1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
This morning and onwards (if the Lord wills) I will be writing about another General Epistle which is 1 Peter. It is written of course by none other than the Apostle Peter. He was the spokesman and the leader among the Lord’s Apostles. Thought by the Pharisees to be unlearned, he wrote two NT epistles, known as the 1 and 2 Peter. The key word to this short epistle is “suffering” which is mentioned at least fifteen times. Interestingly, this epistle is addressed to “Strangers Scattered” which would be a topic for today.
I. The word “Stranger”.
A. The Greek word “parepidemos” is translated in English as an alien alongside, i.e. a resident foreigner:—pilgrim.
B. Webster define stranger as: A foreigner; one who belongs to another country. Paris and London are visited by strangers from all the countries of Europe.
C. Thayer defines the word.
1. “one who comes from a foreign country into a city or land to reside there of the side of the natives
2. “a stranger”
3. “sojourning in a strange place, a foreigner”
4. “in the NT metaphorically in reference to heaven as the native country, one who sojourns on earth:
II. The word “Scattered”
A. The Greek word is “diaspora”
B. dispersion, i.e. the (converted) Israelite resident in Gentile countries:—(which are) scattered (abroad).
C. The word “dispersion” refers back to the captivity of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 772 BC by Assyria. In 586 BC the Southern Kingdom (Judah and Benjamin) went into captivity. In AD 70, General Titus destroyed Jerusalem. Many in were Israel dispersed throughout the Roman world.
D. Thayer defines it as: a scattering dispersion
1. Of Israelites dispersed among foreign nations.
2. Of the Christians scattered abroad among the Gentiles.
III. To whom the Epistle is written
A. Some say it was written to the whole body of Christians in the region mentioned both Jews and Gentiles. (Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia)
B. The places mentioned here by Peter were churches in provinces located to modern day Turkey.
C. Christians in these provinces are going through great persecutions by Nero.
D. I honestly believe that Peter by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is writing to all Christians whether they are Jews or Gentiles.
E. So we can say that Christians are just strangers, or sojourners here on earth. We are pilgrims here.
F. Our citizenship is in heaven, and we have a heavenly home. (Phil. 3:20, Jn. 14:2)
IV. Some thoughts of being a Pilgrim here
A. Our life here on earth as Christians is only temporary.
B. This world is not our home. We are merely pilgrims, travellers, or strangers passing through this world.
C. Everything in this life is transitory. Our jobs, our properties, friends, career, etc.
D. We are like Abraham and other members of the” Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16.
E. Christians have standards and values different from those of the world, and this gives opportunity both for witness and for spiritual warfare.
F. We will discover in this epistle that some of the readers were experiencing suffering because of their different lifestyle.
V. Our responsibility as “Strangers” here on earth.
A. As Christians, God has given us deeper spiritual attachment than allegiance to our native country or to our worldly life. We are on the world but not of the world (Jn. 17:16)
B. We are not to look at the things that are seen but on the things that are not seen (2
C. We must win souls for Christ. (Prov. 11:30)
D. We must live a holy life (Rom. 12:1)
E. We must live a “separated life”. David Cloud clearly writes that there were three types of separation in the NT
1. The Christian is to practice Moral Separation-separation from sin and worldliness.
2. Doctrinal Separation-separation from those whose teaching and practice is contrary to that of the apostles;
3. Practical Separation-separation from brethren who are committed to disobedient paths.
Illustration: Separation from the Unclean Thing
The doctrine of separation from “the unclean thing” is neglected today by professing Christians, but it is still here in God’s Word. The context indicates that Paul is warning against Christians being “unequally yoked together with unbelievers” and urging us to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (II Cor. 6:14, 7:1).Such separation does not mean having no contact at all with unbelievers, “for then must ye needs go out of the world” (I Cor. 5:10), whereas Jesus commanded: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). He also prayed to the Father “not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil” (John 17:15).
He does demand, however, that we not compromise with unbelief or with the unclean thing. We are “born again” into the family of God through simple faith in the person and saving work of Christ, but the full manifestation and fellowship of our relation with the heavenly Father as His spiritual sons and daughters is evidently, in this passage, conditioned on the vital principle of separation from all unbelief and filthiness of the flesh, with Jesus as our example (Heb. 7:16).
We are specially warned to “turn away” from those who, “having a form of godliness,” yet attempt to accommodate the naturalistic viewpoint of modern scientism within the Scriptures, thus “denying the power thereof” (II Tim. 3.5). “Be ye separate, saith the Lord.”
Do you see yourself as a pilgrim or a stranger here on earth? Do you live a separate life different from the worldly or carnal people around you? Do you look and long for a
heavenly home which is our final destination as Christians? Do you serve Christ and win souls for Him? Do you consider yourself stranger scattered?