.