1 Peter

The Peter Principles: Peter’s Formula for Using “Spiritual” Gifts

There are four major biblical contexts that discuss what we commonly refer to as ”spiritual gifts.” In chronological order, they are 1 Corinthians 12-14, Romans 12:1-8, Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, and 1 Peter 4:10-11.

It is notable that the explanations of spiritual gifts become increasingly simple as the New Testament progresses. 1 Corinthians 12-14 provides a very detailed discussion, especially of revelatory and sign gifts. Romans 12:1-8 builds on the grounding of the previous eleven chapters, and considers how gifts contribute to the overall functioning together of the body. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians focuses in the first three chapters on how the believer comes to have every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ, and what are the implications of those blessings. In the remaining three chapters, Paul challenges believers to walk in those blessings. Throughout the letter, Paul emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Finally, in 1 Peter 4:10-11, Peter offers a very simple formula for the use of gifts and their purpose.

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Precious Knowledge - 1 Peter 1:10-12

openbibleThis sermon outline continues a series preached in 2002.

Precious Knowledge


In 1928 Alexander Fleming was doing research in the area of bacteriology. He’d been growing a bacterium called staphylococcus in a culture dish and found it had been contaminated by a mold of some kind. Taking a closer look, he discovered that the mold was killing the bacteria and did this consistently. Howard Florey and Earnst Chain learned how to extract the substance and use it as medication. It was eventually used to fight staph infections, gangrene, scarlet fever, meningitis, and more. We know it as penicillin. It was a great discovery, priceless knowledge.

Nowadays we take that discovery for granted. We don’t remember what life was like before antibiotics. It’s human nature to lose sight of the context of things we benefit from and, as a result, fail to fully appreciate them.

As Christians we even manage to get used to the gospel—especially the gospel in its totality—God’s great redemptive, gospel plan. We weren’t around in the days before this plan was known, and we slip into taking it for granted. But in the days of the apostles, the gospel plan as a complete whole was a great new discovery of sorts. It came by revelation rather than research. That makes the knowledge even more precious.

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Keep Going - 1 Peter 1:5-9

This outline continues a series preached in 2002. For the curious, these outlines don’t look much like what I actually took to the pulpit. Those notes were color coded and heavily abbreviated, usually fitting on roughly one side of a single letter-sized sheet of paper. I often found that my desire to communicate with the people in the room made it difficult to actually read complex sentences. If I was going to speak extemporaneously, the notes had to be of the sort I could take in with quick glances. Of course, if you preach the text, you always have most of your structure and content right there.

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Born Again - 1 Peter 1:3-4

This outline continues a series I preached in 2002. Due to overly sketchy notes, historical material is drawn from sources I’m now unable to identify. Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the KJV.

Born Again

I recall seeing a bumper sticker once that said “born OK the first time.” I was puzzled at first, then it clicked. The sticker was a response to all those “born again” bumper stickers that used to be so popular (1980s?). I chuckled, but then thought, “how tragically far from the truth.”

In these verses, Peter writes to remind us that though we were not born OK the first time, those who believe the gospel are born far more than “OK” the second time.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you (KJV, 1 Peter 1:3–4)

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Strangers - 1 Peter 1:1-2

Reading sermon outlines has never been one of my favorite things to do. Creating them, though, is another story. It’s therapeutic. The other day I discovered that dusting off old ones and tidying them up was a healthy exercise as well. There’s a certain amount of “preaching to yourself” involved, and who doesn’t need more of that?

We also occasionally get requests for sermon outlines at SI—and I’m pretty sure I’ve got a handful or two collecting digital dust on my hard drive.

This first installment dates from 2002, the beginning of a series preaching through 1 Peter. I like to think my later outlines are much better, after a decade of practice (and some small improvements did creep in here and there during editing). It did my heart good to ponder the truths here and I hope they will bless some of you as well.

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