The Church: 2017 Study of 1 Peter #5
This is an exposition of 1 Peter 2:4-10. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, April 30, 2017.
Life was getting desperate. The threats were growing more intense. Some were fleeing their homes in an attempt to escape. Others were seriously thinking about turning back and denying the faith. It was a rough time to be part of the church. Persecution had begun. Some had already died for the faith, others would follow. How do you remain faithful in unfaithful times? Where do you stand when the ground around you trembles? When your heart grows faint and your vision grows weary? Such was the condition of those early believers scattered throughout Asia Minor and the early 60s. The church is still in its infancy. The Jewish establishment is growing increasingly hostile. The Roman Empire is growing increasingly suspicious. New converts often find themselves ostracized by their family and friends and yet their new life in Christ called them on. Torn between the joy and excitement of their new life and the fear of what lies ahead these early believers struggled to live out their faith. Peter, the aged apostle, wrote to encourage and strengthen them. He says to them, “I’ve written to exhort and declare to you this is the truth. Stand firm in it” (5:12).
Strange that Peter, writing to a group of folks facing the greatest trials imaginable, would come at them with such heavy doctrine. I mean surely they need something practical that will sustain them! Well, allow me to be indelicate, if you are about to be slaughtered for your faith you need something more substantial that 10 steps to a happy life!
Peter comforts and encourages with sound biblical theology. A theology that will under gird and sustain them no matter what is thrown at them. For that reason his words remain a source of encouragement and hope for the child of God. Peter has been called “the apostle of hope”
The thrust of Peter’s message is summed up in 1 Peter 4 and 1 Peter 2:19: “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” In other words, “trust and obey.”
Text: 1 Peter 2:4-10
When writing to these troubled believers Peter makes it clear that:
Our identity comes from Christ.
- Our hope is born in redemption, fortified through adversity and secured by faith.
- We are called to holy living, which requires deliberate, conscious effort and divine focus.
- And we need each other.
- And that our Christian unity:
- flourishes in an atmosphere of genuine love
- and is built on common experience and belief
This sounds strange to our ears. To talk about the church in the context of suffering and struggle. But that is because we often lack a sound biblical doctrine of the church.
We tend to think of the church as an entity that is there if I need it – but not as something vital to my existence.
Our text reminds us that:
Thesis: Godly living is rooted in a sound, biblical doctrine of the church.
All of this is foundational to what Peter is going to demand of these believers beginning in 2:11. Peter is laying the biblical foundation for the exhortations he is about to bring.
There are three things I want us to note in our text regarding a biblical doctrine of the church.
- A sound, biblical doctrine of the church sees Christ as the church’s sure foundation. (2:4, 6-8)
- A sound, biblical doctrine of the church sees the church as made up of transformed people engaged in a spiritual task. (2:5, 9a, 10)
- A sound, biblical doctrine of the church understands that the church exists to declare the greatness and glory of God. (2:9b)
In order to live the life God has called us to we have to know who we are, where we come from and what we were made for. That is why a sound, biblical doctrine of the church is necessary for godly living.
- A sound, biblical doctrine of the church sees Christ as the church’s sure foundation.
- A sound, biblical doctrine of the church sees the church as made up of transformed people engaged in a spiritual task.
- A sound, biblical doctrine of the church understands that the church exists to declare the greatness and glory of God.