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|Posted on October 28, 2016 at 1:30 PM||comments (0)|
Session 10 – 2 Peter 1:1-2 – BEING USEFUL – Day 1
2 Peter 1:1 (HCSB) Simeon Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ:
To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Peter identified himself as both an apostle and a servant of the Lord. Why is this significant? By pointing out his apostleship, Peter was asserting the fact that he was a leader in a position of authority. By identifying himself as a slave/bond-servant of the Lord Jesus, he is identifying with the readers as an equal. He is at the same time their leader, peer, and servant as the Lord Jesus was. These predominantly gentile believers are not second class citizens in the kingdom of God. The grafted are not shafted. Their status in the household of faith was not less than that of Jewish believers or even less than that of the apostles. We are equal as sinners saved by grace. The quality of salvation is the same for every believer because Christ is the same. There is not one Messiah for the Jews, one Messiah for the Gentiles, and another Messiah for the apostles. Jesus died for all classes of people from all nations. Each believer (one who has realized salvation is his and has been given faith to trust) is accepted into the family of God based on Jesus finished work on the cross as the final, spotless Passover Lamb. Yes, yes, yes, yes! The vilest sinner inherits the same privilege, the same seat in the heavenlies, as the apostles. The thief on the cross who believed Jesus may live next door to me in Heaven, and that is great!
2 Peter 1:2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
How are grace and peace multiplied to us? They are multiplied when we are in the word, in the Bible, immersed in scripture, internalizing the truth. I believe this is not just an intellectual knowledge like the Pharisees had, but it takes a heart knowledge. A heart knowledge is a saving knowledge of the One who was sent to deliver me from my sins. Knowledge that changes the heart results in changed behavior. God blesses us and grants us peace when we place our trust completely in Him.
Question: Are you in the midst of great need for grace and peace? Go to the word, use a concordance, see what God says about peace in the library of scripture. Philippians 4:6-9 is a good place to start. Fix your mind on Jesus and rest in Him (Hebrews 12:1-3).
|Posted on June 19, 2016 at 8:35 PM||comments (0)|
Holy Spirit and Perfect Peace
John 14:21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
A person can have head knowledge, “know” God’s commandments and not obey them. If we are not demonstrating the heart knowledge as defined by obedience, we are not doing what Jesus commanded. As we said before, our obedience is the evidence that we love Jesus. When we love and trust Jesus, He places the Holy Spirit within us to enable us to obey. We do not obey in order to be clean enough to come to Jesus. When we know Jesus, He cleanses us and creates a desire to obey Him in our hearts. Our obedience is a heart action, not words on our lips alone. Since He has changed our hearts from stone to flesh, we are attuned to His will.
Ezekiel 36:26 (VOICE) I will plant a new heart and new spirit inside of you. I will take out your stubborn, stony heart and give you a willing, tender heart of flesh.
Because Jesus loves us, we can return His love; and, therefore, we have the capacity to love one another. Jesus said that is how people would know that we follow Him – non-believers recognize that we belong to Jesus when they see us demonstrating His love. Since Jesus loves us, the Father certainly loves us because they are one and the same. Disobedience in a believer’s life cannot undo that fact that he is saved, chosen by God. However, it can put a road block in our communication with Him. Conversely, the more completely we obey the Lord’s commands, the more clearly He will make Himself and His will known to us. The more we willingly choose to obey, the more the Lord, through our intimate relationship with Him, will reveal more of who He is and how He wants to move in our lives. His purpose for our lives will then be more easily discerned.
John 14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?”
Judas wanted to know how Jesus would come exclusively to the disciples and not to everyone else. I think the disciples still could not conceive the idea of the Holy Spirit moving invisibly in their hearts and minds. Therefore, they could not figure out how Jesus could be in communication with them and not everyone else around them. Remember, they did not have phones or the internet! They could not wrap their heads around Jesus dying either. So they could not understand that an invisible Holy Spirit could be sent after He died, rose again, and returned to the Father. We are looking back in history, but they were living it; so we must cut them some slack when they had a hard time grasping the things Jesus was telling them.
John 14:23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
To love Jesus is also to believe He is the Son of God which is the way to salvation. Jesus said He and the Father would take up residence, make their dwelling place, the place they reside within the believer. They will abide in the believer, and the believer will abide in them. We will discuss that even more in the next chapter. I am not sure the disciples were understanding this concept of the Lord dwelling with them even after He was no longer on earth in bodily form. However, this truth would become a mainstay of their faith after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus as seen in the book of Acts. The Lord being present in our lives is what carries Susan and I through each day.
John 14:24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.
When you reject Jesus, you are rejecting God the Father. God sent Jesus as His representative to enlighten humanity about the Father’s attributes by seeing Him in living, tangible color. Therefore, they could relate to and understand Him as a man. Jesus said many times that He spoke only that which the Father told Him. So to discard Jesus’ words is to discard God’s words. To disobey Jesus is to disobey Father God. If one does not love and trust Jesus, he is incapable of obeying His word.
John 14:25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
The Holy Spirit serves the clarifier when we read scripture. It is the Holy Spirit that helps us understand the word of God. The Holy Spirit is the part of the Trinity that gives us insight into the thought processes of Jesus, to explain it in a way that we can comprehend. The Holy Spirit is also who enabled the apostles to remember everything Jesus had taught them in the course of over three years in order to teach it to new believers. It was the Holy Spirit who inspired Matthew and John to write their Gospels.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Jesus left them with peace that passes any comprehension, supernatural peace that is not dependent on circumstances, peace that cannot be up or down like a yo-yo.
Philippians 4:6-7 (HCSB) Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
In Christ, we can be at peace even during troubling times. We do not need to fear or fret when we remember that God is in control, and He loves us!
John 14:28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
Until Jesus ascended back to His glory with the Father, the disciples could not get on with the work He had ordained for them. When Jesus came to earth, allowing Himself to be wrapped in human flesh, He willingly laid aside completely exercising His power in order to function as a man. His power was still available to Him since He was fully God, but He chose not to access it. When He returned to the Father, the glory He had purposely laid aside was completely His again. The Holy Spirit did not begin His work in and through the disciples until Jesus was back at the throne of God.
John 14:29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.
By dying and appearing to them after the resurrection, Jesus would greatly increase their belief. It would surely increase my faith to see Jesus walk through a closed door! It would also beef up their faith when Jesus came upon them in the form of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2). But in order to come to them in this manner, He had to go away. Jesus told them about the Holy Spirit before He actually came upon them, so they would recognize Him as coming from the Lord.
John 14:30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
Jesus let them know Satan was about to show his ugly face through the betrayal, mock trial, and execution. He also made it clear that Satan really had no control over Him, that He was allowing these things to happen in order to fulfill the Father’s will. The disciples must have been thinking that everything made sense to Jesus, but it was not making sense to them yet. They needed help for their finite brains set in human frailty. Which is exactly why Jesus was sending the Holy Spirit! Then He just got up and urged them to leave with Him. The scripture does not tell us where they went at this time – perhaps Jesus continued talking with them on their way to the Mount of Olives.
Q – Many people today seem to be controlled by fear. Fear of terrorists, fear of financial crisis, fear of the choices in this election year, fear of the future in general. However, Jesus said He left us with His peace. The gift of His Holy Spirit indwelling us helps us turn from fear to faith, from anxiety to peace. Are you fearful about something today? Pray! The words “fear not,” “do not be afraid,” “be anxious for nothing,” and “do not worry” are found in many scripture passages. Use a concordance or online bible tool such as www.biblegateway.com to look these up. You will be encouraged as you are reminded that God is sovereign. He has not lost His grip on the world. You can be at peace in the midst of the chaos around you.