‘A New Thing’ Class — Peter, Thames Valley churches of Christ, February 2024

Apostle of hope – there is always hope for a new ‘new thing’


  • Peter’s life is an inspiring example of how God does not lose hope in us, and we do not need to lose hope in God
  • Whatever happens on our discipleship journey, God is always ready to grant us a new ‘new thing’.
  1. Peter’s start
  • ““Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.” (Luke 5:8-11 NRSV)
  • ““Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.”” (Mark 8:27-29 NRSV)

2. Peter’s fall

  • ““Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about!” At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:59-62 NRSV)

3. Peter’s restoration

  • “But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.”” (Mark 16:7 NRSV)
  • “Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”” (John 21:18-19 NRSV)

4. Peter’s mission

  • “In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said,” (Acts 1:15 NRSV)
  • “But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them,” (Acts 2:14 NRSV)
  • “when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticised him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying,” (Acts 11:2-4 NRSV)
  • “The apostles and the elders met together to consider this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them,” (Acts 15:6-7 NRSV)

What does the story of Peter teach us?

  1. Imperfect disciples are accepted: “the other Jews joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.” (Galatians 2:13 NRSV)
  2. Imperfect disciples grow: Only perfect disciples do not need to grow!
  3. Imperfect disciples do ‘new things’
  4. Imperfect disciples are used by God
  5. Imperfect disciples get to heaven

“Peter is preeminently the apostle of hope, as Paul is the apostle of faith and John of love.” Weirsbe, Warren, Be Hopeful – commentary on 1 Peter
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed.
Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.
It was in this way long ago that the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves by accepting the authority of their husbands.
but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you;” (1 Peter 1:3, 13, 21; 3:5, 15 NRSV)

  • Hope does not disappoint (Rom 5.5)
  • Our hope is in God and Christ, not ourselves”It is not the fact of life that determines hope, but the faith of life.” Weirsbe, Warren, Be Hopeful – commentary on 1 Peter
  • Therefore we have the courage to embrace new things sent from God
  • We become people who ‘stand up’, ready to be counted”This confident hope gives us the encouragement and enablement we need for daily living. It does not put us in a rocking chair where we complacently await the return of Jesus Christ. Instead it puts us in the marketplace, on the battlefield, where we keep on going when the burdens are heavy and the battles are hard. Hope is not a sedative; it is a shot of adrenaline, a blood transfusion. Like an anchor, our hope in Christ stabilises us in the storms of life (Heb 6.18-19), but unlike an anchor, our hope moves us forward, it does not hold us back.” Weirsbe, Warren, Be Hopeful – commentary on 1 Peter
  • What stands out to you from Peter’s story?
  • How would you assess the quality of your hope at the moment?
  • How would you assess the quality of hope within your local group at the moment?
  • What would help you to develop a stronger hope?
  • How would a stronger hope help you to embrace the ‘new thing’ that God is revealing to you and your church?

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm