It is nice to be back. As many of you know, I began working last week. While I did not preach yesterday, it was good to be back in the building. It is a little strange to sit in a pew during the sermon, but I am thankful for the wonderful sermon that Neil delivered.
This week, I will be standing during the sermon. I am thrilled to share God’s Word with you. For the next 11 weeks, we will venture together into Peter’s first epistle (letter). I began preparations for this series back in the spring. For multiple reasons, this study will serve as a pertinent fall study. The particular context of Peter’s first readers is worth highlighting. The church in the first century did not function in the mainstream of culture. In fact, early Christians were often misunderstood; they were seen as strange. It was normal to worship pagan deities in the Roman Empire; some even worshiped the emperor. A common saying of the day was Caesar is Lord. But Christians refused such language. Their confession was Jesus is Lord. Because of this, Christians were presumed traitors; they were often persecuted for their faith.
Peter addresses Christians in the first century,
(1 Peter 1:1 NIV) Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,
He describes them as exiles and scattered. As we have discussed this summer, our world is quickly moving toward a similar dynamic. Christians in our culture are regularly misunderstood. No longer is church attendance a normal Sunday morning ritual. In the United Kingdom, church attendance is somewhere around 7%. Some suggest that this number will be 5% by 2020. In Indiana, we probably have a higher percentage of people attending church. Yet the dynamic of Christians (and churches) holding a privileged place in our society is real. We too are exiles and scattered.
1 Peter will be a applicable book for us as we reflect on all that God has revealed to us this summer. I hope you will join us on Sunday as we begin this series (1 Peter 1:1-12)