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Genuine - Faith
1 Peter 1:3–9 (NIV)
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Genuine faith is marked by
1. New birth.
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope.
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. Romans 6:4–5 (NIV)
2. Refining trials.
Proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold.
Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:75 (NIV)
3. Growing love.
Though you have not seen him, you love him and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” John 21:15 (NIV)
4. Inexpressible joy.
and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.
True joy is not a piece of, or an addendum to, the Christian life; it weaves itself into every facet of the Christian life. P. W. Marty
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. 1 Peter 1:1-2 (NIV)
Small Group Questions
CONNECT WITH GOD (Select one of the below practices to begin your small group time this week or select a practice from a previous week. This week’s practices are from Everyday Connections Year A, ed. Heidi Haverkamp.)
Alone: Read 1 Peter 1:3-9 and underline a word or phrase that especially grabs your attention. Pray from that word or phrase and ask God to help you connect to its particular invitation for you this week.
Alone: Spend 10 minutes in quiet reflection and journaling, responding to the following prompts:
- Take a quiet moment, seek our God’s presence, and pray for the guidance of the Spirit.
- Consider the past week; recall specific moments and feelings that stand out to you.
- Choose one moment or feeling for deeper examination, thanksgiving, or repentance.
- Let go, breathe deeply, and invite Christ’s love to surround and fill you in preparation for the week ahead.
- End with the Lord’s Prayer.
CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER
- As a group: Read again 1 Peter 1:3-9. For a whole context, dig into the whole passage (1 Peter 1-12).
- After you have read, reflect as a whole group on the larger context of the passage. Consider the quote below and discuss with one another:
Their Christian faith had alienated them from their neighbors, giving rise to a sense of cultural ostracism at best and more severe persecution at worst. That predicament bears similarity to the situations in which many Christian communities find themselves today, yielding a clear connection between this text and the contemporary church. Like them we ask: What does it mean to live as Easter people? What does it mean to profess Christian faith decades, even centuries removed from the resurrection? What does it mean to continue to ‘believe in Christ’…when we might be mocked or ignored for our efforts? (Beverly Zink-Sawyer)
CONNECT WITH SCRIPTURE (Read the passages and review the sermon outline. Then select the best questions or customize the questions for your group.)
- Read the main points from the sermon outline.
- What questions, observations, or reactions do you have after reflecting on the passage and sermon?
- What connections have you noticed between 1 Peter 1:3-9 and the other Scripture passages from this week’s message and outline?
- What does it mean to be given v. 3 “new birth into a living hope”?
- What challenges you about v. 6-7?
- How do you hear Peter speaking to you in even your context today?
CONNECT WITH GOD’S MISSION IN THE WORLD (Select one question/prompt below.)
- In what ways does this kind of genuine faith–both the suffering of your faith and the inheritance of a living hope–deepen your witness in your community and the world?
- Respond to the quote below:
No matter our life circumstances, trials will come along that will challenge our faith. Those trials may come because of our witness—the kinds of trials Peter is addressing—or they may become an occasion for our witness.” (Beverly Zink-Sawyer)
Pray that as we begin this new message series, we deepen our intimacy with Jesus and grow in authenticity and genuineness in our faith. We don’t have to hide our fears, our imperfections, questions, or challenges. Pray that we learn through the witness of the early church in Asian Minor how to live even now with genuine faith, hope, joy, and love no matter our circumstances.