February 11, 2018 – Resident Aliens

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Speaker: Don Dyck

Series: Fully Engaged

Study #2: Resident Aliens

Scripture: 1st Peter 1:1-2 (all Scripture links go to BibleGateway.com)

audio

Link to Podcast

Important principles in reading, studying and applying Scripture:

  • Who is the one person writing? What can we know about that person?
  • Who is the original intended audience? What can we know about them?
  • What is the overall context – social and cultural, political, geographical and historical, religious and spiritual?
  • How does this fit within the context of the rest of the Bible? Are there other parts of Scripture that will shed light on this particular text and aid in our understanding of it?

A Brief Overview of 1st Peter

  • Written by Peter, one of Jesus’ original twelve disciples, with the help of Silvanus, also known as Silas (1 Peter 5:12)
  • Probably written between 62 and 65 AD near the beginning of the persecutions under Nero and just before the death of Peter himself
  • Written to the various Christians and churches in the regions and provinces in the northwestern part of Asia Minor (present day Turkey)
  • Written to encourage Christians in those churches to stand firm in the face of suffering and to become fully engaged in their own social context – within their churches, in their homes, in their places of work and in their communities.

The spread of the good news about Jesus following his death and resurrection

  • The mandate of Jesus
    • make disciples of all nations… going… baptizing… teaching… (Matthew 28:19-20)
    • to be witnesses in Jerusalem… Samaria… to the ends of the earth… (Acts 1:8)
  • The events on the day of Pentecost
    • empowering of the Holy Spirit… Peter’s sermon… 3000 were added to their number (Acts 2)
  • Martyrdom of Stephen and outbreak of persecution
  • Conversion and sending out of Paul on his missionary journeys (Acts 9 and following)
    • *Note:   We aren’t given a clear indication as to how people in the areas Peter’s letter was sent to came to know and believe in Jesus
      • some possibilities:
        • brought there by those who may have heard Peter on the day of Pentecost or by those who may have been in one of the cities Paul visited on his journeys
        • also possible that Peter had traveled through the area

Terms Peter uses to describe those who are followers of Jesus

  • General terms that define their situation and condition
    • “elect”
      • chosen or selected; while it’s not explicit in the text (the NIV adds “God’s” to clarify) the term is often understood to refer to those, such as Israel, chosen, or elected, by God for a particular purpose; focus is not on God choosing some and not others but God taking the initiative and choosing for a purpose or mission – i.e., Abraham was chosen to be the father of a nation through which all people would be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3)
    • “strangers / sojourners”
      • foreigners with temporary residence among another people; unable to hold citizenship in the place of residence therefore without the rights and privileges of citizens; often looked on by others with suspicion
    • “scattered”
  • God’s interaction with people in the process of becoming followers of Jesus
    • Chosen “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”
      • “foreknowledge”
        • to know beforehand; God knows (not predicts) what will take place – nothing that happens catches God by surprise
      • “God the Father”
        • indicative of God’s relationship with us
      • God takes the initiative and “in all things works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose…” (Romans 8:28 – see also verse 29)
      • God chooses – we respond
        • his choosing us took place before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4)
    • Chosen “through the sanctifying work of the Spirit
      • “sanctifying”
        • a setting apart, but also a purifying or cleansing; a consecration of those who respond to God (see the people’s response to Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost – Acts 2:37-39)
      • involves a decision and a process – a cooperation between our spirit and God (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)
    • Chosen “for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling of his blood”
      • an allusion to Exodus 24:3-8
        • the establishment of God’s covenant with Israel – the people first pledge their willingness to obey and the sprinkling of blood from the sacrifice ‘seals the deal’
      • the ‘great omission’ in the Great Commission
        • “…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:20)
      • we are chosen for a purpose

Within this context, Peter’s opening greeting (verse 2b) takes on a deeper meaning

Questions for Further Study and Life Group Discussion

1) Connecting with Your Story

  • Have you ever had the experience of living in a country (or perhaps a city or neighbourhood) where you didn’t feel at home, perhaps feeling somewhat out of place and not well accepted by others who lived there?
  • Describe that experience and what it was like for you.
  • What did you do to adjust?
  • Did you make changes to your life and lifestyle to fit in?

2)  Quick Review

  • Looking back at your notes from this week’s study, was there a particular point, verse or comment that caught your attention, challenged you, or raised a question?

3) Digging Deeper

  • a)  Read Ephesians 1:3-14.
    • Spend some time reflecting on this text. Then in your own words describe what it means to you, and for you, to be “chosen” by God the Father.
  • b)  Read John 17:13-19.
    • Jesus prayed that his followers (disciples) would be “sanctified.”
    • Read also 1st Thessalonians 4:3-8.
    • What does it mean to you to be “sanctified”? How does that take place and in what context?
  • c)  “Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” has been called, most notably by Dallas Willard who has written a book on this, as ‘the great omission.’
    • If this is a significant aspect of being a follower of Jesus, why is it being omitted?
    • What does it mean to you to be chosen for “obedience to Jesus”?
    • How are you doing in that regard?

4) Taking It Home

  • Consider how the gospel – the good news about Jesus – spread throughout the world following the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  • How did you come to know about Jesus?
  • How are you engaged in living out God’s purpose in your life as a follower of Jesus?
  • Are there areas of your life where you are finding it difficult at best to live in obedience to Jesus?
  • If so, which are those areas?
  • Share that with at least one other trusted person and ask them to check up on you as a means of holding you accountable as well as to encourage you.