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Wk 9: Defending the Faith

1 Peter 3:13-17

Focused Text: 1 Peter 3:15

Most of us who have been around the church for any length of time have heard this verse quoted on numerous occasions, often without explanation or context.  We treat it as a catchall for any and every situation in which we find ourselves sharing the faith with others.

However, the immediate context of the passage makes something certain—Peter is giving believers instructions for responding to those who vehemently oppose the faith.  Read through the entire paragraph and observe the characteristics of those mentioned (13-17).  They are people who seek to “harm” believers, but believers should not fear them (14).  They “slander” and “revile” God’s people, bringing pressure upon them for their commitment to live out the faith (17).  They are the type of people who are repulsed by the thought of someone else not instantly conforming to their own worldview.

So, how do we respond?  Rather than hitting back in the same vain, beating them over the head with Bible verse and the invocation of God’s wrath, we put our opponents to shame by living out the faith in working for the good of those around us.  When we are not shaken by our opponents, those who are observant will begin to question why, and we are to be prepared to respond.  This is the context in which Peter calls us to respond gently, making a defense for the faith.

 

Take some time to think or talk through the following questions with a view to applying the passage in your own life.

 

  1. How have I historically responded to opposition to my faith? Do I become flustered and combative? Or do I respond with a view to God’s sovereignty and mercy?

 

  1. What are some ways that I can prepare myself to consistently respond to opposition in a Christ-honoring manner? (i.e. confidently & gently articulating my testimony?)

 


At our Crossing Campus in Pleasanton, our church family is going through a Sunday sermon series 1 Peter: The Sojourner’s Hope. (Audio sermons available online.)

We sincerely believe that the more we interact with and apply God’s Word, the greater impact it will have on our hearts and in our lives.  Therefore, we encourage you to make use of these devotionals in your personal or family devotion times as well as small groups.

You can download the full devotional (16 weeks) on our church homepage or pick one up at our Information Desk on Sundays.

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Wk 8: Blessing our Enemies

1 Peter 3:8-12

 

Focused Text: 1 Peter 3:9

Salvation comes through faith in Jesus.  When we trust in him and the totality of what he’s done in his life, death, and resurrection, God the Father forgives our sin, grants us right standing before himself, takes us as his own children, and pours out his Spirit into our very hearts.

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Wk 7: Submission & Honor

1 Peter 3:1-7

Focused Text: 1 Peter 3:1, 7

Order brings about stability.  Knowing this, the Lord clearly delineated the ordering of family life to the Apostles, who passed this on to us, as we find in several New Testament passages.  Both Peter and Paul (see Eph. 5:22-6:4, Col. 3:18-21) wrote letters containing explicit guidelines regarding believers’ respective roles in their households.  However, many Christians in our culture have never taken these instructions to heart, supposing that they are either outdated or culturally bound (i.e. not applicable in our ‘progressive’ society).

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Week 6: Suffering Unjustly

1 Peter 2:18-25

Focused Text:  1 Peter 2:18-23

At some point, each of us face both just and unjust suffering in this life.  When we sin and suffer the consequences, our suffering is just.  We are reaping the harvest that we have sown by our disobedience.  However, at times we will also suffer under the direct authority of unjust people, having done nothing to warrant such treatment.  Our shortsighted reaction will likely be lament—why would God allow such injustice toward me?

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Wk 5: Living with Opposition

1 Peter 2:11-17

Focused Text: 1 Peter 2:11-15

As followers of Jesus, we face opposition to our faith.  Sometimes it’s subtle and slightly uncomfortable while other times it’s blatant and seems overwhelming.  We may be tempted to respond in a confrontational matter, or simply conform to the pressure.  Rather than responding to our opponents in either of these ways, Peter gives us some enduring guidelines to follow which will indirectly silence our opponents.  By maintaining an honorable lifestyle (1:11-12) and living in submission to the authorities while seeking the welfare of others (2:13-15), we remove any reasonable basis for our opponents to attack us.

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Wake Up Before You Become a Crisis Christian

A number of years ago when I was a salesman, I used to travel quite a bit.  I would fly all over the US and drive up and down the state of California. In the beginning, I found the travel exciting. After a short period of time it was no longer exciting but tedious and soul crushing. I would get so tired sometimes that my life was like a twisted science experiment. Like Pavlov’s Dogs, my alarm would sound and I would sit up and then that would set into motion a series of activities that had been conditioned into my brain and body. I would get in the shower, I would get dressed, I would gather my briefcase, I would get in the car, I would drive a specific way to get to a specific place. When I arrived at the office my brain would suddenly reboot and I was left wondering, “How did I get here”?

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Week 4: Identity & Action

1 Peter 2:4-10

 

Focused Text: 1 Peter 2:9-10

Those of us who have come to a genuine faith in Jesus have shed our old selves.  We are no longer under the righteous judgment of God, but have been redeemed and given a new identity.  Peter tells us in this passage that we are now, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession…” Yet he does not stop there.

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Week 3: Love One Another

1 Peter 1:22-2:3

Focused Text: 1 Peter 1:22-23

To our detriment, many of us have developed the same mindset about our churches as we have our grocery stores.  We often fall into the trap of viewing them as a place we go to “get something” each week.  However, this mindset stems from a severely limited understanding of God’s design for the community of the faithful.
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Week 2: Obedient Children

1 Peter 1:13-21

Focused Text: 1 Peter 1:14-19

Too often in our evangelical culture we receive the gospel message without making a clear connection that a certain lifestyle naturally flows from salvation.  We accept the benefits of the cross, but don’t necessarily commit to living in a manner consistent with the gospel.  For the Apostles, there was to be no separation in belief and practice.

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