Sojourners And Exiles Living In A Foreign And Hostile Land: An Overview Sermon Of 1 Peter -- By: Juan R. Sanchez
SBJT 21:3 (Fall 2017) p. 25
Sojourners And Exiles Living In A Foreign And Hostile Land: An Overview Sermon Of 1 Peter
Juan R. Sanchez is Senior Pastor, High Pointe Baptist Church, Austin, Texas. He earned his PhD in Systematic Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also serves as Assistant Professor of Christian theology. He is the author of Seven Dangers Facing Your Church (Good Book, 2018) and 1 Peter For You (Good Book, 2016). He is also a council member of The Gospel Coalition and co-founder and president of Coalición. Dr. Sanchez is married to Jeanine, and they live in metro Austin, along with their five daughters, two sons-in-law and two grandchildren.
For ten years now, I’ve been traveling to Cuba at least once a year. On my second visit, I received an “Official Citation from the Ministry of the Interior” in Santa Clara, regarding “Immigration and Foreigners.” Much to my surprise, the office was a military installation abuzz with personnel in military uniform. After initial questioning, my friends and I were escorted to the commanding officer, a lieutenant colonel. He questioned us about the reason for our visit, then instructed us regarding what we were and were not allowed to do and where we were and were not allowed to go. Never once did we feel our safety was in question, much less that our lives were in danger, but that experience helped me understand better what many Christians face throughout the world.
When we think of persecution, we often think of what we read in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs or what we see in the news: imprisonment, torture, beheadings, and shootings. But much of the persecution in the New Testament was
SBJT 21:3 (Fall 2017) p. 26
much like what I experienced in Cuba: an oppressive government controlling its citizens, restricting religious freedoms, and discriminating against believers simply because of their allegiance to Jesus. This is the kind of persecution the Christians in Asia Minor faced when Peter wrote his first letter. Ironically, it’s not much different than the kind of persecution Christians in the West face today. As citizens of a heavenly kingdom, we live in this world as strangers and aliens. The question Peter answers in his first letter is, “How are we to endure such suffering in this world and remain faithful witnesses to our king and his kingdom?” Peter encourages our faithful endurance in the face of hostility by reminding us to rest in the salvation God has accomplished for us, remain faithful to fulfill the mission God has called us to, trace Jesus’ steps on the road marked with suffering, and stand in the Grace that God has given us. Let’s consider each of these exhortations in turn.
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