Introduction: We come to our last study of Peter’s two letters to the
early Christians and to us. What have we learned over this series of
lessons? A review is always what my students in law school want, so
let’s revisit some of the themes of Peter’s advice to us!

  1. Real Life

    1. Read Deuteronomy 28:1-6. What is promised for “full”

    2. Read Deuteronomy 28:15-20. What is promised for those who
      do not obey God and who forsake Him?

    3. Read 1 Peter 1:6-7. How is this consistent with the
      promises in Deuteronomy? (Peter tells us that there is an
      exception for tests to our faith.)

    4. Notice that 1 Peter 1:6 starts out “In this you greatly
      rejoice.” Rejoice in what? Let’s find out by reading 1
      Peter 1:3-5. Describe our current situation? (Peter says
      that we may suffer now, but in the meantime God shields us
      while we look forward to eternal life in heaven.)

      1. Wait a minute? If God is our shield, why do we
        suffer? (Let’s look at that next.)

    5. Who is testing whether our faith is genuine? (Read Job 1:1
      and Job 1:8-11. In the story of Job we find it is Satan
      who is testing us, not God.)

      1. How does Job illustrate the texts we have read about
        obedience and suffering? (Job obeyed and he was
        greatly blessed. However, Satan stepped in to try to
        show that Job’s faith was not genuine.)

    6. Why should Satan be allowed to interfere with our
      blessings? (Read 1 Peter 2:21. Humans chose to allow sin
      into our world. Jesus suffered and died – on our behalf –
      to bring an end to sin. We have no ground to complain when
      we share in a small part of Jesus’ suffering – a suffering
      which would be terrible if Jesus had not intervened to
      save us. In addition, if we are honest, most of our
      suffering comes from not “fully” obeying God.)

  2. Fully Obedient

    1. Read 1 Peter 3:9. Why were we called to obey? (“So what
      [we] may inherit a blessing.”)

    1. Read 1 Peter 3:10-12. How would you compare this to the
      texts we read from Deuteronomy 28? (It sounds just like
      Deuteronomy 28.)

    2. Read 1 Peter 3:13-14. What does Peter say is the general
      rule? (You are generally not harmed for doing what is
      right. But, even if you are (as in Job’s case), God will
      bless you for your unjust suffering.)

      1. What is the result of understanding and believing
        this rule? (No fear. We can have peace in life.)

    3. Read 1 Peter 2:9 and 1 Peter 2:15. What other reason do we
      have to obey God? (We bring glory to God. Our obedient
      life is a praise to God. Our life will contradict the
      “ignorant talk of foolish men.”)

    4. Read 1 Peter 3:8-9. How can we test whether we are living
      an obedient life? (We live in harmony with fellow
      Christians. Our life reflects sympathy, love, compassion
      and humility. We do not repay evil with evil or insult
      with insult.)

  1. Heaven

    1. Read 1 Peter 1:3-4. What has Jesus, in His great mercy,
      given us? (New birth into a “living hope” and “an
      inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.”)

      1. Think about this a minute. What can you have here
        that will not perish, spoil or fade? (I was thinking
        about this earlier this week. A very permanent thing
        is to have a school name a building after you. What
        could spoil that? The building could be destroyed by
        a natural disaster. The school could ask someone to
        remodel it, and rename the school after the person
        who paid for the remodeling. You could have students
        demand that your name be removed because they do not
        agree with some aspect of your life.)

    2. Read 2 Peter 3:10-13. What will you have in heaven?
      (“Home!” It will be your new home. The old world has been
      destroyed. The material blessings promised in Deuteronomy
      28 go up in smoke.)

      1. Read Luke 12:32-34 and Matthew 6:19-21. What strategy
        does this suggest for transferring the wealth that
        you presently have? How can you make sure that it
        will not be destroyed?

  2. Earth

    1. Read 1 Peter 2:13-14. What is our obligation to the

    2. Read 1 Peter 2:15-16. Is this a limitation on the
      instruction to obey authority? (Peter seems to assume (I’m
      not sure why given the circumstances of his life), that
      government will tell us to do what is good. It seems that
      Peter ultimately directs us to submit to God’s will, which
      is that we should do good.)

    3. Read 1 Peter 2:17. Does this verse clarify our relative
      obligations to the king and to God? (While we “honor” the
      king, we “fear” God. Our ultimate obligation is to God.)

    4. Read 1 Peter 5:1-2. What authority are we discussing here?
      (Church authority. Ecclesiastical authority rather than
      state authority.)

    5. Read 1 Peter 5:3. How does church authority compare to
      state authority? (The elders, the authority in the church,
      are to “serve” and “not [be] lording it” over church

    6. Read Acts 15:12-13. What is the context for these verses?
      (The early church had a dispute over whether the gentile
      converts should be circumcised.)

      1. If you were following what Peter wrote, how would you
        decide this? (You might think that since the leaders
        were not to “lord” it over others, everyone should
        make up his own mind on the matter.)

    7. Read Acts 15:19-20. James is still speaking here. Has
      James “lorded” it over the early church? Is he doing more
      than serving? (This example helps us understand what Peter
      is saying. Peter tells us that church leaders should not
      act like kings. On the other hand, the example of James
      and the early church shows that church leaders can (and
      should) make decisions over doctrinal disputes.)

      1. Recall that when it comes to kings, Christians are
        obliged to obey God and do what is right. Is this
        also true with church leadership? What if you think
        church leaders are not following God’s will, and are
        not doing what is right? (When have you seen a
        theological dispute where the people on each side did
        not think they were arguing for God? Every doctrinal
        debate will have claims for God’s authority on both

        1. Do you think the pro-circumcision group in the
          early church thought they were following God?

        2. What do you think: does this mean that we
          should not have a “following God and doing what
          is right” exception to church leadership

    8. Let’s look back at the decision of James. Read Acts 15:6.
      Who is part of the decision-making group? (This seems to
      point to more than just James.)

    9. Read Acts 15:7-9. What is Peter’s argument? (He says the
      Holy Spirit blesses the work of the uncircumcised

    10. Read Acts 15:12. What is the argument of Paul and
      Barnabas? (Once again, they are talking about the power of
      the Holy Spirit.)

    11. Now, let me ask again whether there should be a “following
      God and doing what is right” exception to church
      leadership decisions? (If the Holy Spirit has clearly
      shown what should be done we should follow His direction.
      The leaders of the church, who are to serve, should follow
      the direction of the Holy Spirit.)

    12. Friend, Peter wants you to live a life that blesses you
      and brings glory to God. He wants to extend your life into
      an eternity with God. Will you invite the Holy Spirit to
      lead you in living that kind of life?

  3. Next week: We start a new series entitled “The Gospel in