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|Posted on October 22, 2016 at 3:05 PM||comments (0)|
Session 9 - 1 Peter 5:5-7 – Alert Living – Day 2
1 Peter 5:5 In the same way, you younger men, be subject to the elders. And all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.
Younger people should submit to the elders/pastors of the church. As we have noted before, mutual submission among believers is critical for unity in the body of Christ. We should love and appreciate those who serve as leaders in the church.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-14 (NASB) But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.
No one in the church should think of themselves as better than any other member. We are all sinners saved by the grace of God. Peter then quotes from Proverbs 3:34. We have included that reference from two versions of the Bible to help us understand the nuances of its meaning:
Proverbs 3:34 (VOICE) God treats the arrogant as they treat others, mocking the mockers, scorning the scornful, but He pours out His grace on the humble.
Proverbs 3:34 (AMP) Though He scoffs at the scoffers and scorns the scorners, Yet He gives His grace [His undeserved favor] to the humble [those who give up self-importance].
We must come to the reality that we cannot live The Law; and we are in desperate need of Jesus, God in the flesh, and the grace He provided through His life, death, and resurrection. We must humble ourselves to receive salvation and must continue in humility to lead a victorious life through the power of the Holy Spirit.
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.
Rather than being full of pride and promoting ourselves, we are to wait upon the Lord to lift us up in His time.
Luke 14:8-11 (VOICE) Jesus: 8 Whenever someone invites you to a wedding dinner, don’t sit at the head table. Someone more important than you might also have been invited, 9 and your host will have to humiliate you publicly by telling you to give your seat to the other guest and to go find an open seat in the back of the room. 10 Instead, go and sit in the back of the room. Then your host may find you and say, “My friend! Why are you sitting back here? Come up to this table near the front!” Then you will be publicly honored in front of everyone. 11 Listen, if you lift yourself up, you’ll be put down, but if you humble yourself, you’ll be honored.
We can place all our concerns, worries, angst at the feet of Jesus and trust Him with it. We can wait on His timing as far as advancement and rest on the fact that we have already been given claim to the greatest gift of all – a forever home with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Question: Is it easy to submit to authority? Is it proper to be submissive to leaders? Even Jesus submitted to the authority of the Father while He walked on earth. Read Philippians chapter 2 to be reminded of Jesus’ example of humility and submission, the example we are to follow.
|Posted on September 26, 2016 at 1:45 PM||comments (0)|
Session 5 – 1 Peter 3:8-9 – Living in a Relationship – Day 4
1 Peter 3:8 (HCSB) Now finally, all of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, should love believers, and be compassionate and humble, 9 not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you can inherit a blessing.
What does Peter mean by “like-minded”? Believers should be working together for the common goals of spreading the Gospel, benevolence, doing good as the hands and feet of Jesus. Paul addressed this same idea in his letter to the Philippians:
Philippians 2:1-2 (NASB) Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
Being sympathetic in this verse is to have a genuine concern for the other’s situation, to be compassionate. Peter admonishes them to love other believers, to be affectionate, to have loving-kindness, to love them as brothers and sisters in the family of God. In our study of John, we learned that Jesus said our love for fellow believers would identify us as belonging to Him:
John 13:35 (NASB) By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
Like Jesus we are to put others before ourselves in humility and compassion. Reading on in Philippians 2, we see these ideas expounded upon by the Apostle Paul:
Philippians 2:3-7 (NASB) Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
Jesus chose to be wrapped in the limitations of flesh in order to serve and save us, showing us the compassion of the Father. We are to follow the example of Christ, choosing to love one another by humbling ourselves and seeking the best interests of others.
We are not to “pay back evil for evil.” We are not to take revenge because God says, “Vengeance is mine” (Romans 12:19-20). We are to bless our persecutors.
Romans 12:14 (NASB) Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Romans 12:19-21 (KJV) Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
A Susie poem to help you remember verse 21 above:
BE NOT OVERCOME BY EVIL
BUT OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD
NO MATTER HOW SOMEONE TREATS YOU
CONTINUE TO LIVE AS YOU SHOULD.
In fact, Jesus instructs us to pray for our persecutors:
Matthew 5:43-44 (NIV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…
One way we bless those who speak evil against us or insult us is to pray for them. We should pray for their salvation and maintain a positive witness to them.
Chew on This: To go deeper into the way we as Christians are to treat one another and respond to unbelievers, please read Romans 12:9-21 thoughtfully and prayerfully. Back up to Romans 12:1-2 as sacrificing your will to the will of God and being transformed by being in His word is the only way you can truly be able to obey Romans 12:9-21.
|Posted on June 7, 2016 at 8:45 PM||comments (0)|
Jesus Explains Lesson of Washing Feet
John 13:12 (ESV) When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?
Jesus asked them if they understood what had just happened. Were they thinking, “Of course we do, You washed our feet,” or were they realizing there was a deeper meaning? From Peter’s resistance, we can conclude that they thought their Master should not stoop that low. They thought it was beneath their Teacher and Lord to do a servant’s task. Since they weren’t quite grasping the full import of Jesus’ gesture, He explained it.
John 12:13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.
Jesus acknowledged that He was their leader, their chief, their Lord. The disciples believed Jesus to be their Messiah, the One they were to learn from and worship.
John 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
Jesus gave them a pattern of service to follow. He was servant-leadership personified. He explained that if He, who truly is the highest and mightiest, could humble Himself to serve them, the disciples certainly were not too good to serve one another.
John 13:16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
Jesus was truly their High Priest. If He could serve them, then they surely could serve one another. Jesus was (and is) the Master of all, and as His servants we are certainly not above Him. Therefore, we must humble ourselves to serve as He served. Service is not exclusive to the act of foot-washing. Service should be a life-style of those who believe in Jesus as their Teacher, their Lord, their Savior, their all-in-all. Service is meeting the needs of someone even if it means placing yourself in an uncomfortable or unpleasant situation. Servant leadership is being willing to work alongside those who answer to you in order to meet a common goal. Servant leadership that takes on the work no one else wants to be responsible for. It is figuring out the solution to the problem and doing what it takes to complete the task. In other words, a leader does not exist simply to “boss around” the workers. A true leader’s goal is to build up and bring out the strengths of the workers.
John 13:17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Jesus promised that those who understood His example and obeyed it would be blessed. Case in point: if you are feeling “needy,” find someone with a greater need and do something to help them. Then you will feel blessed even though your need is still there. The opposite is also true: those who do not follow the example of servanthood miss out on blessings. They exclude themselves because they are on a course of disobedience rather than obedience, serving self rather than serving Jesus and others.
John 13:18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’
Jesus knew which of the disciples truly trusted and loved Him as the Son of God and who did not. He knew whom the Father had chosen for eternal life, to be included in their heavenly family forever. Jesus also knew who would betray Him and gave the disciples information they would later remember. The betrayer would eat bread with Him.
Matthew 26:23 He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me.”
As we will see later in this chapter, Jesus handed the dipped bread directly to Judas Iscariot.
John 13:19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.
Jesus prophesied about the dipping of the bread, so that when they recalled His words, their faith would be strengthened. Jesus used the form of “I AM” that is the name of God when He said they would know that “I am He.” This would be a clear claim to equality with God the Father.
John 13:20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
Jesus would be sending His disciples out on a mission to share His teachings, His love, and the way to salvation with the world. Receiving them well would be the same as receiving Him well. Also, those who receive Jesus are receiving the Father, the One who sent Him.
The IVP New Testament Commentary:
Seen in the context of the foot-washing, this statement of the dignity of the Christian witnesses is not an expression of power and authority in any worldly sense. The one who represents Christ by bearing the same self-sacrificing love of God will meet with the same response Jesus met (cf. 15:18—16:4) but will also be the agent of the same eternal life that comes through knowledge of the Father in the Son by the Spirit. Each disciple should walk through his or her day with a consciousness of being on such a mission, which is only made possible through the closest intimacy with Jesus (15:1-17). (check out the entire commentary at www.biblegateway.com)
Jesus, God’s Son, was God’s ambassador to mankind, and as His offspring, we are Jesus’ ambassadors to the world. The disciples did not fully understand their calling as witnesses at this point in history but would recall these words when Jesus commissioned them after His resurrection.
Q – It’s not just about washing feet. Jesus “stooped down” to serve those truly beneath Him. We are to follow His example by doing things, sometimes unpleasant tasks, for others. The washing of the disciples’ feet was of course a lessor example than Jesus’ dying on the cross as the replacement for those who truly deserved to die. Jesus suffered and DIED for us. Are we willing to lay aside our pride and serve others for Him? Even if it makes us uncomfortable? Even if we have to get dirty? Even if society sees it as stooping too low? We cannot stoop lower than our Master stooped for us. There is no lower place than the humiliation of the cross.
|Posted on June 5, 2016 at 9:50 PM||comments (0)|
Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet
John 13:1 (ESV) Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
Jesus knew that His time had almost finally come. Being God, He knew what He was facing and that His method of death would be excruciating, both physically and spiritually. It would be humiliating to be crucified because the Old Testament said to be hung on a tree was to be cursed. Unlike the paintings of the Lord on the cross, people were crucified completely naked, another embarrassing humiliation. His humiliation, pain, and degradation was all worth it to Him for the sparing of those who would believe, those He loved, in order to save them from sin. Although their sin and ours would nail Him to the tree, He continued to love His disciples to the end.
John 13:2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him,
God the Father sovereignly gave the devil freedom to influence Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. Judas chose to give in to that temptation of his own will.
John 13:3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.
Jesus was completely aware of who His Father was and where He had come from. He was equally aware that after the ordeal of the cross, He would arise victoriously from the dead and return to His Father’s side to be glorified. Knowing this, Jesus humbly took on the role of a servant by laying aside His outer garments and tying a towel around His waist. Jesus did not wield His power to conquer Rome and set up an earthly kingdom. Jesus’ strength was demonstrated in humility. Jesus laid aside His power as God to fulfill the requirements of the cross, but first He laid aside His dignity and right to have everyone bow down to Him as Lord in order to lower Himself to the floor to take on the role of a servant.
Philippians 2:6-7a (ESV) …who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant…
Jesus was preparing to perform a duty usually carried out by the lowliest servant of the household. He was being the portrait of a servant-leader.
John 13:5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
The disciples wore sandals and walked just about everywhere they went. Their feet would have been dusty, grimy, calloused, and stinky. Yet Jesus was methodically, carefully, tenderly washing their feet. He gave them a much needed foot bath. A host usually ordered a servant to provide this welcomed service to His guests. But Jesus, the host and their master, performed this courtesy Himself.
John 13:6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”
Peter questioned whether the Lord really intended to wash his feet. Jesus expressed that it might not make sense to Peter at that time, but later it would.
John 13:8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”
Peter protested that he would never allow the Son of God to wash his feet. Cleansing went further than skin deep as far as Jesus was concerned. If He could not wash Peter’s feet, He could not include Peter as a part of His family; and Peter would not be with Him. He would be separated from Him forever. In like manner, if we are not cleansed by the blood of Jesus, if we do not trust Him for salvation, we cannot enter into the kingdom of God. The blood of Jesus’ sacrifice was the soap of His love.
John 13:9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”
Now that Peter “gets it,” he wants a complete bath! He realized he was a sinner in need of a Savior’s cleansing power.
John 13:10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
The apostles were already clean because they believed Jesus to be the Son of God and trusted in Him. Jesus knew there was one among them who did not truly trust – Judas Iscariot, the betrayer. But Jesus still served Him and washed His feet.
Q – Jesus taught that those who wanted to be the top dog, had to be willing to be at the bottom. Those who wanted to lead, needed to serve. He demonstrated this type of leadership by washing the disciples’ feet. Think of the leaders you admire the most. Are they dictatorial or are they servant-leaders? If you are given the opportunity to fill a leadership position, which will you be?
|Posted on February 22, 2016 at 2:25 PM||comments (0)|
John1:19 (ESV) And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
The Jewish leaders, the Pharisees, sent priests and Levites to question John the Baptist and find out exactly who he was. He confessed that he definitely was NOT the Messiah, the Anointed One. Some had thought he might be the long awaited hope of Israel because he was baptizing for repentance from sin and announcing that the Kingdom of Heaven was near.
John 1:21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
Reformation Study Bible:
1:21 Are you Elijah. In Matt. 11:14 Jesus, clearly referring to Mal. 4:5, tells the crowd that John is “Elijah who is to come.” John comes in the “spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17), but the Baptist here affirms that he is not Elijah himself.
Malachi 4:5 (VOICE) Keep watch. I am sending Elijah the prophet to you before the arrival of the great and terrible day of the Eternal One.
These religious leaders thought John the Baptist might be Elijah resurrected, but he unequivocally denied this. Some thought he was the prophet Moses described in Deuteronomy 18:14-15 (VOICE):
Moses: 14 The nations you’re going to displace seek guidance from people who practice divination and predicting. But the Eternal your God doesn’t want you to do that. 15 He will raise up from among your own people a prophet who will be like me. Listen to him.
John also denied that he was the prophet Moses foretold. This left the envoy from the Pharisees puzzled.
John 1:22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
John the Baptist quoted a portion of Isaiah 40:3, so we looked up the entire verse in the Voice Bible. It makes clear that the way is being prepared for God Himself. Since roads during that time were dirt, there were often large potholes, rocks in the way, or narrow areas. If a king were coming to town, the road crew would go out and make sure his journey would be smooth. John the Baptist served to “pave the way” for Jesus’ ministry to begin. So John the Baptist was a one-man road crew for Jesus the King.
Isaiah 40:3 (VOICE) “A voice is wailing, “In the wilderness, get it ready! Prepare the way; make it a straight shot. The Eternal would have it so. Straighten the way in the wandering desert to make the crooked road wide and straight for our God.”
Reformation Study Bible:
1:23 In quoting Is. 40:3, John applies to Christ what is said of Yahweh in that passage. The same truth appears even more clearly in Mark 1:1–3.
The passage in Mark leaves no doubt as to whom this applies, Jesus, the Son of God. You might take time to look it up and read it and any notes found in your Bible.
John 1:24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
The Pharisees (some of the religious leaders of Israel) and their emissaries were constantly questioning the authority of anyone but themselves. Instead of being delighted that John was encouraging people to turn from their sin and prepare themselves for the Kingdom of God, they wanted to know who gave him the license to preach! They were majoring on the wrong thing. Seems like they would have praised John the Baptist instead of calling him on the carpet. They questioned his authority to baptize if he were not the Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet promised by Moses.
John 1:26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
John the Baptist does not answer their question about his authority. Instead, he explains that Someone greater than himself is already among those who had come out to hear him at the Jordan River. They were unable to recognize Jesus as the Christ, but God had revealed this truth to John the Baptist as we will see. One of the lowest jobs for a servant was taking off the masters’ sandals. He states that he is not even worthy to perform this lowliest of tasks for the Person he is heralding. John is given many opportunities to exalt himself, but instead, in humility he promotes Christ. From the beginning of his ministry, John the Baptist humbly sets himself in the background, revealing the place of prominence as belonging to the Lord Jesus. He could have claimed fame since the angel announcing his conception to his father Zacharias had said:
Luke 1: 15-17 (NASB) “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
John the Baptist, the one-man road crew, worked tirelessly to help people prepare for the coming of Jesus’ ministry on earth. He proclaimed the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven boldly, yet humbly subordinated himself to Jesus, the Anointed One.
Q – Are we making a straight path, a clear way for people to understand Jesus? Is the example of our lives declaring His greatness, His supremacy, and His sovereignty to all who observe us?
|Posted on February 8, 2016 at 2:20 PM||comments (0)|
Philippians 2:5 (NIV) In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Paul says to have the same mindset, the same attitude as Christ, in all our dealings with other people. As we will see in the following verses about Jesus' attitude, this will involve extreme humility and a heart for serving others.
Q - This can only be accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit. Do you pray to have the mind of Christ?
Philippians 2:6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
In other translations it says Jesus did not consider his equality with God as something to be "grasped". Still other translations state that "He thought it not robbery to be equal with God." Jesus IS fully God and fully man, a concept hard to wrap our minds around. Jesus' continuous essence was that of being God. He chose to embrace His humanness in order to rescue mankind from sin.
Philippians 2:7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
Jesus made himself not only human, but a human embryo. He left the splendor and glory of Heaven to be confined for nine months in Mary's womb, be born in a stable, and live as the son of a carpenter. (Luke 2:7) Carpentry became His trade also until He was 30 years old. He did not "empty Himself" of His deity, but renounced the display of some of His attributes as God. He chose not to enforce His deity, but set aside His privileges, in order to live as a perfect man.
Q - Jesus stooped down to raise us up. Are we willing to stoop down to elevate our fellow man?
Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Christ confined Himself to the limitations of a human body, experiencing human needs such as food, water, sleep, etc. He chose to be in submission to God the Father even though equal with Him. He obeyed even to the point of becoming the perfect sacrificial lamb to take upon Himself our sin. Revelation 13:8b (KJV), calls Jesus, "The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Jesus' arrest, mockery of a trial, and death upon a cross did not come as a surprise to God. It was His plan all along. As a man, Jesus submitted not only to death but to the most excrutiating, humiliating form of death known at that time - crucifixion. The Jews would particularly view this as humiliating because according to Deuteronomy 21:23b (NIV), "...anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse..." Jesus suffered this particular death for those who would believe in Him. He suffered this punishment in my very place and your very place in order to redeem us. Paul states in Galatians 3:13, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.'"
Q - Jesus suffered the ultimate humiliation in order to rescue us. Has God ever asked you to do something you thought "beneath you" in order to minister to someone? Did you obey or resist?
Philippians 2:9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
Jesus had always been equal with God, but His followers did not fully realize His deity until after His death, resurrection, and acension. They only came to understand Him as LORD after He came back from the dead and revealed His true nature to them more completely, as much as they could take in. They were still in amazement as He arose in the clouds before their eyes. After the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they would have a more full understanding of Christ as the God-Man.
Philippians 2:10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This has not been completely fulfilled at this time. This brings elation to us who have believed now and in the future, but it will bring pain and sorrow to those that have never surrendered to and trusted Him for salvation. Believers, angels, non-believers, and demons will ultimately all bow to Jesus and acknowledge His deity. When Jesus returns in all His glory, this will be done!
APPLY THIS TO YOUR LIFE:
1. Pray that the Holy Spirit will enable you to minister to others with the "mind of Christ." I (Susie) am reminded of the old hymn, "Let Others See Jesus in You."
2. Is there someone you have a difficult time feeling any sympathy for, or someone who grates on your nerves? Ask the Lord for the strength to show them some kindness anyway. You cannot do this on your own, but the Lord through you can minister to the difficult people in your life.
3. Choose to acknowledge Jesus as LORD now. Even if you have already trusted Him and surrendered your life to His will, it is good to affirm this daily.
4. Don't keep all this to yourself. Proclaim the deity of Christ and the truth of His Gospel every chance you get!