The First Epistle of Peter
VERSES 1-2: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 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.”
Like all of the New Testament writings, this epistle has the name of the author right at the beginning, and there’s no reason whatsoever to doubt that Peter is the author of the first and second epistle.
Two things I want to say about Peter. First of all, I believe that he was the same age as Paul, quite possibly in his mid thirties when the Lord chose him. And I remember an old brother telling me that he believed that Peter was the weakest out of all of the apostles, and that’s one of the reasons why the Lord gave him a special place among the other apostles. Yes, he was the oldest, which would also explain why he was given a position of leadership among the early church. But after Acts chapter 10, Paul is very much the driving force in the early Church, and by Acts 15 James is also mentioned as a leader.
But nonetheless, Peter is writing in verse 1 to five churches, and he calls them strangers. This is an interesting expression. When you get saved, you are a peculiar people, a peculiar person in the eyes of the world. You have been called out of the world. You still live in the world, you still have to operate in the world, but you’re not a part of the world. There is a doctrine called separation. It’s a clear teaching that those that are saved don’t associate with the world on a social level. They witness to people that are not saved. They are open, kind, sincere, generous and so on and so forth with the unsaved, but they don’t associate with them. Again, separation, look at 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
Interesting he mentions Galatia. Now, Paul, as you all know, wrote to the Galatians, and the Galatians were predominantly a Gentile church. So it’s interesting that Peter is also writing to Galatia here. And the reason I mention this is because some of my dispensationalist friends – some very good men and women that I know and consider to be some of the best that are around – believe that some of these epistles are written to the Jews. The argument goes that the Pauline epistles are written to the Gentiles, and anything after the Pauline epistles – Peter 1 and 2, John 1 to 3, Hebrews, Jude, and James – are written to the Jews. And that’s an interesting argument, and I am a semi-dispensationalist, so I don’t dismiss everything that these good people say. But the problem with that is that you find clearly here that Peter is writing to Galatia, which is a Gentile church. In the second chapter I’ll give you some more reasons why I think this is written to the Gentiles. Yes, Peter was sent to the Jews and Paul was sent to the Gentiles, but there’s no reason to believe that both parties didn’t witness to people of the opposite backgrounds along their routes, along their ministries. I’m sure Peter witnessed to Jew and Gentile, and Paul certainly did.
Verse 2, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,”now, election in the New Testament nearly always has a reference to a person’s service, not salvation. Romans 9 speaks about Jacob and Esau, and it is speaking about their service. One would serve the other. It has nothing to do with salvation. Here it says through God’s foreknowledge they were elect through sanctification. Sanctification comes after justification, so you’re saved when you call on the name of the Lord, which is justification by faith, sola fide, and then you are sanctified, set apart, made holy; and that, of course, is an ongoing process. And the second part of verse 2 speaks about the blood of Jesus Christ, which I’ll get to in a few verses’ time.
VERSES 3-5: “Blessed be the 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, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
That expression “last time” probably has an application to the Judgment Seat of Christ when you are raptured and you have your new body and you go into eternity ultimately, and you are now glorified. But the first part of verse 5 says you are kept by the power of God. He keeps you; you don’t keep yourself. And then the second part of that is a reference to faith. Again, you were saved by your faith in Christ alone, no works whatsoever.
VERSES 6-9: “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”
Verse 8 makes it clear that you haven’t seen Christ. Nobody has seen Christ. Only the apostles and disciples and those that lived during the Lord’s brief time on the earth saw Him. Post His death and resurrection, nobody has seen Him. So that pretty much dismisses all of the “prophets,” all of the men and women that write books and sell DVD’s about trips to Heaven and Hell and all these private “visitations.” That dismisses all of these people. You are told to live by faith. So if you’re having these visitations on a regular basis, then you know that it’s not true; you know that such visitations are not from God. They’re either from the devil or they’re in your own mind. So it’s important to make that point because when you get into the realm of visitations, you’re dealing with the occult. You’re dealing with an entire different entity, and if you’re a Bible-believing Christian, then you know that has nothing to do with the Lord. It is of the devil.
Verse 6, just a quick comment. Paul says if you’re saved and you live godly you will suffer persecution. How ever you want to approach this, you will suffer persecution. If you get saved and you broadcast to your friends and family you are saved, you will be persecuted. Matthew 10 says that father will hate daughter, mother will hate son, so on and so forth. There’s always going to be a price to pay when you get saved. And it’s never easy when friends leave you. It’s even harder when it’s your family.
VERSES 10-11: “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.”
Ten and eleven refer to the Old Testament prophets who prophesied, and they searched. And Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6 that we will judge angels. So here the prophets are giving as much light as they can in anticipation for the Messiah. John comes; he’s called the greatest up until the Kingdom of God. Post the Kingdom of God, anybody that goes into it is greater than John, my point being that we are a unique people. We are a very special people. We have the Old and New Testament. We have the prophets that wrote about Christ. We have John who proclaimed Christ. Now here we are 2,000 years later preaching Christ. We are more accountable. We have more light than the Old Testament saints had, the New Testament saints had. We have the entire Bible. In fact, even in Paul’s time, the New Testament was still being written. And here we are 2,000 years later, and we’ve got everything and we’re still complaining, and for the most part, we are still unsatisfied.
VERSE 12: “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”
This is fascinating. Peter is writing as an apostle, but as he writes, he’s including others alongside him. And you’ll find one thing in the New Testament – that none of these guys, none of these apostles ever elevate themselves. These men never put letters before their names. There’s no reverends here; there’s no doctors; there’s no professors; there’s no pastors such and such. These are very humble, very simplistic men. The Lord chose them, and they turned the world upside down. And yet here Peter is referring to himself alongside other men of humility.
VERSES 13-16: “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; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
This is in reference to sanctification. Once you are saved, once you have separated yourself from the world or the world has separated you from themselves, which is what normally happens, then the Lord expects you to walk in holiness. Now, you won’t be sinless, you shan’t be perfect, but there will be a pattern in your life, there will be a desire to live a life which honours Him and glorifies Him.
VERSES 17-18: “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: 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;”
Again, “tradition” can have a two-fold meaning. There’s a godly tradition, which is lined up in the Scriptures, and there’s a false tradition, which is taught by men. And the way to distinguish the two is to go to the Scripture, Sola Scriptura; otherwise, you’ll be following men, and men have been wrong in the past and men will be wrong in the future. But if you go by the Scripture, you won’t have this problem.
VERSE 19: “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
Just want to stop at the end of verse 19 quickly and take you back to verse 2 where you find the blood of Christ mentioned. Now here it’s the precious blood of Christ. We are saved by the precious blood of Christ. It’s always worthy to note that and to underscore it.
I remember having a conversation with a Rabbi, and we spoke about this part of Scripture. And some Rabbis know about Jesus. They don’t believe on Him, but they know who He is. And he said, “Oh, yes, the blood of Christ.” And I remember saying to him, “No, the precious blood of Christ.” It was God’s blood according to Acts chapter 20. And, again, you’re saved through your faith from verse 5, which is in the precious blood of Christ ‒ no works involved here. There are 30,000 religions in the world today, and only one religion – and I know that the word “religion” has a negative connotation, but for the sake of using it because people don’t know what the word “religion” means, I will. So there’s only one religion; there’s only one Bible-based religion, and that, of course, is Christianity, which promises those eternal life, not conditional life but eternal life the moment you believe on Him, and you believe on Him through His precious blood.
VERSE 20: “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,”
Again, “last times” means God’s Messianic clock. God chose to send Christ 4 BC, and He died 30 AD. He could have come at any time in history, and the Lord decided to send Him at the end of the Grecian period in the middle of the Roman period. And He came and He witnessed and He conquered and He was victorious. And some sceptics, some agnostics like to beg the question, “Why didn’t He come today in all this wonderful technology that we have?” Well, would it have made any difference, really? I’m not sure that it would have. The generation that the Lord came in had writers, and we know that there were Roman writers who wrote about Christ. There were writers who wrote after Christ. We know that He healed everybody all over Israel, and no doubt people came from outside of Israel to be healed as well. His fame spread like wildfire. The Roman Emperor wasn’t saved, and he would have heard about Christ. Herod wasn’t saved, and he certainly heard about Christ. And Pilate stood face-to-face with Christ, and he wasn’t saved either. So I don’t believe that had Christ come in the 21st Century would have made a lot of difference. But when He comes back at the end of the Tribulation, every eye will see Him, and Revelation 11 makes it crystal clear, I believe, that modern technology will be used to show His return. When He’s coming in judgment, He won’t be a meek, humble man who’s nailed to the cross. He’s going to come back to rule and to reign, and Psalm 110 says He’ll cut peoples’ heads off who don’t play ball, and that is predominantly speaking about the Millennium. So make sure you know which side you’re on, and then don’t ever jump ship.
VERSE 21: “Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”
Such a simplistic statement, but so many people are putting their faith into churches, into pastors, into ministries, and the list goes on and on and on. It’s got to be in God. God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the triune God. If you don’t understand the Trinity, get on your knees and ask God to reveal Himself to you. You may not be able to define it, and we were never told to understand it, but we were told to believe it – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I’ve said this before that only God can forgive you of your sins. Genesis chapter 1, the Father made the world; Colossians chapter 1, the Son made the world; and Job 26, the Holy Spirit made the world. So the Trinity of God is one hundred percent scriptural. And the Holy Spirit can be lied to, can be quenched, and He can and will take vengeance. He can and He will cut people down, and He can and He will regenerate a person and give them the ability to live for Him. The Father is called God, the Son is called God, and the Holy Spirit is called God.
VERSES 22-23: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
There’s the new birth. Paul spoke about the new birth in 2 Corinthians chapter 5. John spoke about it in John chapter 3. It is paramount that a man or woman is born again to be saved. Church attendance, baptism, confirmation, speaking in tongues doesn’t save you. You’re only saved when you’re born again, and to be born again is quite simple. You have to consider yourself a sinner, somebody who’s unworthy, somebody who cannot be saved in their own standing, somebody who knows they’ve broken God’s law, somebody that knows that they deserve to go to Hell, and therefore they turn to the Lord in complete faith. They trust on Him and in Him, and they call on His name, and He saves them. He saves them in spite of who they are, not because of who they are, and He gives them a new nature, and they walk with Him.
The word of God liveth and abideth forever. That is a reference to the written word of God, the Scripture. That is a powerful statement to make. Jesus says that Heaven and earth will pass away but His words would never pass away. Psalm 138:2, the Scripture says that God has put His word above His name. So when you find people who undermine the Scripture, when you find ministries who are out to attack Sola Scriptura, you’re dealing with enemies of God. God’s final authority to mankind is the Bible, the word of God, and when you start messing around with that, you’re on dangerous ground.
VERSES 24-25: “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”
Hebrews 4 says that the word of God is sharp, powerful, quick, sharper than any two-edged sword. When the word of God is used properly, when it’s used correctly with the right understanding that it’s God’s word, that it’s written by God not man – man may have physically penned it, and we know that 41 authors penned it over a period of 1600 years living on three continents. We don’t doubt that man wrote the Bible, but God wrote the Bible through them. This is the word of God. The Bible is divine in origin, not human. Sixty-eight prophecies in the Bible all point to the Messiah, the King and His Kingdom, and when you go through the 68 prophecies and you try to work out how these would come to pass by chance, the odds are quite amazing. Clarence Larkin wrote about this back in 1911, I think it was. Ivan Panin wrote about it, the great Russian mathematician, and some other people have also written about the mathematical statistics. The odds are quite remarkable. So I will let you Google Ivan Panin and Clarence Larkin, just two names that come to mind, and you can see for yourself what these two men worked out, the chances of these prophecies coming to pass “by chance.”
But here it says the word of the Lord endureth forever. And it’s true. Communism has been and gone, and the Bible still stands; Catholicism is still here, and one day it will be destroyed according to the latter part of Revelation, but the word will still stand. Fascism in Nazi Germany came and went, and the Bible is still standing. The Inquisition came and went, and the word of God is still standing. The Crusades came and went, and while they were primarily aimed at the Muslims, non-Muslims also got caught up in the Crusades and their faith in the word of God, and yet we are still standing to this day. Bible-believing Christians are still standing to this day.
So make sure you have the word of God. Make sure you believe it. And you know that this is the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, and we believe that the King James Bible is the word of God, and for us, it’s our final authority.
VERSES 1-3: “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”
Not all of Peter’s audience are saved people. The wheat and the tares have always been there and will always be there, but here the Lord is referred to as milk, to taste that He is good, and you are told to grow thereby. And the only way you can grow thereby is to feed on the word of God, daily Bible readings, prayer life, and to be busy about the Lord’s business. There are so many ministries that you can be involved with, but above all, get into the word of God; read it, study it, and apply it daily.
VERSES 4-5: “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
In the Old Testament, literal stones and slabs put together to build a literal temple, and that starts back in Genesis when the patriarchs would lay stones. But in the New Testament there isn’t a literal temple. The Christian, according to 1 Corinthians 3 and 6, is the temple of God, so we are now an invisible temple as far as men are concerned, but we are a spiritual temple as far as God is concerned.
VERSES 6-8: “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”
They were disobedient because they had given themselves up to a reprobate mind, according to Ephesians chapter 4, and then according to Romans 1, God gave them up. So they weren’t chosen to be disobedient; they became disobedient, and then God gave them up. And that’s what the latter part of verse 8 is in reference to.
VERSES 9-10: “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: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
Ten, again, going back to verse 1 of the first chapter, makes it clear to me that Peter is writing to Gentiles. The Jews were God’s people. They were His vehicle to the world, and for the most part, they failed. Now the Gentiles have been grafted in, according to Romans 11, and the Gentiles are God’s people for today. But keep this also in mind that Galatians 3 says there is neither Jew nor Gentile. So technically speaking, the only people who represent God today is the church, which is made up of men and women, Jew and Gentile. But my main point here is that Peter is writing, I believe, to the Gentiles because they weren’t historically the people of God but now they are a chosen generation.
This reference to a chosen generation, I would suggest, is in reference to Christ’s Messianic timetable. God chose Him to come into the world in the first century, and the initial audience, the initial recipients of the Gospel were chosen. They are called “a royal priesthood.” Now, all Christians are priests. And you find this in the book of Revelation. We’re priests and kings. Now, I know priests, per se, in the New Testament ‒ when I say priests, I’m referring to priests in today’s world, the 21st century, the priests today that wear collars, priests today that call themselves Father, priests today that call themselves Reverend. Here we’re all priests, and once you understand that, you dismantle the two-tier system of clergy and laity. I’ve done videos on that in the past.
Also you become a holy nation. Jesus said in the gospels you’ll lose mother and father, you’ll lose friends and family, but you will gain brothers and sisters, so on and so forth. Again, it’s two-fold. Today you’re saved; you have brothers and sisters that are your brethren, and obviously in the Millennium, you’ll have an even bigger family when you reign with all of the other saints.
“A peculiar people,” that should be quite obvious. Christians are different to the world. They do stand out. The minute you are saved, you are different. There’s no point trying to get in with the world. They don’t want you, and if you are saved and you’re walking with the Lord, then you need to live for Him, because if you don’t, you’ll be considered a hypocrite, and when you do, you will be considered a fanatic. So you cannot win either way. So just line up with the Scriptures. It’s much more easy.
VERSES 11-12: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 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.”
This reference to Gentiles is simply a generic term for the world. You’re either a Jew or you’re a Gentile or you’re in the church, according to 1 Corinthians. But here Peter, as a Jew, is referring to the Gentiles as the world, per se, and he’s quite clear here that when your good works shine, that God is glorified. And, again, if you’re saved, if you have a love for the Lord, there will be some fruit in your life, and if you’ve become a little barren, if you’ve become a little dry, then look at 1 John chapter 1. Confess your sins to the Lord, and He’ll cleanse you from all your unrighteousness, and you’ll start again with Him.
VERSES 13-14: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”
The powers that be, according to Romans 13, are ordained of God, and a good government will deal with evildoers, and the bad government will do nothing; and when you have a bad government, then people rise up and they try to overthrow those governments. And you’re seeing that today in the Middle East. You’re seeing Muslims rising up trying to overthrow those Islamic leaders. But here the Christian is told to submit to powers that be. It’s not always easy, and I’ve said this in other videos that the Christian obeys the government when the government lines up with the Scripture, but when the government goes against the Scripture, then, again, Acts 5 says you go with the Scripture. And you have a conscience and your conscience obviously has to be followed and obeyed. But above all, check it in light of Scripture. That’s why you have to be a Bible-believing Christian. If you’re saved, then you have to be a Bible-believing Christian, and your Bible is your final authority.
VERSES 15-16: “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.”
The Christian has great liberty in the Lord, and when a Christian is obedient to the Gospel, they shame their enemies, and when they are obedient to the Gospel, they can bring revival to pretty much any part of the globe. But here you are told to silence foolish men, and that’s only done when you live a faithful and obedient life to the Gospel.
VERSE 17: “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.”
“Honour all men” could be a reference to the church or a reference to the world in general. You were told to love your enemy, and you are told to pray for those that despitefully use you. Paul said to live peaceably with all men. So “honour all men,” I take it to be a twofold meaning. First of all, it’s probably to the Church, to the redeemed, but also to man, back in verse 13 to submit to the ordinances of the governors, the leaders as supreme, so on and so forth.
“Love the brotherhood,” again, a reference to the Church, brothers and sisters in the Lord. You’re told to love them. That’s the theme of 1 John. “Fear God,” the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. “Honour the king,” again, the king here could be a president or prime minister depending on which country you live in. Either way, the office of the presidency or the premiership is to be honoured. That doesn’t mean you turn a blind eye to what these people do. John the Baptist went after Herod, and he rebuked him to his face. So there’s nothing wrong with rebuking leaders when they go astray. But just be careful because you were told to honor the king; and, again, that’s the office, not the person, as such. But nonetheless, be respectful, and whatever you do, make sure it’s done with the fear of the Lord. Otherwise, you have people running around becoming mavericks and doing more harm than good.
VERSES 18-24: “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 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. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
I just want to say something here quickly. This reference to tree isn’t a literal tree. It’s a term for a cursed death like Absalom. Absalom died on a tree. Jesus died a cursed death according to Galatians 3. And sometimes cults try to put this reference to a tree to a literal rendering, and it simply means that Christ died a cursed death. He became sin for us who knew no sin. He became a sin offering according to Isaiah 53.
In 21, you were told to follow Christ. He’s your example. Paul says follow me as I follow Christ. And the only way to know the will of God and to follow Christ is to know the word of God. You’ve got to read the Scriptures, study and apply it and make it your final authority.
The healing here from 24 is a reference to your salvation, not your physical healing. Paul had health problems all his life and was never healed. Timothy had health problems and was never healed. Ten in ten people die. So when you come across ministries that are always promising healing, that are always talking about healing – physical healing, of course – you’re dealing with carnal people; you’re dealing with apostates; you’re dealing with biblical illiterates. The healing here is to one’s salvation, and once you have been healed of your sin, that is all you are really concerned about. You can be healed from a physical illness and still go to Hell. But you need to be healed from your sin, and He did that once when He hung on the cross.
VERSE 25: “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”
Again, He comes to seek and to save that which was lost. Like Genesis 3, Adam sinned. God came looking for Adam. That’s a picture of redemption. Luke 15, the prodigal son repents, and the father runs to receive the penitent sinner.
But here it says that Christ is the Shepherd, and we know that He’s the Good Shepherd according to Psalm 23. He’s the Great Shepherd, but He’s also called the Bishop. And it’s interesting because the Catholic Church has Archbishops as does the church of England. So an Archbishop is above a Bishop. So when you have men who call themselves Archbishop, they are putting themselves above Christ because Christ is referred to as the Bishop, and He’s the Bishop of our souls.
And like I say, the sheep here are going to be the same sheep found in Matthew 25. These are the people that have appropriated the atonement, and once you have appropriated the atonement, you become the people of God, and it’s down to the Shepherd to get you from A to B. And Paul says that He who has begun a good work in you, He will complete it in you, and we rest in Him because we know that our Redeemer ever liveth to make intercession for us.
VERSES 1-2: “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; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”
Here’s a picture of a saved woman having to submit to her husband, and one of the reasons why she does that is to give a good testimony. She’s saved, and the Lord expects her to reflect her salvation, and it’s just possible that now that she’s saved, she may lead her husband to the Lord.
I remember reading a story some years ago of a woman who was saved, and she’d been with her husband for many years, and every night before she went to sleep – or they went to sleep, perhaps I should say, she would get on her knees and pray. And this man watched his wife. He’d been married to her for many years, and I think late into their marriage she got saved, so this wasn’t something he had always seen. It was an unusual occurrence, and praying by the bedside every night made an impression on him, and eventually he got saved. Now, that doesn’t always happen. There are many people that are married to unsaved wives or unsaved husbands. But here the apostle Peter wants the conversation of the wives to be pure, to be good, that they would have a good testimony.
VERSES 3-4: “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 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.”
So 3 and 4 going together simply paint a woman whose internal beauty should be seen by her humility, by her love for the Lord. She may have an external beauty, which wouldn’t negate her internal beauty, but when you have a woman with an internal and an external beauty, then you’ve got something pretty special.
VERSES 5-6: “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: 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.”
If you go back to 1 Corinthians 7, look at the context, it’s speaking about marriage, the role of the man, the role of the woman. The man offers his body to his wife, and the wife offers her body to her husband. It’s an equal partnership as far as the sexual union is concerned. But here in verse 6 Sarah is praised for calling Abraham lord. Again, the woman submits to the husband, and the husband submits to Christ.
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.”
Again, come together regularly. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7 that if you stay apart from sexual union too long, the devil gets in there; he tempts you, and that’s when infidelity creeps in. So husbands remember your wives as a weaker vessel, and there’s nothing chauvinistic about that. If you put a group of men on one side of the room and a group of women on the other side of the room and you said let’s fight, the men would win.
The Old Testament is pretty clear that women in leadership was always seen as a sign of judgment on the nation. And, yes, Deborah was raised up, and, yes, Mary Magdalene was the first person to see the risen Christ and she was the first person to proclaim the Gospel. And there’s nothing wrong with women having that type of ministry. There’s nothing wrong with women giving out tracts, going door to door and having a ministry which plants seeds. In fact, I know several women who do more than most men that I know, and that is a sign of judgment, really, to the men in the church. But women in leadership, you don’t find it in the Scriptures, and if you look at countries run by women, normally there are problems which occur with that. If you look at Britain, since the 1950’s when the Queen of England came to the reign, Elizabeth II, you will see the UK has declined. It has declined big time. And that is a picture of judgment. And the one thing that Britain needs more than anything else is godly leadership. Unfortunately, I don’t see it in the Prince of Wales, and I don’t see it in his son, the future king. But nonetheless, we pray for those in authority, and we looked at that from chapter 2 verse 17.
VERSES 8-11: “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.”
Verse 8, when Peter says “finally,” he’s not closing the epistle. He’s simply closing his theme from the third chapter putting you in remembrance that men and women have different roles within the church, within their lives. But as far as the Lord is concerned, according to Galatians 3, there is neither male nor female. So their positional standing is the same, but their daily practical standing will always fluctuate.
Nine, 10, and 11, to get a good, long life, to be successful as a Christian, to progress in life ‒ and now, I’m not referring to the prosperity gospel. Simply to have a good testimony, to have a good quality of life as a Christian, there are rules. And to have long days, you are told to refrain your tongue from evil. And, of course, the tongue, according to the epistle of James, is deadly. One minute you’re praising God; the next minute you’re condemning somebody; you’re gossiping about somebody; you’re slandering somebody. And James says that comes from Hell. It doesn’t come from Heaven. It’s a pretty frightening part of Scripture, but when you are not walking with the Lord, when you’re out of fellowship with the Lord, then you are in the flesh, and when you’re in the flesh, you will commit the sins of the flesh.
But like I say, 1 Corinthians 11 makes it clear that saved people can fall into sin, and when they don’t repent, then they fall into judgment, and here Peter was telling you to avoid that type of judgment. Be careful what you do. And, again, if you want to get a full reward at the Judgment Seat, then, as he’s already told you in the second chapter, be holy because God is holy.
VERSE 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.”
Picture of judgment there, but also keep this in mind that Matthew chapter 5, Christ said that God makes His sun to rise on the just and the unjust. He clothes the birds of the air, and He’ll feed man and women. One of the reasons why there’s so much poverty in the world, one of the reasons why there’s so much famine and there’s so much starvation and there’s so many trouble spots is because of man, man’s inhumanity towards man. And that’s an old-fashioned sound bite, but it’s true. If you look at the United Nations, they’ve done reports over the years, and I believe it was just ten years ago their own reports said there was enough food to go around the world four times over, but because governments are greedy, they won’t feed their people. They want a high profit, and when they can’t get the profit that they want, they literally throw milk into the sea. They throw fish back into the sea. If you go to a supermarket, at the end of the day, the food which hasn’t been sold isn’t just given out for nothing; it’s thrown into the bin, and if you go through the bins to take food out, that is illegal and you’ll be arrested for that because you are, technically speaking, stealing.
But the Lord has provided for everybody. Like salvation, every man, woman, and child has been atoned for, but only those that receive salvation will be saved. Same with food. The Lord created the world; He created the solar system. He’s given us all that we need, but because man is inherently sinful, his heart is desperately wicked, he’d rather see his fellow man starve. He’d rather kill his neighbour than feed him and clothe him. And Jesus speaks about the Good Samaritan, and He’s quite clear that our neighbour is the man next door or the woman up the road. Just because you’re saved, just because you’ve been redeemed, just because you’re in a church fellowship doesn’t mean you have no right or no duty or no commitment to your neighbours or those around you. You were told to be a living epistle, and like a good police officer, you should never be off duty.
So hyper-Calvinism, which would have you believe that it’s not your duty to preach to anybody, is heresy as is hyper-Arminianism, the belief that you can lose your salvation if you don’t do all that you are supposed to do or if you’re not as faithful as you could be. Always go down the middle route if you can, faith through Christ alone, no works involved. But nonetheless, you want to have a good testimony; therefore do as many good works as you can because you are already saved. You can never do enough good works post your salvation.
VERSE 13: “And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?”
Romans 13 makes it clear that if you do good, normally the powers that be won’t persecute you; they won’t kill you whether it’s in a military or police state. And normally that has been the case, although there have been some countries over the years that have put Christians to death. Cuba was terrible for that back in the 60’s to the 80’s. Chile also was bad under Pinochet. And look at any of the Middle Eastern countries. You’ll find very appalling human rights abuses towards Bible-believing Christians. But normally, according to Romans 13, when you have a saved person who’s living a quiet life, the powers that be normally don’t cause you any problems. They are there to deal with evildoers, not those that fear God.
VERSE 14: “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;”
VERSES 15-16: “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: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”
I love verse 15. Always be ready to give a defence or to give an answer of the hope that is in you. When somebody asks you why you are a Christian, tell them. Give them the Gospel. I will say this that if you are going to make a video like this one, I personally wouldn’t expect you to do something I wouldn’t do myself. And if you work in a secular environment, if you’re surrounded by unsaved people and you’re the only Christian in that environment, then it’s very tough. And I know what it’s like. I speak from experience. And therefore you have two options: You can either go into that environment and preach the Gospel every day, pull people up left, right, and centre, rebuke people when they do something wrong or they turn up to work with immodest apparel, or you can keep your head down, get on with your job, and as and when the opportunity arises, you can maybe give them the Gospel. Or somebody once told me have a silent witness, which is another interesting way to get the Gospel over to people. You are silent.
I remember listening to an old cassette tape of a preacher long dead who was a saved man, and he had a very good testimony, and he worked in a bank somewhere. And one day this new man came into the bank and started talking to this saved man. And he said to this elderly brother in the Lord, he said, “Do you like watching football or do you like drinking?” And one of the guys shouted from the back of the office, “No, he’s not into that. All he’s interested in is Jesus Christ.” That man had a testimony. They knew that this man was saved, that he was different from them, and the new man that came to the bank didn’t know anything. And that worked for that brother. That’s the way that he did it. He must have told people probably once or twice that he was a Bible-believing Christian, and that was it. Other people won’t say anything. They’ll just get on with their work, go home, and live their life as they choose to.
Everybody is different. Everybody has to do what they feel able to do. But here Peter says to always be ready to give an answer to every man that asks you for a reason of the hope that is in you. So, in other words, you are always available to give them your testimony. But like I said already, you’ll have to find your own way of doing that. Keep your testimony clean, then you won’t have any reason to be accused of wickedness, and you’ll shame those around you that are not Christians that are living a wicked life.
VERSES 17-18: “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:”
Jesus died once. When He hung on the cross, He said it is done, it is finished, finito, a one-off act. Hebrews says He’s able to save those to the uttermost that come to Him. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. The whole of the Reformation was quite clear: How can a sinful man be reconciled to a holy God? And the reformers, to their credit ‒ and some paid with their life ‒ went back to the Scriptures and rediscovered justification by faith, belief on the Lord alone without exception, and then, and only then do the works come into play.
James 2 speaks about faith without works is dead, and in Romans 4 Paul says in verse 4, “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:4-5.) So Paul is saying that when you believe in the Lord, you are saved, faith through Christ alone. And when you go to the book of James, he’s saying that faith without works is dead, and he speaks about Abraham being justified. And if you go back to Genesis – and I haven’t got time for this now, but if you go back to Genesis, you can read that Abraham believed in the Lord, and once he had believed on the Lord, he was saved.
I’ll give you one Scripture which makes this whole issue of Romans 4 and James 2 crystal clear. First Samuel 16:7: “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature” ‒ now look at this ‒ “for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” One more time: “for man looketh on the outward appearance” ‒ that’s James chapter 2, justification by works in the sight of man ‒ “but the LORD looketh on the heart,” Romans chapter 4. When you believe on the Lord, He sees your heart. That’s what saves you. Once you’re saved, your works are seen among the world. That’s what James chapter 2 is saying.
Second part of 18, Christ is referred to as being just, and He was totally just; He was totally sinless. And He came for the unjust, and the unjust are those that are sinners, those that confess they are sinners, and those that come to the Lord to be saved. If you come to the Lord today, He will save you. It’s as simple as that.
VERSE 19: “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;”
Here are your demons, here is the crowd from Genesis 6. Luke 17 speaks about the days of Noah reoccurring as we go into the Tribulation. And Hollywood is constantly making films which mirror the Bible. They are oblivious to that, of course, because their hearts are wicked and they’re depraved, and they’re simply following out the Lord’s plan for the last days. But what you are seeing is an increase in UFO “sightings,” and these UFO sightings are pretty much always demonic, and somebody once said they come from under the earth not above the earth. But nonetheless, by 19, Christ has gone into Hell, and He’s preached to the spirits, and He’s preached victory over them.
VERSE 20: “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”
Noah is a type of Christ. You get onto the ark, and Noah will get you from A to B. That is what Jesus Christ does. He’s the Captain of our salvation. We get into Him, and He is responsible to get us from A to B. The animals had no say in the ark. Once they were in, it was over to Captain Noah. And the book of Hebrews says that Christ is the Captain of our salvation.
VERSES 21-22: “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”
Twenty-two should be quite clear that Christ is God. The word of God said that God would not share His glory with anybody else. And here Christ has gone into Heaven; He’s seated at the right hand of God, which means His atonement has been finished, completed, and now everybody and everything has been made subject unto Him.
Twenty-one is also cited by the people that believe in baptismal regeneration, that somehow water will put you into the body of Christ, and it won’t. First Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4 make it crystal clear that you were baptized once by the Holy Spirit, and that put you into the body of Christ. Galatians chapter 3 makes it clear you are saved by faith, not by anything else that you did, and you don’t become perfected by keeping the law, by keeping the Sabbath, or by being baptized. You are baptized because you are saved. And if you read Mark 16 carefully, Jesus says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (v. 16.) So you believe and then you’re baptized. First Corinthians chapter 1 Paul says he was not sent to baptize but to preach the Gospel.
So, again, if you’re saved, get baptized, but baptism in and of itself does not save you. So baptism simply is a reflection of what God has done for you internally seen by those on the outside.
VERSES 1-2: “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”
This doesn’t mean that you cannot sin; it simply states that you should not sin. And 1 John told you that if you said you hadn’t sinned, you make God a liar. And those that are saved do sin, and you should not sin. And when you do sin, God punishes you. He chastens you until you repent. And even once you have repented, there’s still a consequence to your sin. David paid a huge price for his sin, and Solomon paid for his sin. Samson paid for his sin. Moses and Aaron paid for their sin. And if you’ve sinned, you will pay for your sin too. But the worst thing that can happen to a saved person is to get to the Judgment Seat of Christ and he/she has nothing waiting for them because they got saved, but they lived after the flesh.
VERSE 3: “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:”
That’s pretty broad. Most people that get saved get saved late in life or later in life, by which time they’ve got “history.” And, again, that term “idolatries” is pretty broad, but it could have reference to sexual idolatry, worshiping your children, worshiping your family, your house, your car, even your ministry. But look at 4.
VERSE 4: “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:”
If you’re saved, there will be a change in you. It may not come straightaway, but it will come, and you’ll bring forth either 30, 60, or 100 percent. But either way, if you are saved, there will be some fruit so the fruit inspector can discern the wheat from the tares.
VERSES 5-6: “Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”
The Mormons use this part of Scripture to advocate proxy baptism, and I believe that they baptized Adolph Hitler some years ago through proxy baptism. And the Mormons believe that everybody that has ever lived and will ever live needs to be baptized in order to be saved in the afterlife. That, of course, is complete nonsense. Most people die as they live, and the Scripture says that the road to Hell is wide and few there are which will be saved. But here Christ goes into Hell; He preaches the Gospel to them. And the Gospel means goods news. One of the reasons why we preach to people time and time again in the UK is because God is God, and God deserves the glory that He gets through those who preach the Gospel. He is being proclaimed as King and as Lord. Even though men don’t repent – and there are thousands and thousands and thousands every day of the week in the UK – the Gospel is still preached, and it will always be preached up to the end of the Second Advent.
VERSES 7-8: “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”
Charity here is old English for love, and the sins here aren’t sins that Christ couldn’t redeem, but these are sins when Christians fall out with one another. James told you to confess your faults to one another, and faults are not sins and sins are not faults. And when you confess your faults to one another, you can be restored back into your fellowship with one another. Similar language here from Peter.
VERSES 9-13: “Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 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.”
Paul was called to be an apostle. He was called to be a messenger of the Lord, and he was told clearly that he would suffer for the name of Christ. And here you are told you will suffer for Christ, and if you’re not suffering for Christ directly or indirectly, then you’re either not saved or you are backslidden.
VERSES 14-16: “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. 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. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”
Fourteen mirrors Matthew 5 that you are to be blessed when men abuse you and speak evil of you. Fifteen makes it clear that if you suffer, let it not be for a murderer or for a thief or for any wickedness that you have done. Again, if you do that, you lose your testimony and Christ is blasphemed. Timothy was told to endure the hardness of a soldier. He was told not to be embarrassed of the Lord. And sometimes it’s very difficult for Christians to be humble enough to take the shame and embarrassment of being a Christian.
Some years ago I went to Romania, and I met a very old, wise man who’s now with the Lord. And I was talking to him in the car heading off to the orphanage that I was staying at during my time there, and I asked him what he was like when he first got saved back in his 20’s. Was he humble enough and could he have done what he was doing in his later years when he’d been in his earlier years. And he said no, he wouldn’t have been humble enough. And that was a really honest answer, and I appreciated it then and I appreciate it now. And I say that because a lot of Christians are falling into this Lordship salvation doctrine, and they put a lot of pressure on new and old Christians to be something which they can’t be. And I’ve said this in other videos that once a person is saved, they will want to do the best for the Lord that they can do, but they will always fall short. Romans 3 makes that very clear. And nobody takes it more painfully – the failure of not being the best they can be – than an honest saved man or woman. And this dear brother was so honest and so up front with me as a young Christian.
And I’ll just say it now that be honest with yourself. If you’ve been saved 6 months, 6 years or 7 years or 15 years or 20 years or how ever many years it’s been, just be honest with yourself and stop trying to push a doctrine or a system of belief that puts Christians back under the law and gives them a complex. Christ came to save sinners. He will save you, and He will get you from A to B. He’s the Captain on the plane, and it’s no good you trying to be what you can’t be. Either He saves you totally or you assist Him in saving yourself. Both can be wrong, but both cannot be right, because the laws of logic are trans-cultural, which means simply that either He has saved you totally or He hasn’t saved you totally. But the false notion that you have to do something yourself, the false notion that you have to be practically sinless, which John Wesley taught, is completely foreign to Scripture. And, again, we need more honest preaching on this whole area of sanctification.
VERSE 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?”
VERSE 18: “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
Although this is a rhetorical question, it still warrants a response nonetheless. The righteous are scarcely saved through the blood of Jesus Christ. They come to Him, and then He saves them. The ungodly won’t go to the Judgment Seat of Christ because they’re not saved; they’ll go to the Great White Throne. Again, there are many ways which seem right unto men, but in the end, all those ways lead to death. The only way to be saved, according to Acts 4:12, John 14:6, 1 Timothy 2:5, is through Jesus Christ, period. Ephesians 2 told you that it wasn’t through works but through faith and that it was a free gift at that.
VERSE 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.”
Please keep in mind that Peter is writing to Christians that are suffering. They’re suffering persecution. They are dying, some of them in their hundreds during Nero’s reign, and Nero was burning Christians every night in the coliseum. Lions would tear men, women, and children apart. So when he talks about suffering, he means suffering with a capital “S.” Many of those Christians went to their deaths singing psalms to the Lord. Yes, some did renege on their testimony and on their faith in the Lord, and those people had to go back to their communities that had denied Christ, and they lost their testimonies, they lost their homes, and some even lost their will to live.
VERSE 1: “The 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:”
Once again, the apostle Peter takes a very humble view. He simply refers to himself as an elder, not a bishop, not a prince of the church, not ‘the holy father,’ not a reverend, not a professor, but an elder. And if you go back to the first chapter verse 1, Peter writes to five churches. Now, all of the epistles in the New Testament, apart from Timothy 1 and 2 and Titus, are written to the church. The notion of a one-man minister which you see in most Protestant churches today is a carryover from Catholicism. Unfortunately at the Reformation, some of Catholicism was retained, and the one-man minister, infant baptism, robes and vestments and baptismal regeneration was also unfortunately retained. But the New Testament church consists of men, men that you’ll find in Acts chapter 6, for example, men who are called out from the assembly.
Matthew 10, Luke 10 Christ chooses 12 apostles, and He also chooses 70 men, and every Bible-believing fellowship which is one hundred percent scriptural would have Bible-based teachings, Bible-based beliefs, and they would have a group of men that lead that congregation. Now, if you’re in a fellowship which is two or three or four or five or six or seven or less than ten, then you may have one or two elders. But if you’re in a big church in the hundreds or the thousands, then you would expect to have a group of men or many men leading the congregation. The one-man ministry, as I say, isn’t scriptural as such. You have elders who are responsible for feeding the church. And, again, if you are a Bible believer, then you want to get back to the Scriptures and try and throw out tradition and stick to the word of God.
VERSE 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;”
Jesus chose the apostles, He ordained them; and then they ordained men and they ordained men and the list goes on and on and on. Now, we don’t know where all of these men went. Some of them would have died; some of them would have gone off into other churches and to other countries, and they would have ordained people. So this idea, this false notion of an apostolic succession which is unbroken is ludicrous.
We just don’t know who these men are in verse 2 that Peter is speaking of. To be an apostle, according to Acts chapter 1, you needed to have been an eyewitness of the ministry of Jesus Christ, and I believe that Luke, who wrote the book of Luke, was quite possibly one of the 70 that Christ ordained, along with Barnabas. That’s my own private view. And Paul is the exception, of course, although Paul saw the risen Christ. But Acts 1 is quite clear. To be an apostle, you needed to have been an eyewitness of Christ. And once the apostles died, they were not replaced. Now, you may have a disciple who knew an apostle and a disciple of a disciple who knew an apostle. That’s possible, but that doesn’t give these disciples any more credibility than somebody who didn’t know the apostles. At the end of the day, if you have the word of God, you are thoroughly equipped unto all good works, and Christ said blessed are you that have not seen and yet still believe. So we need to be careful we don’t get into this worship of men in organized religion, that somehow they know more than you do. They don’t know more than you do. In fact, if you have faith as a child, you know more than they do.
The latter part of verse 2 speaks about filthy lucre ‒ money, of course. And one of the reasons why people go into organized religion, whether it’s the church of England, for example, is because they get a good salary. They get a good salary; they get a car; they get private medicine; they get a house thrown in; and their children are able to go to private schools. It’s a very lucrative industry to go into. And here Peter is saying that you’re not to lord your leadership over the church and not by constraint but willingly, and, again, of a ready mind, not for filthy lucre.
VERSE 3: “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.”
Again, it’s a very simplistic statement. How can you be an example to your flock? Well, if you work among your flock, that’s a good start. Paul had a trade. Paul was a tentmaker, and he worked among the people in his church. The churches that he went to, he worked among the people. I have known of missionaries in Africa who work with the people, and they make their own living among the people; and the people can see that they are working alongside them, and it creates a good impression. But if you live in a castle, if you live in a palace and you have a chauffeur-driven car and if you have people fall down at your feet and kiss your ring, then, of course, that’s not a good example to set. And Jesus said He came to serve men not to be served. So, again, if you are a minister, a Bible-believing Christian who uses the term minister, which simply means a servant, then you’ve got to be careful that you don’t fall into the same trap that those that are in organized religion have fallen into.
VERSE 4: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
This is one of the crowns as mentioned in the Scriptures for an elder. There’s five crowns in total, and here an elder is going to be given a crown for feeding God’s flock, for being a faithful leader.
VERSES 5-8: “Likewise, 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. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”
“Your adversary the devil,” that’s an interesting expression. Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:26, “And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” The devil is still very much alive at the moment. He hasn’t been bound in Hell according to some people that are anti the thousand-year reign. The devil is still around, and he will be around until Christ throws him into Hell.
VERSES 9-11: “Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But 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, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Every trial, every tribulation that you go through is always grievous. The book of Hebrews says that God only chastises those that are His, so if you know of a Christian or a professing Christian who’s living a life which is against the Scriptures and that person doesn’t seem to have any chastisement going on, then you’re dealing with a bastard, and that word is found in the King James Bible. You’re dealing with somebody who’s not a legitimate child of the Lord. Like I say, all tribulations, all trials are grievous; they’re difficult to go through. And according to John 15, God will purge those that are His so that you will bring forth more fruit and become more holy, more righteous, and be able to help those that are around you to increase their faith too.
VERSES 12-13: “By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand. The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.”
Babylon here, the Catholic church believes is code for Rome, and yet when you go to Revelation 17, that church on the seven hills also refers to Rome, and the Catholic church doesn’t like the idea that their church is referred to in Revelation as the whore. So if you’re a Preterist, if you’re somebody that believes that 70 AD was when all the prophecies in the Bible came to pass and there’s nothing more to come, then that’s a way to hide behind the clear fact that Revelation is still future, not past. But if you’re a futurist, as I am, and if you’re seeing the Catholic church still very powerful today, still calling the shots in many ways, then you think Babylon in 13 can’t be Rome but it must be Iraq because that’s where Babylon has always been in antiquity. But the church on the seven hills in Revelation 17 is, of course, Rome.
VERSE 14: “Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.”
If you’re in Christ Jesus, then you’re saved. Again, Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12 makes it quite clear that once you are in Christ, then you are sealed. You are there until the day of redemption. It’s the Shepherd’s job to get you to your final destination, not your job.
And this holy kiss, this kiss of charity, kiss of love was something which the early church did because maybe they were more ostracized. Many of the early church were treated like third class citizens. When you go to an Islamic country today and you talk to somebody who has been saved out of Islam and is now a Christian, the chances are they have been thrown out of their homes, they’ve lost their jobs, and they’ve been completely discarded. They’ve been alienated from their societies, and they’ve lost everything. So for the early church, it was important to have this kiss, this sign of emotion, and they cherished the breaking of bread, the Lord’s Supper, because according to 1 Corinthians, some of these early saints didn’t even have homes to live in. Some of these early saints were homeless. So if you’re into the prosperity gospel, how do you deal with that?
But nonetheless, Paul says that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, and that is certainly true. But to achieve that, you have to walk in the Spirit. You have to be disciplined, and you have to be faithful and humble. And according to verse 5, God will resist the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.