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1 Peter: From Lost Homes to Living Hope

1 Peter 1:3-9 CSB | Caleb Martinez | October 9, 2022

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All of us need something meaningful and transcendent to give our lives purpose. In seasons of suffering, pain, or even just mundanity, we all reach for something beyond ourselves to make sense of who we are and what’s going on. The Bible calls this hope.

1 Peter is a book about hope. It’s a letter written to dispersed Christians living abroad in modern day Turkey who are experiencing pain. As Gentile followers of Jesus, they’ve committed to living lives that look radically different from the world around them. As a result, they’ve lost friends, jobs, homes, and their very identities. Peter opens his letter by giving them hope. He gives them an identity in their exile and strengthens their faith formed in their suffering.

Today, we too live as exiles. We’ve committed to following Jesus in a way that has cost us social status, friendships, relationships, jobs, and our very own identities. But by allowing Peter’s letter to speak to us, and by asking ourselves where our faith and identities lie, we too can find hope that’s both living and life-giving.


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Hello everyone. My name is Jackie and I serve in the nursery with the kids and I’m gonna be reading our scripture today, and it is first Peter one, three through nine.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading kept in heaven for you. You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time you rejoice in this.

Even though now for a short time if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials, so the proven character of your faith more valuable than gold, which through though perishable is refined by fire, may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus. Though you have not seen him, you love him though not seeing him.

Now you believe in him and you rejoice with an expressible and glorious joy because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Hey, thanks Jackie. Hey, hold your Bibles open there. Pastor Trey said, we’re starting a new series, so we just finished. 10 weeks exploring our vision and unpacking all of that and what that looks like and what it means for us as a community.

And I hope and pray it was encouraging for you and enlightening and maybe you get just better clarity about who we are and what we’re trying to do here and how all of that fits together. But now we’re going back to our normal rhythm which we like to do every now and then is just go through books of the Bible.

And so we’re going to start a series now through First Peter. It’s gonna take us all the way through Christmas, so in the next 10 weeks or so. And. Yeah, tonight’s just an intro and I love doing intros let me pray and then we will dive in. Father God, we thank you for the joy that it is to come and gather and worship and learn and hear and sing and give thanks and ask questions and be with each other.

Whether that feels like a joy or a burden right now, we thank you that it is forming and shaping our souls for the better. We thank you for the text tonight, this passage that talks about hope and faith and identity and what it means to be a follower of you in uncertain times. I ask that we would hear this word tonight and go out and live it and do it and breathe it.

You’d speak through me and allow me to communicate these truths with clarity, and we ask this in. Amen. Amen. In his seminal book man searched for meaning Victor Frankel details his experience living through concentration camps, Actually several. One of which was Chet’s, the famous German Nazi concentration camp.

and he goes into graphic detail about what it was like to live there. His experience with the guards, the inmates that were there, the jobs that he had to do. But Victor Franco before the war was a psychiatrist. And so the way he approaches the book is through the lens of psychiatry. The first half is just details of, again, day to day living, what that looks like.

But he talks about the effect that this has on on people living there for, on a mental level, their emotional state and everything. Like that. But the second half of the book is his psychoanalysis of how people can go through an experience as traumatic as that and survive, not in a physical sense, but in a mental sense, in an emotional sense.

How do you go through something that traumatic and make it out in a semi reasonably healthy way on the other side? And he argues that the commonality, the common denominator, if you will, The people who survived the camp had separated them from the people who didn’t survive the camp or the people that survived the camp, but not in a very good place mentally and emotionally.

The common denominator wasn’t their drive, it wasn’t their determination. It wasn’t their physical or their mental strength. It was their hope. It was their ability, the ones who had lost hope to regain it quickly and set their minds on something outside of themselves and outside of the circumstances that they found themselves in to make it through to the other side.

That then fueled their determination and their drive. And the ones that showed up that lost their hope immediately turned into animals. They turned into just cynical people who lost any fight, any will to live. What was the point? They had nothing to live for. They had lost their hope. And so Frankel’s, sorry, Franco Victor, Frankel’s main idea, His argument was this, that what sets humanity apart?

What sets you and I apart from all other creation, from every other creature, from everything else in the world, again, is not our mental faculty. It’s not our ability to reason. It’s not anything physical or emotional. It is our need for hope. It’s that innate need that we have to look for something beyond ourselves to escape the problems of pain, guilt, and death.

It’s our capacity to extend our mental and emotional faculties to something transcendent, meaning something outside of what we can touch, see, taste here, or smell to give us purpose. All right. To give us meaning to make sense of the world around us. Something that we can orient our lives around and point us to simply put hope.

Is this anything we look to for meaning, for purpose, for escape, for answers, or for comfort? And contrary to what some secular psychologists and evolutionary biologists would say, hope is not a byproduct of evolutionary instinct, but rather a primary motivational factor in how humans survive in seasons of suffering and in trauma or not in seasons that are normal.

It is a shared human experience, and we all know what this is like. We might vary in the things that we decide to put our hope in, but all of us are looking to something beyond ourselves, beyond what we can see and touch and control to give ourselves meaning, to give our lives. Meaning whether our hope extends into eternity with God or into a Netflix binge that offers us a quick escape.

Wow. Whether our hope is in Christ and his coming kingdom, or the coming high and the numbing from a drink or a substance. Whether our hope is in the future, writing of all wrongs, the eradication of sickness and death, and the consummation of God’s union with his people. Or in the next doom scroll on social media, the next sexual exploits, or the next relationship, promotion or weekend getaway.

The bottom line is the question is not do you have hope, but rather what is your hope really in. On a day to day level, what is motivating you, driving you to make the decisions that you’re making and to endure the suffering that you are enduring at first, Peter is a book about hope. All right. It’s a letter written to a group of people that are looking for hope.

And in chapter one, today we’re gonna see how hope real, what Peter calls, Living Hope has the power, not just to give you endurance, but to actually change you and transform you from the inside out into a person of love, formed by the image of Jesus. So first Peter verse. Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ to those chosen living as exiles dispersed abroad in Pons, Galatia, Kado, Asia, and Bethia.

Shout out to Jackie. I didn’t make you read that. I was gonna have you read those names, but I decided to spare you and just jump to the good part. Okay. We had to stop there cause there’s a lot happening here already and I’m sure you picked up on it, but I’m gonna tell you what it is. Anyways, who was Peter?

We know Peter as one of the 12 apostles. We know him also as one of the. Three. So Jesus had the crowds that followed him. He had his group of 12 and he also had his three, his posse, his core group of Peter, James, and John that he lived life with and invested in. And if you know anything about the New Testament, the gospels, Peter that he has a stigma associated with him, that when we read stories of Peter, he’s hotheaded at times he’s violent, at other times he’s impulsive and at his worst, verbally denied Jesus more than one time.

But this is not the Peter writing this. , it’s the same man. It’s the same physical person, but this is a person who has actually walked with Jesus, who wasn’t afraid, right? To let Jesus see who he really was, to let his character traits flow out of him and be for Jesus to confront him. But this was a man who not only experienced Jesus and patience, Jesus’s patience and compassion directly, but who’s also radically transformed.

All right. This is the Peter who went from being the very first person to declare Jesus as the Messiah, to then denying and rejecting Jesus, to then being restored by Jesus to preaching Jesus to the masses as the Holy Spirit came down in Pentecost to building and establishing the first church who went from his birth named Simon to his new name and identity given to him directly by Jesus.

Kfa or Sifa and Aramaic, Petros and Greek, or Peter, meaning rock. Peter would live up to his name by becoming one of the earliest leaders of this new Jesus movement that came outta the upper room and Pentecost. He was the foundation of the church built on the very person of Jesus whom he wants denied.

This is not Simon, the impulsive, violent, and frightened apostle. This is Peter. The. Yeah, that’s good. All right. This is Peter who once denied and rejected the death of Jesus, but who now finds in Jesus’ death and resurrection the secret to real transforming living hope. Wow. So who’s he writing to? is not writing to a specific church.

If you have read the New Testament, a lot of Paul’s letters are directed at very specific churches like the church in Corinth or the church in Philippi. This is not that. This is a church written to the Capital C Church. So believers all around the world are what’s part of the Catholic church, not Roman Catholic.

Catholic just means universal. It means a church made up of believers from all nations. Peter likely wrote this letter meant for it to be spread around from one gathering assembly of Jesus followers to the next to encourage them. What’s important to know is that Peter is primarily writing to gentile Christians, not Jewish Christians.

And these are gentile Christians who are spread throughout Asia Minor, which is modern day Turkey. These are non-Jewish people who have chosen to follow Jesus. And this is significant because most of the earliest followers of Jesus were Jewish. In fact, these early followers of Jesus did not.

Did not find themselves convert. They didn’t consider themselves converting from Judaism to Christianity but rather they saw Jesus as the fulfillment of Judaism, which brought about all sorts of questions like, is Jesus just the king of the Jews or is he the king of the Gentiles as well? Who can be adopted into this family of God?

Do you have to then become Jewish and obey these Jewish customs? And throughout the New Testament, you see the answer is no, you don’t. That the good news of Jesus and his coming kingdom is good news for all people. And so Peter’s writing not to the Jews who are expecting him Messiah, but to the Gentiles who weren’t.

And notice Peter calls them at chosen exiles who were first. He says to those chosen living as exile dispersed abroad in all of these places. Now these were people who were experiencing persecution, but not the kind of persecution that we are familiar with. Actually the persecution that comes at the hands of Nero, the violent sort of aggression against the Christians wouldn’t come until after Peter has already died.

But these people were experiencing a subtle kind of suffer. And these are people who have been so compelled by the way of Jesus Gentiles, again, not expecting a Messiah, but who have heard the good news of Jesus and his coming kingdom that it, they find it so compelling that they devote their lives to following him, or they’ve committed themselves to a way of living out of their apprenticeship, their discipleship to Jesus, and they’ve reoriented their lives around.

And this made them look radically different from the world around them. In a world a pagan world that worships, the emperor as a God, and you have other gods that bring good harvests and rain and all of those things, when you have a group of people who suddenly are not worshiping all of these, this pantheon of gods, they become atheists.

And in a world where your survival is dependent on the god’s giving you favor for like good harvest and rain and things like that, when you don’t get good harvest and rain, you look at the one group of people who are not worshiping the God of good harvest and the God of rain that is these gentile Christians.

And so they may not have been experiencing like government-wide physical persecution, like what we’re expecting later on, but they are experiencing disconnection. They’re experiencing social stigma. They’ve lost relationships. These are people who are so committed to the way of Jesus that it’s cost them not their lives yet, but their livelihoods.

Many of ’em have lost jobs. Many of them have lost friendships, relationships. Many of them have lost their homes. And maybe this sounds like you, maybe you know you, you’re not violently being persecuted, but maybe you’ve been following Jesus, committing to living your life the way that he lived his and allowing him to transform you from the inside out.

And its cost you, Yeah, maybe your former identity is shifted and the things that you used to find, hope, identity, and security in our changing. In fact, I would argue this should sound a little bit like you. This should sound like, people. We should not feel right at home where we are in our cultural climate, in one political party or the other, or this or that.

We should feel like there’s a part of us in this world, but there’s a part of us that belongs to something bigger and greater than ourselves. But the result of that is we feel alone a lot of the time. We feel ostracized. We feel not at home in our homes, enduring seasons of pain, suffering, and loss. And the question is, how do we then maintain hope?

What do we. And so for the rest of our time today, we’re gonna look at how Peter flushes this idea out that we are exiles, but who have a living hope, something beyond ourselves to look forward to and look at, to transform us into people of hope, love, and faith. And this is actually a really dense passage at the very last verse 12.

It says, Angels long to catch a glimpse of these things, meaning angels don’t even they wanna know what this stuff means. So we’re just gonna boil this down into two themes to help fix our minds around this. And they are identity formed by exile. And we’re gonna talk about faith formed by suffering.

So first, identity formed by exile. Notice again how Peter addresses his audience. He says, to those chosen right living as exiles dispersed abroad in Pia Kado, Asia and Bethia. This is odd and I’m sure you didn’t catch this cause I didn’t catch this, and if you caught it, you’re better than me. They weren’t technically exiles.

These were their homes. This is where they were from. It would be like me writing a letter to you, like the church and I’d be calling you the Church of Passion Creek, exiled to Arizona. You’d be like, No, I chose to live here. This is not, I wanna be here. Some of you were like, I am an exile , I, this is like your home.

This is where you are. So for me to call you an exile says something. What’s going on here? In one sense, Peter is just acknowledging. Feel, he’s saying, I know how much you’ve left, what it’s cost you to follow Jesus. And I know that at a core human level, you feel like you don’t belong. So I’m calling you exiles and that’s certainly true.

But in another sense, Peter is actually giving them an identity here because the words that Peter uses to call them chosen. Some translations say elect exiles, the dispersed, These are all words traditionally used to describe the chosen people of. To the Jews. One translation says, SOS of the dpo. The diaspora, What is that?

It’s a term that refers to the nation of Israel after they experienced exile. So if you know the Old Testament, that the nation of Israel was chosen to bless the other nations provided that they follow God and obey him and don’t worship other idols and things like that, but they don’t do a very good job.

And so God disciplines them by allowing them to be kicked outta the promised land. And they’re spread out throughout all of Asia Minor and the rest of the ancient near. They no longer have a home and identity to belong to. These are Jews, right? God’s chosen people. And so they are known from that point on as the exiled, as the chosen ones who are in dispersion, soldiers of the diaspora.

And we get that weird word elect. A lot has been debated about this word. There’s a lot of freedom, I believe, on either side. All on that. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry about it. But however you interpret and understand this doctrine of election, what’s important here is not the mechanics of God’s sovereignty versus human free will.

What’s important is that Peter is highlighting the fact that God called a group of people apart from the world to be in communion with him, and now because of Christ, the Gentiles can be a part of that community. And by calling them chosen notice, he says, You are chosen before listing where they’re from.

Peter is actually giving them an identity where they don’t have one. In other words, the most important thing about them is not where they’re from, it’s that they’re brought into the family of God given access and communion to the one true God. Yawe, just like the Jews, and here’s the kicker, you and I are Gentiles.

There’s a good chance you and I do not come from the ancient line of Israel. And so Peter is talking to us. I say it all the time. The Bible was not written to us, but the Bible was written for us. And this is a text, a passage, very much written for us. Everything that is true about God’s chosen people of Israel, all of the blessings that they were meant to receive through the Messiah is now true and given to us as well.

And so Peter is connecting us, you and I, to God’s bigger story, and he’s giving us meaning and purpose to our circumstance. He’s giving us hope, and it comes through our inclusion into the family of God. It comes through our identity. Verse two says, Chosen according to the fore knowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the spirit.

To be obedient and be sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ. Make grace and peace be multiplied to you. Again, there’s a lot here chosen according to the foreknowledge of God. What does that mean? Does God choose? Does he not choose? Does he know? Don’t get hung up on God choosing and the foreknowledge that’s important.

But that’s not the point of this text here. The point is that these Gentiles are now a part of God’s family because God wanted them. That we are a part of God’s family because he wants us to be. He doesn’t save us reluctantly waiting for us to mess up and hesitantly reaching down the pits of our sin and saving us.

He wants us to be in communion with him in. His family as adopted sons and daughters. And so no matter what happens to us, what’s suffering, what pain, and what exile we might feel, God has chosen to give us access to him through an identity that cannot be taken away. And unlike the nation of Israel, this identity isn’t given because of our adherence to the law.

It’s not given because of our bloodline or our ancestry or our willingness to abandon our own customs in favor of Jewish ones. It is given because of what Christ has done for us. Notice he mentions the Trinity, the father’s son and spirit, right? We have been chosen by God the Father, to be a part of his family, and the spirit is working in us to sanctify us, which is just a theological word that means transform us into people of love, shaped into the image of God.

And the blood of Jesus sprinkles us, which is an illusion to the Old Testament law, right? If you wanted to atone for your sins and have access to God, you had to sprinkle the blood of sacrificed animal onto the, on the mercy seat. And Peter is saying that Jesus’s blood is now what?

What sanctifies you? It’s Jesus. You don’t have to sacrifice animals anymore. It’s through the blood and of the death and resurrection of Jesus that we have access and communion to God. And now Peter is then gonna move on and give us several features of our new identity. What does this look like? What does it mean that we have a new identity?

How do we live this out? Verse three. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus. Because of his great mercy, he’s given us new birth into a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is un perishable, undefiled and unfading kept in heaven for you.

You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. So first, what does this new identity look like? First it comes through new. Being born again is a cliche in Christian circles, and I hate cliches. But yeah, you do. It’s a snarky way.

Thanks, a snarky way, right to categorize Christians in a post secular world. But it is not just that it is so much more than a cliche. It is a reality, a powerful spiritual reality that describes just what happens when we place our faith in Jesus. When you become a. There is so much more happening than just legal justification.

Yeah, there is so much more happening than you just being declared righteous. I believe that’s true. I don’t wanna get in trouble. That is absolutely true, and that is foundational to the gospel. But if we stop there, we miss out on what the essence of the gospel is, and that is that you are brought from death to life.

You are a new creation. The very essence of who and what you are is changed from the inside out. This is what’s happening in you. It’s not just getting out of hell and into heaven when you die. It’s being made into the image of Jesus through new birth. This is what being born again really means.

Secondly, it comes with an inherit. And the Old Testament, Israel was always promised in inheritance. We read that this, earlier Psalm 1 36 talks about, God taking land from, Israel’s enemies and giving it to Israel as an inheritance, but by the time you get to the New Testament, all of those inheritance promises are they’re not there anymore.

We don’t get any promises about land like the Israelites did in the Old Testament, and that’s because our inheritance. God is promising us has turned into something far mal, far more valuable. It is a seat at the table, at the banquet in the kingdom. It’s the right to call Godfather. It’s hearing the words well done, good and faithful servant.

When we finally make it to heaven, new creation, new Earth, and we are with God and with each other. What’s important here is this who receives an inheritance, A son or a daughter. It is a deep relational communion with God, our father. That gives us the blessing of our inheritance, but also the blessing of a relationship itself.

Third, our identity is guarded by God. There’s perseverance. So no matter what happens to the Christians, dispersed and exiles dispersed and exiled, God’s power is guarding and protecting them and guarding and protecting us for hope and a future that is so much greater than what you and I can see now.

So we have a new identity in Christ formed by the very exile that we might find ourselves in now. Faith formed in suffering. Verse six, You rejoice in. Even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith more valuable than gold, which though perishable is refined by fire, may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, though you have not seen him, you love him.

Though not seeing him, now you believe in him and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. The bottom line of these verses, what he’s basically communicating is this, There is a purpose to your pain and I hate cliches, and that is a cliche

And I don’t mean that as a cheesy Christian cliche, it’s not some vague illusion to things somehow working out in the end, just make the most of it. That is the worst kind of spirituality because that doesn’t last. What I do mean is this, and what I think Peter means is this. There is something very real and very powerful happening in the midst of your suffering and in your pain, however you define that.

Maybe it’s a season of grief, intense loss. . Maybe you’re grieving something really sorrowful, loss of life, a relationship, a livelihood, and you don’t know how you’re gonna make it. Or maybe it’s not that intense. Maybe your season of suffering is just modernity. You’re not entirely sad, but you’re also not entirely happy, however you define suffering.

Peter’s point is this, in the middle of that season of pain, suffering, or hardship, that is where faith is actually formed. The faith is actually strengthened in the midst of pain and suffering, not in spite of that. How is that? Because only in pain and suffering are you forced to look at something outside of yourself.

Pain and suffering forces our attention away from our immediate lives, and it makes us ask the question, what else is there? It’s only when we lose what we have, we start to look for something. And more permanence. Victor Frankel says this, don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you’re gonna miss it.

For success, like happiness cannot be pursued. It must ensue, and it only does as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause, greater than one’s self. Or look at what he says here, or as the byproduct of one’s surrender to a person other than one.

Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success. You have to let it happen by not caring about it. In other words, suffering itself will not transform you, but enduring suffering by looking beyond yourself to something great or will. This is what Peter’s saying in verse eight. He says, Though you have not seen him, him being Jesus, right?

He says, You haven’t seen him. You didn’t walk with him. You weren’t one of the 12. You don’t know what he looks like. You didn’t live life with him. But you love him though not seeing him. Now you believe in him and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Peter is doing is he’s pointing to what Frankel calls that person other than yourself to direct your attention to who can bring you true joy and happiness and hope no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. He is strengthening our faith by redirecting it. It isn’t by bearing down and sucking it up and trying to make the most of it, or by trying to look on the bright side of things, it is by completely reorienting your life, your perspective, your values, your hope onto the person and the work of Jesus.

It is by seeing your story in light of God’s greater story. This is what real hope looks like. This is hope that is living, transcendence and transforming. Now it’s likely that your lived experience does not match up with this. Our hope is dormant. Our hope is ethere. Meaning it, it’s just not, It’s some, it’s somewhere out there.

It doesn’t actually affect our day to day lives. We say that we have hope in the future, vaguely, whatever that means. We have hope in God. We trust in God. But you would say that your hope is anything but living. Or to use the words of Peter, We do not rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy when we endure suffering, pain, mon, mundane, boredom, trials and hardships.

Why is that? Here’s. This is why I think that is, I think Peter would agree, all of us, to make sense of the world around us to get by. We choose something to grab onto, something to give us meaning or purpose or identity or hope. And it’s usually in what we can do. Our achievements, the degrees that we get successful parenting, having a successful marriage.

Or it’s in what? We can have a stable income job security, that one car, that one house, that one job, or it’s in who we can be. We wanna be respected and mired. And so our life’s aim is to make decisions that will get us respect and admiration from people around us. We want people to like us, We wanna be looked up to by others, or it’s in what we can.

Again, for some of us, our hope isn’t in anything beyond the next Netflix binge, the next vacation relationship, or even the next night where we drown our pain and sorrows in drink and substance. In the world of psychology, these are called attachments, but in the Bible, these are called idols. And what Franco, what Peter, what the apostles and what the early Christians dispersed throughout Asia Minor realized is something that you and I often don’t realize immediately in our lives, and that is that one day these attachments and idol will be stripped away.

And it might be because of your commitment to Jesus, or it might just be because the world is a broken place. You have a broken flesh, and the devil is real and active suffering happens. When the things that we put our hope and our identities in are taken from us. For Franco, he talks about his life’s work being condensed into a little booklet that he hid in his coat pocket.

Upon arriving to Auschwitz and immediately his coat was taken, his clothes traded for rags. What he had was taken from him in that very moment, like the snap of a finger. His identity, his hope, his meaning, his attachments, his idols. Peter tells us that this is actually a good thing. The metaphor he uses is like a blacksmithing one, I don’t know if you’re a blacksmith, come and talk to me after, cause I have so many questions. The only way for gold to become more pure is to be refined by fi violently by fire. Suffering confronts us. Suffering is that violent, refining by fire, pain and hardship, loss, grief, manity, boredom seasons where nothing happens and you’re waiting for the next high or the next experiencing or the next experience.

These things confront us and they force us to reckon with the lives that we’ve built around. . It confronts us with the things that we hope in the identities that we form for ourselves, and it tests those things against reality. Do they really hold up? Do they provide the hope and the escape and the meaning that you thought they would, and what happens when they’re taken away?

Suffering then is not just a confrontation, it’s also a gift. Because then it, what it does is it rips those things away, the things that we clinging to for hope, and they show us that they are not actually worth clinging to. It redirects our attention, our love and our hope away from self-gratification and towards self denial, which is the way of Jesus.

And it’s painful and it hurts. That’s why pain is painful. That’s why suffering is hard. But suffering then is ultimately an opportunity. It’s not just a confrontation and not just a gift. It’s an invitation to reshape our perspective, to see our very identities within the framework of God’s grander story to see to put our hope in something real and active and powerfully transforming.

And to see our faith is a gift that forms us and shapes us into people who can let go of the things that do not offer us real hope. What Peter is inviting us to here is an opportunity to reorient our lives around the hope of Jesus’s victory over sin, satan, and death, and then choose to live as if that victory was.

Yeah, To choose to live is if the most important thing about us isn’t what we can do have or what people think about us. The most important thing about us is not what is happening to us. The most important thing about us is that we are chosen by God to be in the family of God, to have a relationship with God.

Yeah. There is not a place that you can go. There’s not a circumstance you can find yourself in where God is not present. You have access and communion to a God who is always present with you, who is above all and in all, and through all things, who is holding all things together in his hands. Who P Paul says we have communion with the God in whom we live and we move and we have our being, meaning God is literally closer to us than the breath in our lungs.

So what then can suffering take from. What can pain or hardship take from you? What can boredom really do to you? Whether that comes from pain in the form of prison guard and a Nazi concentration camp, or just the everyday bumps of life? I. The job promotion, you didn’t get the relationship. That’s not going your way.

Death itself has no say over you because God is with you and God is in you. And when you transfix, when you put your hope on that beyond yourself, that’s how it actually transforms you. It trips away the things that actually bring death and not life. So what do we do? The practice this week is more of an invitation, and you’re gonna work this out in your groups.

We don’t have time to just unpack. We could all tell stories about how we’re living through this and learning from this, and the groups is an opportunity to do that. Again, if you’re not a part of a group, you can sign up for one. It’s not too late. We’re meeting forever. We’re meeting groups, are meeting forever.

There is no break. But here’s the invitation to process in your groups, but also on your own. This week number. To ask yourself, where is my identity? What is it that I orient my life around and clinging to for meaning and for hope? Isn’t what I can do, what I can have or what I can be? Am I working for something that God has already given me?

What happens when these things are taken away from me? Do I really believe what the Bible says about who? Second invitation is to ask, how do I respond to pain when things don’t go my way? When the things that I’ve put my life around, when pain confronts me with the things that I have used to get away from it, how do I respond?

Do I run from pain? Do I put my hope in other things, or do I allow it to purge me? To keep the things away from me that are preventing me from having a deeper relationship with God. A deeper experiential relationship, not just intellectually, but where you could see actually say, I’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good despite what’s going on around me.

How do I respond to pain? And for some of us, the invitation is simply this, Do I believe this? Do I actually have a relationship with God? Have I ever surrendered my identity? , Have I ever done what the Bible calls repentance. It turned away from my way of thinking and living and acting and saying to God that I’m submitting to his way of thinking and living and acting.

Do I have a relationship with God? Where’s my hope in? Where’s my identity? Let’s.

Group Guide

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Meal & Conversation

Open the night with a quick prayer over your time together. As your Group shares a meal, feel free to use the following question to check in with everyone:

What are your highs and lows for the week so far?


Overview of Teaching

All of us need something meaningful and transcendent to give our lives purpose. In seasons of suffering, pain, or even just mundanity, we all reach for something beyond ourselves to make sense of who we are and what’s going on. The Bible calls this hope.

1 Peter is a book about hope. It’s a letter written to dispersed Christians living abroad in modern day Turkey who are experiencing pain. As Gentile followers of Jesus, they’ve committed to living lives that look radically different from the world around them. As a result, they’ve lost friends, jobs, homes, and their very identities. Peter opens his letter by giving them hope. He gives them an identity in their exile and strengthens their faith formed in their suffering.

Today, we too live as exiles. We’ve committed to following Jesus in a way that has cost us social status, friendships, relationships, jobs, and our very own identities. But by allowing Peter’s letter to speak to us, and by asking ourselves where our faith and identities lie, we too can find hope that’s both living and life-giving.



Read 1 Peter 1:1-9 and discuss the following questions:

  1. What stands out from these verses?
  2. In what ways have you experienced feeling like an exile where you live and work?
  3. What differences in your life do you see compared to the lives of the people you know who don’t follow Jesus?
  4. What do you currently find yourself putting your hope in on a daily basis? Work, school, relationships, success, status, etc.
  5. Do you currently see yourself in a season of pain? How do you typically respond and react in seasons of pain and hardship?


Debrief last week’s practice as a Group:

How did you feel about last week’s practice? What steps did you take in praying for, giving to, and serving others around the world?


Group Practice to Do Right Now

Read the following list of identity statements together as a Group. Go around and have each person read one out loud until you’ve gone through the entire list. After you’re done, pause for a few moments to create space for reflection and to allow God to speak to everyone. Then discuss the questions below together:

  1. I am the salt and light of the earth. (Matthew 5:13-14)
  2. I’ve been given a spirit of power, love, and a self-control – not fear. (2 Timothy 1:7)
  3. I can find grace and mercy in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
  4. I am hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)
  5. I am complete in Christ. (Colossians 2:10)
  6. I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. (Colossians 1:14)
  7. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
  8. I am a citizen of heaven. (Philippians 3:20)
  9. I know that God will complete the good work he started in me. (Philippians 1:6)
  10. I may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12)
  11. I am God’s workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10)
  12. I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18)
  13. I have been adopted as God’s child. (Ephesians 1:5)
  14. I am a saint. (Ephesians 1:1)
  15. I am a minister of reconciliation for God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
  16. I am a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  17. I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
  18. I am a member of Christ’s body. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
  19. I have been bought at a price. I belong to God. (1 Corinthians 6:20)
  20. I am God’s temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16)
  21. I am God’s coworker. (1 Corinthians 3:9)
  22. I cannot be separated from the love of God. (Romans 8:35-39)
  23. I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit. (John 15:16)
  24. I am Christ’s friend. (John 15:15)


Discuss the following questions together:

  1. Which of these identity statements are the hardest for you to believe?
  2. What lies about your identity do you currently struggle with?
  3. How do you imagine your day-to-day life would change if you lived from this new identity?


Individual Practice for the Week Ahead

This week, try going through this list again on your own each morning or evening. As you do, ask yourself the same questions:

  1. Do I believe these statements?
  2. What do I believe about my identity?
  3. What does God want me to do or change in order to live this out?


Close the night together in prayer.