Leading by example (1 Peter 5:12-14)

After 36 weeks, we are wrapping up our expository series in 1 Peter. Next week, we’ll begin immersing ourselves in 2 Peter.

Peter ends this book in a truly fashionable way. He was a genuine class act and had a way with words. Again, these people were under Roman bondage and persecution that had come against the church.

Peter wrote this letter that takes up 5 chapters, yet concludes by saying he has “written briefly.” He believes that his letter was effective in providing exhortation. But a few years later he writes another letter.

1. If you’re not standing up, you’re missing out. The church in America is missing out on standing up for Christ and therefore missing out on His blessings because we have sold out to the culture. We are the salt in our faith. You can’t find s single person in the Bible who was a “secret service saint.” They were all standing up and boldly proclaiming the truth of God.

When the saints were filled with the Holy Spirit, they spoke the gospel boldly. If you are filled with the power of God and the Spirit of God, you will boldly proclaim God.

In verse 13, Peter refers to the church at Babylon. Babylon has always been deemed a wicked civilization. He is actually saying that the churches around the world were birthed in, and in spite of, an atmosphere of wickedness. The Babylonian system has perverted and corrupted the world as we know it.

2. The local church can thrive in a ghistile and perverted culture. Even in America today, we live in a culture that is hostile to the Bible. Yet it will never get so dark and perverted that the gospel cannot flourish. Those of us who stand upon the values and morality of the Bible are perceived as discriminatory in our culture today.

We live in a hostile environment. People hate the Bible and hate those who preach the Bible. For example, when we proclaim that Jesus is the only way to heaven, it is perceived as discrimination. Or when we proclaim the Bible as the word of God, it is met with hostility. We have a “pulpit problem” in America. There are too many preachers who are not proclaiming the truth of the gospel and failing to train their parishioners to proclaim the truth of the gospel.

The Bible doesn’t tell us to speak in love, but to speak the truth in love.

3. Those we bring to Christ will always hold a special place in our hearts. Don’t overlook the concluding remarks in these New Testament books. There are valuable truths right up to the end. Here, Peter refers to “Mark, my son.” We don’t know that Peter led Mark to the faith, but he does recognize Mark as his son in the faith. Likewise, we never forget those who led us to the faith. Peter regarded himself as Mark’s spiritual overseer. Peter had poured his life into the man.

There is no reason for division among believers.

4. Sacrificial love is the hallmark of the New Testament message. We are called to love everyone we see. But there is no time in the New Testament where we are called to love lost people the way we are called to love fellow believers. We love each other passionately  within the church. The bond among believers can be more powerful than familial bonds. We are literal brothers and sisters as believers.

“They will know that you are my disciples because you have loved one another.”

We are redeemed by the love of Christ and we must obey the Bible and sacrificlally share that love with other believers. In the church of Acts, they gave to one another as they had a need.

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