Are You Under Attack?
1 Peter 1:1-7
Message No. 0659 | Twitter @GodandUs | www.wisdom-speaks.ca
We live in societies where the truth about God is hard to accept by people around us. Many people just don’t want to accept the fact that there is a Spiritual Being who, though does not always exercise it, has control over and is able to overrule what people do here on earth. They have lived within cause-and-effect chains all their lives and have come to the conclusion that if you take certain actions, you will have certain results. They hate it when we fly the idea that power does not belong to the strong, nor the race to the swift. They do not understand favor or wisdom beyond human knowledge.
In our offices, schools, government institutions, neighborhoods, and other human interactive areas of our societies, it is completely okay to profess other faiths. I guess people don’t care about these faiths because they probably don’t challenge them about moral living, nor do they feel compelled or challenged to change their ways of life. They don’t feel challenged to leave sin or any form of riotous living. The only time people get agitated is when you mention Christ, because Jesus Christ was and is a disruptor. There is no way to remain the same if anyone gives his or her life to Christ, and this is the message that people generally don’t want to hear.
After the death and resurrection of Christ, the message of the gospel was taken everywhere in the Middle East and parts of Europe and Asia minor. Peter and his friends preached the gospel to the Jews and Paul preached primarily to the gentiles. People surrendered their lives to Christ and became disruptors in the societies where they lived. Some of these societies were the subject of Peter’s writing. In 1 Peter chapter 1, Peter addressed his letter to God’s chosen people who were living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. These were all under Roman rule in (what is today) modern day Turkey.
The key reason for Peter’s writing was to encourage the churches based on the tremendous attacks they suffered in their local communities as well as in the hands of emperor Nero, whose actions formalized the attacks on Christians. The communities mentioned by Peter were all paganist, idol-worshiping communities, so when Christianity started spreading and started constituting serious challenges to their idol worship, they retaliated by instituting attacks against God’s people.
Peter wrote to encourage the church to remain firm and focused, in the face of apparent antagonism and physical attacks. In chapter 1 verses 17-19, Peter wrote:
Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
In this, Peter was saying do not be afraid, do not give up and do not take laws into your hands because this will only confirm the accusations levied against you by Nero and by your local communities. This must have been pretty challenging to take in by the recipients of his letter, as it would be today, if letters were written to those who are suffering in different homes, schools, offices and communities they live in simply because they chose to follow Christ. Some have been disowned by their parents because they surrendered their lives to Christ. Some wives are persecuted by their husbands because they are Christians and do go to church on Sundays and other days. Some are suffering in their places of work because they refused to compromise their faiths, and some are bullied in schools because they dared to associate with Christ.
It might sound easy for those of us who worship freely in our societies to preach to those who are under constant attacks, but we cannot but encourage those who live under these conditions to not allow themselves to be beaten into submission. The goal is far too great than to allow the suffering to take our eyes off the ball. As Peter said in verse 7 (NLT):
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
Heaven is so glorious that the devil will work extra hours to discourage God’s children from continuing on the journey, but God is not unaware of your sufferings and endurance. The Lord sees you and will continue to hold your hands as you make progress. He who pulled you out of sin is able to uphold and support you. His grace will be with you till you receive the overcomer’s reward upon arrival at your destination.
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PLEASE ACT NOW: If you are yet to give your life to Christ, you do not have a covenant with God and His promises do not apply to you. To come under these promises, please surrender your life to Christ today, by praying this prayer: Lord I know that I am a sinner and I am unable to save myself. I am sorry for my sins and I pray that you please forgive me. I am aware that Your Son Jesus died for my sins and I accept Him as my Lord and savior. I surrender my life unto you from this moment. Please take control of my entire being and help me to be obedient to your Word, going forward. Thank you, Lord, for hearing me. I have prayed in Jesus’ name. Amen. If you prayed the foregoing prayer, you have just been born again. Please find a Bible believing church in your area and ask to see the pastor. Let him or her know that you have just given your life to Christ and s/he will guide you on next steps in your journey as a child of God. The Lord bless you!