Church Family,
Good afternoon everyone! Today we are continuing a new study looking at the book of 1 st Peter.  Like the previous Bible Study, we will be utilizing RightNowMedia.  Below you will see a link to sign up (free), if you do not have an account.
Sign up: http://tiny.cc/HarvesterSignUp
I encourage you to do the study in this way.  Read opening and pre-video questions, then watch the video, then go through the Bible Study. I hope this study is impactful to you as it has been for me.
Opening Questions:

  • Have you ever been asked to do something that you didn’t want to do (confront a friend, study on the weekend, complete a frustrating work assignment, etc.)? Looking back, was what you were asked to do something that would harm you? What did your reaction reveal about your priorities?

We’ve all had a time where we know we have to do something that we don’t really want to do. Our spiritual lives are no exception. The Christian life does not come naturally because it’s one in which we are called to die to ourselves. As we study Scripture, we will all find certain portions more difficult to grasp than others, but it’s important that we continue to embrace God’s truth trusting that he has given it to us for our good and his glory.
Read: 1 Peter 2:13-25
Pre-Video Questions: (Things to think about while watching)

  • How does Kyle describe the Roman government during the time of Peter? How did it treat Christians?
  • How does Kyle define “submission”?
  • What is the reason for why we should learn to submit?

Teaching Video and Bible Study Questions:
https://www.rightnowmedia.org/content/series/289495?episode=3
Reread: 1 Peter 1:11

  • What is the main principle Peter commands in this verse? (That Christians “abstain from sinful desires.”) Starting in 2:13, Peter makes a point to explain to his readers a number of practical ways to “abstain from sinful desires.”

Reread: 1 Peter 1:13-17

  • How do you react to the Bible’s call for submission? What kind of emotions does it spark in you? Why do you think you feel the way you do?
  • What reasons does Peter give in verses 13 and 15 for submitting to civil authorities? (It is not because of any inherent goodness in human government, but because of God’s sovereignty. We obey God’s will when we do so.)
  • What are some examples of “sinful desires” that keep us from honoring civil authorities?
  • In what ways do you see the world acting with hostility toward the Church? What would it look like for the Church to respond in a way that reflects holiness? How could you, specifically, respond to hostility in a way that reflects holiness?
  • As we learned in the session, Christians during Peter’s time were falsely accused of insurrection, atheism, incest, cannibalism, and other forms of immorality. Yet, they continued to faithfully obey God by serving, giving generously, and displaying kindness. Doing so disproved the prejudices of their accusers, even if it did not resolve their suffering.
  • How do you tend to respond when you are misunderstood by others? Based on your past experiences, what could you do differently in the future to demonstrate love and kindness, even in such injustice?
  • What are some examples of plans or policies that Christians might not be able to follow out of obedience to God?

Reread: 1 Peter 1:18-25

  • How do you react to Peter’s instructions to slaves? What emotions or questions does it prompt in you?
  • (Many struggle with instructions like these, as they seem to condone the practice of slavery. But let’s be clear that nowhere does Scripture condone the oppressive practice of slavery—not even in these verses. Rather, the New Testament authors wrote with a different focus in mind. Rather than calling for revolutionary actions that would overthrow social systems, they concerned themselves primarily with the heart of Christians and their relationship with God. In other words, Peter’s primary concern is not with the transformation of society, but with the transformation of individuals within that society through a relationship with Jesus Christ.)
  • How should this focus of prioritizing individual salvation and obedience over societal transformation shape the way you apply your faith to every day life?
  • Kyle described biblical submission as a voluntary decision that flows from a joyful spirit. Do you think of submission in this way? How should it influence the way you think about the impact of your individual faith on others?
  • How would you describe your employer? In what ways do you find it easy to submit to him or her? What are some ways you find it difficult?
  • What’s at stake in the way we choose to interact with our employers (see vv. 19–20)?
  • Before finishing up this session, don’t forget the truth we’ve talked about since day one—who you are determines what you will do. Peter never tells us what to do without explaining why we ought to do it.
  • According to verse 21, why should Christians learn to submit? (Because of Christ’s example)
  • Based on the description of Jesus’s example in verses 22–25, where do you see the most opportunity for growth in your own life?
  • Impulsive behavior is natural and easy. We’ve all had times where we have chosen to retaliate rather than forgive, to hurl insults instead of extending mercy. Where can you choose not to retaliate or get offended by a circumstance in your life? How practically can you demonstrate the example of Christ—displaying grace over getting defensive—in this situation?

Peter’s teaching on submission in these verses is simple, but nothing about it is easy. Often times, it means choosing to follow leaders who abuse their power and create environments of hostility and insecurity. Everything in us cries out for change, for justice. And while there’s nothing wrong with that urge, the Bible calls us to give careful consideration to our response. Does it demonstrate the faithfulness of Christ? Or merely our human desires?
Throughout history, the Church has flourished not primarily based on persuasive arguments, but by demonstrating the love of Christ toward its enemies. As he hung upon the cross, Jesus cried out for his Father to forgive his murderers. And Peter tells us that Christ’s example is one we are called to follow. As you go about your week, let this call resonate in your heart. Ask the Lord to help you see opportunities to practice this kind of obedience and courageously follow him as he grants them to you.
Pray: If you find yourself experiencing bitterness or resistance toward the topic of today’s session, ask God to soften your heart and give you the ability to see the goodness of his Word and to delight in obedience.
Praise: Take a moment to stop and consider the example Jesus set by coming into this world, subjecting himself to abuse and ultimately crucifixion at the hands of people he created. Praise him for laying aside his own comforts for the sake of our salvation.
Honor: Think of a practical way that you can honor a leader in your government or in your workplace and do so over the course of this next week.

Look for an e-mail on Tuesday (7/21) as we continue our study 1 st Peter.  To God be the glory!