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Authentic #10

The American dream says that you should aim for an ever-increasing amount of comfort. The goal is to get the “good life,” whatever that means for you.

Peter seems to disagree with this approach to life. He says that suffering for Christ is part of the Christian life. And he doesn’t call the Roman Christians (in the midst of intense persecution) to grin and bear their persecution, but to rejoice in the opportunity to participate in Christ’s suffering.

When we live for our own comfort and pleasure, we end up insulating ourselves from any suffering, whether it be our own suffering or that of others. This is the call of our culture. The call of 1 Peter is to live for Jesus and recognize that the glory of God will be all the sweeter when it is revealed to those who have sacrificed and suffered for their obedience to God.

It isn’t easy or safe, but it’s good.

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Authentic #9

After talking about sin and how to deal with it through love, Peter begins to talk about how Christians should live together.  We are to offer hospitality to one another without grumbling (there’s a lesson for parents to teach kids!).

Then Peter discusses using the gifts we are given to love and serve others. In verse 11, the word “provides” is transliterated as “chorēgeō.” It means “to furnish the chorus at one’s own expense; to procure and supply all things necessary to fit out the chorus.”

What do choirs have to do with using your gifts?

Here’s the deal, when you use your gifts for God’s kingdom, God actually provides everything that is needed at his expense. All you have to do is participate. Our job is to follow God and be obedient. God will provide the opportunity, the gift, and the power to get things done.

Authentic #8

1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

How does love cover over sin?

It doesn’t mean that you hide sin and pretend like things did not happen. It doesn’t mean you ignore someone else’s sin, either. It does mean that you acknowledge what has happened and then acknowledge that Christ laid down his whole life to forgive us for the sins we commit.

Love covers sin when we bring it to Christ and allow him to bring us into freedom and forgiveness.

One of the ways we participate in God’s kingdom is by offering this same love, the love of Jesus on the cross, to those whose sin has harmed us. When we love people in the midst of their sin, we give them a glimpse of what is available to anyone in life with Christ.

Authentic #7

How do we live for God’s kingdom instead of for earthly desires? 1 Peter 4:7 says, “Be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”

A couple of things I see in this:

We have to pay attention. Earthly desires can quickly distract us from what God is doing around us.

Don’t chase everything that seems good. Lots of good things will distract you from Jesus, the best thing.

Prayer is the antidote to a wasted life. If you want to live an authentically Christian life, start by praying. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove says, “The true revolutionaries are learning to pray.” It was true in the age of the monastics 1500 years ago, and it is true today.

How do you prepare yourself to be a revolutionary, authentic Christian? What are your best practices for prayer?

Authentic #6

1 Peter 4:2 continues to build on what happens when we take on the attitude of Christ and says that not only are we done with sin, but that we live for God’s desires rather than earthly ones.

We live in a culture that usually encourages us to chase whatever we think will make us happy. As Sheryl Crow sang, “If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad.” Except that we have lots of evidence to the contrary. Overeating, pornography, sleeping with multiple partners, drugs, alcoholism… the list could go on for quite some time.

When we chase earthly desires, we not only run the risk of destroying ourselves and those around us, but we miss the opportunity to participate in God’s mission of building his kingdom.

Sometimes, it’s ok to not fit in. People may not understand, but our goal is to live for Jesus’ approval.

What does it mean for you to take up your cross and follow God’s desire for your life today?

Authentic #5

What does it mean to be “done with sin” in 1 Peter 4?

Does it mean we will never make a mistake again? That we will never do anything that harms our relationship to God or to someone else?

As awesome as that would be, I have yet to see someone who lives a life without sin, outside of Jesus.

I think it means that we no longer crave sin. A friend of mine talks about a time when he was freed from some sin he felt stuck in. He talks about coming to a realization that he was free to sin, but that it did nothing for him. It offered him nothing that was better than Jesus. At this point he was free to see the sin for what it was: something that was breaking his relationship with both God and with some of the people in his life.

Living authentically for Jesus means recognizing that sin has nothing to offer you that can’t be more fully found in Jesus. THAT is good news!

Authentic #4

1 Peter 4 starts by talking about sin. Sin is NOT a popular subject in our culture these days. Some of this is because we worship individualism and who am I to tell anyone what is right or wrong for them, but some of it is because the church has spent too much time dictating to culture what is right and wrong without a lot of love attached.

Peter says that we can be done with sin, but it doesn’t have anything to do with getting a list of do’s and don’ts all right. He says we put on the same attitude that Christ had in his suffering. Philippians says that this attitude is one of being a humble servant who cares about other people. At least in this passage, sin has more to do with how we treat others than with anything else.

How does that change your view of sin, when it is more about your attitude toward others than it is about a list of right and wrong actions?

Authentic #3

1 Peter 4:

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you.But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[a]

19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

 

As you read, what jumps out to you?

What questions do you have?

Authentic #2

The book of 1st Peter gives a good look at what it means to follow Jesus authentically in the middle of a lot of chaos. 1st Peter was written to early Christians in Rome during the reign of Nero. After fires destroyed large portions of Rome (but not Nero’s house!), Nero was looking for a scapegoat to blame for the problems Rome was facing. Nero chose this strange little offshoot of the Jews, named Christians. They were an ideal choice because Romans already viewed Christians as anti-social because since they didn’t participate in all the normal parts of Roman life. They were viewed as atheists for rejecting roman gods, cannibals for saying they ate the body and blood of Christ, and incestuous for saying “I love you, brother” and “I love you, sister.”

So they lived on the fringe of society and Nero had a target.

Here’s the thing, Nero was good at persecution. He had this particular form of evil mastered. He did things like turn Christians into human torches to light his garden at night as they burned to death or fed them to wild animals for entertainment. He was sick and powerful. In all, he probably killed thousands of Christians in Rome during his reign.

So, these persecuted Christians are who Peter is writing his letter to. He wants to encourage them to

not lose hope in the midst of persecution, but also to make sure to hold onto Jesus rather than the world around them.

He is encouraging them to live out the calling of Jesus in radical obedience in the face of evil. How is this even possible?

Authentic #1

Almost everyone wants to live an authentic, meaningful life. For me, when I’m honest, I realize that there are a lot of things that get in the way of me living the way I really want to live. Busy schedules, Netflix, social media, and all kinds of other things just seem to steal my time (more accurately I give them time I shouldn’t).

In youth group this last month we have been looking at what it means to be an authentic Jesus follower who isn’t wasting their life on things that don’t matter. I think this matters because I don’t want to look back at my life and say Jesus was supposed to be the most important thing in my life. I want it to be clear to me and those around me.

For the next few posts I’m going to write about what it looks like to follow Jesus (at least as I see it!).

For today, what do you think it looks like to be an authentic follower of Jesus?