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Preparing for Our New Sermon Series

In January, we began a series in the book of John, intentionally taking our time through John’s account of Jesus’ earthly ministry. I mentioned at the beginning of the series that we would take a break over the summer. This break will now allow me to address various questions and conversations that I have had recently within our church. As I started writing down the different topics, I started noticing a theme: “How do I live for Christ in this world?”

We are living in a society that promotes an anti-christian worldview. The questions that have been asked and the conversations that I have had are in response to recognizing that a Biblical world view is in complete contrast to the world view of our media, family members, co-workers and friends. There is a desire to stand for Christ on difficult issues while at the same time loving one’s neighbor without compromising Biblical truths. But how can we do this?

This summer, we are going to look at the book of First Peter. Peter, the disciple of Jesus, begins this letter by stating, “To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you (1 Peter 1:1-2, ESV).

The CSB Study Bible begins its commentary on First Peter by stating, “First Peter provided encouragement to suffering believers living in northern Asia Minor who faced intense persecution. The Letter encourages faithfulness while under oppression. Specifically, God’s holy people should lead distinctive lifestyles as temporary residents in a foreign land. Although they will suffer for Christ while in this non-Christian world, they should remember that heaven is their future homeland”.

To help you prepare for this series, I want to encourage you in five ways:

PRAY

God’s Word is living and active and it is sufficient for us today. In his Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem states, “The sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contained all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly”.

The sufficiency of Scripture means we can answer the difficult questions in our modern context. As we prepare to look at God’s Word for these answers, take the time now to (1) pray for your heart to respond to the preaching of God’s Word, (2) repent of the sins that are hindering your Christian walk, and (3) pray for me as I preach through First Peter and answer these questions.

INVITE

Everyone wants to know what is wrong with the world. Everyone one is looking for answers and everyone is looking for hope. Invite them to sit with you during this series. But don’t just invite them, invite your skeptic co-worker who doesn’t understand why you’re content in the midst of suffering and invite your family member who thinks you have antiquated views. This is a series for everyone.

TAKE NOTES

Each week, I encourage you to take notes during the sermon. This is so you can take what you have learned and use it in your conversations throughout the week. You can also write down how the Holy Spirit is pressing into you and moving you towards a response to what you have heard from God’s Word. Find a nice notebook or purchase the First Peter ESV Scripture Journal for the series. We’ll also have our normal space on the back of the program and a pen available if you need one.

ASK QUESTIONS

Throughout this series, I’m sure you will have additional questions. That’s okay; I know I won’t be able to answer everything in the time allotted. Do not hesitate to ask me your questions. Ask me after church, send me a text, or email me and I’ll do my best to answer your question. And don’t think that your question isn’t important. If answering it helps you grow in the Gospel or helps you communicate the Gospel to someone, then I want to answer it.

ATTEND & (when you can’t) LISTEN TO THE PODACT

It’s very easy to fall into a casual mentality to attend church during the summer. The beach, the pool, and the fishing pond are all calling for us to embrace their presence, but we must stay faithful to attending our Sunday gathering each week. Don’t take a break from the gathering of God’s people. You need them and they need you. You need the preaching of God’s Word too. Satan sees the ease of summer and tries to distract God’s people with it. Don’t skip church for the pool.

I also recognize that many of you are going on a vacation during the summer. Good! Enjoy your rest, your family, and your time away. While you rejuvenate physically and mentally, do so spiritually as well. Spend more time in prayer and in the Bible. And when you do miss our gathering while you’re traveling, listen to the sermon podcast some time that week.

I’m looking forward to studying through First Peter with you this summer. I pray we are strengthened in Christ and renewed by the Holy Spirit. We are exiles living in a foreign land but we can rejoice because “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”.

By His Grace,

Pastor Matt

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