In The Midst

Part One      Part Two      Part Three      Part Four


Part 1

This week we are looking at Peter’s first letter. The verses we consider point God’s people to live distinct lives full of love and hope – or as Peter says, be holy, love deeply and show God’s goodness.

Engage with God’s Word

Consider 1 Peter 1:1-16, 1 Peter 1:22, 1 Peter 2:9 & John 8:32.

Discuss

  1. 1 Peter 1:1 talks of foreigners in the provinces. What is your understanding of the term ‘foreigners’?
  2. Is being holy something you strive for? Is it something you consciously think about?
  3. Loving deeply is a feeling, but what does it mean in practical terms?
  4. Do these verses alter your understanding of ‘loving deeply’? How?
  5. Have you ever considered yourself to be chosen and known? What does that mean to you?
  6. How does understanding you are known and chosen reposition holiness, loving deeply and showing the goodness of God in your life?

Respond

A light reading of these verses could lead a person to feel they need to be more, feel more and do more, but when we consider verse two we are repositioned. Instead of needing to be, feel and do more, we find ourselves in a place of being known and chosen; a place where we can follow God’s leading and respond accordingly. Where is God at work in your life, and how are you responding to Him?

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Part 2

The Apostle Peter wrote his two letters to the early church as they were facing a time of persecution and suffering for their faith at the hands of the Roman empire. Peter wanted to encourage the early believers to stand strong in a time of opposition, and to help them see God at work despite the challenges. In many ways we are seeing a similar social trend towards this scenario in our society today.

Engage with God’s Word

Consider 1 Peter 1:6-7 & 1 Peter 3:8-18.

Discuss

  1. When have you experienced a level of persecution for what you believe? Share.
  2. “Civic totalism is where the individual person loses their rights to their personal beliefs as civic authorities exercise pressure against them to seek to realign their beliefs with ‘progressive’ social standards.” How can we respond in a Godly way to this reality?
  3. Read 1 Peter 1:6-7. How might pressure from modern civic totalism refine your faith?
  4. Some traditional moral and biblical views today can be seen as immoral in the society that we live in. What can we do to uphold Christian values?
  5. Read 1 Peter 3:13-14. Why might these verses be seen as a warning for us today? How can they encourage us?
  6. Read 1 Peter 3:15. How does this verse help to refine our methodology of mission today? How can we best personally share our faith in a disarming way?

Respond

As we look across the pages of history we quickly recognise the reality that the more the Church has been persecuted, the more the message of the gospel has spread. While we may feel uncomfortable in the face of opposition in our society today, with increased pressure being placed upon our faith, God can use this time for the expansion of His Kingdom.
Take a moment to pray for each other and encourage one another towards the opportunities that God will open for us in our modern times.

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Part 3

We live in a world that can magnify and even celebrate the negative news and ungodly social attitudes that are prevalent around us. Yet as God’s adopted children we are given an awesome opportunity to reflect the love and grace of Jesus in our broken world. To do this we need to have a mindset that is reflective of our identity in Jesus, one that demonstrates positivity in the midst.

Engage with God’s Word

Consider 1 Peter 2:9-17.

Discuss

  1. Peter writes that God’s people are “chosen” and “a royal priesthood”. What does this mean to you? How does it affect your identity?
  2. What is a practical way to demonstrate love to another person who holds an opposing viewpoint, belief or lifestyle to you? Is this difficulty? Why/ why not?
  3. To be a light in the world requires grace. Discuss.
  4. Read 1 Peter 2:13-14. How do you understand the terms “to submit” and “to obey” in regard to civil law and God’s law? What can you do if a civil law contravenes a biblical or ethical principle? Have you ever faced this dilemma? How did you respond?
  5. How do you understand the ‘permissive will’ and the ‘sovereign will’ of God when really negative things happen to you?
  6. What does living positively for God look like for you?

Respond

If we are to be a reflection of Jesus in our workplace, school and neighbourhood we need to live a life of grace that shows this as a reality. What is one step you can take this week to grow in the area of living a life that demonstrates positivity?

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Part 4

In the age of social media it’s all too easy to define personal identity via a selfie on Facebook or a highlights story on Instagram. But in the midst of our image-obsessed world, it’s important to remember who we are not, who we were, who we are and why we exist. As followers of Jesus we can acknowledge we are chosen, know that we have changed and be confident that we will continue to change as we live out our identity in Christ and reflect God’s story of transformation.

Engage with God’s Word

Consider 1 Peter 2:6-9 and Hebrews 10:35-39.

Discuss

  1. When have you shared the praises of God? What does it mean for you to declare the ‘praises of God’?
  2. Sharing the praises of God can remind us of how we were. Discuss a way you were and how you have changed.
  3. In what ways do you have confidence in God? Where do you think God may want to help you grow in confidence, or lean in to Him further?
  4. How do you see yourself? Is Jesus front and centre in your day to day life? If not, why not?

Respond

Understanding who we are not, who we were and who we are can help us understand why we exist. We are made to lean into God, to praise Him and to persevere in Him. Discuss what you feel God is saying about your purpose, and what He is asking you to do in response.

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