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

April 24, 2013

Today you should read: 1 Peter 2:4-12

I hope you’re enjoying our study through Peter.  What a great book!  When you read today’s passage you stumble upon several word pictures that must be explained.

Why is Christ the Cornerstone of God’s Temple?

The temple was the place where God dwelt.  A few months ago I had the incredible privilege of traveling to Israel, and while in Jerusalem I visited the Wailing Wall.  This is the closest point you can get to where the Holy of Holies was – the place where God dwelt.  Now we know that God is omnipresent – everywhere at once and that He lives in all believers through His Spirit – but there was something very special about being in a place where the glory of God resided.  To this day if you address an envelope to God – that is where they deliver it.

TP @ the Western Wall

A picture of me praying at the Western Wall

Verse four reminds us that Jesus is the LIVING cornerstone to God’s temple.  The cornerstone is what the building is built on – it’s what holds it all together.  Jesus is that stone in God’s plan for the world

Why are followers of Christ living stones?

God has, by His grace, allowed us to be a part of his  plan for the world.  Jesus is the cornerstone – but you and I are living stones – we a part of it all.  We must trust Him and recognize the honor God has given Him (v.7).  Even though others rejected Him, God made Him the cornerstone (v.7b).  God has made us His chosen people – royal priests – a holy nation.  He’s called us out of darkness and sin into His wonderful light (v.8)

Because of this, we are temporary residents of this world – this world is not our home – heaven is.  So we must be careful to not act like those who do not know God in our behavior (vs.11-12).

Posted by: Tim Parsons

April 23, 2013

Today you should read: 1 Peter 2:1-3

Well, that was quick. Three verses. That’s all we asked for you to read today as you follow along in God’s Word with our church. That’s it. Since you only had to read three verses today let’s make sure you get the most out of today’s commentary on those three important and powerful verses.

 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 1 Peter 2:1

After reminding the church of the Gospel; how it’s our hope, our reason to persevere, and what makes us holy and imperishable because it’s God’s Word, Peter now exhorts us to repentance in order to receive all of the benefits that he mentions in chapter one. In the original language with its unique definition from the Greek, Peter tells us to put away…

Kakiða: Malice; a desire to injure, a wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws, evil, depravity, trouble.

Do/lov (dolos): Deceit; craft, guile.

u(po/krisiv (hupokrisis): Hypocrisy; to reply or answer as if on the stage, play acting, play a part, to feign, pretend.

fqo/nov (Phthonos): Envy; jealousy, a grudge, spite, a strong feeling (desire) that sours, due to the influence of sin.

Katalalia: Slander; defamation, evil speaking, backbiting.

As we all know, there are many other sins that Jesus died for and that Christians need to repent of listed in the Bible. However I do find it interesting that Peter happens to mention the five that the church tends to allow to creep in and will turn a blind eye to at times. Are you currently struggling with any of these sins that God so bluntly tells us to “put away”? Notice how the word “ALL” is mentioned a couple of times describing these sins.

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation 1 Peter 2:2

Peter then calls us babies, but not in a negative way. I know what you’re saying… How can you call an adult “a baby” in a way that is positive? Well, quit jumping to conclusions over there and I’ll tell you. He says, “LIKE a baby longs (desires) milk, Christians must long for (desire) pure spiritual milk which stands for God’s Word (as he mentions at the end of chapter 1). Just like a baby can’t grow without milk, we Christians cannot grow without a regular time of hearing from God in Scripture.

I also love the word “PURE” mentioned before “spiritual milk.” Not to open a can of worms and get all healthy, organic and weird on you (because if you know anything about me I’m only 2 of the 3) but there’s a reason why hospitals require new moms to sign off on a class about why breastfeeding is a healthier option than formula for a newborn. I’m not one of those hipster extremists who believe that parents who do otherwise should be reported to social workers (who happen to guilt many moms who have a legit hard time breastfeeding, etc.) but one can’t argue that “PURE” milk is the healthier, better option. That word “PURE” in the Greek (adolos) means unmixed, unadulterated and guileless. This is why a Christian truly matures in their faith and grows when THEY get into God’s word instead of trying to get fed by hearing it once a week in church or just listening to a whole bunch of podcasts of their favorite preacher and their opinions on it. Are you spending time in God’s Word outside of church and others opinions of it?

 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:3

 Of course, putting away and repenting of sin while growing in God’s Word really won’t matter if you don’t have a relationship with the God that is speaking to you, and that’s the purpose of verse three. Unless you have tasted that the Lord who is telling you to do these tough things is truly good and for you (Psalm 34:8), it doesn’t matter how much you’re trying to not sin or read the Bible for yourself. In fact, you’re just a moral, disciplined heathen when doing this without an actual relationship with Jesus. Christians will only continue to hate sin and long for God’s Word if they have tasted that the Lord is good in salvation and the Holy Spirit who opens up their eyes to these things. Are you trying to live a holy life under God’s Word without having experienced a moment and time where you came to know the Lord Jesus Christ and tasted His goodness? Do you believe that there’s nothing you can truly do to rid yourself of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander no matter how much time you spend in God’s Word or at church? Instead a perfect, holy savior died on the cross for those very sins and then rose from the grave defeating those sins and all you need to do is repent and have faith in that Savior to taste that goodness that Peter describes. Because it’s unlike any others taste that this world has to offer.

Posted by: Erik Koliser