1. The apostle Peter wrote two of the New Testament "epistles" [letters]. 2. In this lesson we are beginning a study of Peter's first letter (1:1-12). Discussion:
I. (vs.1a) THIS LETTER WAS FROM "PETER, AN APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST"
A. Peter's letters must be carefully studied and properly applied because: 1. the authority for his teaching was from heaven (Matthew 16:19) 2. he was given the responsibility of: a. strengthening his brethren (Luke 22:32) b. feeding the Lord's lambs and sheep (John 21:15-17). B. Peter wrote his first letter around 65 AD. C. Silvanus (Silas) was also involved in writing or delivering this letter (5:12). II. (vs.1b-2) THIS LETTER WAS ADDRESSED TO CHRISTIANS
A. (vs.1b) It was specifically addressed to "the strangers" [pilgrims, sojourners] scattered throughout Asia Minor. 1. People from this area were in Jerusalem on Pentecost (Acts 2:5, 9-11). 2. They eventually scattered forth from Jerusalem (Acts 8:4), and congregations had been established in these regions. 3. By this time the Gospel had spread throughout the world (Acts 1:8; Colossians 1:5-6). 4. Peter indicated several times that Christians are pilgrims or sojourners on earth (1:17; 2:11). B. (vs.2a) These "strangers": 1. were among the "elect" [those chosen or selected by God] (Colossians 3:12) 2. had been "sanctified" [purified, made holy] (1 Corinthians 6:11) 3. had "obeyed" (Hebrews 5:9) 4. had been cleansed by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:7). C. (vs.2b) Peter desired for the readers of his letter to be blessed with "grace" and "peace." III. (vs.3-5) PETER PRAISED GOD FOR BLESSING HIS PEOPLE
A. (vs.3) Through His mercy, God has begotten His people unto a living hope by His Son's resurrection. B. (vs.4) God has blessed His people with an incorruptible, undefiled, and everlasting inheritance reserved in heaven. C. (vs.5) God will keep His people by His power until Jesus returns. D. The people to whom Peter wrote needed to be reminded of these special blessings. IV. (vs.6-9) PETER WROTE TO CHRISTIANS WHO WERE FACING GREAT TRIALS
A. These trials are described as being: 1. "manifold" (vs.6) 2. fiery (vs.7; 4:12) 3. a cause for "heaviness" [grief] (vs.6; Matthew 26:37-38) 4. temporary (vs.6; 5:10). B. (vs.6a) Despite trials, Christians are able to "greatly rejoice" (James 1:2-3; Matthew 5:10-12). C. (vs.7b-9) The key to rejoicing while facing trials is staying focused on Jesus and the salvation He will provide when He returns (2:21-23; Hebrews 12:2-3). D. Much of this letter relates to the proper conduct of Christians while facing trials (2:11-12). V. (vs.10-12) THE SALVATION THAT CHRIST WILL PROVIDE IS VERY SPECIAL
A. (vs.10-11) The prophets prophesied through the Spirit how Christ would make salvation available through His sufferings. B. (vs.12a) Inspired men have shown how Christ has made salvation available (Hebrews 2:3-4). C. (vs.12b) The blessings provided by Christ are so special that "the angels desire to look into" them.