Archive for the ‘First Peter’ Category

1 Peter 5:12-14

Some Christians serve God in the “limelight” while others work behind the scenes in the “shadows.” But each member in the Body of Christ plays an important role in the growth of the Church. Christ, who is the One and only Head and Mediator of the true Church (Ephesians 4:5; 1 Timothy 2:5), cannot say to the feet, “I have no need of you” (1 Corinthians 12:21). He gave a spiritual gift to each New Testament believer at the time of his/her salvation (1 Peter 4:10). Each believer is needed for the Body of Christ to function well. Some of the members in the Body have already graduated to heaven. But many of us are still here on earth with some work to do (Ephesians 2:10; John 15:16). Are we doing it for the glory of God and the good of others (1 Corinthians 10:31; Galatians 6:10)?

Assistants. The Apostle Peter wanted to acknowledge those who had assisted him in the work of the Lord. He appreciated those who served with him in the ministry and was desirous that other believers recognize them for their service to God and others (1 Thessalonians 5:12; Hebrews 13:7, 17). He also wanted them/us to know that “…God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10). Eventually we will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).

Silvanus (Silas). He was a travel companion with the Apostle Paul on his second missionary journey (Acts 15:40). He and Paul were Roman citizens and yet were unjustly beaten in Philippi (Acts 16:37) for casting a demon out of a young girl who had been proclaiming, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us [a] way of salvation” (Acts 16:17). No, Jesus wasn’t/isn’t one of many ways to God. He is the only way (John 14:6). After leaving Philippi and Thessalonica, Silas remained in Berea for awhile to help the new believers there (Acts 17:10-15). Peter considered him to be a faithful brother in the Lord (1 Peter 5:12). He seems to have been either the secretary or the messenger who took Peter’s letter to the suffering believers in Asia Minor (Turkey).

She Who Is In Babylon. The identity of this person is not known. Babylon may be a code word for Rome, but we can’t be sure. Believers are in the world but not of the present world system (John 15:19; 17:16). We are to let our words be seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6) and to act as lights in the darkness (Ephesians 5:8).

John Mark. He was a travel companion with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (Acts 12:25). But when the way got hard, Mark deserted them and went back to Jerusalem where his mother had a home in which some believers met (Acts 12:12;13:13). We don’t know what reaction the believers there had or what they thought of Mark. When it came time for Paul and Barnabas to go on their second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take his cousin, Mark (Colossians 4:10) with them again, but Paul refused. He seemed to be more concerned about the work, whereas Barnabas was concerned about the worker. Paul and Barnabas split up over the issue of John Mark. Barnabas took Mark with him and they went back to Cyprus to minister there where he once owned some property that he sold and gave the money for the benefit of the suffering saints in Jerusalem (Acts 4:32-37).

Silent Years. Mark was pretty much out of the picture until Paul requested that he come to see him in prison just before he was beheaded (2 Timothy 4:11). No doubt Peter had had a good influence on Mark to whom he passed on much information about Jesus’ ministry. In fact, Mark was instrumental in writing one of the Gospels where Jesus is presented as the “Servant of the Lord” (Isaiah 42:1-21; 49:1-7; 52:13-53:12; Mark 10:45).

Profile. Whether you’re a “high profile” person in the “limelight” or one in the “shadows,” every Christian plays a vital role within the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12). If you are a true Christian, do you know which one is your spiritual gift? Do you know which gifts were temporary and which ones are extant (1 Corinthians 13:8-13)? They need to be used with love (1 Corinthians 13; Galatians 5:13) for edification of the Body and for the glory of God. When Christians fail God, they can be restored as Peter and Mark were.  Do you feel like a failure?  Would you like help from God’s Word? Ask for it. When Christians assemble together (Hebrews 10:24, 25), we should greet each other cordially with a “kiss of love” (“holy handshake”) and extend peace to those who are in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 5:14; See Romans 12:18). If you’re a believer, are you thankful that you can attend the assembly meetings? Do you attend them merely to be blessed, or to bless others too?

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1 Peter 5:10, 11

“One of the most crucial lessons to learn as a Christian is how to handle suffering. In this fallen world, suffering is a certainty. And, it will make you grow bitter or better, depending on how you handle it. – Steve Cole

Jesus said, “If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). The Apostle Paul wrote, “…all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). But “[our God] is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20, 21). Let’s consider –

The Benefactors. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). He is the God of all grace (unmerited favor) who called believers to share in His glory (1 Peter 5:10; Romans 8:17, 18). He and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit share the same essence and Divine nature (John 4:24; 10:30). There is one God who exists as three Persons (Deuteronomy 6:4; Genesis 1:27; John 14:16). The subordination of the two Persons in the Godhead relates to time (the seven dispensations) and God’s decree (Ephesians 1:11; John 14:16). Once eternity future begins, there will be no more subordination of one Person to the others (1 Corinthians 15:28). There are at least 1,0007 years before God creates a new heavens and earth (Revelation 21:1). After the Rapture of the true Church, there will be 7 years of Tribulation (Daniel 9:27; Revelation 6-19), and then the 1,000 year reign of Christ on/over the earth (Revelation 20:1-6). If Christ were to return today, would you be left behind?

The Beneficiaries. God is a good God who delights in the happiness of others (Matthew 19:17). But He won’t make us happy unless we’ve believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as the One who died for your sins…and rose again bodily from the dead (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). If you’re a believer living a life of sin (lawlessness), He will give you an opportunity to repent (change your mind) and make honest confession of your sins (2 Corinthians 7:9; 1 John 1:9; Proverbs 28:13). If you don’t do this, He will chasten you (Hebrews 12:5-11). He could even take you life prematurely if you commit the sin unto death (1 John 5:16, 17; James 5:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 10:8-10; 11:30). Are you a “professor” who claims to be a Christian, or are you a “possessor” of eternal life (Matthew 7:21-23; 1 John 5:11-13)? Are you believing in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2)? If you’re a Christian, God wants to live out His eternal life through your life so others can learn about Him (Galatians 2:20; 4:19).

The Benediction. If you are suffering and/or being persecuted for being and acting like a Christian should (John 15:20; Timothy 3:12), keep in mind that there is coming a day when there will be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4). Believers who die in the Lord are resting in peace (R.I.P.). In God’s presence there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). But this is not so with unbelievers who die (Luke 16:19-31; See Matthew 15:30, 41, 46; Revelation 21:8). God will use the believer’s suffering to perfect us, establish us, strengthen us, and settle us (1 Peter 5:10; See Romans 8:28, 29). Nothing can separate God’s children from His love (Romans 8:35-39). Are you sure that you are one of His children rather than a child of the devil (John 8:44; 1 John 3:9, 10)? Have you been “born again from above” (John 3:3-5)?

Help. If you have doubts about your relationship with God, we’re here to help you. We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

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1 Peter 5:5-8

“The world’s strategy to climb the ladder of success is simple: Work hard, get ahead, don’t let anything get in your way, and promote yourself. The goal is to make it to the top. It doesn’t matter who you step on along the way. And it doesn’t matter who you leave behind, even if it’s your family or your friends. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, they tell you, and the puppies don’t make it.” – C. R. Swindoll. But what are God’s instructions for hurting believers and those who want to be successful in His eyes?

Submit Yourself. This is a word many people dislike (1 Peter 5:5). But it conveys the idea of putting yourself at the disposal of another so as to receive benefits from him. There is a natural tendency on our part to resist any and all forms of authority (See Isaiah 14:13, 14). “Sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). It’s our natural disposition to act independently of God and of others. But Jesus said, “Without Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Whether we want to admit it or not, all unbelievers either serve themselves and their passions and/or Satan (Romans 6:16-23; Ephesians 2:2, 3). Most unbelievers are unaware of the fact that the devil lulls his children to sleep so they sense no impending dangers (1 John 5:19). They act as enemies of God (Romans 5:10; James 4:4).

Born Again. But when a person is “born again from above” (John 3:3-7) by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins…and rose again bodily on the third day, he begins to participate in the Divine nature and is given new desires and power to do the will of God for his life (2 Peter 1:4; Philippians 2:13; 3:10; 4:13). When he/she is rightly related to God the Holy Spirit, he/she will be willing to submit to God and mature believers (Ephesians 5:21, 22; Hebrews 13:17) and to learn valuable lessons from them and their experiences (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4).

Humble Yourself. This flies in the face of worldly wisdom (James 3:14-16). The proud fools like to pretend that God doesn’t exist (Psalm 10:11; 14:1). They shake their fists at God and defy Him (Psalm 2). But the moment they die, they’ll know and believe differently. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5; James 4:6). After all, “…what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it” (1 Corinthians 4:7)? “The Apostle Paul wrote, “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly that he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each on a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). Whatever worth/value/righteousness we have, it all came graciously from God (Romans 4:3, 16, 22-25).

Cast Your Cares. While we travel in this life we will have cares and concerns that seem overwhelming and which tend to choke us (Luke 8:14; 2 Corinthians 11:28). For this reason, God invites us as believers to cast our cares on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). As our High Priest He is sensitive to all our needs (Hebrews 4:14-16). The trials and hardships of life came to pass. In eternity future they won’t even come to mind (Isaiah 65:7; Revelation 21:4; Romans 8:18). But not so for the unbelievers. There will be eternal suffering and remorse for rejecting the “Light of the world,” the Lord Jesus Christ as one’s personal Savior (John 8:12; 3:18, 36). When we cast our cares on the Lord we can enjoy the peace of God that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:6, 7). Do you have this right now? Do you know about God’s promises to Christians and are you claiming them by faith (Hebrews 4:2)?

Purpose. Our primary purpose in life is/ought to be to glorify God by making Him known to others (1 Corinthians 10:31). When we submit to God, humble ourselves before Him and maturing believers, and cast our cares on Him and then let Him live out His life through our lives (Galatians 2:20), we will be heading in the right direction. He will be able to abide (feel at east) in our presence and we will be able to abide in His presence and bear much fruit (John 15:1-14). We will have relief from needless stress.

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1 Peter 5:1-4

Pastors, like everyone else, have good and bad days. They and their families face challenges just like you do (1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:2-12). Some of them live in glass houses (parsonages) where their every move seems to be visible to others. Sometimes the expectations of the people are unrealistic. Pastors can’t walk on water.  So don’t idolize them.

Persecution. Peter and the elders (Pastors) to whom he was writing had their share of persecution from the enemies of Christ (Acts 5:40; 12:1-19; 2 Timothy 3:12). Some challenges were internal (1 Corinthians 3:1-4; 5:1-12; 2 Timothy 4:10, 14; 3 John 1:9). Peter’s desire was to encourage other Elders/Pastors/Bishops to be faithful to the Lord (1 Corinthians 4:2; 15:58) and stay at the work that God had given them to do unless He led them elsewhere (Galatians 6:6-0). Let’s consider –

Terms Used. The Apostle Peter used several words to describe these leaders of the church. Elder related to his relative degree of spiritual maturity (1 Timothy 3:6). Pastor/teacher refers to this one’s spiritual gift that he received at the time of his salvation (Ephesians 4:11). The term bishop refers to his role as an overseer of the church (1 Timothy 3:1; Titus 1:5-10; See Revelation 1:20).

Responsibilities. Among other things, the Pastor/Bishop/Elder has the responsibilities to feed and lead those in his care (John 21:15-17; See Ezekiel 34; Psalm 23). He is to guide and guard them from spiritual harm and danger (Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 4:1-6; 2 Timothy 3:1ff; 4:2-5) and heal those who are spiritually broken (Luke 4:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; Acts 20:28-31).

Service. God wants this man to serve willingly and not under compulsion (See 2 Cor. 9:5-8). He should be eager to do the work without doing it for dishonest gain (1 Timothy 5:17; 6:6-19; 1 Corinthians 9:1-14; Galatians 6:6-9). He is to set a godly example for believers to follow and not lord over them (1 Timothy 4:12; Matthew 20:25; Acts 19:16).

Reward. While our salvation can’t be earned, we can earn rewards, praise, and crowns. Pastors who do their work the way God wants them to do it (2 Timothy 2:5) will be rewarded with the “Crown of Glory” (1 Peter 5:4). Having earned it, he will then have something to present as a gift to the Lord when he sees Christ at the Bema Seat Judgment (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; Revelation 4:10). Do you know what the other crowns are and what you need to do to earn them? (1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 2:10).

Practical Applications. For Pastors / teachers / leaders: Abide (i.e. feel at ease) in Christ (John 15:1-8; 1 John 2:27, 28; 3:16, 17). Be and stay balanced (Philippians 4: 5; Galatians 5:22, 23). Continue to learn and grow (2 Timothy 2:2,15; 4:13; 2 Peter 3:18). Delegate responsibilities to faithful men (Acts 6:5; See Exodus 18:13-26). For the followers: Acknowledge your God ordained leaders (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Be a cause/reason for his rejoicing (Hebrews 13:7, 17; 2 Timothy 4:10, 14). Commit yourself to follow your Spirit led and Spirit filled leaders (Romans 8:14; 1 Corinthians 4:16; 11:1). Defend your leader against false accusations when possible (1 Timothy 5:19).

Caution. The devil would like to ruin the under-shepherd so God’s flock will be scattered (1 Peter 5:8). All Pastors still have a sin nature that could drag them down (1 John 1:8; Romans 7:12-25). The devil’s world system could cause His love for God to be misdirected (1 John 2:16-17). Your prayers and words of encouragement can spur him on to greater service for God and for the good of His people (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

Help. If you need additional help, we can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you. Please share this information with others too. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

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1 Peter 4:15-19

We’re told that “attitude is everything.” How we respond to the circumstances of life tells others a lot about us. Do we grumble and gripe as the children of Israel in the wilderness did (1 Corinthians 10) or do we thank Him for opportunities to trust Him in the hard times of life (1 Thessalonians 5:18; Ephesians 5:20; 1 Timothy 2:14)? Do we know God’s promises and mix them with faith and enjoy the peace of God (Hebrews 4:2, 3; Philippians 4:4-7)? Let’s consider –

The Believer’s Action In Relation To Suffering. It should be obvious that if we sin or do evil we usually will suffer for it (1 Peter 4:15, 16). Most often, we reap what we’ve sown (Galatians 6:7-9) and should recognize that the government has been given the God given responsibility to punish evil doers even to the point of death for some crimes against humanity (Romans 13:4). We should not expect to receive a gold medal if we competed in an athletic event and violated the rules of the game (2 Timothy 2:5; 1 Corinthians 9:25-27). Nor should we expect to be rewarded for our service to God and/or to others if we engaged in the activity independently of God or without faith (John 15:5; Romans 14:23; Hebrews 11:6). If we should suffer as a result of doing what is right, we ought to commit our souls (emotions) to God and let Him bring us the needed comfort at such times (1 Peter 4:19). Jesus suffered mercilessly at the hands of wicked men. He died as the Just one for the unjust ones – you and me (1 Peter 3:18). He bore our sins and paid the penalty of death that we deserved (Isaiah 53:7-9; Romans 6:23). Throughout the pages of the Scriptures we have examples of believers who suffered unjustly at the hands of the wicked (See Hebrews 11; Acts 5:20, 41).

The Time Of Judgment In Relation To Suffering. No one will escape judgment day (Hebrews 9:27). Everyone who has died will be raised up someday and will stand before Judge Jesus (John 5:22). There will be different orders of resurrections and times of judgment (1 Corinthians 15:20-26). New Testament Grace believers will be judged according to their works when Christ returns at the Rapture (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 15:51, 52; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Their works that have the quality of gold, silver, and precious stones will endure the fire and will be rewarded. Their worthless works will be burned up but they will not lose their salvation. On the other hand, all the dead unbelievers will raised back to life with immortal bodies and will stand before the omniscient (John 2:24), omnipotent (Revelation 1:8), and righteous (2 Timothy 4:8) Judge Jesus at the Great While Throne to have their works evaluated to determine their degree of suffering in the eternal lake of fire with the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:30, 41, 46; Revelation 20:11-15). There will not be any second opportunities to be saved as some cults teach. Yes, there seems to be greater degrees of pleasure in heaven for those Christians who earned some or all of the five crowns on earth so they can cast them at Jesus’ feet when He judges their works (Revelation 4:10). In like manner there will be degrees of suffering in the lake of fire for all unbelievers (Matthew 10:15; 23:13-36; James 3:1). The unforgivable sin is unbelief (John 3:6, 18; 36; 5:40; 16:8-11).

The Gospel. The “Bad News” is that we’re all sinners who deserve to be eternally separated from a holy God in the lake of fire forever (Romans 3:10-23; 6:23). But the “Good News” is that Christ died for our sins…and rose again bodily from the dead on the third day. He can/will save any and all who put their faith in Him apart from their good works (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8, 9). The Scriptures don’t teach universalism – that eventually everyone will be saved and end up in heaven. Some people hate God and don’t want to spend eternity with Him and His children. They love darkness and won’t come to the Light of the world to be saved (John 3:19; Revelation 13:6; 16:11).

Suffering? If you, as a Christian, are suffering for doing what it sinful, confess and forsake your sinful conduct.  To keep from repeating the same sins over and over again, utilize the techniques taught in the Scriptures (1 John 1:9; Proverbs 28:13). We teach Christians how to overcome the distinct temptations that come from the devil, their own sin nature, and from the present world system. If you are suffering for doing what is right, be encouraged by these words: “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls [emotional stability] to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19). “…if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I [Paul] consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:17, 18; See 2 Cor. 11:23-33; 2 Timothy 2:10). If you’re a Christian, your troubles didn’t come to stay but to pass. If you’re not a Christian and if you die as an unbeliever, your suffering and troubles are just beginning. You won’t be resting in peace (R.I.P.) in the lake of fire. Don’t delay! Trust in Christ alone today! God desires (not determines) that everyone be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). He wants His children to enjoy their eternal life abundantly (John 10:10).

Help. If you aren’t sure that you will go immediately into God’s presence in heaven the moment you die, we’d be happy to try to help you have such assurance from God’s Word (1 John 5:13) and from God the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16). We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you. Please pass it on to others so we can help them too. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

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1 Peter 4:12-19

The pop quizzes and periodic exams. Remember them and how you hated it when you didn’t have time to study for them? But even though you might be out of school, you still will continue to have tests, trials, and choices to make in life. Will you pass or fail the tests?

Responses. How we respond to adversities in life often indicates what is truly in us. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34). Christians can/should respond differently than unbelievers. What kind of attitude or mindset does God want His children to have?

Strange? We shouldn’t think it strange that we encounter fiery trials while we’re here on earth (1 Peter 4:12). Too many people have been told that if they simply trust in Christ as their Savior, all their problems will be over. That simply isn’t true. While your biggest problem has been solved if you are a true believer, in that you won’t have to spend eternity with the devil and his angels in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41, 46),  you will have other problems as long as you are here on earth because the devil isn’t happy about your being saved. He knows that he can’t take our salvation from us (John 3:16; 10:28, 29), but he will try to make our lives as miserable and as ineffective as he can (1 Peter 5:8). Jesus told His disciples to expect to suffer opposition from the devil and his crowd (John 15:20; 16:33). Yes, Christians often do suffer unjustly (2 Timothy 3:12).

Refined. God often allows His children to be put in the smelting pot to purge out the dross from our lives: self-love, self-pity, pride, bitterness, etc (Colossians 3:8). But thankfully, He controls the temperature and the time of our time in the furnace (1 Corinthians 10:13; Job 23:10).  His purpose is to conform us into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29; 12:2).

Rejoice. As strange as it may seem, God wants His children to rejoice while they are in the midst of suffering that lasts only for a short time here on earth (1 Peter 4:13, 14; See Romans 8:18). After being beaten for proclaiming the Gospel of Christ’s death for our sins…and His bodily resurrection, the early disciples rejoiced to think that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:40, 41). Would you have done that?

Glorify God. We can/should do this by making God/Jesus known to those around us (1 Peter 4:16; 1 Corinthians 10:31). While Jesus walked here on earth, He did everything to make the Father known to people (John 5:18, 19; 17:4). He was/is God manifested in human flesh (John 1:1-18; Colossians 2:9; Philippians 2:5-11). Christians can/should display the life of God by being “filled with God the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) and then displaying the “Fruit of the Spirit” at the appropriate time, place, and for the right reasons (Galatians 5:22, 23).

Commit. When God formed man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2:7), He gave to mankind a spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The spirit of man is related to the mind (Ephesians 4:23). It is the only part of the Christian that is currently saved (1 Corinthians 6:17; See Romans 8:16). The soul is associated with the emotions (Psalm 42; Matthew 12:18; 26:38 ). This won’t be saved until the time of the Rapture (1 Peter 1:9). The material part of the Christian (his body) won’t be saved until that time too (Romans 8:23; 1 John 3:2).

Concern. Are you only concerned about being carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease while other were persecuted for their faith in God so you and others could be saved (2 Timothy 2:10)? Every true Christian will suffer with Christ at some time in his life (Romans 8:17, 18; 2 Timothy 2:12), but not all Christians suffer for the Lord in the same manner (2 Corinthians 11:21-33; Hebrews 11:32-40). The “Crown of Rejoicing” awaits believers who lead others to Christ for salvation (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20). Will you do your part?

Help. We’re here to help those who need additional information for them to make wise decisions. We can be reached at 805-239-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. We’d like to know if this article has helped you. If it did, please share it with others. Click on “Follow” to receive future articles as they come out.

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1 Peter 4:7-9

Too many people have no hope or purpose in life. They are like “wandering generalities” rather than “meaningful specifics” as Zig Ziglar used to say. They don’t know where they came from, why they’re here on earth, and where they will go when they die. What about you? The Scriptures reveal to us our original parents (Genesis 1, 2), why things are they way there are in the world (Jeremiah 17:9; Isaiah 5:20; Romans 1:18-32; 5:12), and what the future looks like for believers and unbelievers (Revelation 21, 22).

The Big Picture. Before we consider the present and the future, we need to look back at a few major events that took place in the past. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1; John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17). Man fell from his exalted position when Eve and Adam ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3). For about the next 1,600 years man lived according to his conscience and things went from bad to worse. God had do destroy all of humanity by means of a universal flood. Noah, his three sons and their wives (Genesis 6-8) were excepted. When the descendants of Noah failed to scatter out over the earth as God had commanded (Genesis 9:1; 11:9), God intervened and changed the languages of man so they couldn’t work together in the building of the tower of Babel (Genesis 11). This is when the ethnic groups came into existence and when the continental shift began to take place (Genesis 10:25). There is one race, the human race (Acts 17:26).

Days. There are some major days (periods) mentioned in the Scriptures. We are living in the “Day of Man” (1 Corinthians 4:5; John 18:12) when God allows men to do “their own thing” for the time being. The “Day of Christ” refers to the time when Jesus catches up to Himself the true believers before the seven years of the Tribulation (Philippians 1:10; John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The “Day of the Lord” begins with the seven years of the Tribulation (Daniel 9:24; 1 Thessalonians 5:2) and which is followed by Christ’s literal 1,000 year reign over the earth (Daniel 2:44, 45). The “Day of God” deals with eternity future (2 Peter 3:12).

Dispensations. They involve the rules for living from the beginning to the end of time. They are not different ways to be saved. The “Mosaic Law” was given to the Jews after they were delivered from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 19). This period lasted for about 1,500 years. Believers today are supposed to live by “Grace Principles” (Romans 6:14, 15; Galatians 3:10; 4:21). The rules of the “Kingdom of the Heavens” will be imposed on those who enter the 1,000 year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:1-6; Matthew 5-7) when He returns at the second coming (Matthew 24:29ff; Daniel 2:44, 45; Acts 1:11; Revelation 19, 20). This is not to be confused with the “Rapture” or catching away of true believers (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Attitudes. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Quote from Viktor Frankl who survived the holocaust. The Christians to whom the Apostle Peter was writing were undergoing terrible persecution. To encourage them he wrote two letters. He wanted them to have an attitude of –

Watchfulness. He tried to bolster their faith by encouraging them to be serious and watchful in their prayers (1 Peter 4:7). He himself hadn’t been this way in the Garden of Gethsemane when he fell asleep as the enemies of Jesus came to take Him by force (Matthew 26:36-46). Peter’s cowardly attitude also caused him later to deny that he knew Jesus (Luke 22:34) as Jesus had predicted he would. But after Christ’s bodily resurrection he was restored by the Lord and became a mighty preacher of the Gospel concerning Christ and the way to be saved (John 21:15-17; Acts 2).

Loving Concern. This isn’t family love, brotherly love, or sensual love, but Divine love. Christ’s new commandment involves Christians’ loving other Christians as Christ loves us (John 13:34, 35). It is like God’s sacrificial love that puts the other person above our own interests (John 3:16; 1 John 3:16, 17; 4:20, 21). To have and display this kind of love, and display it for the right reasons, one needs to be a true Christian and be rightly related to the Holy Spirit so that He can produce the “Fruit of the Spirit” in our lives (Galatians 5:22, 23). We become responsible to direct it properly toward the right objects, at the right time, and for the right reasons (1 John 2:15-17)

Hospitabalenesss. During Christ’s day there weren’t many honorable hotels or inns for travelers. Believers were encouraged to house overnight traveling ministers. But they were also to watch out for false teachers who denied the true humanity and deity and the bodily return of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 John 1:7-11; 3 John 1:5-11). Consider the cult members. Question – Do you ever use your home to assist such fellow Christians or for Bible studies (1 John 3:16, 17)? You might be entertaining an angel (Hebrews 13:1; Genesis 18; Revelation 1:).

Action. If you’ve been saved by God’s grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins…and rose again bodily on the third day, will you join hands and work together with us to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31) by making Him and His plan of salvation known to others around us.

Questions. Ask yourself, Am I well pleasing to the Lord who gave Himself for me (2 Corinthians 5:9)? Am I abiding (feeling at ease) with my Savior so I can bear much fruit for His glory and the good of others (John 15:1-14)? If I knew that today was my last day on earth, what would I do differently (Proverbs 27:1)? Am I doing my work as though the Lord were my boss (Colossians 3:22-24)? Am I applying what I’m learning to my life (James 1:22)? With God’s help, what needs to change (Philippians 4:13)? Remember, delayed obedience is disobedience (James 1:22; 4:17).

Help. We’re here to assist those who want to learn more about God’s thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8, 9; 2 Timothy 2:2, 15). We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.” If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you and ask you to pass it on to others. You might also like to check us our on live “Facebook.”

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Relentless. “God. You are relentless. I have yielded everything to You – everything but one small exception – an exception so small I’m truly amazed You would even take notice. Yes, it is invariably to that one small exception that You keep bringing me back, and back, and back. Why does it matter to you? [To which God responded by saying], “My child, why does it matter so much to you?” Ruth H. Calkin

Suffering. [“First Peter chapter] 4 teaches us that since Jesus suffered, we must be prepared to suffer. We’ve had plenty of time to sin. It’s time to stop and live for God. The end is near, so do what is right toward others, so that God will be praised. We will suffer for doing what is right [2 Timothy 3:12]. When we do, we should commit our lives to God and keep on doing what is right.” – David Walls

Admonition. Fellow Christian “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith... (Hebrews 12:1, 2).  The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him. I will try my utmost to be that man.” – D. L. Moody.  Since he’s now with the Lord, will you make this one of your goals in life?

Return. Do you love Christ’s imminent return? Perhaps Today! Do you know what crown you can earn by doing this (2 Timothy 4:8)? Do you know how close we may be to the end of “The Day of Man?” Let us not be ignorant of “Things To Come.”

Join us on Sunday mornings at 9 A.M. as we consider where we seem to be in time and how little time we may have left to serve God while we’re here on earth. Consider this chart that we’re fleshing out –http://kelseypeach.com/Kelsey.8.pdf  It could revolutionize your life as it did mine. Feel free to make copies of this chart and share them with your friends.  We have other FREE charts for those who ask for them. Go to our “Bible Prophecy” section on this site for more helpful information. We can be reached at 805-238-3549.

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1 Peter 4:1-6

“And it came to pass…” Yes, if you are a Christian, your sufferings in life didn’t come to stay but to pass. They are only temporary. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18; See Revelation 21:4). The Apostle Peter knew about suffering for the cause of Christ too (Acts 5:40, 41). So do most of the Christians in other parts of the world. Thus far, not many Christians in the United States have suffered very much for Christ. But maybe you are suffering or being persecuted because you’re trying to live a morally pure (holy) life as a Christian should (1 Peter 1:15, 16). “Yes, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

The Sufferings Of Christ. Jesus told His disciples that He was going to have to go to Jerusalem to suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised on the third day (Matthew 16:21-23). When Peter tried to prevent this from happening to Jesus, the Lord had to rebuke him. On the night before He was crucified, Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray to His Father. But His suffering in agony there had no redeeming value for us (Luke 22:42). Not long after this, Judas came with a band of men to betray Jesus. “The hour” had come when Jesus would allow Himself to be taken by sinful men for them to do with Him as they were determined to do (Luke 22:53; John 2:4; 18:12). The religious, Jewish rulers engaged in three unlawful trials with Jesus. Then they took Him to Pilate and demanded that He be crucified (John 19:6). After scourging and examining Jesus, Pilate declared three times that he found no fault in Him (John 18:38). Then He was taken to King Herod who mocked and humiliated Jesus. But finally Pilate gave in to the Jews’ demands and gave permission for Him to be crucified.

Cross. Jesus was placed on the cross at 9 A.M.  From noon until 3 P.M. God the Father forsook Him (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46) because He couldn’t look with approval on His Son who was bearing the sins of the whole world (Isaiah 53:6; 1 Corinthians 15:3). Yes, this included your sins and mine. Only God who is omniscient could see ahead of time all the sins we’d ever commit in life and then put them on Christ so He could pay the penalty of death for all of our sins (Romans 6:23). Christ’s payment was made once and for all (Hebrews 10:10). We don’t re-crucify Christ every time we observe the Lord’s Supper. It is a memorial of Him (1 Corinthians 11:24, 25). At 3 P.M. when Jesus cried out, “It is finished” (John 19:30) His separation from the Father was over and then He died physically and went to Paradise that was located in the heart of the earth at that time (Luke 23:43). Today it has been removed to the edge of the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:4; Ephesians 4:8-10).

The Sufferings Of Christians. Jesus told His disciples to expect the same kind of treatment He had received from His enemies (John 15:18-21). Before we were saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ, we were dead in trespasses and sins and in the devil’s family (Ephesians 2:1-10; John 8:44; 1 John 3:9, 10). We suffered from spiritual blindness (1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Romans 11:25). At conception we received a sin nature (disposition) from our parents (Psalm 51:5). Contrary to what many people are being taught, we didn’t lose it when we got saved (1 John 1:8; Romans 7:15-25). As Christians we have the potential to engage in the “works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19-21) but can be victorious over our sin nature if we “walk by means of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16, 25). We will have a sin nature until we die or the Rapture takes place (1 John 3:2). To enter God’s family, we had to be born again from above (John 3:3-5; 1 Peter 1:23). We needed a new nature (disposition) that would enable us to please God (Romans 8:8; 2 Peter 1:3, 4; 2 Corinthians 5:9). True Christians are a part of the new creation called “The Christ” (Ephesians 2:15; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus is the Head of the Church, and Christians from the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) to the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52) make up the “Body of Christ” that becomes His “Bride” (Ephesians 1:22, 23; 5:32; Revelation 21:9).

Pain/Suffering. Believe it or not, “There is good in pain, privation, suffering, and bereavement. They correct evil, prevent evil, develop character, produce sympathy, promote enterprise, and prepare us for eternity.” – Source unknown. Jesus endured the cross so we could be saved (Hebrews 12:2). The early Christians and many Christians even to this day have suffered and are suffering in a different way so others can be saved from the lake of fire and enter heaven (2 Timothy 2:10). The “Crown of Rejoicing” awaits believers who have a part in the salvation of other people (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20). Will you earn it?

Questions. If you are a Christian, are you living a morally pure (holy) life (1 Peter 1:15, 16)? Are your know sins confessed to God (1 John 1:9) and to others whom you have offended (James 5:16)? Are you experiencing persecution for living a godly life (2 Timothy 3:12)? If so, are you responding as Jesus did (Isaiah 53:7)? Is it your aim in life to glorify God and be well pleasing to Him (1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 5:9)?

Help. We’re here to assist those who would like answers from the Scriptures. We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you. Please share it with others. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

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1 Peter 3:18-22

Does the church you attend recite the “Apostles Creed” on Sundays as part of their rituals? If so, have you paid much attention to the words? “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord, who…was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven…” There is more to this creed than the above. But merely reciting it doesn’t get us into heaven. Do you know what is necessary for us to enter into God’s presence? Did Jesus go to hell and get “born again” while He was there as it is being taught by some false teachers?

Christ’s Death. It occurred once and for all (1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 9:28; 10:2, 10). When we observe the Lord’s Supper we don’t re-crucify Jesus. Nor do we believe that the bread is magically transformed into His real, literal body or that the fruit of the vine is transformed into His literal blood. What do we call those who eat other people? Why did God tell the Jews to drain out the blood before eating meat (Leviticus 17:11, 14)? The bread and the cup are reminders (memorials) of His death for our sins and are a reminder that He promised to return for His own some day in His resurrected, glorified body consisting of flesh and bones (Luke 24:33-43) but with no blood (1 Corinthians 11:26; 15:50; See John 14:1-3). Jesus was the Just One dying for us, the unjust ones (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 2:2; 4:10). We’re all sinners who act lawlessly (Romans 3:10-23; 1 John 3:4).  We all deserve to be separated forever from God in the lake of fire (Romans 6:23). His death was designed to bring true believers to God (John 3:16, 18; 6:37) and not those who merely profess to be believers (Matthew 7:21-23; 1 Corinthians 15:2).  Which one characterizes you?

Christ’s Proclamation. What does it mean when the Apostle Peter wrote, “…He [Jesus] went and preached to the spirits in prison…” (1 Peter 3:19)? Who were/are these spirit beings? Peter sheds more light on them in his second letter. The Scriptures teach us that they were some (not all) of the fallen angels/demons who were involved in trying to corrupt the human race genetically by taking on humanoid form and cohabiting with women. This union produced the giants on the earth who were men of renown (Genesis 6:2-4). They are currently confined in a place called “Tartarus” (Greek) which is in the heart of the earth (2 Peter 2:4). They are distinct from the other fallen angels/demons that are still free to roam the earth and who can even enter heaven from time to time (Job 1:6; 2:1; 1 Kings 22:22). The unconfined demons are the devil’s agents who periodically attack Christians mentally (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 4:14) and who do Satan’s will (Ephesians 6:12,13). When He died physically, Jesus went to Paradise (Luke 23:43; See Luke 16:19-31) which was in the upper Sheol/Hades. He didn’t offer the wicked spirits in Tartarus or to the unbelievers in the lowest Sheol/Hades (Deuteronomy 32:22; See Matthew 25:30, 41, 46) another opportunity to be saved from that place of torment (Luke 16:23-31). Instead, we believe that Jesus probably proclaimed something like this to them – “Your efforts to contaminate the human race genetically and to keep Me, the God/man,  from being the Savior of mankind have failed.” (See Genesis 3:15; Psalm 2:7; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6, 7; Matthew 1:23). The everlasting destiny of the devil and all his angels/demons and all unbelievers is the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41, 46; Jude 1:6, 13; Revelation 20:10; 21:8). We’re trying our best to tell people how they can avoid this awful place by “believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for our sins…and rose again bodily from the dead on the third day” (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).  Have you done this yet?  Do you have assurance of your salvation (1 John 5:13; Romans 8:16)?

Christ’s Resurrection. The evidence for Christ’s bodily resurrection from the dead is undeniable to those who are honest with the information that is available to us (Luke 24:33-43; 1 Corinthians 15). All three Persons in the Godhead were involved in Jesus Christ’s bodily resurrection – God the Father (Romans 6:4), God the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11), and God the Son Himself (John 10:17). Without His bodily resurrection from the dead we’d have no way of knowing for sure if God the Father was satisfied with Christ’s payment for our sins or not (Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:20-24; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).

Christ’s Exaltation. After appearing to over 500 witness on more than 10 separate occasions over a 40 day period of time, Jesus ascended back to heaven from where He had come (John 3:13; 6:41, 51). It was public, gradual, and literal (Acts 1:1-11). Currently He is seated at God the Father’s right hand (Ephesians 1:20-23; Hebrews 10:12). We’re told that He intercedes to God the Father on the behalf of believers (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25) and directs the activities of His Body, the Church through God the Holy Spirit (John 14:16; Romans 8:14). Although Jesus has been exalted above all other human and spirit beings (Philippians 2:9-11), He is still subordinate to God the Father (1 Corinthians 11:3) and will be until the end of time when He (Jesus) destroys death by raising everyone who has died from the dead in their various resurrections (1 Corinthians 15:20-28). What do you know about the five resurrections mentioned in the Scriptures?  In which one will you participate?

Christ’s Offer. For a person to be saved from eternal condemnation in the lake of fire (John 3:18, 36), he/she must personalize the Gospel by saying, I believe on the Lord Jesus Christ who died for my sins…and rose again bodily on the third day.” It’s not enough to know and agree with the facts of the Gospel. We must transfer our faith over to Christ alone to save us. We aren’t saved by good works or faith plus good works (Ephesians 2:8, 9). We implore you, please make sure you’re truly saved (2 Peter 1:10). Don’t boast about tomorrow (Proverbs 27:1; James 4:14). You might be dead.

Evidence. To demonstrate our faith in Christ to other human beings (James 2:18-20), we need to be baptized by immersion (Matthew 28:19). This identifies us with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:1-5) and enables us to have a good conscience toward God (1 Peter 3:21). As we begin to grow spiritually by the intake of the milk and meat (solid food) of the Word of God that is addressed to us as Christians (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16, 17; Titus 1:9), and present and yield our bodies to God as living sacrifices (Romans 6:11-23; 12:1, 2), others should begin to see changes in our lives that might cause them to ask us about our faith (1 Peter 3:15).

Help. If you aren’t sure you’ll go to heaven when you die, or if you’re a Christian who would like to grow spiritually, but don’t know how to “rightly divide the Word of truth,” we’re here to help those who are teachable and willing to change (2 Timothy 2:2). We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you and ask you to share this information with others too. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

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