Sermon Series on 1 Peter
The Church in Exile – Living the Christian Life in a Non-Christian World
This Sunday, we will begin a new series for the next five weeks on First Peter. This is a relatively short book but is very relevant to life today. I want to encourage you to find a little bit of time to sit down and read all of 1 Peter in one sitting. At the bottom of this page, I have the book broken down into the different sections we will cover each week. Take time to prepare yourself to hear a word from God, ask every question you can think of as you read, and find ways to engage in dialogue with others about what we are studying. Before you sit down and read 1 Peter, I want to make some claims about the text to give it some framework and ask some questions to help you place yourself within the text and place the text within life today.
First, I believe that Peter is writing to a predominantly Gentile audience. This is significant because people often depict the church as divided between Peter’s “Jewish Church” and Paul’s “Gentile Church.” I think 1 Peter points us to a more unified church than is often presented. The other interesting thing about Peter writing to Gentile Christians is that he uses very inclusive Jewish language. He calls them a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession…” (2:9) and refers to them as being built into a “spiritual house” (the Temple). In verse 10 he reminds them that they were not a people before but now they are the People of God. What can we learn about inclusiveness in the church today? Who is a group of people that you need to be reminded are part of God’s “chosen people”?
Second, Peter writes to Christians who are being oppressed by society. This oppression isn’t necessarily a violent persecution, but it is probably more along subtle lines. Christians were looked down on, made fun of, ignored in the public circles, and probably even looked over in business. When Christians are persecuted in any way, how should they respond? Christians have often responded in three different ways: Assimilation: start looking like the culture, so you do not stand out; Isolation: withdraw from culture as much as possible to not be influenced by it and to not have to interact with it; Retaliation: fight back against culture to gain some level of power to assure your own security. As you read through 1 Peter, how does he encourage them to respond to a culture who has marginalized them? As Christianity continually comes under scrutiny and we are moved to the margins of our society, how should we as Christians respond?
Finally, Peter addresses how we are to live our lives in proximity to those around us. What does it mean to be a Christian _________ in relationship with non-believers? What does it mean to live in Christian community with other believers as a witness to a non-believing culture? What does that look like for Queen City Church in NoDa?
I hope we discover more of who we are called to be as we work through the book of 1 Peter together. As always, I’d love to hear your questions and reflections on the texts that we are reading together.
Sermon Series Schedule
April 8 – 1:1-12 – Peter Writes to Gentile Christians
Ap. 15 – 1:13-2:10 – New Family Identity
Ap. 22 – 2:11-3:7 – Living Godly Lives in a Pagan Society
Ap. 29 – 3:8-4:11 – Carrying Your Cross & Holding Firm to the Resurrection
May 6 – 4:12-5:14 – Suffering and Future Hope