Week 46: 1 and 2 Peter; Jude

Prepare these questions for Sunday, February 23, 2014.

After Jesus died and rose again, the disciples and other believers set out around the Mediterranean to spread the message of his life and death. Peter, the apostle and "rock upon whom" Jesus would build his church, wound up in Rome where he was eventually killed for his beliefs. Jude was one of Jesus's brothers and although we don't know as much about him, it is clear that he was also an early church leader. These books are letters (two from Peter and one from Jude) to groups of believers encouraging them to resist false teaching, keep their faith, and live out their beliefs in order to show those around them that God's love is real. Jude and 2 Peter share a lot of the same imagery so it is possible that Peter had read Jude's letter before writing his own. It was common at that time for a single letter to be passed from community to community and read by people in many places.

1. Peter's letters encourage the believers to use their relationships with non believers to reveal the love of God. Read 1 Peter 2:1-2 and 3:8-9. How could living your life by these words be an example of God's love to those around you?

2. What does Peter say about how others will treat you for choosing to live a life according to God's word? How does Peter encourage the believers to respond to these people?

3. In 2 Peter, we are given encouragement for how to live lives that glorify God and encourage others. Read 2 Peter 1:3-9. Which of these activities do you need to focus on  to "keep you from being ineffective and unproductive" in your life?

4. If you choose to live a life that follows Christ's teachings, at some point, people will make fun of you. Read 2 Peter 3:3-9. Even though we cannot always see God or His plan that does not mean that there isn't one. What reason does Peter give for God's seeming "slowness" to keep His promises?

5. Peter and Jude both warn of false teachers who will try to use the words of God to get what they want. What traits does Jude say the false teachers will have? (Jude v. 16) Have you ever encountered people who seem like they are using their faith in a way counter to God's commands and intents?

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