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Lesson 2: An Inheritance Incorruptible *

Introduction: This week we begin our study of the first letter of Peter. Those who read the gospel accounts of Peter like him. He is bold, he has courage, and he knows what it means to let God down. In our study this week, Peter gives us an overview of the Christian life. Let's dive into the Bible and see what wisdom and encouragement Peter has for us!

  1. The Parties

    1. Read 1 Peter 1:1. Ancient letters start out with the author's name and then the party to whom the letter was addressed. Do we still do that today? (Most business letters have a letterhead. Most e-mails show from whom they are sent at the top. The answer is "yes," we often do it the same way.)

      1. Notice that Peter states his credentials as "an apostle of Jesus Christ." How would you describe Peter? (Based on last week's lesson, you could say "the fisherman," the "one who sometimes is inspired by God and sometimes inspired by Satan.")

        1. Do you put on your best face in church? According to Peter, is that a good thing? (Yes. Peter gives his best credential for writing to fellow believers. It makes sense because he is writing as an authority inspired by the Holy Spirit.)

    2. Look again at 1 Peter 1:1. What are the credentials of those to whom he is writing? (They are God's elect.)

      1. What does that mean? God chooses winners and losers? (We will discuss this more below.)

      2. Notice that Peter also calls them "strangers in the world." What does this mean? (This world is not their home.)

      3. What does it mean that the recipients of his letter are "scattered" throughout these areas of the world? (It sounds like something made them go. Perhaps it was persecution in Jerusalem. This supports the "stranger" idea.)

    3. Read 1 Peter 1:2. We see three reasons why these people have been "elected." Would you like to be "elected" by God? If so, let's explore all three reasons:

      1. What does "chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father mean? Are some predestined to be saved and others predestined to be lost?

      2. In our last series of lessons we studied Acts 15. The early church discussed what should be required of the Gentile converts. Let's revisit the discussion by reading Acts 15:14-19. Notice that verse 18 says "that have been known for ages." What does this tell us about the "foreknowledge" of God and salvation? (God knew what He intended to do in advance - that the gospel should go to the Gentiles. It does not saying anything about individuals. )

      3. Read Matthew 6:8. What does this say about God's foreknowledge? (God knows what you need before you ask Him for it. The fact that He knows does not mean we will ask. We have a choice in the matter.)

      4. Read Romans 11:2. Who did God "foreknew?" (Israel! Yet, we know from the Bible that they are not all saved.)

      5. Read Romans 8:28-30. These verses speak about being predestined. What starts this "predestination?" (Those who love God. Read the entire chapter of Romans 8 and you will come away with the impression that being saved is your choice. If you are still not convinced, read Romans chapter 9 where Paul says God chose Israel, but only a few would follow. The result is that God called those who were "not my people" to be the sons of the living God. Romans 9:26.)

    4. Let's get back to the second reason why the recipients of the letters are "God's elect." Re-read 1 Peter 1:2. What role does the Holy Spirit play in the lives of those who are God's elect? (Read Romans 8:5-8. The Holy Spirit is central to a life lived in accord with God's will. He guides us to obey and instills in us the attitudes that reflect righteousness and sanctification.)

    5. Re-read the last half of 1 Peter 1:2. What is the third reason why they are "God's elect?" ("Sprinkling by His blood.")

      1. What does that mean? (This brings to mind the sanctuary service. Sin was transferred through the blood. This refers to salvation by faith in Jesus' sacrifice for us.)

    6. Why should our election bring us "grace and peace" in abundance? (We know we are God's elect. We know we are saved by grace. When you let the Holy Spirit lead in your life you have peace.)

  2. Our Hope

    1. Read 1 Peter 1:3. Are you born again? (Yes, if you are one who has elected Jesus. His resurrection is our "new birth.")

    1. Read 1 Peter 1:4. What happens to your new stuff? (It gets old, faded, and is eventually discarded.)

      1. How does this compare to your inheritance in heaven? (It never gets old!)

    2. Read 1 Peter 1:5. What happens to us in the meantime? (We are shielded, through faith, by God.)

      1. I regularly hear that we should not be focused on heaven. Do you agree? (Everyone looks forward to a reward or a gift that is coming their way. God would not make this promise if He did not want us to look forward to it.)

    3. Read 1 Peter 1:6. Why do trials on earth (recall these are the people who were "scattered"), make heaven even more important? (We want an end to difficulties. How discouraging it would be if we did not have hope of a better time and place.)

  1. Suffering

    1. Read 1 Peter 1:7. What is the positive side of suffering? (Our faith is shown to be genuine!)

      1. What do you think of when you read the word "suffer?" (I think of physical pain.)

      2. Think about a time when your faith was strengthened? Did it involve physical pain? (Not for me. What has most strengthened my faith is when God works out the pressures and problems in my life. I say, "He did it. Why did I worry so much?")

    2. Look at 1 Peter 1:7 again. Why do we want our faith proven to be genuine? (It brings "praise, glory and honor" to Jesus.)

    3. Read 1 Peter 1:8. What else results from suffering? (Increased faith in Jesus, which gives us "inexpressible and glorious joy.")

      1. Have you experienced this?

    4. Read 1 Peter 1:9. Are we saved by suffering? (I don't think that is what this is saying. Suffering strengthens our faith. Our faith in Jesus is what saves us. By seeing how Jesus comes through for us, we increase our trust and our love for Him.)

  2. Salvation

    1. Read 1 Peter 1:10-11. Which prophets are being referenced by Peter? (Old Testament prophets.)

      1. What primary point do you think Peter is making by writing about this intense search? (The coming of Jesus was understood by the Old Testament prophets, but they wanted to know more.)

      2. The prophets had "the Spirit of Christ in them." What is that Spirit? (The Holy Spirit. Do you see how Peter ties the Old Testament to the New Testament? The New Testament (that he is writing at that moment) is not a departure from the Old Testament.)

    2. Read 1 Peter 1:12. What is the bad news for the Old Testament prophets? (Jesus was not coming in their time. They were writing to give us hope and direction.)

      1. What are we to conclude from the statement that not even angels understood this?

    3. Read 1 Peter 1:13-16. How can Peter say "when Jesus Christ is revealed?" Jesus already came and then returned to heaven! (Jesus is coming again!)

    4. Read 1 Peter 1:17-21. If my "faith and hope are in God" why does Peter tell me that God the Father "judges each man's work impartially?"

    5. Read 1 Peter 1:22-23. Is this even worse - Peter tells me that I "purify" myself? How is that consistent with the symbolism of Jesus being the Lamb that takes away our sins? (Peter supports salvation by faith alone. But, he also exhorts us to holiness - to live in accordance with God's will. Doing so not only makes us better, but it causes us to better represent God to the world.)

    6. Friend, walking with Jesus is a serious matter. Will you ask the Holy Spirit to continue to direct you on the path of holiness!

  3. Next week: A Royal Priesthood.
* Copr. 2017, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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