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Live To Jesus

Updated: May 15, 2023






We live in a world where things are out of focus. Things are broken. The innocent sometimes suffer. Injustice and abuse are afflicted upon some. We see war and struggles for power that oppresses and come with a high cost—friends and neighbors who are strapped with the incredible burden of self-destructive addiction. We don't have to look very hard to see that things are out of focus, broken, and not as they should be.


In 1 Peter, the apostle Peter writes to Christians experiencing some of these struggles. They were harassed and faced hostility for following the way of Jesus. So Peter writes this letter to offer encouragement and hope to Christians living in a world where things are out of focus, broken, and not as they should be.


In our last lesson, Peter stressed the importance of our identity in Christ.


1 Peter 2:4–5 (NIV)

"As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."


Our identity is in the family of God, where we are being built together into His covenant family. Understanding who we are not only shapes our choices today, it forms our future.


As we continue our thoughts through 1 Peter, we begin a new section of this letter in (2:11). This section continues through (4:11), where Peter talks about the importance of living to Jesus. How do we, as Christians, live in a world out of focus? How do we live our lives in such a way that reflects the truth of Jesus against the backdrop of brokenness? Peter will draw from a few relationships common to the first-century Greco-Roman world as he reveals godly wisdom for living in a culture that is out of focus. Living right side up in an upside-down world (or in focus in an out-of-focused world) is a life that ultimately points to the hope shared in Christ.


Live A Life Different


Peter begins by calling Christians to live differently in our world. In (2:11), Christians are to live as "foreigners and exiles."


1 Peter 2:11–12 (NIV)

"Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us."


The patterns, often followed by the culture around us, war against our soul. Patterns of selfish ambition, lustful desires, and the oppression of others are often patterns followed by many. However, Christians are not called to follow these same patterns. These patterns are not in focus with God's desire and purposes. They are out of focus. Instead of being carried along in the culture's current, Christians are to "good lives," expressing "good deeds." Our conduct and actions are to be in focus with the character and nature of God. Living a life consistent in following the way of Jesus will shift the critical eye of our culture to God, who is to be glorified. We are called to live differently. We are called to live in a way that focuses others on Jesus.


Roman Rule


I am very thankful for the freedoms we enjoy in our culture. For the most part, you and I, who live in America, have not suffered under a government hostile to our faith and belief in Christ. The laws that govern our society are meant to promote freedom and life. I know that we have different shared experiences under these laws. Unfortunately, at times our culture has abused these laws. Our culture has promoted injustice, violence, and hostility toward others. Understanding this, as Christians, who live where we do, we have not shared in the sufferings that much of the church has experienced since the first century.


1 Peter 2:13–17 (NIV)

"Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God's slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor."


The Christians Peter writes to live under Roman Rule. They suffered harassment and hostility as they followed the way of Jesus. However, the wisdom expressed by Peter, godly wisdom, is not resistance that leads to violence. Christians are to follow the way of Jesus, who suffered unjustly. Instead of violent resistance, they are to serve and submit themselves in humility.


Households


Peter draws on the relationships of households in the first-century Greco-Roman world (2:18-3:17). How is Jesus demonstrated if you are an enslaved person and your enslaver may not be a follower of Christ? Or if you are a Christian wife and your husband may not be a believer? Christian husbands, how should you demonstrate Christ in your relationship with your wife? These are very complex relationships today as they were in the first century. Understanding how to navigate these complex relationships as a follower of Christ was and remains crucial for our homes and the relationships we share in our homes. The apostle Paul, writing to the Ephesians (ref. Eph. 5:21-6:9) and to the Colossians (ref. Col. 3:18-4:1), shares similar words as Peter. Vital to Christians is understanding how Christ should be demonstrated in our homes.


Enslaved Persons


Enslaved persons who suffer harassment and unjust punishment for following the life of Jesus should recall the suffering of Christ.


1 Peter 2:21–23 (NIV)

"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly."


In a broken and out-of-focus world, we will experience insults and injustice. However, as Christians, our response should not be retaliation leading to violence. Instead, our response should be trust and reliance on Christ and God, who will judge justly.


Christian Wives


In Greco-Roman households, all who lived under the patriarch were expected to follow the patriarch's gods and authority.


1 Peter 3:1–4 (NIV)

"Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."


Although it was true that Christian wives and enslaved persons were free in Christ, they were not to use their freedom for rebellion or arousing suspicion. Instead, freedom in Christ should point others to Jesus. A quiet and gentle spirit is of great worth to God—an unfading beauty. This type of spirit reflects a full trust in Christ. Through showing love and generosity in possessing a quiet and gentle spirit, others are focused on Jesus.


Christian Husbands


Christian husbands were to treat their wives as heirs and partners in the gracious gift of life. This statement may not shock us as it would have shocked those in a first-century Greco-Roman world. However, considering your wife an equal partner would have been shocking.


1 Peter 3:7 (NIV)

"Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers."


Power struggles have existed from the first pages of our Bibles and still exist today. The radical message of Jesus tears down systems of power by elevating the weak and marginalized. Christian husbands are to reflect Christ concerning their wives and those who live in their homes. They are to understand wives as partners in the gracious gift of life, not those who are inferior or less than themselves.


Christ In Focus


We live in a world where things are out of focus and broken. Peter wants us to see Jesus clearly as we focus on following Him.


1 Peter 3:8–12 (NIV)

"Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."


In an out-of-focused world, it can be easy to lose sight of the way of Jesus. His way can seem and often is counter-culture, right side up in an upside-down world. However, when we begin to recognize Him, our lives should reflect Him. In reflecting Him, others can begin to see as Jesus comes into focus.


notes: Unless otherwise notes, Scripture quotations are from: Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Resources

article: Live To Jesus

handout: Live To Jesus

slides: Live To Jesus




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