Sunday, March 13, 2022

“The True Grace of God” [Matt's Messages]

“The True Grace of God”
As Foreigners and Exiles - The Message of 1 Peter
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
March 13, 2022 :: 1 Peter 5:12-14

We’ve been in 1 Peter together since Back-2-School Sunday, August 29th. This is the 22nd message in our series studying this letter that Peter wrote to followers of Christ in churches scattered throughout Asia Minor. 

Followers of Christ who were suffering because they were following Christ. And who didn’t fit in because they were “foreigners and exiles” spiritually and probably also literally. 

For 21 Sundays we have slowed down and carefully read and studied what Peter had to say to his beloved readers. What Peter had to say to get them through their hard days. And what Peter had to say to direct them in how to live as foreigners and exiles in an increasingly hostile world. 

So, today, I want to do something a little different.  I want to read the whole letter to you this morning. 1 Peter 1:1 through 5:14. It doesn’t take that long to read.

We’ve gone through it slowly for 21 Sundays so now we should probably have a good grasp on what it means, and we should probably remember a lot of what we learned a long the way–including how God spoke to us each Sunday at each step of the way. 

We’ve already gone through and turned on all of the lights. So when I read it to us together today, it’ll be like walking through the house of this letter with all the lights on so that we can truly appreciate what we see and hear.

And I thought to do this today because of how Peter closes his letter. Look how Peter signs off in chapter 5, verses 12 through 14. V.12

“With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.”

Remember Silas? The Apostle Paul’s singing partner in the jail at Philippi? Silas apparently helped Peter to either write this letter (like a secretary) or as the carrier and courier of this letter to the believers in Asia Minor. Perhaps he did both of those things.

And see how Peter feels about his letter? Here he says why he wrote it in the first place.

“I have written to you briefly [he could have said much more!], encouraging you and testifying that this [everything he has said in the letter] is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.”

That is the title of our message for today. This is “The True Grace of God.”

What Peter has written here is truly from God and it is truly the grace of God.

In this letter, Peter has told them how much God loves them. And what God has done for them in Jesus Christ. And what God is going to do when Jesus Christ is revealed.

The true grace of God.

Undeserved. Unmerited. Unearned blessing. Grace.

Last week in verse 10, Peter called the Lord, “The God of All Grace.” And now he says that the message of his letter has been the true grace of God. And he says, “Stand fast in it.”

That sums up everything that Peter has said that this beloved family of foreigners should do with their lives because of the true grace of God.

“Stand fast in it.”

And then he sends greetings to them. Greetings are very important for Christians. We see that again and again in the New Testament letters. V.13 

“She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark.”

Now we’re not 100% sure of who that is, “She who is in Babylon” but most scholars think that Peter is talking about the church in Rome. He’s using code words perhaps because of possible persecution, but also because I think he’s reminding them that they are foreigners and exiles together.

He’s not talking about literal Babylon but what Babylon stands for–the place of exile. Where Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego were carted off to live as foreigners among pagans. That’s what Babylon stands for. We’ll see that even more real soon when get into the Prophecy of Jeremiah.

Peter says, “She (the church) who is in Babylon (probably Rome or the entire Roman world), chosen together with you (remember they’re “elect exiles” chosen, beloved, accepted exiles) sends you her greetings and so does [Peter’s spiritual] son [John] Mark.”

There are amazing parallels between the opening of this letter and this closing. I’m sure you don’t remember Back-2-School Sunday very well when we studied chapter 1, verses 1 and 2.

But I said then that Peter reminds them of WHO THEY ARE, WHERE THEY ARE, and WHOSE THEY ARE. And he’s doing the same thing as he closes out his letter.

Who are they? They are chosen (v.13). They are family. Look at verse 14.

“Greet one another with a kiss of love.” That’s a family greeting!

And where are they? They may not be at home yet. But where they are is also whose they are. They are (v.14) “in Christ.” That are safe “in Christ.”

They may be like Afghan or Ukranian refugees adrift in the world and yet they are safe in Christ. V.14

“Peace to all of you who are in Christ.” That’s what we have if we are “in Christ.” Peace.

This is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.

So let’s pretend that we just got this letter. The faithful brother Silas has shown up at our little church where we are feeling the alienation of being different from the hostile culture around us and he’s brought a letter a from the Apostle Peter just for us.

It’s a brief letter. And with it, Peter is trying to encourage us and testify to us that this is the true grace of God.

Let me read it to you. Some of you will want to follow along in your Bibles, but many of you might want close your Bibles and close your eyes and listen. They wouldn’t have all had their own copies at first. 

At first, Silas would have just read it to them from start to finish with them all straining to hear every word from Peter.

Ready? This is the true grace of God.


Previous Messages in This Series:

01. "Elect Exiles" 1 Peter 1:1-2
02. "A Living Hope" 1 Peter 1:3-7
03. "Angels Long To Look Into These Things" 1 Peter 1:8-12
04. "Be Holy In All You Do" 1 Peter 1:13-16
05. "Live Your Lives As Strangers Here In Reverent Fear" 1 Peter 1:17-21
06. "Love Each Other Deeply, From the Heart" 1 Peter 1:22-2:3
07. "But Now You Are..." 1 Peter 2:4-10
08. “As Foreigners And Exiles” 1 Peter 2:11-12
09. "Submit Yourselves For the Lord's Sake 1 Peter 2:13-17
10. "Follow In His Steps" 1 Peter 2:18-25
11. "Do What Is Right And Do Not Give Way To Fear" 1 Peter 3:1-7
12. "Inherit a Blessing" 1 Peter 3:8-12
13. "Even If You Should Suffer For What Is Right" 1 Peter 3:13-16
14. "To Bring You To God" 1 Peter 3:17-22 (esp. 18)
15. "To Suffer for Doing Good" 1 Peter 3:17-22
16. "Done with Sin" 1 Peter 4:1-6
17. "The End Of All Things Is Near" 1 Peter 4:7-11
18. "Do Not Be Surprised" 1 Peter 4:12-19
19. "Shepherds of God's Flock" - 1 Peter 5:1-4
20. "Under God's Mighty Hand" - 1 Peter 5:5-7