Sermons from March 2017
1 Pet 4:7-11 How important is the health and unity of a local church congregation? According to the apostle Peter, the health and unity of a church body are vital in withstanding the hostility to the gospel coming from outside the church, and they are essential if the church seeks to influence the world with the message of God’s grace. But this runs so contrary to the individualistic Christianity prevalent in the United States today. This week we focus on Peter’s word for living in the household of God. Peter mentions four key aspects for the local church: prayers, love, hospitality, and service. God calls us to be intentional in building healthy, caring relationships for the sake of Jesus and his kingdom because the end of all things is near.
1 Pet 4:1-6 The journey for believers is not an easy one. We all face a battle against our temptations and areas of weakness. We want to avoid the extremes of plunging ourselves into human passions or isolating ourselves from the very people we want to influence for Christ. What is required? In a word “perseverance,” neither a giving in or a giving up, even if it entails suffering. This week we will look at how Peter encourages us from two perspectives, from the life of Jesus in the past and our eternal destiny in the future.
1 Pet 3:13-22 Living in an environment hostile to the Jesus of the gospels is no picnic, as the Christians in the first century experienced. What would it be like to be called an evildoer and hated for being a follower of Christ? How are we to respond to this kind of suffering? How are we to respond to suffering in general? Peter has a simple word for all of us: if you suffer, suffer for doing good rather than evil and even when you are suffering, continue to do good. Much easier said than done. What can encourage us? The simple answer is Christ and what God accomplished through him. We will explore the depth of this answer on Sunday.
1 Pet 3:8-12 We return to our series in 1 Peter this Sunday and the reminder that his audience had little or no power to change their less than ideal circumstances. So Peter turned their focus to the one thing they always had control over: their words. Words are a powerful force that have the ability to unify or divide. They can either strengthen or damage one’s witness for Jesus. Peter issues the challenge to his readers to always use their words as instruments of blessing. It seems fair to say the same challenge could be issued to us today!