Pr Edi Giudetti
Strengthen and Feed
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
Here we have an address stemming from the mouth of the Apostle Peter, yes this is the same “ready, fire, aim” Peter of the Gospel accounts in the body, but with a very different spirit in him. If anyone could testify of the change and the maturing of both mind and heart after conversion, it would be Peter.
But this letter, the first of two, was only contended against due to the character of the person writing it, it could not be believed that this is the same “unlearned fisherman” of the Gospel accounts. But it is, and it is a testimony to the miraculous change that occurs when the Spirit of God transforms a life.
Peter, was writing to the scattered brethren throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, and in this letter, he wonderfully fulfills the charge he received directly from Jesus in Luke 22:32, when Jesus said when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
But he also seems to fulfil the charge Jesus gave him three times “….Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17).
STRENGTHENED TO JOY AND HOLINESS
3 Blessedbethe 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, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
This is the underlying joy we have, this is the fundamental foundation of a lasting hope that we are STRENGTHENED IN and Peter uses it well to persuade the brethren to joy and holiness. As our Lord Jesus Christ as our foundation and our hope and not we ourselves, there should be nothing through which we cannot endure.
We do not live as others who have no hope, and we certainly do not live as many which have a dead “hope so” hope, we live as those who have a “lively hope” and we can live that way because it is not dependent upon us but on the one who had “begotten us” unto this lively hope. It is not our work it is the work of Jesus Christ, he had begotten us and not we him, and he did so according to his abundant mercy (v3).
Not to nothing or for no reason, but verse 4 tells us To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.
There is nothing on earth that can compare to this inheritance, anything and everything can become corruptible, defiled and fade away. We have seen the effects only of natural disasters that can do it, the effects of war can do it, the political motivations of those in power can do it; and whatever can’t be taken away by these things, the effects of illness can remove the use and pleasure of any inheritance here, but not there. In heaven the inheritance is incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.
It is eternal life we inherit, this is our lively hope, this is our joy, this is our victory, death has lost its sting, we no longer have any fear of death. We look for the hope in anticipation and the more things go wrong here, the more we look up, we lift up our heads, knowing that our redemption draweth nigh (Lk 21:28). Just like the treasure we store in heaven, so too is this inheritance Reserved in heaven!
4To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
And the joy we have is that we can know there is an inheritance reserved for us, “reserved”, it is kept, held FOR US.
And it was legally done, for there was a down-payment made and the form of a receipt, a form of guarantee given to all those who are born again by the Spirit of God. Turn to Ephesians 1:12-14;
That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation:
Friends that is SALVATION, and that is how to attain it, it cannot be done by works, it cannot be kept by works, it is simply trusting that what has been done for you HAS BEEN DONE FOR YOU! “13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation:
in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest
STOP THERE: The word “earnest” here is a noun, in the early English years it literally meant, according to the Oxford English Dictionary: “literally ‘instalment paid to confirm a contract’
ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
This is why your Inheritance is “Reserved in Heaven for you”, a legal transaction had taken place which CANNOT be reneged upon.
Back to 1 Peter 1:5. Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
This is why we are STRENGTHENED TO JOY, because the work is done for us through Christ, attained by us through faith in Christ when we first believed.
JESUS paid the whole price and that is why we can be referred to as “The purchased possession” in Eph 1:14
That is why we are also Strengthened by Peter to Holiness;
13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
Not matter the sufferings you go through, the fiery trials Peter speaks of in verse 7, you can “rejoice with joy unspeakable” (v8), and in this Joy you are motivated, not according to the former lusts in our ignorance, but to holiness in all manner of living.
If you were not redeemed by that which passes away, why live your life to the pleasures that pass away? If you were redeemed and paid for by the infinite blood of Christ to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, reserved in heaven, why live your life as if the inheritance is temporary?
Be Holy, pass the time of your sojourning here, (your tourist living here), in fear, why in fear? Beloved there is still the Judgment seat of Christ before us, that we may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (2 Cor 5:10).
Be motivated to live for heaven and not for here, that is where your joy is, that is where your treasure is, that is where your inheritance is. Our redeemer is Holy, this should be the reason for those in Christ to live Holy. Live your life here doing all you can to share with others that same hope!
FED TO GROWTH AND faithfulness
To live such a life as that in Joy and Holiness can only be done being FED to Growth and Faithfulness. And this through the sincere milk of the word of God.
1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
No child may grow without sustenance, no new Christian babe will grow without daily nourishment. Don’t ignore this, the more you ignore this basic truth the more you will be identified with those Paul chastises in Hebrews 5:11-14,
Who, though they should be teachers themselves, have need to be taught again even the first principals of Christ. They have need for milk when they should be on solid food is the rebuke in Hebrews 5. It is through reading your Bible that you will grow and more than this, even come to be able to discern between good and evil.
Now this truly should excite you, that merely reading the world of God, trusting that it is the word of God, for in that trust you will also be nurtured, you may grow. We lay aside the things of the vain life we lived, and As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
Peter further FEEDS us in having us aware of who we now are in Christ, he tells in ver 9;
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
You are now people of God, your life is changed, you are a distinct personage that once walked in Darkness but now into his marvelous light. The word of God is like a torch, it illuminates the deepest recesses of the mind and helps us to learn and discern good and evil (Heb 5:14)
The more you spend time in that book, the less you have to worry about how to live your life, you will also come to understand why some things happen to you as you live by faith, faithfully.
Dearly beloved, I beseechyouas strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
It is incredible what happens when you do live as strangers and pilgrims, abstaining from fleshly lusts. Though your friends malign you because you no longer walk in the same excess of riot (1 Pet 4:4), yet they watch you, they behold you and will glorify God in the day of visitation, (referring to the Day of the Lord).
Beloved share the Gospel of hope you have with your friends, if you love them you must do so, you simply must, they all should have the opportunity to come to Christ now.
Penn Jillette a former magician and current atheist said recently “how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytise (Share the Gospel), how much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”
He likened it to knowing a truck was bearing down upon a person who did not know it was coming, he said “there is a point at which I tackle you, and this is much more important than that”
He is right, eternal life is much more important than that, if you have it, share it, even if it is rejected and your friends temporarily speak evil of you, your life will bear witness to the truth of your confession, they will know because they watch you. When the day comes, they will glorify God according to this word.
If you don’t have eternal life, you have no guarantee you will remain until that day. Take it now, please, take eternal life now.
Part of the evidence they look for is whether or not your life re-presents Christ, consider verse 19-21;
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
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. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps
Whose example do you witness in your life?
If there is no change in you becoming like Christ, willing even to endure WRONG, you need to re-examine yourself.
With an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled reserved in heaven for you, there is no reason for you to take this world ‘buffeting’ too seriously. In fact, if you take your grief suffered wrongfully, God is pleased. Jesus said in Matthew 5:46 “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?”
Any reward you gain in heaven is eternal brethren, it is part of the treasure “where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” (Matt 6:20)
STRENGTHENED THROUGH INTEGRITY AND GRACE
Peter desires that we be challenged, pressed to a level of integrity in our lives that matches the change of spirit that has happened within. In chapter three he begins his address to wives saying;
1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
The value and beauty and integrity of the wife is NOT found in the outward adorning. Did you get that?
Your adorning is NOT the outward adorning, (Adorning = beautifying, prettying, garnishing, enhancing), it’s not that which appears on the outside, no not even the make up you don, not the jewels you wear or the clothes you put on. The world wont tell you this, your mirror might not even tell you this, but God does and you can choose which authority you want to trust.
But he says, But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
The hidden man of the heart is that Holy Spirit of promise given to every believer when they are born again. His work is done from the inside and manifests to the outside if permitted.
Why is that so important?
Because dear brethren eternity is in the balance, in this example it is the unbelieving husband.
V 1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives
The “conversation of the wives” refers to how they live their lives. Holiness, Godliness, taking care in love and faithfulness, subject to their husbands in the love of the Lord.
The Lord gives example in verse 5 saying
5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
It was the “holy women” that did this, who trusted in their men? No. Who trusted in God.
Now we live in a society that sees that as patriarchal and oppressive, God knows what is good for mankind, what will bless them and keep them. Their objection is the perfect picture of stubborn rebellious hearts that either know nothing of the Lord or are yet babes that know little of the grace and love of the Lord.
God demonstrates his reasons continually, but the stubborn wife still has the curse of Eve hanging upon her. Though her husband is to rule over her yet her desire is for her husband, that is, that she should rule over him. Feminists too don’t look for equality but authority. The right order God has set, is switched and we know of only one other entity that desires to oppose ALL of the Lords order!
But consider now the honour of the husbands and that which hinders their prayer; Verse 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.
What is it that will hinder all the prayers of the husbands? It is the dishonor of their wives.
Husbands you dishonor your wife in at least five areas you may not even realize.
- You dishonor your wife when you have eyes for another. (yes including the 2 dimensional variety) (see Matt 5:28)
- You dishonor your wife when failing to be the authority in the home (see verse 7 here, Gen 3:16, 1 Cor 14, Eph 5, Col 3)
- You dishonor your wives when you will not love her (Eph 5, Col 3)
- When you are bitter against them (Col 3)
- When you will not provide for the home (1 Tim 5:8)
These are areas in which your prayers can be hindered, the relationship you are to have with your wife is one of due benevolence, as both being partakers together of the Grace of life, that means you are NOT to be RULERS OVER, but governing together yet knowing of the order the Lord has set.
In this is a blessed and restful life, not otherwise. Otherwise is strife and contention and a short relationship as todays plague of divorces bear testimony.
12 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. 13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? 14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye:and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 But 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 with meekness and fear:
Notice yet again that it is through suffering for rightesouness, suffering willingly in an undeserved manner, that people are witnessing in you a hope unlike their own.
Many people were drawn to Christ through the sufferings of Christians in the Roman Circus arena. Historic witness shows that the wild beasts against the Christians began to have the opposite effect expected, members of the audience themselves came to Christ as they witnessed many ‘suffering for righteousness sake’.
Ignatius the Bishop of Antioch, when his many followers came to try to free him from certain death wrote to them saying.
“Allow me to become food for the wild beasts, through whose means it will be granted me to reach God. I am the wheat of God, and am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ.”
Let your life demonstrate in everything your integrity to Christ, showing to all the Grace of the Lord in you.
The greatest witness of receiving the grace of Jesus Christ, is your willingness to be gracious to others, to take wrong and to suffer it patiently in love, knowing the hope you have secured for you.
FED THROUGH TRIAL AND HAPPINESS
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
Beloved there is something very unique in suffering as a Christian. What I am referring to is not that suffering that is deserved by us for evil doing, but suffering for our simple faithfulness and obedience to Christ in our manner of life and walk.
Times are changing, I am sure you have noticed. But unlike the changes before, the changes today seem to be rapidly moving to the end and it is quite astounding. My fear is that it will take many people by surprise. If we have as our work the preaching of the gospel of hope to all who will hear, to do as we are commanded to do, and if we suffer for it, we certainly should not in any way think as though some strange thing happened unto us.
Satan dispises the Gospel, he hates Christians too, but only if they are active in their faith sharing the truth of the Gospel of Christ. If you never share the Gospel it may be God that puts you through the trials as a chastisement. But if your trials are because you are preaching the Gospel of Christ, then rejoice and take it patiently.
There are a number of people who have suffered of late, not for the sake of the Gospel, but because they have stirred up trouble. They picket and argue against Homosexuals, or disturb Muslim prayer times, or simply go out of the way to select one group of people and condemn them only. Brethren, we can’t yell out that this group or that Group is going to hell to the exclusion of everyone else, “all have fallen short of the glory of God” not some!
Share the hope of Christ with all people. If you are doing it on the streets and are accosted by Police, share it somewhere else. If again authorities come to move you on, move on, who knows if it is not the Lord that is shifting you into a better position to one he has chosen to hear the Gospel, “resist not evil, but whomsoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also”.
We so often think WE have the eternal perspective of what is going on, WE DON’T HAVE A CLUE!.
And if the authorities remove you completely from the public and take you to a cell, preach then with the captive audience you have with you, what more will they do?
Beloved, the fiery trials are to your salvation but also demonstrate their perdition.
28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. 29For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
In 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 Paul says,
15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the onewe arethe savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And whoissufficient for these things?
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 17 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? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
STRENGTHENED TO HUMILITY AND HOPE
1The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 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; 3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
5Likewise, 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. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
As Peter is writing to a number of Churches it is no surprise he is addressing their pastors here.
“Feed the flock of God which is among you” There is no greater purpose for the pastor of a Church, Peter notes it as the first command of Jesus to him, the greatest importance of the shepherd of a flock is to feed to flock, to bring them to the clear waters, to have them nourished on the green fields of the word of God.
God knows the deepest need of his own, who’s flock are you. He sets for you under-shepherds until the chief Shepherd shall appear. They are charged here to feed the flock. Fed on what?
It is the word of God that feeds us, when this book is devoured and we are nourished we become good fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, better business people and employees etc.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, andisprofitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
He is to take the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
He is to watch over the flock, to guard as well as to lead.
Not by constraint, in other words if the Pastor is called to the work by the Lord he should never feel pressed into the work but desiring to do the work willingly, to love them and encourage them in Christ, to see them grow and love the Lord. But it is also a great sadness when some fall away, a very deep, deep grief overcomes the Pastor, as the shepherd losing his sheep.
not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
The motivation for the Pastor is not for the money. Yes the Pastor should be retained, we have more than enough confirmation of it in the Bible, it is the motivation here that is of importance.
HUMILITY and a general submission of each of us toward one another is commanded.
7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
No we see one of the great warnings and encouragements to strengthen us in hope.
8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Peter addresses that which is for us all and well we would be to take good heed.
We have seen Lions on wildlife programs, certainly they look for the weakest of the pray for an easy feed, but each one of us need to encourage one another, those who are strong should bare the infirmity of the weak, be willing to carry the burdens and help and nourish each member in the faith.
Guys our faith is real, we do have an adversary.
10But 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, settleyou. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.