Summary: part 2 of our 1 Peter study
A Study of 1 Peter
“ it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness
It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair
We had everything before us, we had nothing before us
The opening words of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities described what it was like to live as a French peasant in the years leading up to the French Revolution.
But those timeless words are also a pretty good description of what it’s like to live as a disciple of Jesus in today’s world
As His disciples
Our lives are really a tale of two cities
A more proper description would be
Our lives are a tale of two worlds
One of those worlds is characterized by
And the ways of that world if followed lead to hell.
The other world is filled with
and if followed leads to heaven.
But here is the deal
we must, as least a while
live in both worlds simultaneously
and this situation
This two homes problem
Leads to all kinds of problems that have no easy answers.
But what we’re going to find over the next few months as we study 1 Peter is that finding a lasting solution to those problems begins with answering two questions:
Please open your bibles to 1 Peter
Verses 1-3 again today
“This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.
I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.[a] 2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
May God give you more and more grace and peace.
The Apostle Peter writes this letter to the wayfaring strangers on this earth
Those who have accepted Jesus and now feel like they don’t fit in, in this evil world
He goes on to explain how all our relationships change when we become believers
And as we become more spiritually mature
They will change even more
Today I want to focus on two areas where our relationships change
We will look at a third more in depth in the weeks to come
Both for today
I want to look at our relationship with the world and our relationship with God
Later we will look at our relationship with ourselves as we become stronger believers
I. Our Relationship to the World
The key word Peter uses is “strangers,”
which is sometimes translated as “aliens” or “sojourners” or even “foreigners.”
It describes those who come from another country but now live in this country.
What Peter means is that Christians are strangers residing on the earth whose home is in heaven.
Visiting a foreign country gives us a good idea of how this feels
I recall my feelings in Zambia
Many of you can relate
Surrounded by people who don’t look like you,
Talk like you,
Think like you
Or live like you.
They have a set of values you don’t share,
Speak a language you don’t speak or can’t understand
Eat food that seems strange to you.
You pick up the paper and you can’t read it.
You turn on the radio and it doesn’t make sense.
You’re standing on a sidewalk and you can’t communicate with anyone.
You are there
But still feel as if you are not
It’s not a question of isolation from the world.
That’s impossible and fruitless.
But he also writes to those who have not left home
But now feel like those who have
They no longer feel comfortable
They not longer feel as if they fit in
Their location has not changed
But their heart has
It’s a question of being in the world and not of the world.
That’s our condition as believers in Jesus
We are strangers in the world who have been scattered by God in many places.
We are like seeds the wind has carried in all directions.
That’s okay because God has strategically planted us where we can do the most good.
So, Just what is a Wayfaring Stranger you may ask
If you are a businessman and have decided as a Christian not to cheat, lie, or double-cross, if you’ve decided to deliver what you promise, you are a stranger in the world. You are in the world but not of the world