Some notes to help you think further about why 1 Peter can help us live out our faith.

Some notes to help you think further about why 1 Peter can help us live out our faith.

(Some more notes will be added each week to help you follow the sermon series.)

Opening praise and confession

Leader. 0 God, you summon the day to dawn, you teach the morning to waken the earth.


Leader. For you the valleys shall sing for joy, the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Leader: For you the monarchs of the earth shall bow, the poor and persecuted shall shout for joy.

Leader. Your love and mercy shall last for ever, fresh as the morning, sure as the sunrise.

Leader. Lord God, early in the morning, when the world was young, you made life in all its beauty and terror, you gave birth to all that we know.

            Hallowed be your name.

Leader. Early in the morning, when the world least expected it, a newborn child crying in a cradle announced that you had come among us, that you were one of us.

            Hallowed be your name.

Leader.        Early in the morning, surrounded by respectable liars, religious leaders, anxious statesmen and silent friends, you accepted the penalty for doing good, for being God: you shouldered and suffered the cross.

            Hallowed be your name

Leader.        Early in the morning a voice in a guarded graveyard and footsteps in the dew proved that you had risen, that you came back to those and for those who had forgotten, denied and destroyed you.

            Hallowed be your name.

Leader.          Early in the morning in the multicoloured company of your Church on earth

and in heaven we celebrate your creation, your life, your death and resurrection, your interest in us:  so to you we pray,


bring new life where we are worn and tired,
New love where we have turned hard-hearted,
Forgiveness, where we feel hurt
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand where we have wounded, and the joy and freedom of your holy spirit where we are the prisoners of ourselves.


Leader. To all and to each where regret is real,
God pronounces pardon
and grants us the right to begin again.
Thanks be to God!


1 Peter Ch 1 v 1 to 21

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood:

May grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 

In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. 

Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, 11 inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated, when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look!

13 Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. 14 Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. 15 Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’

17 If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. 18 You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20 He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. 21 Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.

Questions for reflection, discussion, and….action?

1. We might not be being persecuted in the same way as Christians in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, but are we being pressurised into withdrawing from public life and made to feel that we have nothing to contribute to today’s “progressive” society? How? And by whom?

2. How do we cope as Christians with being ridiculed, shunned or judged dismissively because of our beliefs and attitudes?

How do we believe God is seeking to help us to be His witnesses, and how can we access that help?

3. Can the Old Testament help us cope with negative pressures? Peter clearly thought so, but that was 2,000 years ago.

Should we consider that the Old Testament is now out of date?

Did Jesus’ teaching , death and resurrection make it redundant?

Explanatory notes

v.1 “To the exiles of the Dispersion” – who? ……And where are they?

Peter is writing to new Christians, most of them recently converted either from Roman paganism (the official “state religion” of the Roman Empire) or the unofficial “mystery religions” which had sprung up in Asia Minor (modern Turkey).

These converts belong to young churches which had probably been founded by the Jewish converts in Jerusalem who had heard Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost“Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia…..” (Acts 2 v.9)

Were they exiles? If so, from where?

The small minority of Peter’s readers who were newly-converted Jews could well have moved from Jerusalem when they were thrown out of their synagogues. Many Jews had settled in the Roman Empire (as Paul himself had) to take advantage of the prosperous trading conditions which the Roman Empire promoted.

During the years between 65 and 70 AD, when tension between Romans and Jews in Judea reached breaking-point, culminating in the destruction of Herod’s Temple in 70 A.D., the Jewish leaders were actually exiled from Jerusalem, and fled to the Jewish communities in Asia Minor. There were definitely “in exile” – unable to return to their ancestral homes or Temple worship: the age of the synagogue had fully arrived.

So for any of those who had been converted to Christ, the “exile” would have been literally real.

For the majority of the pagan converts, their exile could either have been equally real, fleeing from Nero’s persecutions of Christians in Rome between 65 and 68 A.D., or was a metaphorical exile, if they had been thrown out of their families and disinherited and told that they were now “on their own.”

This is why Peter refers to the “Dispersion” (in Greek, ‘Diaspora,’ as the Jews called their geographical spread throughout the pagan world) and why he reminds not just his Jewish readers, but also the Gentile converts, because they have all been cut off from their old ways of life, and are now living a new life, some of them literally, all of them spiritually.

The question for us to consider is: how far is it possible for us to live our new lives in Christ if we are not prepared to live outside the ethical constraints of modern, “progressive, ” secular culture?


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