Peter on the Great Controversy

English
1 Peter 2-4, 2 Peter 1)
Year: 
2016
Quarter: 
1
Lesson Number: 
11

Copr. 2016, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: . Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: This week we look at something we have studied many times, the issue of grace and works. From my point of view, we cannot study this topic too much. It is not that grace is so complicated, but rather that our lives are complicated when we deal with practical living. Works are important. They not only have a huge impact on the quality of our life, more importantly they are central to the issue of whether our lives give glory to God. Let’s dive into our study and see what practical lessons we can learn!

  1. Live Free, Live Right
    1. Read 1 Peter 2:1-3. Is it possible for you to “rid yourself” of dishonesty, hypocrisy, envy and slander? Can you “crave” pure spiritual milk? (Some of these are deeds - for example the words we speak. But, some of them are attitudes. All are hard to change by just declaring that you are rid of them.)
      1. What does Peter mean when he says that you “may grow up in your salvation?” (The great news is that we are saved by grace. Keeping our eye on these unwanted deeds and attitudes comes after our salvation. They do not provide our salvation.)
      2. What clue about how we should proceed is found in Peter’s statement, “now that you have tasted that the Lord is good?” (I do not think focusing on sin is the way to cure sin. When Peter says that we have “tasted” the good things of God, he points us in the direction to go. Focus on what is good, and what is bad will tend to fall away. Being aware of what is sinful is still important, and that is the reason why, as we learned recently, we were given the Ten Commandments.)
    2. Read 1 Peter 2:4-5. Last week we discussed the importance of the church. What does Peter say about the importance of worship with fellow believers? (We are “living stones” in a “spiritual house” in which we enter into a priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices.)
      1. Aside from working together, that seems pretty vague. What do you think it means to offer spiritual sacrifices? (I think it is living a holy life, advancing the Kingdom of God by what you do and what you say.)
    3. Read 1 Peter 2:6. How does this indicate that we “living stones” should related to the “precious cornerstone?” (We need to trust Jesus.)
      1. Now put this all together. How do we offer spiritual sacrifices that will increase our taste for what is good and decrease our taste for what is evil? (By trusting God!)
    4. Read 1 Peter 2:7-8. What does a “capstone” do? (It protects the top. Jesus is not only our foundation (cornerstone), He is our covering stone (capstone). We are surrounded by His care.)
      1. What is Peter’s point about the stumbling stone and the capstone? We can either place our trust in Jesus, or we can reject Him and He becomes a problem that causes us to stumble and fall.)
      2. What does it mean that the evil are “destined” to disobey? Does it mean that they have no choice, God chose for them? (No. We are all destined to disobey. That is what makes the sin problem so difficult for all of us. The key to the sin problem is the understanding, the trust, that we are saved by grace. That is why Jesus is the stone floor and ceiling for us, and a stumbling stone for the lost.)
    5. Read 1 Peter 2:9-10. What is our work? (To “declare the praises” of our God who showed us mercy by saving us by grace.)
  2. Desires
    1. Read 1 Peter 2:11-12. I’ve been pointing out the grace aspect of what Peter is saying. What does Peter say is the importance of right deeds? (They bring glory to God. They show that the attacks of the world on Christianity are false.)
      1. What does Peter believe is important to good works? (To “abstain from sinful desires.” When we focus on sin, as opposed to the good, we place ourselves in the middle of sinful desires. Those desires lead to sinful deeds. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to get right our desires.)
    2. Read 1 Peter 4:1. What is Jesus’ attitude about sin and suffering? (Jesus suffered greatly to be done with sin.)
      1. How can we “arm” ourselves with that same attitude? (We need to take sin seriously. We need to recall the suffering it caused Jesus, and realize the suffering it can cause us.)
    3. Read 1 Peter 4:2. What should be the goal of our life? (To live in accordance with the will of God.)
    4. Read 1 Peter 4:3-6. On what basis are the wicked judged? (Their evil actions.)
      1. What is the reason for the gospel being preached to them? (That they might make the decision to be saved by grace. That they might live a life directed by the Holy Spirit.)
    5. Read 1 Peter 4:7. Have you had this experience? That you have trouble praying when you are bogged down in sin?
    6. Read 1 Peter 4:8. How does love cover sins? (When we know someone loves us, it helps us to overlook much of that person’s failures. Of course, the big picture is that the sacrificial love of Jesus covers our sins!)
  3. Confidence in the Future
    1. Read 2 Peter 1:16-18. Recall that the central issue for the life of a Christian is trusting God. If you believe in Jesus, what is the most challenged point about trusting God? (Whether Jesus came down from heaven, lived as a man, lived a sin-free life, died for our sins, and rose to return to His rightful place in heaven.)
      1. Why does Peter say we should believe this? Why should we trust this account? (Because Peter says he was there. He saw. He heard. He witnessed the heavenly connection.)
        1. Eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable. Why should we believe this one? (For one thing, it was not just one witness. It was many. But, when you consider that Jesus’ disciples gave up their own path of life to share the gospel with others, a work that cost many of them their lives, then we can have confidence that they are telling the truth.)
    2. Read 2 Peter 1:19. What other basis do we have for believing the account of Jesus’ life? (Peter says that if you read the Old Testament prophets, they foretold that Jesus would come. We have the witness of the Bible prophets.)
    3. Read 2 Peter 1:20-21. What other basis do we have to believe the account of Jesus? (Peter refers to the supernatural. He says that the prophets were inspired by God. I think we can also understand this to assert that Peter’s writing is inspired by God.)
      1. Does the work of the Holy Spirit in your life bear witness to the gospel? (If you have experienced the power and blessings of the Holy Spirit in your life, then you have yet another witness!)
    4. Read 2 Peter 3:3-4. When is it that people will argue that Jesus is not returning because He has not returned by now? (“In the last days.”)
    5. Read 2 Peter 3:5-7. Why should we believe that Jesus is coming again? (History! Jesus created the world. Jesus pronounced judgment on the world at the time of the flood. As our Creator, Jesus has a continuing interest in us and bringing a permanent end to the sin problem.)
    6. Friend, do you trust God? The issue runs through all of the practical aspects of our life. It is central to grace - that we trust God for our salvation and not our own works. It is central to how we live, do we trust the Holy Spirit to guide our desires and our actions? Do we turn our focus on what is good, rather than to focus on our own efforts to eradicate sin from our lives? Do you trust that Jesus came to earth and walked the path that we walk? Do you trust that He is coming again to end the sin problem and take us to live with Him forever? Why not ask the Holy Spirit, right now, to help you trust God in all things?
  4. Next week: The Church Militant.