Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I Peter Outline

Last Sunday we began a study through I Peter. Here's the outline of the letter, sort of the map we'll follow as we work our way through this epistle.

I Peter
Peter's first letter can be broken down into five major sections. Each of these sections point to a specific topic that we must properly understand if we are to rightly handle the suffering that is inevitable in the life of every follower of Jesus.
Theme of the letter: The greatness of our salvation and our Savior allows us to endure and overcome suffering. We do this by understanding the following truths
I. Our Salvation 1:1-1:12
Section Theme: Our salvation is of inestimable value and must be the focus of our lives
Our salvation is praiseworthy 1:3
Is due to God's mercy and sovereignty 1:3b
Offers living hope 1:3c
Is eternal and sure 1:4-5
Is greater than our suffering 1:6-7
Causes us to love Jesus 1:8-9
Was prophesied about 1:10-12
Amazes the angels 1:12b
II. Our Sanctification 1:13-2:12
Section Theme: God's work in sanctification is setting us aside for lives that bring Him glory. Our work in sanctification is to live lives that bring Him glory, i.e., living out the truths of our salvation's greatness.
Living the truth individually 1:13-21
Living the truth corporately 1:22-2:12
III. Our Submission 2:13-3:12
Section Theme: We demonstrate the truths of our salvation and our sanctification by walking in submission to others.
To government 2:13-17
In our jobs 2:18-25
In the home 3:1-7
In all of life 3:8-12
IV. Our Suffering 3:13-4:19
Section Theme: As followers of Christ we are called to suffer and are shown how we are to suffer to the glory of God.
Our conduct in suffering 3:13-17
Christ's example in suffering 3:18-4:6
The commands we follow while suffering 4:7-19
V. Our Service 5:1-14
Section Theme: Followers of Christ live within the context and framework of the local church.
For the elders 5:1-4
For others 5:5
For all 5:6-11

Let's pray for God's blessing on this study!

Because of Grace

In I Samuel 12 we see a spectacular reminder of the grace of God. Samuel is reminding the people that they asked for a king so they could be like the other nations. What's the problem with that? They already had a king. The Lord was their king but they rejected him and asked for a man to rule over them. The people realized their sin and asked Samuel to pray for them. Verse 19 says, "Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king." Samuel replies in verse 20, "Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart." Samuel doesn't play down their sin; he acknowledges it and the sinfulness of it. At the same time he points them to God's grace. "Yes you've sinned. But keep serving God." Got me thinking about how grace daily impacts my life.
Because of God's grace, I don't die. If there's one result of grace that I rarely consider, it's this one. And to be honest it does sound a bit strange. But that's just evidence of my presuming on God's grace. Isn't God's word pretty clear about the results of our sin? Look at this verse. And this one. And of course Romans 6:23. We focus so much on the end of the verse that we ignore the first. Isn't scripture clear that sin is deserving of death? Isn't the focal point of our faith the cross and the empty tomb? Jesus was born to die for our sins. That's the whole deal. The people understood that. In verse 19 they asked Samuel to pray on their behalf, that God wouldn't strike them down. But how many times a day do I sin and never give it a second thought? The reality is that we've all committed, and continue to commit, capital crimes against the holy nature of God. But in His great grace and mercy we are not consumed. Rather, because Jesus bore the wrath of God on Himself we can walk in God's love.
Because of God's grace I can be honest before God. Isn't it exhausting to try and be something you're not? You try to be one person at work and another person at home. One person at school, another a church, another on the weekends-gets hard to keep track of which one you're supposed to be. And sometimes we even try this with God. We try to sort of mask our failures, put on a veneer of righteousness because we think, "What if He finds out who I really am?" We need to be reminded that He already knows. The people didn't try to run from their sin, they confessed it before God. Because of God's grace I can stop trying to fool Him (which is ridiculous anyway). I can come before Him bare and honest. I don't have to worry about God finding out who I really am because He already knows. Who I really am--sinful, wretched, unholy, selfish, etc.--is who Jesus died for.
Because of God's grace I can keep serving Him. Samuel acknowledged the people's sin. But then he told them to keep following the Lord, to serve Him with all their heart. Because of grace I can continue to serve. I don't have to get discouraged or overwhelmed by my failures. I confess them to God, forsake them, and then get back to serving Him. My sin doesn't disqualify me from serving Jesus. It doesn't mean I lose my place as a member of His family. It reminds me that I need a Savior and that in Jesus I have a perfect Savior. It pushes me back to my knees in repentance and towards the cross in thankfulness. I confess my sins and God is faithful and just to forgive me of sins. He picks me up, dusts me off and puts me back to serving Him.
God never ignores our sin. But in Jesus' death on the cross He has made provision for my sin--grace instead of wrath, mercy instead of condemnation. Let me encourage you today, and everyday, to rest in the grace of God. Glory in the grace of God. And never take God's grace for granted.