Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 54
I Peter 1:1 – 2:14 – Part 2
Now let’s pick up where we left off in the last lesson, and I think we’re going to start chapter 2. Now this next series of verses here in I Peter are so applicable even for you and I in the Age of Grace. And even though I’ve been stressing that these little Jewish letters here at the back of your Bible are written primarily to Jewish believers of the Kingdom economy, there are so many things in here that overlap. So we in the Church Age can glean some things from these writings, and here are a few.
I Peter 2:1
“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,” Does that apply to us? Well, I don’t see why not. Absolutely it’s appropriate. If we’re going to have a viable group of believers, then you certainly cannot be undercutting one another with gossip and envying and so forth.
I Peter 2:2
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may (what?) grow thereby:” Now, you see, here’s a comparison that fits perfectly with the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians, chapter 3. Let’s move back there a minute. Here, Paul uses the same analogy of milk. Now, of course, scriptural milk is simply the simple things, the elementary. But, God doesn’t want us to stay on the simple. He wants us to go into the deep things of Scripture. And I think that’s where Christendom as a whole has failed. The leaders have never given people anything more than milk.
All right, I Corinthians chapter 3? Verse 1 and this is what Paul writes to this Gentile congregation.
I Corinthians 3:1-3a
“And I brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, (people who have matured) but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. (notice it’s the same language that Peter is using) 2. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, (that is the meat part of Scripture) neither yet now are ye able (to take deep, meat Scripture. Why?) 3. For ye are yet carnal:…” Now the Corinthians were all hung up on going to law and court with one another and arguing over who was the greatest – Apollos or Paul or Peter or Christ. And so they were still very carnal instead of getting into a love for one another and getting into the Word and growing spiritually. So what Paul had to use was the analogy of milk to make them understand.
I Corinthians 3:3
“For (he says) ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” All right now Peter is dealing with the same kind of a situation amongst the Jewish believers. Now come back with me to I Peter chapter 2. So he uses the same analogy that they were to desire the simple things, but for goodness sakes, don’t stay on milk, move on. Even in the physical. What is a sadder dilemma than to have some little infant that never grows beyond the milk?
And you know there is such a thing? We had a couple stop the other day who were asking us for prayer for someone. They’d just had a child and they were worried that it may have had a disease that was generations back on one side or the other. And several generations back these folks had had a little infant and, for 14 years, the child never went beyond infancy. Normal in every respect but remained an infant. Well, that’s awful. Heartbreaking! But, you see, this is most Christians. Most believers never go beyond infancy and God’s heart must just break. How He longs to see the believer grow spiritually, just like we like to see a child grow physically. .
You know, I’ve got grandkids and they’re in that fast growing spurt and boy they come in almost every other week, and say, “Look Grandpa, I’ve grown another half-inch!” Well, you see that’s what you want. But how many believers can do that. They just never get beyond infancy with the Word of God. All right, so Peter is admonishing even these Jewish believers:
I Peter 2:2-4
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (don’t remain an infant) 3. If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious.”
All right, now I’ve got to stop there a minute don’t I? We’re not going to take time to chase down all the Scriptures but I think most of you now know those Scriptures I’m speaking of. For example, you go all the way back to Exodus and when Moses struck the rock, Who was the Rock? Christ! And so He was the Rock that gave out living water. Well, you move on up through the Scriptures and you get to Daniel, and Daniel tells us that through his vision (as he could see all the great empires that were coming upon the earth) there was this huge image of a man. The head of gold was Babylon. The next part of the image, the silver, was the Medes and Persians. And the next part was the brass, the Greeks. And then the legs of iron were the Roman Empire and then the ten toes, iron and clay (which will be the Revived Roman Empire that is getting stronger even as we speak). Then the next verse says what?“He saw a huge stone cut out without hands, crushed all vestige of those empires, until they became dust.” Who was the stone cut out without hands? The returning Christ.
The stone that crushes the empire at His Second Coming. Well then, you have the analogy in the Psalms of “the stone that was set aside of the builders.” Well now, in imagery, it was beautiful. And I’m sure it was just a legend that was brought about, but the legend was speaking of when they were building the Temple at which there was not a sound of a hammer. All the cutting of those stones was done at a distance. And then the quarry men would send the stones as they were needed, as the building was rising. Well, as the story goes, to make a good scriptural application, the quarry men sent the headstone of the corner long before they were ready for it. So what did the builders do? Well, they just kicked it off into the weeds and almost forgot about it. But that very same headstone of the corner then in imagery became the stumbling block of the Jew over which they stumbled because they couldn’t recognize Who He was. So all through Scripture we have over and over the picturing of Christ as “the stone.”
Then, of course, when we get to Paul’s writings in I Corinthians chapter 3, he becomes the headstone of our foundation. He is the “Rock” of our cornerstone, or however you want to put it. He is the foundation of the Church.
I Corinthians 3:11
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” And so all through Scripture we have this analogy of Christ as a Rock or as a Stone. All right, now Peter is coming back to it and he says in verse 6:
I Peter 2:6
“Wherefore also it is contained in the scriptures, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, (speaking of Christ as He presented Himself to the Nation of Israel) elect, precious: (in other words, Christ was the chosen One of God to bring about the salvation of, not just Israel, but, the whole human race) and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” And I think maybe if you were to go in to the translations, a better word would be disappointed rather than confounded. Now read it in that light and I don’t think I’m doing any violence to the text. “That he that believeth on him (Christ as the Stone) shall not be disappointed.”
Have you ever stopped to think how many millions and millions of people are going to go out into eternity and suddenly be disappointed. Oh, they think they’ve done everything that needs to be done. They think they’re going to make it, but when life ends on this earth and they find themselves in the wrong place, what a disappointment. In fact, I just shared with a group while we were at a seminar last week about a book written by a Lutheran theologian on the Flood. And I think his name was Rehwinkel if I remember correctly. But he gave this analogy, and I’ve used it over the years. I think it’s beautiful.
He said that for 120 years, Noah and the three sons were building the ark. But they must have had other people come in to help them with all the work entailed in building that huge ark. And so for 120 years Noah’s friends and neighbors worked with him on the ark. But when the flood came, did they go in? No. They thought he was crazy. Then, this Dr. Rehwinkel made this analogy. He said, “Isn’t that true of the church? How many people are just as busy working in the church as these builders on the ark; they’re singing in the choir, they’re Sunday School teachers, they’re church officers. But when eternity stares them in the face, they’re outside.”
And the reason these people will be left outside is – They have never truly believed in their heart Paul’s Gospel of salvation that Jesus died for their sins and your sins, was buried, and rose again! My how sad that is. But the ones that have will never be disappointed.
I Peter 2:7a
“Unto you therefore which believe…” See, now here Peter is close to Paul again isn’t he? It’s faith. For these Jews who believed Who Jesus was, and indeed the One they crucified, was the Christ. That’s what they were to believe. And then, of course, the benefits of the Cross were imputed unto them. When you go back into the Old Testament economy, and what prompted what I said earlier that I can’t put my thumb on their salvation experience – they didn’t believe that Christ would die on a Roman Cross, and be raised from the dead. They hadn’t even heard of such a thing. But, when they believed what God told them to believe, then all the merits of the Cross were put to their account.
Well, it’ll be the same way in the Tribulation. When these 144,000 Jews go out and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom again (which was basically what we were all talking about, that Jesus was the Christ and He’s coming to set up His Kingdom), they’re not going to believe in a death, burial and resurrection for salvation. They’re going to believe Who Jesus was. But, the merit of the Cross is what will be imputed to their necessity.
So, yes, the Cross is central to everything – even though they didn’t all believe in that per se, as we do in our Gospel of Grace. So always remember that, even though people did not understand that Christ would die on a Roman Cross and be raised from the dead, the merit of that work of the Cross is still put to their account.
I Peter 2:8a
“And a stone of stumbling,…” That’s why I went back to the legend, that when they laid the cornerstone aside, they didn’t know what to do with it. Then, later on, it became a stone of stumbling – that’s exactly what Israel did. He came and they didn’t know what to do with Him. And so they cast Him aside and they crucified Him. But He became then also the Stone of stumbling, reading on.
I Peter 2:8b
“…and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word,…” That’s millions, if not billions, of people who stumble at the Word of God:
I Peter 2:8c
“…being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” In other words, they had every opportunity to understand and believe. Remember, Peter is speaking to these Jews of this day and time, shortly after the crucifixion. Now I’m talking in terms of the crucifixion at 29 AD. Peter is probably writing somewhere between 50 and 60 AD – and so these are Jewish believers who still had that connection to the Jerusalem church of Acts chapter 2. All right, and so he says:
I Peter 2:9a
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;…” Paul doesn’t use those words, but you know what? Come back with me to Exodus 19 and you’ll see, when God is speaking to Moses, they’ll just jump off the page. The same words. Exodus 19. And see this is what makes Bible study so gloriously interesting. The Nation of Israel is gathered around Mount Sinai and he’s up in the mountain. All right, and so God says to Moses:
“Now therefore, if ye (the Nation of Israel) will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure….” Same word in Peter! Now flip back and forth so you’ll know what I’m talking about. Flip back to Peter again, “ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.” Now the word peculiar doesn’t mean odd. It means of intrinsic value. All right, back to Exodus.
“…then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: (He’s Sovereign, He can do what He wants) 6. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of(what?) priests,…” Now flip back to Peter. And what does Peter say? “A royal priesthood, A holy nation.” Back to Exodus. See just back and forth. It’s the only way you can compare. Now in Exodus again.
“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation, These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” And Peter is claiming that very same thing now to these Jews. You are now in fulfillment of what God was telling Moses. You’re to be a royal priesthood. You’re to be a holy, set apart, nation. And you’re to be a peculiar people. You are to be of intrinsic value. All right, now back to I Peter and we’ll continue on.
I Peter 2:9b
“…that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” Now I’m going to show you how Jesus used those same words. Now come back to John’s Gospel, chapter 3 and let’s begin with verse 19. And, again, we’ve got Christ dealing with Israel, not with the world in general – Israel. If you remember earlier this afternoon, we were back in chapter 1 and it said, “and this is that Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” But here in John 3, Jesus is directing it only to the Nation of Israel.
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21. But he that doeth truth (in other words, again believes Who Jesus really is) cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” Why? Because he’s going to be a different person. His deeds are not going to be evil. Now they’re going to be Godly in their character. All right, so now if you’ll come back to I Peter chapter 2. And so you have all these comparisons of God dealing with the Nation of Israel, previously, and Peter is just simply rehearsing it.
I Peter 2:9a
“But ye (as he speaks to these Jewish believers) are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,…” Because, after all, once they were to get into the Tribulation and into the Kingdom, what were they to become? Priests to all the pagan world around them. That hadn’t yet been changed. That was still part of the Old Testament economy that the Jew would become the evangelists. Now, of course, with the incoming of the Age of Grace and Israel set aside, they’ve lost that opportunity – but at this point in time, when Peter is writing to them, this was still out in front of them, that they could be a holy nation of priests.
I Peter 2:9b-10a
“…an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God:…” Now, I don’t know what point in time Peter was referring to. If you want to go back to before they became a nation in Egypt, that’s all right. Or you can go back to a time when they had almost rebelled completely against God, and the Shekinah Glory had left the Temple. But they had, as a nation of people, not been the people of God but now these groups of believers. Peter is saying as we finish the verse.
I Peter 2:10b
“…which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” In other words, as a result of their faith, they were now part and parcel, again, of being in God’s covenant promises. All right, now verse 11.
I Peter 2:11-12a
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you (I beg you) as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12. Having your conversation (or your manner of living) honest among the Gentiles;…” So what does that tell you? These were Jews that he was writing to and Peter is admonishing, “Don’t let the Gentiles look at you and say, ‘I wouldn’t want to be like that.’” Well, what’s the application today? That’s where we are. That’s how we are to behave. We’re to behave in such a way that the lost world around us will never point the finger and say, “I’d hate to be like that. I’m not crooked in business like they are. I don’t take advantage of the poor like they do.” Remember, the Jews had been pretty guilty of that. The Old Testament prophets condemned them for it – that they ignored their widows and that they took advantage of the disadvantaged. Well, Peter is saying basically the same thing. Maintain a testimony that the world of Gentiles cannot ridicule.
I Peter 12b-14
“…that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (in other words, I think he’s referring to when Christ would return) 13. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man, for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, (that is the Roman king) as supreme: 14. Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”
Come back to Romans 13 and see how Paul addresses the same thing. Godly men – whether it’s of the Jewish persuasion or whether it’s us in the Church Age – that part is not all that different. We are still to behave the same way, as believers, as Peter admonishes those Jews in the midst of all that Roman persecution. Romans 13 – this is Paul’s approach.
“Let every soul (or every individual) be subject unto the higher powers. (now that’s not God power, that’s government power) For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God, 2. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, (that is of government) resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”God has placed us under our government for the purpose of being obedient to it, and, if you resist the government, you shall receive to yourselves condemnation. Now verse 3.
“For rulers (government) are not a terror to good works, (if it is working the way it should be) but (a good government should be a terror) to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:” In other words, if you’re a good citizen and we’ve got good government, they should be able to recognize it. And I think it carries all the way through our daily experience. And you can just read on here and see how it’s suppose to take place.
“For he (government) is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid;…”
Absolutely. Government is to punish if we act evil; but if we are as we should be, we should never have to fear the punishment of government.