April 29, 2013

Today you should read: 1 Peter 3:8-12
“Hey, your middle school called; they want their drama back!” That’s what I want to say sometimes when people aren’t willing to deal with their issues with others. It’s especially frustrating within the church when people continuously have contention with one another. It’s even more saddening and frustrating when there is an inability to have a like-mind about a petty issue.

Our passage today tells us how to be/stay unified. Let’s break down the characteristics of unity that Peter lists in verse 8 so we can avoid unnecessary drama. In the NASB, Peter exhorted Christians to be:

Harmonious: The Greek word used here is homophron, which is formed from two words (homo=same, and phron=mind or cognitive faculties). Peter said we are to have the same mind. This takes effort because individuals do not always begin with like minds.

Sympathetic: This word literally means to suffer or feel like another. To be sympathetic is to have compassion for another. Another way to put it is to “put yourself in the other person’s shoes.”

Brotherly: The Greek word here is philadelphos. The city of Philadelphia is called the city of brotherly love. The idea here is that we love others as if we would our brother or fellow countryman. We have to choose to love our fellow Christians and sisters as brothers and sisters.

Kindhearted: This word means to be compassionate and tender-hearted towards others. Another way to put it is simply to be nice to others. Isn’t it amazing how noticeable and refreshing it is when someone is nice to you? Well, others feel the same when you are nice to them. Is there someone you need to be nice to this week?

Humble in spirit: This word is similar to the previous one. It means to be kind or courteous. The opposite would be to go out of our way to be resentful, unkind, or spiteful. It’s not always easy to be kind, but we must choose to be humble in spirit.

Verse 9 gives one of the most difficult challenges in all of Scripture. It tells us not to return evil for evil or insult for insult. Instead, we should give a blessing when we are offended. My first thought when I am offended is revenge. The Bible tells me my first thought should be reward. I should give out a blessing to the one who offends me. I admit that I definitely have not perfected this exhortation. In fact, I might be one of the worst at it. If someone bothers me, my instinct is to make them feel miserable. I instead need to attempt give them a blessing and do what verse 8 says to do.

Difficult? Yes. Impossible? No.

Verses 10-12 speak for themselves. No explanation needed. Let’s be people who live out the truths of this whole passage and live in unity, and be quick to confess where we are falling short.

Posted by: Rich Duffield

April 27, 2013

Today you should read: 1 Peter 3:1-7

The discussion of the roles and positions of men and women, particularly in marriage, has become a heated topic in recent days. Men have become lazy and apathetic to their roles and responsibilities and women have stepped in to try to gain control, into a position God never intended for them. I will be the first to say that I do not know why God designed everything to work like this, with men as leaders and women as submissive helpers but He did. And we all know that things work better when we do them God’s way.

So how does this play out in the best possible way? I think we see 3 key principles that allow God’s way of marriage to work beautifully.

  1. Submission

This is not a “do as I say” dictator-like submission but rather a God-honoring humility that submits to God’s ways, not our own. Today’s passage speaks directly to women in the area of submission and says that it is the best way to spur your husband on to growing in the Lord, whether they do not know Him (verse 1) or they are a believer. You see, when a husband feels freedom to lead and grace from his family when he messes up leading becomes much easier. Now, for the guys out there, submission is not a platform for you to have everything your way. We will see that in a moment.

  1. Consideration

Now for the boys, we are called to do two things in this passage in relationship to a wife. The first is to be considerate. Considerate means to consider someone other than yourself, in this instance, your wife. Now, back to what we said earlier, submission is not about you getting everything because a truly considerate husband will want what is best for his wife and family. You see how that works. It is so amazing when this all plays out. A wife allows her husband to lead out and make decisions and the husband “considers” what decision and direction would be best for his family. Win-Win. The last principle is this. . .

  1. Respect

Peter decided the guys needed a little more help than the ladies here I guess, because he gave us two principles. We are also called to respect our wives. We are not to be prideful and think of ourselves, our needs our job, etc. as more important or of greater value than our spouses. Maybe your wife is a stay-at-home mom or only works part-time or makes less money than you. Maybe you work like a dog, putting in 60-70 hours or more a week. Gentlemen, this does not entitle us to any special privileges above our wife. We must always treat our wife with grace and respect because they matter to God just as much as we do.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

April 26, 2013

Today you should read: 1 Peter 2:18-25

Apparently, Peter isn’t a fan of the prosperity gospel. If the previous chapter and a half didn’t give it away yet, chapter 2:18-25 surely will.

The lie that many Christians have bought into — and many poor Bible teachers have propagated — is that if you walk with God, you’ll be free of life’s troubles. You’ll get more money and fame. You’ll have the picture-perfect family. You won’t face anything difficult. The problem with that is, well, Jesus. No one walked more closely with God than He did. Where did it take Him? To the cross. His treasure wasn’t here on earth; it awaited Him where He is today, at the right hand of the throne of God.

When you look at most of the faith-filled Bible characters we deem heroes, their devotion to God led to suffering for God. Ultimately, this brought glory to God and advanced His kingdom, which we would wisely see as God’s ultimate goal. Prosperity gospel proponents must do some serious hermeneutical gymnastics to get around passages like today’s reading. These passages bring so much clarity to the Christian life. They teach us that a true life in Christ is more about Jesus being our treasure, not the stuff He gives us. But in a culture where gift is elevated above Giver, this becomes increasingly more difficult to keep in proper perspective.

The reality that we need to keep, at least in the back of our minds, is this: our faith will become difficult at times, and we may be met with persecution and suffering. Please don’t misunderstand me: nowhere in scripture is the desire for suffering condoned, but we should expect it to come not only in spite of our faith, but at times because of it. Yes, you heard that correctly. Living for Jesus may lead to suffering. Sounds a little different from the misguided foolishness of the prosperity gospel, doesn’t it?

We must all be reminded that we deserved to suffer for all of eternity. We chose our own way, and sin has devastatingly marred our planet. God could have left us to our own devices and damned us to hell for eternity. Instead, He offered us hope. Let’s rejoice today in the fact that the most harsh suffering we would have faced was taken on by Jesus in our place. That’s the hope Peter gives us in v.21-25:

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:21-25, ESV)

What do I apply from today’s passage? A few simple ideas:

1) Rejoice in the truth that you won’t suffer for your sins for eternity. Jesus already did that for you!
2) Don’t allow sin to rule in your life! Jesus didn’t die so you could continue to enjoy your sinful lusts. His resurrection proved that, through Him, sin is defeated. Don’t love what God hates.
3) When suffering comes, keep the gospel in mind. Suffer well. Others are watching. How we respond to suffering reflects how deeply we believe in Jesus.
4) Steer clear of prosperity gospel teachers. They do little to help us keep our grasp on the true gospel. Health, wealth, and prosperity is promised to us in the gospel, but not here on this planet until the New Heavens and New Earth arrive. Anyone who teaches that if you follow Jesus, you will prosper in any other way but spiritually is peddling claims that Jesus never made. More on false teachers is coming in 2 Peter…

Much love to you CPC!

Posted by: Todd Thomas

April 25, 2013

Today you should read: 1 Peter 2:13-17

Two of the most controversial subjects in our culture are religion and politics and in today’s passage we are going to address both. The question that we must first ask ourselves is what responsibility do we have as believers when it comes to our governmental leaders? If we disagree with policies or procedures of our President then does that give us the right to ignore or disobey the law? When you disagree with who is in leadership do you pray for them or do you slander them?

Peter gives us some clear instruction about how we should approach our Government leaders…….

1. We should submit ourselves to authority based upon the sovereignty of God. What Peter is not saying is that the Government is always right and that they follow the scripture. What Peter is saying is that God is the one who has put leaders in their place for a purpose. Basically God is God and we are not. So, if we do not believe that our leaders are doing what is best then we should pray diligently for them. God is the one who is in control so we should pray to him and trust in his overall plan. Is your faith in God or in the government?

2. We should seek to be an example. Often we can get an attitude of blame upon the government for the issues of the world. I do agree that our government has issues but change happens through us. God has called us to be his ambassadors to the world and as we impact our own personal area of influence then true change will happen (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). How often do you fight sin in your own life? Do you seek accountability? How often do you read the word of God? How often do you build relationships in order to share the gospel? We have to remember that the worst thing in our world is that man has rejected God and people are going to Hell.

3. Our main purpose is love.  I cannot say it much better then Peter did in verse 17:

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Can you say that your life matches the instruction given in this verse? If not what needs to change?

Posted by: Chad Wiles