There was once a time when God’s people were scattered. And certain limitations prevented them from seeing each other. And they didn’t know how long it would last. And everybody was kind of upset about it. And people started to wonder what was going on. And everyone just wanted things to go back to how they used to be. Sound familiar? It may seem like I was talking about Winfield in 2020, but I’m actually describing Christians in the First Century when the book of 1 Peter was written. The first five words Peter wrote describe the people who would receive this letter: “To God’s elect, exiles scattered” (1 Peter 1:1a). So what happened to those people? And what did Peter – perhaps Jesus’ closest friend and the guy who’s mouth usually got him in trouble – want to say to these scattered Christians? What words could he possibly write to help encourage, challenge and give direction to God’s people in such a crazy time? That’s exactly what we’ll be looking at this Sunday – and the next several Sundays – as I begin a new sermon series on the book of 1 Peter.
Not to spoil anything, but Peter gets right to his message, and it can be summed up in one word: grace. “Grace and peace be yours in abundance” he writes in verse two. The rest of the letter is some comforting words on the grace that reaches out even into the farthest places and also ways in which we should respond to this grace. It’s comforting. It’s challenging. And it is incredibly applicable to what we’ve been experiencing lately. I’m often amazed at how words that were written almost 2,000 years ago can be so relevant to our world today. But that is the power of God’s Word, and here we are yet again. My hope is that this deep dive into one of the smaller books of the Bible will also help us in this wild ride that we’re experiencing as a society. So join us this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Since we started our online-only services four weeks ago we’ve seen our viewer numbers increase every single week. Let’s keep it going! Invite your friends, neighbors, coworkers and Facebook friends. We’re all in this together. Let’s see what God has for us this week. ‘til the storm passes by, Pastor Billy Byler