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Some Closing Words From Peter

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
March 21, 2023 12:00 am

Some Closing Words From Peter

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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March 21, 2023 12:00 am

Stephen puts an exclamation point on this practical and encouraging letter from the Apostle Peter by emphasizing the importance of church unity—we believers belong to one another in Christ, and we’re called to live in this world for Him. But how are we to do that when, as in the first century, our culture is increasingly hostile toward Christians? Discover eight action steps to live in the state of peace established by the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.


Have you ever thought about the fact, beloved, that God did not choose to give this church or this generation or this world at this present time another Augusta, another Martin Luther, another Charles Spurgeon, another Amy Carmichael, another Elizabeth Elliott? In this church, in this city, in this generation, in this world, a testimony of the Gospel according to the design of God for this generation is to be lived out and communicated and demonstrated through you.

Today on Wisdom for the Heart, Stephen Davey comes to the end of 1 Peter. As the epistle of 1 Peter comes to a close, Peter emphasizes the fact that we believers belong to one another in Christ. We are called to unity.

We're also called to live in this world for Christ. How do we do that well when our culture is increasingly hostile towards Christians? In this final sermon from 1 Peter, Stephen's going to give you eight action steps to help you live in the state of peace established by the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.

Here's Stephen with today's message. In the last seven or eight years of ministry, I did a little research. We've spent our Sunday morning studying together five New Testament books. We studied the book of James, and it took us 31 sermons. We went through the book of Titus in 25, and we went through the book of Philippians, and it took 41. We came through the book of 1 John. It took only 26, and today we complete 1 Peter, and it has taken 52. You've probably found it true that when you study a passage and then you leave it and go back to another passage and you then come back to the previous one, it's all new and new things, new lessons to be learned, new applications. It's a living book, and really, after 52, I would have to say to you, we are skimming the surface, and I hope it does nothing more than whet your appetite for your own personal study of God's word. Let's go back one more time today, 1 Peter, chapter 5. The last three verses were introduced to some pretty special people who Peter wants to thank. As we work our way through these three verses, I want to structure our thoughts around eight principles that can be applied to our own lives today in a very practical, real way as Peter continues to answer the question, how do you live in a world that's turning upside down? How do you live in a world that's marginalizing the Christian?

How do you live in a world that's beginning to persecute and mock and malign the believer? The first principle is this, don't overlook the need for personal trustworthiness. Notice Peter begins writing at verse 12, through Silvanus, our faithful brother, for so I regard him, I have written to you briefly.

And I want you to stop there for a moment. The focus here is on the introduction of someone we weren't aware was in the room, Silvanus. And Peter calls him a faithful brother.

Every time in the New Testament you have that word faithful, pistas, associated with an individual, it always refers to an individual who finishes their task, who completes their mission, who is trustworthy, whether it's great or small assignments. Silvanus is that kind of guy who finishes the project everybody is counting on. Frankly, Silvanus is one of those biographies in the New Testament that is overlooked, for the most part.

Who was he? For starters, he's a converted Roman citizen, he's cultured, he's educated from what we know. He's best known not by his formal Latin name that Peter uses, Silvanus, but by his shorter Greek name we know as Silas. By the time you're introduced to him, he is a leading man in the church. In fact, he's part of that epic Jerusalem council where they decide to allow Gentiles to become full members in the church without becoming Jews through circumcision.

Later on, during the Apostle Paul's first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas had along with him a young man by the name of John Mark. Something happened in that journey that caused Mark to simply quit. We're not told, but it was sudden, it was unexpected, it was disappointing.

In fact, the word is apostasia. It seems to be so life-shattering that it's as if he left the faith. We know he didn't. Seemed like he did.

He threw his towel in, threw his bags in, and everything else, kitchen sink along with it. He comes back around and flourishes. More on that later, but when Paul and Barnabas begin to plan their second missionary journey, John Mark volunteers again. Evidently, he's repented. Whatever it is, he's gotten out of the way. Barnabas says, absolutely, there's fruitfulness in this young man.

Let's bring him along. Paul says, absolutely not. Paul was just that kind of black and white justice guy.

No, this is it. I'm not going to risk our missionary journey with that quitter on the team. We do know if you go back in Acts and study that, the debate between these two fellow associates, close friends, servants together for years was so heated that they ended up splitting, dividing. Barnabas leaves on that journey with Mark, as he comes to be known, who wrote the Gospel of Mark, by the way, and Paul leaves on his journey with this man named Silas. Silas was Paul's kind of man.

Resilient, faithful, positive, ready. In fact, they both very early on in their missionary journey end up serving time in jail for their faith. You may remember that it is during that jail cell, you have that scene where at midnight, Paul and Silas begin to what?

They begin to sing. We don't know if Paul got it started or Silas, but we do know there was this great duet being sung in prison. Silas years later would spend time serving with Peter, who, by the way, had taken to his own care this young man named John Mark and tutored him along.

He'll show up in a moment. Some years later, now 25 years plus, you'll find Peter dictating this letter to Silas. In fact, the original construction of this verse, verse 12, can be understood to mean through Silas, I have written to you. I have written to you through Silas. Silas is the one writing. It was common in this day to employ a scribe, a close associate, just like Paul. If you were with us and you went through that journey in Romans, you got to the end of it in chapter 16, and Paul allows this scribe to identify himself, and he says in Romans 16, I, Tertius, who write to you?

You go, wow, I didn't know there was another guy in the room. Well, now you find out all along there's this guy named Silas who's actually been transcribing Peter's inspired words. It's interesting, though, now Peter personally takes the quill from Silas. Verses 12, 13, and 14 are written as closing comments by Peter's own hand. Now, of course, he would have approved of, as they edited together, the project of writing this letter, but now Peter writes this, and not surprisingly, some of the grammar gets a little rugged.

He kind of slips in the metaphor and figurative speech, and the construction is just a little different as this old fisherman, uneducated, takes up the quill. It occurred to me, by the way, that Silas was never added to the cover of this bestseller. It was never known as the book of 1 Peter and Silas. We wouldn't have even known Silas was in the room if Peter hadn't mentioned him. Silas wasn't going to, Peter said, I want to mention you.

You're faithful. I want to commend you to the church for this laborious task of writing as the scribes would in shorthand, and then later writing it out in longhand to be edited and approved by the inspired apostle. Peter hadn't suggested this to us. We wouldn't have known, and I couldn't help but think, without any recognition, without any applause, no royalties, Silas goes down in history as faithful, trustworthy servant of Jesus Christ, and I think, you know, what's so bad about that? Jesus isn't going to hand out commendation one day to people saying things like, you know, well done, thou good and faithful author.

Well done, thou talented and famous singer. No. Just servants. Just servants. There are a lot of people in the church who are willing to do great things for God, not enough who are willing to do small things for God, simple things, redundant things, behind the scenes things, tiring things, boring things. The truth is the church then and now cannot survive without that host, and it certainly isn't going to thrive without them, and I want you to learn something from Peter here too. Let me make this our second principle. Don't withhold compliments from those who are faithful.

This isn't a throwaway line. Notice tucked into this text through Sylvanus, our faithful brother, for so I regard him. In other words, I want you to know this about Silas.

He's a faithful brother. This is his way of tipping his hat and saying thank you, and he wants the church. Silas is going to more than likely carry this letter to that first church. We're not told which one it is.

They'll make copies of it, and they'll spread it far and wide. He wants that church to say, hey, thanks, Silas. Thank you for writing this all down. It made me wonder who have we thanked today. Who have we thanked lately? What about that early mentor in your life? What about that person that led you to faith in Jesus Christ? What about the discipler? What about the people that are all unseen even today during this worship service? What about the people in the nursery that are going to rock your baby while it screams its head off? What about the teachers who are going to chase your toddler around and try to give them some information about truth and the gospel? What about those who discipled you through those transitional teen years?

What about people that made coffee, who set up chairs? Send them an email. Make a phone call. Say, hey, you know what? I just want you to know I noticed you. Now, if you do that in person, when you go down there to the children's center, you might bring some smelling salts along.

They'll probably faint from shock that somebody noticed and said thank you. Don't go down there. Don't go anywhere. In fact, right here and now, look for people. And if they're not here, think of those that you can call or commend with gratitude. By the way, before I go on to the next point, don't just notice them. Don't just thank them. Maybe join them in their role.

I mean, if God allowed you to notice them, it may very well be that he is moving your heart toward joining them. Let me help you do that. And it doesn't matter to you either. If it's up front or out back or behind the scenes, you're willing to pick up the fiddle and play second fiddle in the orchestra of life. Number three, don't keep the good news to yourself. Notice I've written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. I've been writing to you about the gospel. The gospel, by the way, in the Greek language, if you're new in the faith, means good news. That's the gospel. And isn't it ever good news?

It's good news. Peter writes, I've written to encourage you and confirm for you the truth about the grace of God. He's referring to the grace that is the gospel message.

This is what motivated me to write you. Obviously, God's Spirit's at work, but don't, you know, don't think, well, he's an apostle. He's supposed to do what God says. Peter did this. He did it. He spent the time writing, speaking, editing, approving, and Silas as well writing, smoothing, polishing, and making this letter possible.

Two men. They did it. So easy to forget. Yeah, 1 Peter. He did something that continues to enrich the church by the grace of God today.

They just couldn't keep the good news to themselves. Have you ever thought about the fact, beloved, that God did not choose to give this church or this generation or this world at this present time another Augustine, another Martin Luther, another Charles Spurgeon, another Amy Carmichael, another Elizabeth Elliott? He hasn't chosen to do that. In this church, in this city, in this generation, in this world, a testimony of the gospel according to the design of God for this generation is to be lived out and communicated and demonstrated through you. You're it. You're it. In this chapter of church history, we're it. Say, well, I'm not Martin Luther. God knows we don't need one now in his timing. Well, I'm not as courageous as or I'm not as whatever.

You're it. Don't keep the good news. You are his mouthpiece, his ambassador, his representative in that home, that workplace, that classroom, that dormitory. So who have you told the good news to about Jesus? How about your children? How about your grandchildren? How about that coworker? How about that roommate? Listen, if the dissemination of the gospel depended on us, you and me, this year, who would hear it?

Don't keep it to yourself. Fourth, don't ignore the reality of suffering in the lives of others. Notice how Peter pens this next phrase, she who is in Babylon. She who is in Babylon, this is a figure of speech to refer to the church located in the world, perhaps Rome, less likely literal Babylon on the Euphrates. It seems to me what Peter is doing here is referring to the church as she. Odd to us, not odd to the Greek mind.

This isn't a stretch of the imagination. The church is seen as feminine in the New Testament. The church is called the bride of Christ. In fact, the noun translated church is a feminine noun.

I don't want to bore you with the tedious debate, but I would agree with the majority of commentators. In fact, going all the way back to the earliest commentaries, the writings of one beta in the late first century, who considered Peter writing to the church, which is in Babylon, and even Babylon is code. It is a title or term for the church.

They believe, going back to the first century in Rome, a word used for Rome. It would be fitting because of their idolatry and their immorality. It was Babylon, by the way, that carried away the Jewish people into captivity, 2 Kings 24. Babylon represented the enemy of the Jewish people. Rome represented, at this point in time, the enemy of the church.

That will only intensify. I would agree with those and say Peter is probably using this word for Rome to protect the identity of the church. Should this letter be discovered or found should it fall into the wrong hands before it's shipped out, the church and Peter's potentially treasonous words, as we've already studied, taken out of context, would only add fuel to the fire of suffering, which leads me to make the point that he's sensitive to the fact that they are suffering.

He's not going to add suffering to suffering. So in his rough language, he refers to the church simply as she, Babylon, as I know you're in Rome and that empire is the enemy of the gospel, but I'm writing to encourage you. Let me make another principle point from this phrase, number five, don't forget you're not the only church that matters. Peter carefully makes all the churches equally elect. Notice, she who is in Babylon literally co-elect, that is, chosen together with you as if to say we're all in this together.

We're all in this together. The churches that bear the gospel of truth and grace, those what we call salvific essential doctrines. Yeah, we disagree on a lot of other things that don't determine heaven or hell.

We believe them because of the scriptures and that is what makes local churches unique and I think it protects the church at large because the devil just doesn't have enough staff to go after every autonomous local church as he did before the reformation where he only had to go after a few guys, corrupt them and the entire church was corrupted. Not now, God in his protection and wisdom allows us to stand on certain core values which we understand won't take you to hell or heaven but these essential doctrines, this grace of God, this gospel message, those churches that believe that, we are greeting one another as if to say we're in this together. It's important to pray for one another. Typically as I'm driving to church on Sunday morning is my practice. First thing I do is spend time confessing my sinfulness and my unworthiness to stand before you.

Sometimes God puts a really slow driver in front of me and that gives me more time to confess that. Then I'll segue into praying for every pastor I know by name and then in general every pastor in every congregation around this globe that on this Lord's day is going to worship him like we get to and it's very customary to say you know what, we're in this together. We may even disagree about some things but we believe the gospel of grace so go for it.

Go for it for the glory of God. Number six, don't ever conclude that someone's failure is permanently fatal. Peter adds that not only are churches in his region sending their greetings, notice, I love this, and so does my son Mark. Yeah, the guy that quit, the guy that threw bags in the cart and said I'm out of here. We don't know what it was. The same man who was responsible for this infamous split between these close friends, Paul and Barnabas, he was a deserter. Nobody saw any potential in Mark. Nobody. Paul said I don't even want to travel with him anymore.

I'm not going to risk anything on him. I'm done. Barnabas differed and as Paul referred to Timothy as his son in the faith so Peter later takes in Mark as his spiritual son. In fact, we know that Peter is the primary source as Mark under the inspiring influence of the Spirit of God writes his gospel we call the gospel of Mark.

Imagine that. The quitter becomes the author of the gospel of Mark. And here in this text, decades after he failed, he might have been in the room too because he either interjects or Peter just decides to do this but he may have said hey Peter, would you would you greet everybody for me too?

Yeah, sure I will. Since I got the quill in my hand, I'm going to write that out. And by the way, my son Mark greets you. By the way, who better than Peter to befriend a quitter? Who better than the disciple who is forever known for his denial of Jesus? I mean, if that isn't as close to apostasia as you can get without it being apostasy, Peter knew it. And he says hey Mark, I want you to come along with me. And he mentors him, this old fisherman who knew what it was like to give somebody second and third and fourth and many more chances to serve Christ. Number seven, don't hold back your enthusiasm when you come to the assembly.

Now notice how Peter says to do this. Greet one another with a kiss of love. I love this. As a teenager, this was my life verse.

I'm teasing. By the way, if you have trouble with Paul's command to greet one another with a holy kiss, four times he says this. Peter says greet one another with a kiss of love. It's from Philea. It means affection.

Philadelphia, brotherly love. This is greet one another with a kiss of brotherly love. Not sensual, not awkward, but demonstrate what would be appropriate in this culture, this kiss. And it's still done in culture. As I've mentioned to you before, when I travel to South America, Central America, you're kissed by everybody who greets you, right on the cheek. In France, it's two cheeks.

It takes forever to get in the front door. In fact, when I go speak in South America, I'm kissed by hundreds and hundreds of people. This is their cultural expression of affection. We today could call it a holy handshake, okay? So if in this culture that is appropriate, let's do that, but let's demonstrate affection when we do it. Let's not hand out this limp wash rag. Let's grip it, squeeze it. In fact, there are a couple of guys in here I avoid because they're going to crush me when they shake my hand.

Mean it. Meet their eyes. Smile. Great to see you.

What's your name again? They're probably wondering the same thing about you. Don't come in here and think, somebody better say hello to me. Have you noticed in this text, by the way, that you are not commanded to be kissed by everyone. You are commanded to kiss everyone. So shake hands. It might be a hug. Don't hold back. So when you leave, by the way, before you slip out of here, I hope your hand is just completely worn out, hugs all around.

One more. Don't forget that peace doesn't come from anywhere or anyone but Jesus Christ. Peace be to you all who are in Christ.

You could read this, peace be to you all who are connected in or connected to Christ. By the way, this word for peace is not an attitude. He's not getting to his letter and getting to the end of it and saying, now be peaceful. No.

Are you kidding? If there was anything lacking, it would be a peaceful environment. This Greek word refers to the state of peace as opposed to the state of war. In fact, Kittle writes that this word was linked in the early world to the peace treaties that were written and adopted. This is the word Jesus uses when he arrives in the upper room after his resurrection and the disciples are huddled in there and they're anything but peaceful and Jesus says to them the same phrase, peace be with you. What's he saying? Be peaceful?

No. You are now in the state of peace because I have written the peace treaty in my blood with God. Now you can no longer be at war as it were as you disseminate the gospel. You can disseminate the gospel through this peace treaty where people sign their name to it written by the blood of Christ. Peace be with you. Simply a way of saying we're victorious. Might not look like it, but we are. We are in the state within the borders of belonging to God through Christ and then don't forget that peace does not come from anywhere or anyone, but in and through Jesus Christ our Lord, the one to whom we prayed minutes earlier, Lord, taste the day when you come to take us home.

In that you have security. In him you have this state of peace. And with that we conclude today's lesson as well as this series from the epistle of 1 Peter. Stephen's been working through a series called Framing the Flock.

This is the ninth and final lesson in that series. If you missed any of the messages along the way, we've posted them to our website. You can go back and listen anytime if you navigate to You also have the opportunity to read Stephen's manuscript and both the audio and written manuscript are free of charge at that website.

Once again, the series you're looking for is called Framing the Flock. We hope it's been a blessing to you. I'm Scott Wiley and for Stephen and all of us here, it's our prayer that you'll treasure God's wisdom for your life. Thank you for being with us today, and we'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-21 00:59:22 / 2023-03-21 01:09:25 / 10

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