A Community Devotional based on 2 Peter

  Scriptures    Reference to the Importance of Community  
2 Peter 1:1-2The Apostle Peter is both a servant and a sent one. A believer is an effective “sent one” (apostle) when he or she is serving others in love. Serving others is evidence that one is a servant of God. Loving relationships bring the message to life. Peter demonstrates this throughout this letter, which as v. 2 notes, is to a community.
2 Peter 1:3God has all the power we need for life and godliness and this comes through our knowledge of Him. The Lord invites us to enjoy a personal knowing of Him, which comes out of His own glory and goodness. We’re to model this same attitude and behavior. One example of fellowship is believers inviting each other to know one another. It is life-giving to be fully loved by someone who knows you fully and it empowers us to be like Christ.
2 Peter 1:4The Lord does not invite us to know Him from a distance. To know another is more than knowing about them. As we come to more of an understanding of who He is we are told that we actually participate in His divine nature. There is a sharing of life that comes from the kind of relationships God calls us to build with Him and others. These intimate relationships guard against evil desires that invade our hearts and protect us from worldly corruption (1 john 1:6-7). This echoes Peter’s opening verses and shows the power divine community has over the power of the evil one.
2 Peter 1:7Brotherly kindness and love are hallmarks of a fruitful life in Christ. Notice the logical progression of the list starting at v. 5. Faith is the subject to which the possessor plays a part in adding divine qualities, knowledge, and habits. When these are applied to one’s life and relationships they produce a life defined by brotherly kindness and love. Fruit is authenticated when it manifests itself in these qualities.
2 Peter 1:8-9Community is necessary to being an effective and productive Christian. Knowledge is useless if it is not lived in love-filled relationships directed toward Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 13:2). Relationships allow us to apply our knowledge, which is necessary for it to be preserved and makes it powerful for life and godliness.
2 Peter 1:12-13We all need to be reminded of what we’re called to do and who we are as called out ones (cf. v.10). One of the functions of community in Christ is reminding one another of the empowering truths of God’s Word. This is one of the reasons most small groups engage in some form of Bible study/reading and discussion. Community is the context for remembering and being refreshed by the truths we hold in common. The relationships we develop in small groups help us to become more firmly rooted and steadfast in living in the truth.
2 Peter 1:15See Peter’s affection for this community! He is fully invested in this gathering of believers so much so that he makes every effort to ensure their continued spiritual growth. Peter gives us a wonderful example of a caring shepherd, which is a role that many small group leaders take on in their group. Peter, like Paul, was not an impersonal, authoritarian teacher…he was a fully-invested pastor living out the faith with those to whom he was writing. Everything was very relational, very personal, and very real (see vv. 16-17) for the apostles and so it is to be for us as leaders too.
2 Peter 1:19God’s Word is our authoritative source of truth. It gives us direction and inspires growth. Regardless of what focus a small group takes on, the Bible is its guidebook. It is a reminder that our gatherings are far more than physical ones. We gather in Jesus’ Name and we grow together because of His Presence with us.
2 Peter 1:20-21God uses people to convey His inspiration. Similarly, small groups convey the Good News as people witness the life that comes from the applied knowledge (serving and loving one another) of Christian community. When people are sensitive and obedient to the Holy Spirit their impact on present & future generations is unfathomable. This was true of the prophets, of Jesus’ small group (the Twelve), & it can be for us today.
2 Peter 2:1-3The selfishness and (v.3a, 14) and malice (v. 1b) of the false prophets & teachers bring personal and communal destruction. Their actions are the opposite of what Paul exhorts believers to do in 1 Cor 12, i.e. using ones gifts to BUILD UP the body.
2 Peter 2:19When sin masters a man it withdraws him from fellowship. It is a dehumanizing vortex that mangles the soul, trapping a person within the shamefulness of their self-defeating behavior. The Lord enables us to choose our master. In Christ, we gain power over the destructive nature of sin and entrance into a community that offers true freedom. Community in Christ is life-giving and enables us to walk in the light.
2 Peter 3:1-2After a string of sobering warnings, Peter reminds his hearers that they are his friends whom he loves. The apostle offers a living example of how we need to encourage one another to be kingdom-minded in our thinking and the way to do this is to point one another to Christ and the Scriptures.
2 Peter 3:11-13Peter encourages the community to recall the Lord’s coming as inspiration for believers to live their lives for God. Patience & endurance to do so come from recalling our future home. Our heavenly home and the act of remembering are communal by nature.
2 Peter 3:15-16Peter and Paul labored together in encouraging this community. Peter’s reference to Paul reveals respect, trust, and a personal knowing of his brother. Their ministry flowed out of their relationship with God and one another…and so does ours.
2 Peter 3:17-18Some relationships distance us from God while others help draw us closer to Him. It’s up to us the ones we choose to surround ourselves with. The community of the Spirit is God’s gift of grace to us that empowers us to grow in our relationship with Christ and live our lives in/with/for Him.

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