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|Posted on November 6, 2016 at 5:10 PM||comments (0)|
Session 11 - 2 Peter 1:12-15 – WITH TRUST – Day 1
2 Peter 1:12 Therefore I will always remind you about these things, even though you know them and are established in the truth you have.
Since the character traits in the first part of the chapter are crucial to growth in the faith and confirming to believers that they are chosen, Peter will continue to remind Christians of them. Faith is the foundation and love (agape, love as a moral choice not dependent upon feelings or emotions) is the pinnacle of Christ-like character. Even though Peter’s audience had been taught these truths, he realized that as humans we need constant reminders in order to internalize what we learn. This is why we teach our children the ABC song, have them recite math facts, etc. We need to constantly be reminded of the Lord’s teachings and His perfect, perpetual work in and through our lives.
Deuteronomy 11:18 (KJV) Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
Psalm 119:9-11 (KJV) Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
The apostle Paul urged the Philippians to think on the positive things rather than fill their minds with unproductive or evil thoughts.
Philippians 4:8-9 (HCSB) Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things. 9 Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
We need to constantly be in the word of God, immersing ourselves in it, lest we forget what He has taught us. Baseball metaphor – The only way we can swing for the fences of life is if we are continually eating, breathing, and sleeping the instructions of the Batting Coach, God’s instructions for victorious living, the Bible.
2 Peter 1:13 I consider it right, as long as I am in this bodily tent, to wake you up with a reminder, 14 knowing that I will soon lay aside my tent, as our Lord Jesus Christ has also shown me. 15 And I will also make every effort that you may be able to recall these things at any time after my departure.
At this writing, Peter was probably already imprisoned in Rome and anticipating that his death, prophesied by the Lord Jesus Himself over 40 years earlier, was imminent. Because of this, Peter felt an urgency to teach these believers as much as he could while still in his earth-suit and that these things be recorded in this letter. This way, when Peter was physically gone, they would have a frame of reference available. His immediate readers and we as well, would have this letter we call 2 Peter to remind us of the truths he personally learned from the Master Himself.
Challenge: Perhaps you are already in the habit of committing scripture to memory. If not, try to memorize and meditate on 1 Peter 1:5-7 this week. It seems like a fitting place to start since Peter (inspired by the Holy Spirit) thought it important enough to write in a letter that would become a part of Scripture.
|Posted on November 1, 2016 at 4:05 PM||comments (0)|
Session 10 – 1 Peter 1:8-9 - BEING USEFUL – Day 4
2 Peter 1:8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins.
To see what qualities Peter is talking about, we need to review the list in yesterday’s post. The qualities that should be increasing in our lives are faithfulness, goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. This is a similar list to the fruit of the Spirit:
Galatians 5:22-24 (HCSB) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
These qualities are your armor against being of no use and having no productivity. Simply possessing and allowing the Lord to cultivate these qualities in your life makes you a productive witness even before you open your mouth to share. Cultivation requires pruning, but pruning is for the purpose of flourishing and producing more fruit. Productivity is not just activity. True productivity is becoming more and more conformed to the image of Christ. However, being more like Jesus leads to a more productive witness because as people see the divine nature reflected in your life, they will be drawn to the Jesus they see in you. Thus, your witness will be most effective when you are living and responding most like the Lord.
1 Peter 1:9 (CJB) Indeed, whoever lacks them is blind, so shortsighted that he forgets that his past sins have been washed away.
If we do not allow the Holy Spirit to grow these Christ-like qualities in our lives, we become near-sighted about His work in us to the point of even having doubts about our salvation. The sanctification process, becoming more and more like Jesus, reassures us that we are truly His. We must constantly be reminded that He chose us and saved us BEFORE we possessed any of these qualities. Then as we see them developing and are empowered to improve in these areas, we will be reminded that He is perfecting us to be His spotless bride.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (HCSB) For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 5:26-27 (HCSB) to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. 27 He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.
Jesus’ death on the cross paid for our sin, and we are seen as totally righteous even though we are not yet there on this earth. His Holy Spirit is growing us in all the qualities in this passage as a witness to His saving grace: this is sanctification. When we are finally home with Him, the sanctification process will suddenly be complete, and we will be gloriously, miraculously perfected to be like our Lord.
Challenge: Cooperate with the Lord Jesus in cultivating these qualities in yourself by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. What can you do? Read the word daily, study it with intention, immerse yourself in prayer, ask others to pray for you and you pray for them. Do not compare yourself to other people. Your example is the Lord Jesus, and you will never “arrive” this side of heaven, but like Paul, you are to “press on.”
Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV) Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
|Posted on October 31, 2016 at 3:20 PM||comments (0)|
Session 10 – 2 Peter 1:10-11 - BEING USEFUL – Day 5
2 Peter 1:10 Therefore, brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. 11 For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied to you.
God sees our lives in review because He knows the beginning and the end ahead of time. He placed us into the confines of time, so we must walk out our faith to experience the reality of what we have in God once we have trusted in Him. Once we have surrendered to the call of Jesus to trust Him for salvation, our status as His children is secure. However, we may experience periods of doubt during times of duress. If we have been pursuing the qualities listed in verses 5-7, we will produce fruit (new converts, encouraged brothers and sisters, etc.) that will assure us that we are indeed saved. Praise the Lord that Jesus is the only qualified fruit inspector! My life does not have to measure up to any other person’s opinion of what a “saved” person looks like. Jesus is the only judge and the only standard against which to compare myself. We cannot meet the standard of perfectly obeying God’s law: that is why Jesus passed that test for us. Our entry into heaven is certain once we have trusted Jesus; but when we doubt that, we can find assurance by noting the growth the Holy Spirit has accomplished in our lives. The godly characteristics listed in verses 5-7 provide a boundary, a safety rail for our lives. Actively pursuing them keeps us on the right path and ensures that we will lead fruitful, meaningful, fulfilled lives as believers.
Question: Have you lost your sense of purpose and direction as a Christian? This does not mean that you have lost your salvation because that is an impossibility. However, could it be that you have wandered off the path of pursuing moral excellence to the glory of God? If so, ask the Holy Spirit to give you the strength needed to re-direct your steps. True joy can be yours when you seek to follow in the steps of your Master, Jesus, and live out His purpose for you.
|Posted on October 31, 2016 at 1:35 PM||comments (0)|
Session 10 – 2 Peter 1:5-7 - BEING USEFUL – Day 3
2 Peter 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, 6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, 7 godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
Reformation Study Bible: 1:5–7 The order of virtues here (“faith . . . love”) is not a sequence in time, as if stages of the Christian life were being described (vv. 8, 9). Peter is using a rhetorical figure that builds a series of elements to a climax. The beginning and conclusion of the series are significant, however. Early Christian virtue lists often begin with “faith,” the starting point of the Christian life, and end with “love” (Rom. 5:1–5; 1 Cor. 13), the preeminent fruit of the Christian life.
In order to escape corruption and because the Lord has equipped us to do so, we need to exercise the strength He has provided to build upon the base, the foundation of our faith. Before we can achieve any of the attributes Peter lists in these verses, we must have trusted Jesus as Savior and Lord. Without a solid foundation, a house will be unstable as in the parable of the house on the rock and the house on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). Jesus is the Rock, and we build our lives on Him by faith given to us by God’s grace. But this is just the starting point. The house needs framework, walls, a roof, etc. These we add as we exercise our God given faith and are being sanctified by the work of the Holy Spirit within us.
Goodness - An active state of behavior, not a passive attitude. Virtue – according to John MacArthur Study Bible, “in classical Greek, meant the God-given ability to perform heroic deeds. It also came to mean the quality of life which made someone stand out as excellent.” In other words, this is a goodness that is evident to those observing our behavior. Goodness is an attribute that bears fruitfulness. It expresses itself in positive actions on the behalf of others.
Knowledge – This is the pursuit and application of godly wisdom found in His word. It is not simply memorizing passages for the sake of looking smart. It involves internalizing and utilizing what has been studied.
Self-control – Literally “holding oneself in” – We could say “Keeping yourself in check.” We must discipline ourselves to not give in to ungodly desires. We must always place the Father’s desires for us above our own desires. A good description might be “Christ Controlled.” As we put our cars on cruise-control, so we must trust our lives to Christ-control.
Endurance (Perseverance) – Maintain moral excellence at all costs with a vibrant hope. We see this in the stories found in Voice of the Martyrs publications or at www.persecution.com . We read of Christians who are willing to die rather than compromise their trust in and obedience to the Lord. This is true vigilant excellence of following in Jesus’ steps.
Godliness – Definition from Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language: GOD'LINESS, noun [from godly.] Piety; belief in God, and reverence for his character and laws. Reverence is a quality often lacking among modern Christians, but respect for God and His commands is the beginning point for obedience. In 1 Peter, we discussed the command to be holy. Holiness, godliness, is being set apart to bring glory to God through the way in which we live.
Brotherly (and sisterly) Affection – affection is translated “Kindness” in the King James Version. This is more than a “Hello, how are you? Good-by, Sister or Brother So-and-So.” Peter is describing something I like to call “familyship,” defined as being there in the moment with our brothers and sisters in their time of crisis, confusion, or pain. Examples: visiting the sick, going into the prisons, listening to someone experiencing grief, taking food to someone in need. When you ask, “How are you?,” stop, listen to the reply, and respond accordingly.
Love – a moral choice to love whether someone is lovable or not. This is the kind of love God demonstrates to us and develops in us. God enables us to offer this type of love by the power of the Holy Spirit within us. He is conforming us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29), part of which is instilling this love in us.
Challenge: God has given us the resources to achieve this kind of moral excellence, but He does expect us to diligently pursue it as well. Choose the area above that you feel is your weakest and seek to improve this week. Perhaps do a word study on that attribute to increase your understanding and help you cultivate what the Lord has planted in you.
|Posted on October 31, 2016 at 1:20 PM||comments (0)|
Session 10 - 2 Peter 1:3-4 – BEING USEFUL - Day 2
2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.
We have what we need to make it through our daily lives, not just barely but victoriously in the power and strength of our Lord. What He calls us to do, He enables us to do.
Philippians 4:13 (AMP) I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]
The Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives gives us the enablement in our earth-suits to emulate Jesus in the world each day. We can find the principles He wants us to live by clearly defined in the Bible, His word to us. What does Peter mean by “through the knowledge of him?” Full discernment, total intimacy with Jesus, knowing His inclinations, His desires is what is meant by knowledge.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
ĕpignōsis1922 – recognition, full discernment, acknowledgement, knowledge
Wow! How awesome it is that the Creator and Master of the universe gives me the privilege of knowing Him in this way!
Some translations read “who called us by and to His own glory and goodness.” I believe it is both by and to. It is by His glory and goodness, not our own, that we are saved. It is that goodness (virtue) that draws us into relationship with Him. But we are also called TO His glory and virtue – to become like Him.
The Lord spoke creation into existence. I do not know what all happens in heaven related to what happens in the womb, but I believe the Lord even calls a specific egg to unite with a specific sperm to create a human being in His image. (Psalm 139:13) In the same way, God has the power to call people into His family of faith and sanctify them to conform more and more to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). All the work is done by our Lord, and we are the recipients of His gracious gift when we surrender our will to the will of Jesus.
2 Peter 1:4 By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.
Out of God’s own goodness and glory, He has blessed us with the precious promise of salvation and a future home with Him when we trust in the Lord Jesus. We did nothing to earn His favor and can do nothing to lose it. However, when we are “in Him,” made a new creation by Him (2 Corinthians 5:17), His Holy Spirit enters into us and enables us to take on His nature, His likeness. God created people in His image (Genesis 1:26) in the sense that we are reasoning beings with the capacity for making moral decisions. However, it is not until we receive Jesus as our Savior, that we are enabled through the Holy Spirit to make the choice to obey the Lord and be conformed to the image of Christ.
The heart-change God works within us has the outward manifestation of our escaping the temptations of sinful influences.
John MacArthur Study Bible
The word “corruption” has the idea of something decomposing or decaying. “Escaped” depicts a successful flight from danger. At the time of salvation, the believer escapes from the power which the rottenness in the world has over him through his fallen, sinful nature.
Challenge: Is there a temptation that you have trouble with? What we used to call a “be-setting sin?” God has given us what we need to overcome the pitfalls of this world – we have His word, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, prayer, and godly preachers/teachers to help us.