A Call to Love the Brethren – (1 Peter 1:22-2:3)

“22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,”

Love is the hallmark of the Christian faith, because it is rooted in the God whose very essence is love.

John tells us that “anyone who does not love, does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8).

We see God’s love in the way he cares for his creation; but above all, it is demonstrated in the giving of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us. Now His love is not like our human love. He doesn’t love us because we are loveable and obedient creatures, nor is it because we make Him feel good.  On the contrary, the scriptures tell us:  “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8).

After identifying His readers as those who are born again by the mercy of God and have now become sons and daughters of God through adoption, Peter then exhorts them to walk worthy of their calling, in holiness and the fear of God. He now turns their attention to how they are to relate to their fellow pilgrims.

He says that they are to love them “sincerely,” “earnestly,” and from a “pure heart.”

Our love is to be genuine and not pretentious. It is to be an “all-out” kind of love, similar to the love of Christ for us.

However, being fully aware of our weakness as redeemed and yet not fully sanctified sinners, Peter knows that we will come short of this kind of love; so in verses 2:1-3, he gives us guidelines as to how we can grow in our love for one another.  First, we must put off those things that marked us in our fallen condition: malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander. Secondly, we must feed daily upon the word of God, and particularly the gospel of our salvation, so that we may grow more in this Christian grace of love. And finally, we are to abide in, feed upon, and learn from Christ, who is love incarnate.  May the Lord help us to demonstrate to the world that we are Christ’s disciples by our fervent love for one another.


A Message of Hope – 1 Peter 1:13-17

This Sunday, we will return to our series in 1 Peter, picking up where we left off in verse 13. In the previous 12 verses Peter has been encouraging the scattered, persecuted believers in Asia Minor by reminding them of their eternal inheritance in Christ Jesus. We now come to verse 13 where Peter begins with the word, “therefore.” This word indicates to the reader that the following instructions or commands are to be taken in light of or because of the previous actions that God has done. In other words, because of the great work of Jesus Christ on the cross in shedding His blood for our sins and purchasing our eternal salvation (described in verses 1-12), the Holy Spirit through Peter is calling us to live in a manner keeping with the greatness of our salvation. Paul uses the same phrasing in his writing to the believers in Rome (Romans 12:1), which follows 11 chapters celebrating God’s great work of salvation.

This week, as we look at verses 13-17, Peter reminds us that we are now obedient children and therefore should walk in obedience. He gives us the highest of all commands by telling us that we should be “holy in all our conduct.” How are we, as children of God, to understand how to keep such a prodigious command while we yet live in these “bodies of death” (Romans 7:24)? The answer is given in verse 13 where we are instructed to “fix our hope fully upon the grace…” This is what makes the “Therefore” of verse 13, and the previous 12 verses, so important for us; we can do nothing in and of ourselves; we must do all things in view of what He has done on our behalf, and in the power of the strength that He provides by the Holy Spirit.

Prepare your hearts this week by meditating on the first 12 verses of 1 Peter chapter 1, and do a bible word search on the word hope. Keeping in mind of course that whatever we do, it should be done to the glory of God.

Joy Inexpressible – 1 Peter 1:3-9

Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory  (1 Peter 3:8)

As you sit in the comfort of your home or office to read this passage and these notes, I invite you to imagine yourself living as a Christian 2000 years ago, “scattered” in a foreign land where many people, including the governing rulers of that land, are seeking to harm or kill you. And the only reason they are pursuing you is that you are a follower and faithful witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then you can begin to get an idea of what the circumstances were like for the initial recipients of Peter’s letter. Yet Peter opens up his letter to these dispersed and persecuted Christians by exhorting them to “bless God” and “rejoice.” In Peter’s Holy Spirit inspired, and glorious opening doxology, he reminds these suffering brothers and sisters to not look upon their current circumstances, but to dwell upon the Divine inheritance given to them by their Heavenly Father through the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This week, we will examine our own lives against this exhortation as we here in America today are far removed from anything even remotely similar to the kind of persecution they were up against. How much more then are we to live lives of blessing and praise towards God our Heavenly Father? You can also prepare your heart by listening to the previous message in 1 Peter: “Peter, a Rock or a Stumbling Block.”  

Apologia: Always Ready to Give a Defense for the Hope that is in You 1 Peter 3:15

“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence”

The Apostle Peter is known for many things such as, walking on water at Jesus’ bidding, being at Jesus’ transfiguration, and for often speaking his mind. However, the Apostle is not often considered one of the most prolific writers of the New Testament. Nevertheless, the two short epistles Peter did write in the New Testament are very important letters for believers. The first letter is especially important as it speaks to the persecuted church – those who were suffering for their faith at the time when this letter was written, and also for the persecuted throughout the church age. In this first epistle from Peter, specifically chapter 3:13- 4:19 is a section that deals with suffering. One aspect of suffering that Peter raises is being able to give a defense for the hope that each Christian has in Christ. While you may not immediately think of this as suffering in a classical sense, if you ever had to give an answer for reason why you believe in Christ, you know that it does take a great deal of patience and can lead to much heartache. Confrontation and even quarrelling is often not far away when one is called upon to defend their faith.

The biblical term for defense is apologia in the original language. While it may sound very similar to the English word apology, this is not the meaning of the Greek word. Apologia simply means defense, and this is the meaning in 1 Peter 3:15 – our text for this Sunday. From apologia, we get the term Apologetics – the branch of Christian theology that deals with the defense and establishment of the Christian faith. This discipline requires considerable study and research in order to gain an expertise in defending the faith against skeptics and atheists who would try to dismantle the Bible and Christian thought. In this text however, Peter is not calling everyone to defend their faith in that manner, but in the sense of a defense for the hope that every believer has in Christ. So in this sense, Apologetics is something every true believer is to be involved in! In our text, Peter is not recommending you be able to defend your faith; he’s commanding you to do this. Peter instructs every true believer, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence”

We’ll open up this text in three sections: first, “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts;” second, “always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you;” and third, “yet with gentleness and reverence.” We encourage you to meditate on this commandment from the Apostle Peter and as you do consider these questions:

Is Christ set apart as Lord in your heart?

Have you ever been challenged to give a reason for the hope that you have in Christ?

What was your defense?

Did you answer your questioner in gentleness and reverence, or did it lead to confrontation and quarrelling?