Starting with some Fundamentals
I. SETTING the CONTEXT of these letters.
A. SITUATION: Think about the READERS. (v.1)
B. SOURCE: Think about the WRITER. (5:12)
Peter writes two letters from Rome to the scattered believers throughout modern day Turkey (Asia Minor). He is attempting to help remind them of who they are and the truth in which they are grounded. He’s speaking from his own experience…he has been there, done that.
1. Kid’s Question: When have you gotten a letter from someone? What was that like? Did you read it more than once?
2. What stands out to you about Peter’s past experiences as you read this letter? How does it shape your understanding?
II. FUNDAMENTALS of a “Christ-follower’s” IDENTITY. (v.1-2)
A. They are CHOSEN by GOD (v.1-2)
B. They are “STRANGERS” or EXILES. (v.1; 2:11)
He starts by highlighting two fundamentals of who they truly are…and they seem almost contradictory. But it’s in the tension of these two concepts that we find the truth that not only shapes us into Christlikeness, but keeps us safe until the process is completed.
3. What does being “chosen” by God mean for you? What are you chosen for? Why are you chosen?
4. In what ways do you feel like a stranger in the world today? What might God be inviting you to from that feeling?
III. What FOLLOWS from the FUNDAMENTALS. (v.3-12)
A. A new FAMILY RELATIONSHIP. (v.3-4)
B. A new HOPE for the FUTURE. (v.4-5)
C. A new PERSPECTIVE on SUFFERING. (v.6-7)
D. A new STORY to live INTO. (v.8-12)
There are some ripples that flow out from these fundamental ideas of chosen-ness and exile. These are the truths that we have to hold on to as we follow Jesus, even if the world would tell us a different story.
5. Which of these “new” things that follow from the fundamentals has the most relevance to your own life right now and why?
6. Which of them do you find the most difficult to actually live out and why?
IV. LIVING as CHOSEN exiles.
A. Realize: Identity is a GIFT, not a REWARD. (v.1-4; Mt. 16:17-18)
B. Receive: EMBRACE the process of TRANSFORMATION. (v.5-7; Lk.22:31-34)
C. Reflect: UNLEARNING and RELEARNING. (v.8-12; Mk. 8:33; Jn 21:18-19)
Peter’s letters speak to our situation today as well. We are chosen by God, and deeply loved, but we live a strangers and exiles in the world. What are some anchor points that can help us stay clear on the truth and lead us to that living hope Peter writes about?
7. Reflect on your own actions and attitudes. Are you receiving your identity in Christ or trying to earn it as a reward? What difference does that make?
8. Where is God calling you to embrace the path to transformation or to unlearn something? How are you specifically going to respond to that call?