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Lessons from the First Epistle of Peter
1 Peter

By Ken Raggio
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Blessings To You, And Praises To God

Peter's epistle begins in much the same way that Paul's epistles began; with a greeting, a blessing, and praises to God. In our secular society, it would glorify God if we would include spiritual greetings, blessings and praises in our daily conversations.

1 Peter 1:2-4 - "Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you."

Rejoice, Despite Heaviness From Many Temptations

You may feel great heaviness because you face many trials and temptations, but there is a greater reality. If you are born again, you will be raised from the dead, "to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven."

1 Peter 1:6-7 - "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."

Though You See Him Not, You Believe And Rejoice

Moses asked to see God's glory, but God covered Moses' eyes with His hand. 1,500 years later, however, God raised Moses from the dead to stand on the Mount of Transfiguration to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Therefore, 1. God can resurrect the dead; 2. God's glory is in Christ; 3. Saints will someday see Him, too! For that, we have unspeakable joy.

1 Peter 1:8 - "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:"

Fiery Trials Inspire Praise, Honor And Glory To Jesus

You glorify God when you lift Him up, even when you are down. "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." When Jesus appears, you will have unimaginable rejoicing. But you can begin your rejoicing right now. Have faith, hope, and love for His appearing.

1 Peter 1:8 - "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."

The Prophets Enquired And Searched Diligently

A true prophet of God is not made from trite or frivolous material. Men of God are made of enquiring stuff. The world would be in absolute darkness, but for men who desire to know God far more intimately than their peers. Such men utterly reject the worthless fodder of carnally-minded teachers. To intimately know the divine, one must sell himself to the pursuit.

1 Peter 1:9-10 - "Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you."

Search For Christ Following Every Clue

God is one Spirit. The Holy Spirit of the Old Testament is the Spirit of Christ in the New Testament. The ancient prophets were inspired by the same Spirit that would be incarnated in Jesus. By the Spirit, they discerned that Christ would come, but many details were hidden. Nevertheless, they searched and yearned for prophetic clues. We should also search every prophetic clue until He appears.

1 Peter 1:11 - "Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow."

The Ancients Ministered Their Revelation To Us

God rarely, if ever, gives a man a revelation of Himself strictly for that man alone. The Word of God is a seed that has many lives in it. You and I are the wealthy beneficiaries of the revelation that God gave to many of the holy elders. The same is true with the knowledge of God that rests in your own bosom. Let the Word of God dwell in you richly.

1 Peter 1:12 - "Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you."

Be Ye Holy, For I Am Holy

This generation of Christians has watched too much television, and listened to too much worldly music and ungodly voices. They belligerently resist the call to holy, separated living, arguing viciously that Christians need not be DIFFERENT from the world. But God demands that we must not fashion ourselves according to the former (worldly) lusts.

1 Peter 1:14-16 - "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."

Pray, Having The Fear Of God

If you call on God, do so in FEAR. The Greek root word is "phobo," or phobia. It literally means fear, alarm, fright, or terror. We should be terrified of "passing the time of our sojourning" outside of the will of God. God has redeemed you from the damnation and curse of sin and death. Never take that for granted.

1 Peter 1:17-19 - "And if ye call on the Father, ...pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, ...But with the precious blood of Christ."

Incorruptible Seed

Geneticists have now catalogued the entire DNA code. Every chromosome has been identified. Blue eyes, blond hair, big feet - they are all in the code. The inevitable temptation was to clone something using only the code -- which they did! Do you know that there is an invisible code, known only to God, that He will use to raise the sainted dead from their ashes? Something exists in the spirit dimension that cannot be destroyed by decay, cremation or "annihilation". Death cannot destroy spiritual DNA. It is incorruptible seed.

1 Peter 1:23 - "...born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible"

The Enduring Word Of The Lord

This material world is doomed. Unregenerate men are doomed, "for all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away." Your flesh is going to wither and die like grass. Your present glory will disappear like a flower that falls to the ground. You may look really good today, but unless the Word of God is your life, you cannot endure forever.

1 Peter 1:25 - "The word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."

Desire The Sincere Milk Of The Word

Babies crave milk. Milk alone sustains an infant through the early months of life. Even a simple understanding of the Gospel can richly nourish your hungry soul. Do you desire the basic milk of the Word? Do you have time to verbalize malice, guile, envy, hypocrisy, and other kinds of evil speaking, yet have little or no time for Bible study or prayer? You need more milk.

1 Peter 2:1-2 - "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby."

Come To The Living Stone

When you come to Jesus, you are coming to a living stone. Carnal, worldly, sinful men have no need of Him. They object to Him and attempt to block His access to their lives. But to those who will have Him, He will be their Cornerstone and Capstone. As your Cornerstone, your life will begin in Jesus. As your Capstone, He will be the crowning glory of your life.

1 Peter 2:4-5 - "To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house."

Practicing The New Testament Priesthood

In ancient Egypt, the High Priest stood next to the Pharaoh-King in power and influence. In ancient Israel, the High Priest stood next to God in power and influence, making intercession between God and men with sacrifices and prayers for the people. Saints in the New Testament are called priests unto God, not offering animal sacrifices, but making sacrifices of prayer and praise before God, in an intercessory ministry of reconciliation for men.

1 Peter 2:5 - "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

He That Believeth On Him Shall Not Be Confounded

Every believer has to confront his occasional doubts. John the Baptist, the great prophet who declared Jesus Christ to be the Lamb of God, found himself in prison, wondering whether Jesus was truly the Christ. There is no need to panic when questions arise. Like the cornerstone of a great building, Jesus Christ is the foundation of our lives. You can call on Him and believe on Him knowing that you will never be disappointed.

1 Peter 2:6 - "Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded [dishonored, shamed, disgraced]."

The Stone Of Stumbling, Rock Of Offense

This may not sound prophetic, but it is. You can and should believe that if you are disobedient to the word of God, it will stumble you until you have fallen. God does not always strive with a man. When once you have been given your precious opportunity to believe the Gospel, it is the greatest of all follies to reject it. If you do not love the truth, God has appointed your downfall.

1 Peter 2:8 - "A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed."

Ecclesia - Called Out

The church is called, in the Greek language, the "ecclesia," meaning "called-out ones." The ancient Greeks invited all males above eighteen to participate in the ecclesia, the secular government. More directly, God calls His people into His glorious kingdom. Stephen named Israel under Moses' leadership "the church in the wilderness." They had been called out of Egypt. Even today, Jesus is calling His church out of the world's sin and darkness.

I Peter 2:9 - "...shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."

A Chosen Generation

Moses told the children of Israel, "The LORD thy God hath CHOSEN thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people." Jesus told the twelve, "I have CHOSEN you out of the world." He said of Paul, "He is a CHOSEN vessel unto me." Of the Church, "He hath CHOSEN us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him." Many are called, but few are chosen.

1 Peter 2:9-10 - "Ye are a chosen generation, ...Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God."

Show Forth The Praises Of Him Who Hath Called You"

Peter used many allegories. "The trial of your faith ...more precious than gold." "Gird up the loins of your mind," "sincere milk of the word," "a living stone," "stone of stumbling." But when he called the saints "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people," those were not allegories. We are God's chosen, royal, holy and peculiar people. Praise Him!

1 Peter 2:9-10 - "Ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God."

Abstain From Fleshly Lusts That War Against The Soul

A child of God should never forget that he is seeking a heavenly city, and should not allow himself to be attracted or attached to things of this world. You must classify EVERYTHING that is not God's will for you as a potent adversary. Anything that entices you toward the world, the flesh or the devil is a mortal enemy, and will increasingly WAR against your soul. Lust is desire. NEVER desire anything that God forbids.

1 Peter 2:11 - "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."

Silence The Ignorance Of Evil Men With Well Doing

Saints of God will always have an accuser, if no other than Satan himself. When men do not like a message, they try to slander or destroy the messenger. Your only response should be to continue to do right. Keep your conversation honest, "whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God..." Submit to your authorities (king, governor, police, etc.), "for the praise of them that do well."

1 Peter 2:15 - "So is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men."

Enduring Grief, Suffering Wrong Is Acceptable With God

Juxtapose the act of honoring and loving others against being buffeted and reviled in return. God expects us to endure grief, and suffer wrongfully when necessary. "For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God."

1 Peter 2:21,23 - "Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: ...When he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously."

Sheep Going Astray

Paul's epistles are largely characterized by his recurring admonitions to keep the saints on the right course. The great Apostle never ceased to be concerned that his beloved saints would be led astray by deceit and deceivers. He meticulously covered as many particular issues of godliness and holy living as he could, so that we can clearly discern when we are doing right or wrong. Men of God must be diligent to keep the sheep in the fold.

1 Peter 2:25 - "For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."

Daughters Of Sara

Peter portrayed Sara as model for holy women, primarily because Sara obeyed Abraham. A woman who will not obey her husband is in breach of this teaching. It does not matter what modern social culture says. God says that the man is the head of the woman. (A man is obligated under God not to require anything of the woman that is contrary to His will).

1 Peter 3:1,6 - "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; ...Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid."

The Wife - The Weaker Vessel

Peter commanded husbands to give "honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel." The feminist spirit vehemently abhors the appellation "weaker vessel." When Eve led Adam to sin, God told her, "Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee," Genesis 3:16. Feminism is an anti-God, evil, sinister force that defies God's prescribed order. A woman must not usurp authority over a man. God assigned the rule and strength to the man, to love and honor the woman.

1 Peter 3:7- "and [giving honor] as being heirs together of the grace of life."

Love Your Spouse, That Your Prayers Be Not Hindered

Paul said that the man is the head of the woman. Peter told the woman to obey and be in subjection to her husband (v 5-6). Peter instructs husbands to dwell with their wives "according to knowledge," (with an intimate understanding of one another), giving her honor. A dysfunctional marriage relation can certainly hinder your ability to pray effectively.

1 Peter 3:7 - "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered."

Contrariwise Blessing

The dichotomies of godliness separate the ways of the flesh from the ways of the Spirit. God expects us to countermand the ways of the flesh with ways of the Spirit. Where there is evil, we should manifest righteousness. While others curse, we should bless. While others have guile on their lips, we should speak peace.

1 Peter 3:8-9 - "Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing."

His Ears Are Open To The Prayers Of The Righteous

Most discussions on prayer include a major injunction about having faith when you pray. But another requirement seldom mentioned is right living. If you love being alive and want to see good days, you must silence your tongue from speaking evil guile (deceit, subtilty). You must hate evil and do good.

1 Peter 3:12-13 - "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?"

Be Ready To Give An Answer For Your Hope

God will require you to suffer for righteousness sake. Be happy, not afraid or troubled. Suffering is divinely ordained. It is better to suffer for doing right, than for doing wrong. Tell others that you understand it is the will of God.

1 Peter 3:15-17 - "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you ...Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ."

The Spirits In Prison

Who were "the spirits in prison" that Jesus went and preached to. First, consider that Peter CLEARLY said of Christ, "being put to death in the flesh, but QUICKENED [resurrected] by the SPIRIT: BY WHICH also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison." Take note that He preached by the Spirit that QUICKENED Him. That was POST-RESURRECTION preaching! Jesus was ALIVE on earth, preaching to living men on earth - those who were living in the prison of sin!

1 Peter 3:18-19 - "...quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison."

Noah's Ark - Prophetic Figure Of Salvation By Baptism

Jesus preached by the Spirit that resurrected Him to the spirits in prison - sinners on earth. They were just like the sinners Noah dealt with, "Which sometime were disobedient, the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." Noah was saved by water. Jesus preached salvation by water baptism (Mark 16:16; Luke 12:50).

1 Peter 3:21 - "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God)"

Jesus Christ Is On The Right Hand Of God

Jesus confounded the Pharisees when He quoted from Psalm 110. "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?" Jesus asked, "If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?" (Matthew 22:44-45). Christ pre-dated David because He is the eternal, invisible Spirit - incarnated. The body of Christ is the only body you will ever see on the Throne.

1 Peter 3:22 - "[Jesus Christ] Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him."

The End Is At Hand - He Is Ready To Judge All Men

Think like the suffering Christ. Mortify the lusts of your flesh. Do the will of God. Do not be like you were - lascivious, lustful, drunken, partying and profane. Your old friends "think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess." They do not realize that the Gospel was preached so that they will either be judged for their fleshly sins, or be born again into the Spirit. They will soon "give account to him that is ready to judge the quick [living] and the dead."

1 Peter 4:7 - "The end of all things is at hand."

Watch (Stay Up Nights) Unto Prayer

Since the Gutenberg printing press began mass-producing Bibles, and Martin Luther initiated the reformation, history books have filled with stories of great men who sought after God in unprecedented diligence. Like Daniel, who prayed three times daily, many legendary prayer warriors like E.M. Bounds, Andrew Murray, George Mueller, Hudson Taylor, Oswald Chambers, David Wilkerson and others, showed us the enormous potential of praying for hours every day. The end of all things is near. Watch (stay up nights) to pray.

1 Peter 4:7 - "The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."

Charity Covers A Multitude Of Sins

Have fervent charity (love, affection, benevolence) among yourselves. Love is a choice to do the highest good you can for someone. True love glorifies God. Pagans show loving, tender affection, yet contradict everything true and holy about God. If love is not doctrinally correct, it is not love but deception. That is not the highest good for anyone. Love is more than good works and benevolence. The Red Cross and FEMA can do those. Only love which is of God can overcome sin.

1 Peter 4:8-10 - "Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."

Show Hospitality

Hospitality is a fondness for guests. You cannot be a good Christian if you dislike people, or hate having fellowship with others. Paul said that saints should be "given to hospitality," Romans 12:13. He told Timothy and Titus that a Bishop must be "given to hospitality" and "a lover of hospitality." Learn to enjoy the opportunity to make a new acquaintance, receive a stranger, or do a good deed. Invite someone into your home. Have lunch or coffee. Visit a neighbor. Send a card. Bring a gift. Be hospitable.

1 Peter 4:9 - "Use hospitality one to another without grudging."

Let All Things Glorify God

If you speak in the Church, you should speak as the oracle - the mouthpiece - of God. No one needs to hear your mere opinions. Speak what God would have you speak, to His glory. Speak with your God-given abilities to glorify God. In your fiery trial, rejoice, be glad, and glorify God. When you are reproached for the name of Christ, be happy, and glorify Him. Let every thing you say and do glorify God.

1 Peter 4:16 - "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf."

Commit The Keeping Of Your Soul To Him

The Church should be the farthest thing IN the world FROM the world. As such, it must inevitably be persecuted. In Paul's day, Christians were hated, maligned, persecuted, assaulted and killed by unbelievers. If you rarely suffer for your convictions, you probably do not contrast with the world. Stand courageously for righteousness, and prayerfully commit yourself to God's keeping.

1 Peter 4:16,19 - "If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. ...let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him..."

Judgment Begins At The House Of God

Your eternal judgment begins right now at the house of God. The preached word of God judges your sins, your carnality, and your worldliness. Otherwise, you would never renounce, repent, or turn from evil. Welcome the judgment of preaching. Without it, sinners would never repent and be saved.

1 Peter 4:17-18 - "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"

Church Elders Will Receive A Crown Of Glory

Peter urged the Church elders to feed the flock voluntarily, not for money or to be overlords, but to be an example to the flock. He promised that Jesus would give them a crown of glory when He appears.

1 Peter 5:2-4 - "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."

Ye Younger, Submit Yourselves Unto The Elder

A new generation of Christians has almost completely disowned its elders. Pastors who tended them for most of a generation have been relegated to obsolescence. Younger Christians mock and scoff at their elders, vent hostile arrogance, and foolishly believe that they have brilliantly reinvented the Church without needing or maintaining the ancient landmarks. They will certainly meet with God's resistance. It is written.

1 Peter 5:5 - "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble."

Humble Yourselves Under The Mighty Hand Of God

How exactly are we supposed to humble ourselves? The Hebrew "anah" means, "abase self, deal harshly with self, afflict self." The Greek "tapeinoo" means, "humiliate, abase, bring low." We must lower ourselves under God's rule. It begins with a radical abandonment of selfish ambition, then willful submission to His wishes in every single area of our lives. "If my people ...shall humble themselves and pray ...turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin."

1 Peter 5:6 - "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time."

Your Adversary The Devil

You should have no doubt in your mind that Satan wants to completely destroy you. Every believer is a menace and threat to Satan, so he wants you nothing less than dead. You mean absolutely nothing to him. He will use any and every diabolical scheme to banish you from the earth. He is like a hungry lion and will attack you when you least suspect it. Plead the blood of Jesus and resist Satan in Jesus' name.

1 Peter 5:8 - "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."

God Make You Perfect, Stablish, Strengthen, Settle You

The Captain of our salvation was made perfect by the things that He suffered. That prescription is the same for you and me. Every true believer must be made perfect by sufferings. Count it all joy. Count it not strange. After you have suffered for a while, He will make you perfect, strong and settled. Give Him glory and dominion.

1 Peter 5:10-11 - "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

The Church That Is At Babylon

Many of the greatest saints of God lived their lives in the most adversarial circumstances and environments. In Philippians 4:22, Paul said, "All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household." Rome was the Church's murderous enemy, but still there were saints in Caesar's household living overcoming lives. By the same token, Paul acknowledged that there were saints of God even in wicked Babylon who sent their blessings. Never take good fortune for granted, but bless the Lord in every circumstance.

1 Peter 5:13 - "The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you."

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