The times are changing. We live in a world that is very much anti-Christian. Morality and values propagated by western society are often contrary and hostile to the truth of the Word of God. Believers are often criticized for their views and pressured to compromise on convictions. This series seeks to answer, “how do we as believers stay true to the timeless truth of the Gospel while living in a society that opposes it?” For this, we will be studying Peter’s first letter to the persecuted church of his day and seek to draw out truths that will help us in our modern times. In an age where the church is villainized, our convictions criticized, and the truth compromised, we who stand on the Gospel of Jesus Christ are ostracized—we are exiles.

By: Ian Opiniano

As we began our study in 1 Peter, we looked at the start of Peter’s encouragement to the persecuted church. We discovered that our peace in troubled times begins when we have a clear understanding of the Triune God who is the source of our peace. We learned that even the times of persecution are within the spectrum of the Father’s purposes for the believer. We also learned that trials are all part of the Spirit’s process to refine the Church. Finally, we saw how the hostility of the world towards Christians bring praise to Christ as it proves the legitimacy of His finished work in a believer’s life. Ultimately, the confidence of the believer in times of persecution is that we have a God that is intimately involved in our troubles, and who administers grace and peace in them.

By: Ian Opiniano

Continuing our study in 1 Peter, we discussed the security of a believer to know that our home in eternity is secured. In this sermon we briefly discussed the difference between the two perspectives of monogerism and synergism. We concluded that in order for salvation to be secure, it must be dependent wholly on the work of God and void of the will of man. We saw how Peter affirms this in his letter as he recalls to mind the joy encapsulated in a believer’s security amidst trying times. Peter reminds his readers that we have a living hope, a salvation that is contingent on Christ and His resurrection. We learned that we could also rejoice because our inheritance is immutable; unchanging because God is unchanging and He is the one who is guarding it. Finally, we discussed how our salvation is ready to be revealed; completed by the finish work of Jesus on the cross and in the grave. All these, Peter points to as reasons for a believer to rejoice, and reminds us that even if the world is not safe for us believers, we can rest assured that heaven has been secured for us.

By: Ian Opiniano

As we continue our study in 1 Peter, we looked at the disposition of saving faith. Peter in his letter to the persecuted Church praises the sincerity of faith that believers had in the midst of trials. He exhorts believers by saying that the outcome of this genuine faith is “the salvation of your souls.” In this we find that saving faith requires that we have a passion for Christ; it is when the Gospel goes from mere head knowledge and penetrates the heart that sincere faith emerges. We also learned that genuine faith requires a persuasion towards Christ in that we must fully be convinced that Jesus is the only way to the Father, the bedrock of truth, and the only life worth pursuing. Finally, Peter reminds us that sincere faith results in us finding pleasure in the Lord; it is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s salvific work in us when we begin to desire after the things of God. As simple as the Gospel call is—salvation through faith alone, in Christ alone—faith must be sincere. In a world that requires tangibility for security, we are a people called to walk with sincere faith, and not by sight.

By: Ian Opiniano

The Gospel is the overarching narrative of all human history. As we continued our study in 1 Peter, we saw how Peter utilizes the history of the Gospel as a means to encourage believers living in persecution. Peter brings to mind the historical implications of the Gospel and ties believers to a credible faith that has been tested by time. He also points to the supernatural implications of the Gospel; God’s sovereign hand weaving the Gospel throughout history, connecting prophets separated by hundreds of years and fulfilling prophecies. Finally, Peter reminds the persecuted church that the Gospel is for us—the Church. God orchestrated the events of history in order to save the Church. Understanding how God’s salvific work has been the backdrop of all creation, believers ought to be encouraged to know that even when the world rages against the things of God, it can never overcome God’s purposes and will for His Church. This tapestry of grace woven throughout time is what even angels long to see.

By: Ian Opiniano

What does it mean to be holy in world that pressures believers to conform? In this continuation of our Exiles series, we looked at Peter’s charge to believers to be holy as God is holy. We saw how holiness begins by thinking differently; uninfluenced by the world, and thinking with the mind of Christ. We also learned how holiness requires that we behave differently by conducting ourselves with the fear of the Lord. In order to be different from the world, we must practice what unbelievers practice—a reverential fear of God. Finally, in order to be holy we must live a life of gratitude, recalling to mind the good news of Jesus Christ and what His sacrifice has afforded us believers. All of these principles tell us that holiness is not simply about what we do externally, it must first manifest itself internally. For unless it does it will merely be hypocrisy; a discrepancy between what we do externally and who we are internally. Believers, be holy as God is holy.

By: Ian Opiniano

The Bible says that the flesh is like grass—here one day and gone the next. With that in mind, believers are called to live with intentionality, not wasting the time we have in this life. As we continued our study in 1 Peter, we learned that the way we live intentional lives is by loving one another with sincerity. The Bible tells us to put away the sin that we commit against our neighbor, and to love with a sincere brotherly love. We were also reminded that because life is short, we are to live with urgency; we do not know when this life will end for anyone, therefore we must communicate the Gospel at every opportunity. Finally, to live intentionally we must long for maturity; not complacent in our journey with God but intentionally pursuing spiritual growth. Life is like grass—here for only a moment, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ is eternal. Therefore, as partakers of this good news, we ought to live lives that proclaim this good news.

By: Ian Opiniano

Continuing our study in 1 Peter, we discussed the priesthood of the saints and what it entails for those who are found in Christ. We drew comparison from the Levitical priesthood and saw similarities in description but a difference in application. We saw how the priesthood that believers are called to is not exclusive to a specific people group or tribe, but because God has adopted us into His family, believers accompany us from every tribe and tongue. In addition to this, believers no longer have to practice the many cleansing rituals of the Levitical priesthood because Christ has fulfilled the law and imputes His righteousness on to us. Therefore, believers can approach the throne of grace with confidence knowing that we are accepted by a Holy God. Finally, the greatest difference between the old priesthood and the new, is that believers have complete access to God. No longer do we need an earthly or heavenly mediator other than Jesus our high priest to mediate on our behalf. In a world that is looking for answers and a way to God, we who are called to the priesthood of the believer serve to point the lost to our great high priest—Jesus Christ.

By: Ian Opiniano

As we continued our Exiles series, we discussed the topic of suffering. No one likes to experience any severity of suffering, but as we understand from God’s word, suffering can be subjective to the believer; we can perceive God’s purpose and our sanctification in it. We learned from Peter that suffering is a calling and that we must endure suffering even from those who oppress us, for it demonstrates God’s grace—suffering must be equitable to all. In addition to this, the way we suffer must echo the Savior’s suffering in that we must not repay evil for evil. We must, like Christ entrust suffering to God in faith, knowing that He sees the difficulty of our circumstances and is able to provide sufficient grace to us in our times of need. Suffering in all its severity can be subjective with the Savior in mind, and for the believer, results in God’s glory and our good.

By: Ian Opiniano

Gender and it’s definition is a topic that is highly debated in today’s society, and with everything the Church must abide by Biblical truth on the matter. As we continued our study in 1 Peter, we unpacked the Apostles charge to both men and women with the hopes of understanding God’s design for the two genders. The first principle we examined is that we must view both genders with equal honor and not empower hostility. In a world where women are being empowered at the cost of degrading men, or masculinity is built on the premise of objectifying women, the Church must give equal honor to both sides in accordance to Scripture. We must also view the genders for their eternal value not external vanity; what should identify us is not what we possess externally but what God has cultivated internally. Finally we must recognize the exclusive aspects that God has designed in both men and women, and not exchange the attributes as per the norm of the world. God has designed men and women with specific attributes that complement each other and work together to bring Him glory. Men and women are both image-bearers of God, and therefore our treatment of the opposite gender should be one of honor, and responsibility, NOT hostility and rivalry.

By: Ian Opiniano

Like in many things, the world has a different focus when it comes to what it means to be “blessed”. From material possessions, to worldly pleasures, blessings are often associated with “having” as opposed to “lacking”. Yet what we see in Scripture is that blessing has to do more with how we perceive rather than what we possess. In this continuation of our Exiles series, we looked at what it truly means to be blessed and how to receive a blessing. We discovered that we can bless others by how we regard them in love; what better way to bless than with unmerited, unconditional and unexpected love—especially to our enemies. We also learned that there is blessing when we restrain our tongue; instead of speaking evil our silence can be a demonstration of mercy. Finally, if we want to see blessings in our lives, we must pursue righteousness, for a life of righteousness leads to a life of flourishing. We are called to be a blessing and to obtain a blessing, yet not in the sense of having materially but rather lacking nothing spiritually.