Who Will You Obey?

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 2:18-25 (day four)

God’s ways are certainly not our ways!  Sin and the world have taught the exact opposite of God’s instructions here in Scripture.  The world teaches us to fight back against what we judge to be inequity.  God’s instruction is to keep our eyes upon Him and submit to authority.

All through Scripture, we find Satan saying we should do the opposite of what God says.  God said, “Don’t eat the fruit, you’ll die.”  Satan said, “you will surely not die.”  God says, “Forgive your enemy,” Satan says, “Crush your enemy.” God says, “Humble yourself.” Satan says, “Exalt yourself.”   Over and over, Satan perverts God’s message.  We have to ask ourselves, “Who will we obey?

Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord, For as the heavens are higher that the earth, So are My ways higher than your  ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

True Freedom

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 2:11-17 (day four)

Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond slaves of God.” Verse 16

Free men…free from what?  Free from sin!  We were under the bondage of sin until Christ set us free.  Peter is admonishing us to not use our freedom for evil or personal gain.  It is not freedom to do as we please, it is freedom to obey God and to paint an accurate picture to the world of a sanctified life.

What kind of picture are you painting?  When people see your life, how would they describe it?  Where do you invest your time?  Would they say, “he loves sports,” or “she spends all her time traveling”?  Does your life cause people to glorify God because of your good deeds?  Is your behavior excellent before all men?  Freedom is a precious thing…let’s use it for God’s intended purpose.  The most free individual may be under the heaviest bondage on earth!

Longing for the Word

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 2:1-10 (day four)

John MacArthur made this statement about verse 2 in his New Testament commentary:

It is notable what Peter did not command.  He did not charge believers to read the Word, study the Word, meditate on the Word, teach the Word, preach the Word, search the Word, or memorize the Word.  All of those things are essential, and other passages do command believers to perform them.  However, Peter focused on the more foundational element—which believers need before they will pursue any of the other things—a deep, continuous longing for the Word of truth.

Do you have a longing for the Word of God?  Peter says we should long for it as a newborn baby longs for milk…nourishment for the soul.  Jesus responded to Satan in the wilderness, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”  Pay close attention to the desires of your heart!

Living and Enduring

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 1:18-25 (day four)

Verse 23 – “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”

What does it mean when it says ‘living and enduring’?  Webster’s dictionary defines ‘living’ as active, functioning, full of life and vigor.  ‘Enduring’ is defined as lasting and durable, eternal and imperishable.  We can apply these definitions together to describe the word of God as active, growing, complete in life, unchanging, everlasting and imperishable.  We can always depend on it being there…it has authority to give life…it will never change.

The Bible…God’s Word…was inspired by the Holy Spirit, given to the prophets and biblical writers, protected from heresies, and preserved through the ages.  The Bible has given us everything we are to believe and do.  Everything we need to know for God’s glory is in the Bible. God speaks to us through His Word…since it is living and complete, we do not get to pick and choose what we will obey.  Our God is an awesome God!

Be Holy

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 1:10-17 (day four)

The Holy Spirit was at work in our world long before Pentecost.  The message that the prophets delivered, of salvation, was given to them by the Holy Spirit.  They searched and discovered that it was given for you and me and it comes with a command.

The word, ‘therefore’, in verse 13 is a cause and effect word.  Because of verses 10-12, our response should be…prepare our minds and fix our hope on the grace of Jesus.  The command given is repeated from the book of Leviticus…”You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Holiness is not an option in the Christian life.  We cannot ‘pick and choose’ how we will live our lives.  We are to be like the Holy One who called us.  How then will we live?  We have the call of the Spirit and the example of Christ…Peter tells us not to be conformed or compromised by the world…be HOLY!

A Living Hope

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 1:1-9 (day four)

One of the most difficult doctrines to understand has historically been the doctrine of the Trinity.  In our passage this week, as we set out on a study of 1 Peter, we see a picture of the combined work of each person of the Trinity.  God the Father has established the work of salvation for the redemption of man.  Jesus Christ, the Son, has given His blood as sacrifice for our sin, and we are to follow Him in obedience.  The Holy Spirit provides the sanctifying work so that we can be presented blameless before God.  God in His mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope.  Following our trust in Jesus, we gain an inheritance in heaven that is secured and held by the Holy Spirit.

Love, hope, faith…the inexpressibly valuable gift of salvation is ours through the work of our Trinitarian God.  We must never despair, regardless of the trials, that we serve a mighty God.

He is Holy

Re:Verse passage – Hebrews 10:19-25 (day four)

Our culture today has lost their reverence for God.  Recognition for and respect of the holiness of God seems to be a thing of the past.  There was a day when even non-believers had respect for our holy God.  Those days are gone.

Even for believers in Christ, there is a failure to remember what our salvation has cost.  It was the blood of Christ.  He gave His life so we can have forgiveness of our sin.  When we approach God in prayer…in worship…or in study of Scripture, we should do so in reverence and awe of God’s holiness.  Casual or flippant attitudes disregard the sacredness of the love and work of salvation.

We must never forget the high cost of salvation.  Whether we are in corporate worship or private devotion, always remember that God is a holy God who desires our holiness as well.  Our holiness, rather than our comfort and safety, is the goal!

Better Together

Re:Verse passage – Matthew 18:15-35 (day four)

Our theme this summer has been Better Together.  Now we see the truth of our theme played out in Scripture.  Verse 20 says, “For where two or three have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst.”  When we join together in prayer, there is power…God is with us.  God inhabits our prayers as an individual, but there is special authority when our prayers are joined with others.  It is for this reason that we have a prayer list at church.  We join in concert to lift up the needs of others to a loving God…knowing that He will hear and answer us.

Isn’t it amazing that we can pray here in Texas, others can pray in Indiana, or in England, or on the other side of the world in Thailand, and God hears us in unison.  Time zones are no barriers to an infinite, omnipresent God.  Our theme is more than just a slogan…we really are Better Together!

Accountability

Re:Verse passage – Matthew 18:5-14 (day four)

There are at least two lessons to be learned in our Re:Verse passage this week.  First: to cause an innocent one to stumble will bring dire consequences.  Death by drowning would be more desirable than the fiery consequences of hell.  Second:  when someone inevitably stumbles, we are to pursue them with all of our being to restore them.  This is known as accountability.  We leave the ninety and nine and search for the one who is lost!  The inter-connectivity of a church family leaves no room for isolationism or island living.  If a fellow believer is straying or has lost their way, we are accountable to seek to lead them back to fellowship with God.

How many times have we said, “It’s none of my business”?  Our culture has convinced us not to judge.  Judgment though may be obvious when biblical commands are broken and are evident to all, but we don’t want to say it out loud.  The standard is God’s…we need to encourage those around us to hold to that standard.

A Humble Approach

Re:Verse passage – Matthew 18:1-4 (day four)

The disciples, like us, were trying to superimpose their understanding of how things work here on earth with how things will be in heaven.  On earth, we tend to always seek something better.  If we can get more possessions, or more power, or more influence, we can get greater status or authority…it is a constant drive in life to yearn for more.  In our passage, the disciples are asking Jesus what they need to do to get ahead in heaven.

Contentment is sometimes an elusive character quality.  To be satisfied with what God has provided, rather than always seeking more, is known as humility. To see life through the humble eyes of a child, allows us to approach God in a heart attitude that sees Him for who He really is…Almighty God!  Isn’t it just backward to our thinking that the more we do to impress God does not get us more.  The more we rest in God and are steadfast in our seeking Him, the more pleasing we are in our faith!