Thursday, December 01, 2011

Peter's Powerful Testimony Pt 1


Greeting

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who are elect exiles of athe Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to bthe foreknowledge of God the Father, cin the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and dfor sprinkling with his blood:
May egrace and fpeace be multiplied to you.

Born Again to a Living Hope

gBlessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! hAccording to his great mercy, ihe has caused us to be born again to a living hope jthrough the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to kan inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and lunfading, mkept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded nthrough faith for a salvation oready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by pvarious trials, so that qthe tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes rthough it is tested by sfire—may be found to result in tpraise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. uThough you have not seen him, you love him. vThough you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining wthe outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

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Simon Peter is one of the most interesting studies in the entire Bible- we have written records of his time with Jesus- a gospel narrative closely linked to that experience- detailed accounts after the ascension in the Book of Acts- and then 2 letters he penned near then end of his life on earth.

Any exhaustive work on this life could produce an amazing movie, novel, broadway play- an enormous amount of material.

He is also an everyday man- blue collar, rugged, impulsive, married- a man of visible faults and humbling moments.

So I will spend time this December reflecting on his writing and pondering his life.

A MAN FULL OF HOPE:

Think about the phrase 'living hope'- and I'm convinced the life of that hope springs eternal. 

(LIVING) ζάω,v  \{dzah'-o}
1) to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead)  2) to enjoy real life  2a) to have true life and worthy of the name  2b) active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God  3) to live i.e. pass life, in the manner of the living and acting  3a) of mortals or character  4) living water, having vital power in itself and exerting the  same upon the soul  5) metaph. to be in full vigour  5a) to be fresh, strong, efficient,  5b) as adj. active, powerful, efficacious (Greek Bible ONline)


Why was this hope so alive? So secure?

#1 Peter's hope has 'reasons'- he can explain it in the realm of logic. The Christian faith is NOT a blind leap of incredulity. If you look at his sermon on the day of pentecost you see a clear narrative that has roots in the Old Testament and connects the nature of man to God's plan. That is why later Peter tells us to 'sanctify Christ as Lord' and 'be prepared to give a defense' if we are asked to give a reason.

#2 Peter's hope was secure in his experience- Think of all the failures in Peter's life and how his relationship with Christ was never terminated. Peter had sunk in the sea, been called 'Satan', been corrected on the mountain and rebuked in the garden. And worst of all, denied the Lord those three shameful times- NO WONDER HE CALLS GRACE "GREAT"!

#3 Peter's hope had been tested, tried, and found stronger than ever- Peter says above he had been grieved, tested by fire- yet he writes of imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance. A hope that results in praise, and glory, and honor.

Does he harken back to that day when Jesus said "Simon, Simon Satan has asked permission to sift you as wheat?" Extra-biblical accounts say that Peter had to watch his wife being tortured and executed for the faith.

The greatest HOPE of all:

In spite of Peter seeing the Lord- in His earthly state, in the transfiguration, and in the resurrection- his greatest excitement comes from the faith of those who haven't seen and still follow Him- AND LOVE HIM!

The word for love in verse 8 is 'agape'- a word Peter himself in his humbled state could not profess to the risen Christ after the resurrection and during the restoration in John 21.

Yet, Peter- full of years of wisdom and persevering faith- is so hopeful of a group of disciples who LOVE Jesus without seeing Him.

So it is also a living hope in that it will be born again- over and over- saving 3,000 on the day of Pentecost and then sweeping the globe for 2,000 plus years of gospel expansion and world changing redemption.

And that is the living hope that you and I are honored to walk in today!



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