Most non-Christians see Christians as odd. Giving your money to God is odd. Not having sex outside of marriage is odd. Not getting drunk or high is odd. Forgiving your enemy is odd. And, having a personal relationship with someone you cannot see sounds like kids having an imaginary friend, and that’s really odd.
Conversely, living in this world as a Christian is odd for us. Paying for insurance that covers murdering babies but not taking vitamins is odd. Paying the public schools to undermine most of your values is odd. Paying for politicians to erode your freedoms to live out your faith is odd. Seeing the rainbow God chose as the sign of the Noahic covenant to never flood this sinful planet again is odd to see on guys dressed up like the Village People. Constantly being invited to pride parades, the very problem that got Satan kicked out of heaven and unleashed hell on the earth, is also odd.
Living as a Christian, feeling odd, in a world that considers you odd, is an odd place to be. This is why 1 Peter was written and why we need to study it. After years of wearing a reversible jersey and repeatedly changing from Team Jesus to not Team Jesus, as a seasoned older man Peter had finally learned some lessons the hard way and was ready to coach the new members of Team Jesus. Peter’s lesson is that our life is filled with troubles, trials and temptations that cause problems, pains, and perils. The good news, however, is that, like a gardener, God uses the manure of this world as fertilizer to increase the fruitfulness of our lives in four ways:
- Your test is for your testimony.
- “You have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6–7)
- “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12)
- “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials.” (2 Peter 2:9)
- When people judge you, don’t worry as Jesus will judge them and vindicate you.
- “And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.” (1 Peter 1:17)
- “They will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” (1 Peter 4:5)
- “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)
- “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:13)
- Don’t treat them as they treat you, treat them as He treats you.
- “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23)
- “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:12)
- “In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” (1 Peter 3:15–16)
- This is as close to hell as you will ever get, so keep going ‘til you’re Home.
- “. . . in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ . . .” (1 Peter 1:2)
- “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” (1 Peter 1:6–8)
- “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3)
- “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18)
To encourage someone is to put courage into them. At some point, every Christian needs courage to continue to stand up for Christ in our falling down world. You need courage if you want to live with, for, and like Christ. The Perfect Spirit says it perfectly through the imperfect Peter, “My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace” (1 Peter 5:12 NLT). Like any soldier in a battle, you need to stand firm and hold your ground until you see Jesus coming on the clouds of Heaven riding a white horse wielding His sword to end the battle. For those who want it, God’s grace is available to put steel in your spine as it did Peter. Life is odd. God is good. That’s the message of Peter.
To download the free e-book ODD LIFE: Good God which is a study in 1 Peter for individuals, groups, and families from Pastor Mark click HERE. To listen to Pastor Mark’s 9 sermons on 1 Peter preached in the summer of 2020, click HERE. These and other resources are made possible by our ministry partners who support Real Faith as a Bible teaching ministry of Mark Driscoll Ministries to whom we say THANK YOU!