I try to not take lightly the incredible privilege it is to proclaim God's Word on a weekly basis. While it is my job and I am sufficiently paid to do it, it is so much more than a job ... it's a joy! I can't always deliver a memorable and profound message that arouses passion within the congregation, but I can say that every week it is of tremendous benefit to me. And while that may sound selfish, I don't intend it that way ... I trust that the more I'm impacted by God's Word it will translate into better sermons. So first, thank you for allowing me the privilege of standing before you on a regular basis to preach Christ.
As we near the end of our study in 1 Peter I also must thank Peter for this remarkable letter. I'm not wavering here on my theology ... I believe it was authored by God Himself as His Spirit moved Peter to write, but I don't think it's inappropriate to thank the person God used to do a particular thing (I've learned this from Merrel Stringer). This letter to the believing exiles of his day is so very helpful to the modern church in America that is increasingly being marginalized, deemed irrelevant, ignored, rejected, considered hostile, and persecuted. Peter points us to the great hope that we have in Christ ... he exhorts us to live in such as way that those who may speak evil of us will ultimately see Christ ... he reminds us that our suffering is something we're privileged to share with Christ ... he points us to Christ's return. He never says anything like "it's not so bad" or "just gotta endure it"; rather he confirms that our suffering may be very real and difficult yet our Savior is more than sufficient for us in the midst of it all. The church in America may soon experience some unprecedented hatred and ostracism in the coming years, but Peter (under the Holy Spirit's precise inspiration) has given us great hope and wisdom to face whatever may come our way. I trust I haven't butchered Peter's message too much over these recent weeks. I would encourage us to read and reread 1 Peter to gain more insight for how we're to face the changing culture.
This week we'll examine Peter's exhortation in 1 Peter 5:8-9 regarding the work of the devil. Please prayerfully read this passage prior to Sunday. We will also observe the Lord's Supper this Sunday; please prepare your heart for this meal.