Summary: It is easy to focus on the struggles we face and lose faith. Our culture is rapidly changing, and we must be prepared to stand. Our only hope is abiding in Christ and in His Word.
Series: Saved, Settled, and Sanctified
You are not Alone
1 Peter 1: 1-2
The first epistle of Peter provides great insight for the believer. In this letter, Peter provides great spiritual instruction regarding our relationship and security in the Lord, our daily walk with Christ, and the glorious return of our Lord. It also provides a picture of life within the early church. At this time, the church was gaining ground, becoming well established throughout the world. Peter is not writing to an individual, but five congregations of believers. These local churches would have been made up of both Jews and Gentiles. Although their backgrounds were different, they all shared common ground. They were all believers, part of the body of Christ, and they all faced intense persecution for their faith. Peter sought to encourage their faith and strengthen their resolve for the Lord and desire for spreading the Gospel.
These words may seem distant and irrelevant to many, but in fact they are timely and needful in our day. The landscape in America, and around the world is changing. Christians in other countries are facing intense persecution for their faith, and the majority in America are growing increasingly intolerant of our faith. A storm is looming on the horizon for believers in America and we must be prepared to endure for the Lord. In order to do that, we must learn to abide in Christ and abide in His Word. Our faith will be tested, and only the strong and committed will survive.
Today I want to begin a series entitled: Saved, Settled, and Sanctified. If we are to endure, we must be saved by grace, settled in the faith, and walking with the Lord. As we begin, I want to look at the details of Peter’s introduction and consider the thought: You are not Alone.
I. The Greeting Presented (1) – Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. We can glean much from this word of greeting. Notice:
A. The Appeal – Peter immediately identifies himself to the churches within the Roman provinces. Just receiving a word from Peter must have brought encouragement to them. He was well known among the church. We too know the story of Peter. He was the leader of the 12 apostles, but his life had experienced trials and adversity. He had proclaimed Jesus as the Christ, only to deny Him prior to the crucifixion. He had questioned his faith even after the resurrection, but something happened in the life of Peter following his encounter with the Lord on the shores of Galilee. He was a different man when he boldly proclaimed Jesus as the Christ at Pentecost in Jerusalem. He was a champion of the Gospel now and held great influence within the church.
It must have been comforting to know Peter cared for them and understood their struggles. They could identify with Peter because he too had faced difficulty and doubts. They needed his reassurance to continue the faith. We too need the support and encouragement of each other, more now than ever. Troublesome times are ahead for the church, and we will need to band together, rallying around one another to endure the struggles that await us. If you aren’t thankful for fellow believers now, you will be in the not too distant future.
B. The Authority – Peter also reminded them that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ. His salvation had been obtained the same way; they were on equal footing with the Lord, but his words carried weight and authority. He had spent time with the Lord, walking with Him and learning of Him. Peter was a chosen vessel of the Lord, used to encourage believers and preach the Gospel. The Spirit had inspired the writing of this letter. Peter wanted them to take these words to heart, not because he had written them, but because he had a word from the Lord. Instead of listening to the chatter and threats of those around them, Peter wanted the churches to abide in the Word of the Lord.
Society would have us abandon the Word of God. They deem it irrelevant, outdated and archaic. They see no value in the Scriptures and refuse to submit to God’s will and design for humanity. They refuse to embrace Jesus as the sole means of salvation. They view the Word as restrictive to progress and opposed to modern, accepted points of view. Regardless of what the world around us says, we must abide in the Word. Through it we were convicted of sin and convinced of our need for Christ. It provides instruction for our lives and enables us to hear from God. If you haven’t already, I urge you to allow the Word of God guide your life in all faith and practice. If God said it, that settles it!