10/12/17 Love Wash Over A Multitude Of Sins

 

“Jesus could come back at any time – the end of the world as we know it is always before us.  Keep that in mind throughout every moment of every day, so that you will be sure to pray fervently and keep your eyes on Jesus.  Love one another fiercely, because this is the second of God’s greatest commandments.  Remember the proverb that says, ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’  Extend love, grace, and mercy to each other with pure motives, not complaining under your breath.  Use the gifts that are given to each of you by God to do His will, helping each other.  Remember that you do not really own anything in this world – you came into it owning nothing, and you will leave it owning nothing.  You are only caretakers, stewards of God’s grace.  Bless others with your blessings, share what you have with those who need it more than you do, do God’s will with what He gives to you.  If you want to be a preacher, preach God’s word, not your own.  If you give yourself wholly to God, He will give you the words to speak to your people.  If you want to care for the people of God with your material goods and your money, remember that all of your worldly goods really belong to God, and you are only the caretaker of them, so be generous with what you give.  God will be glorified through His Son, Jesus, in what you do for Him.  The Kingdom and all glory belong to Him forever and ever.  Amen.”

 

1 Peter 4:7-11, Proverbs 10:12

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10/11/17 All About The View

“Our Messiah willingly suffered bodily, just as so many of His followers are now being called to do.  Strengthen yourselves with this mindset, then, so that your suffering will be easier to bear:  only when you have died in your flesh and been resurrected to a new life in Heaven can you receive the best blessing God can give, complete freedom from sin forever.  If you keep this at the front of your mind, it will help you to endure suffering and to live for God instead of for this world and the sinful temptations it is filled with.  You had plenty of time before you came to belong to Jesus if you’d wanted to chase after those sinful desires that the rest of the world holds in such high esteem – drinking and partying, idolatry, orgies.  Now, those people who are coming against you are engaging in such sinful behavior and are surprised that Christians are striving to stay away from these things, so they spread rumors and lies against you.  But those same people who are accusing you before judges and governors now will have to stand before the ultimate Judge one day, the only One who is able to justly judge both those who are now living and those who are already dead.  On that day, you will be found innocent because of the blood of Jesus that covers your sins, and they will be found guilty.  But Jesus commanded His message of love and salvation for all to be spread to the whole world so that those who are dead in their sins right now might hear and come to Him to be saved, and be given life.  And this is what you have done – come to Jesus to save you from your sins, so that by living according to God’s will now, even though you might be judged wrongly by sinful people here on earth, you will be judged justly by God in Heaven, through the Holy Spirit.”

 

1 Peter 4:1-6

10/10/17 Patient Endurance Of Unjust Suffering Is Rewarded

“When our Messiah suffered for sins, it was not for His own sins, because He never sinned.  He suffered and died unjustly in our place, but He only had to do it once, so that we could be given access to God.  Although we are certainly not sinless, we can be willing to suffer and die for the sake of those who do not yet know our Messiah.  Jesus died as a mortal man, but the Holy Spirit called Him out of death back into life, never to die again.  It was by this same Holy Spirit that Jesus came, thousands of years before He was born as a human baby, to those of Noah’s time who were disobeying God.  He implored the people through Noah to turn away from doing evil and come back to God.  But although God waited patiently while Noah built the ark for even one person to come back to Him, nobody did, except for Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives, who were saved out of the water.  And now all of the souls of those people who hated and mocked Noah for his obedience to God are lost forever, while Noah and his family are enjoying eternal life with God in Heaven.  Now, it is almost the opposite that is true – by going down under the water, you are baptized to affirm your salvation.  Of course, it is not the baptism itself that saves you, because water cannot wash away the stain of sin upon your souls, but it shows everyone that you are committing yourself to a life lived for God.  In going under the water, you are proclaiming to all that you are dying to your sins, just as Jesus died to save you from them.  In coming up out of the water, you are proclaiming that you have been resurrected, just as Jesus was, to new life in Jesus, your Messiah, who is now sitting at the right hand of God in Heaven, ruling over all of creation.”

 

1 Peter 3:18-22

10/9/17 God Is The Only One Whose Opinion Counts

When you are persecuted, strengthen your hearts by remembering who you serve – Jesus, the Messiah, who is the Son of God, perfect in His glory, the Great King over all, the only one who is a righteous judge.  Do not be afraid of what people can do to you, but instead stand in awe of God, who He is, and what He can do to those who come against you.  Remember that Jesus lives within your hearts, in the form of the Holy Spirit, Emmanuel, God with us.  Spend time in prayer and in studying God’s word every day, striving to live without sinning, so that you will always be ready to present your reasons for putting your faith in God and the hope that such faith produces in you, whenever anyone accuses you regarding your Christian faith.  But when you give your ready defense of your faith, be sure to do so in humility and with proper respect for the authority of those who are questioning you, especially if you are brought before a court of law.  Then you will be able to give your response in good conscience, and those who are persecuting you out of a hatred for your faith will be put to shame in light of your character and the good works that you live by.  Remember that if you suffer for doing what is right, and if you are living in God’s will, you will be rewarded by God, but not if you suffer for doing what is evil.”

 

1 Peter 3:15-17

10/8/17 This Life vs. Eternity

“If you become zealous for Jesus in your everyday life, who can hurt you?  Satan and his followers can do everything in their power to hurt you, but if you belong to Jesus and strive to live every moment for Him, there is nothing that they can do to take that away from you.  Even if, in this life on earth, you are persecuted, hated, tortured, even killed, you know that you are blessed.  Why?  Because you serve the Messiah, who endured all of those things for your sake, and conquered them all.  He arose from the grave, defeating death once and for all, and has promised eternal life with Him to all who will follow Him.  Compared to an eternity of joyful life with Jesus in Heaven, what are a few fleeting years of life on earth, even if they must be spent enduring persecution?  Isaiah tells us, ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.’”

 

1 Peter 3:13-14, Isaiah 8:12

10/7/17 Show Your Faith By Living As One, In Love

“Going back to our discussion of the unbelieving world in general, I implore you all to live as Christian brothers and sisters, working as one body toward your common goal, that command that Jesus gave to us before He ascended into Heaven, to go into all the world and lead people to Him.  Love each other as brothers and sisters.  When one is celebrating something wonderful, all should celebrate with him.  When one is mourning a loss, all should mourn with him.  Strengthen your hearts in prayer and studying God’s word so that they will be tender towards your brothers and sisters.  Do all that you do out of humility and love.  When you are hated and persecuted, do not hate or do anything violent in return.  Do not seek revenge, for that is God’s job on your behalf.  Instead, be kind and do good to those who intend evil against you.  When you first came to Jesus you understood that this was the kind of life He was calling you to, so that you would be able to withstand evil and receive the blessings God has waiting for you.  Remember the words of Psalm 34, which tell us, ‘He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.  Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’”

 

1 Peter 3:8-12, Psalm 34:12-16

10/6/17 Marriage Is An Awesome Gift From God

“Husbands, you must seek to understand your wives, and you are to submit to her as well, because you are made one in marriage.  Discuss matters together so that each of you is understanding of the other’s point of view, and make decisions based on your love for each other and what is best for both of you.  Christian husband, if you are married to an unbelieving wife, do not divorce her, but live patiently with her, working to show Jesus to her through your character and your actions, just as I have advised the Christian wife to do if she has an unbelieving husband.  Honor your wife, love and cherish her, put her well-being before your own.  For you and your wife have been given the gift of life together as one, and with that gift comes the ability, with God’s blessing and help, to create new life.  This is an amazing gift that no other of God’s creations has been given, not even angels.  Animals mate, and are able to bear young, but they are not given in marriage to one another as we are.  Marriage is a very special bond reserved only for humans, and we must treat it as such.  Christian husband, treat your unbelieving wife as a sacred gift from God, so that there will be nothing to stand in the way of your earnest prayers for her to come to Jesus.”

 

1 Peter 3:7

10/5/17 Actions Speak Louder Than Words

“I agree with Paul on the issue of the structure of the family.  The husband is to be the spiritual head of the family, and the wife is to submit to him, even if she is a Christian and he is not.  Remember that actions speak louder than words.  If you are a Christian wife, you may draw your husband to the faith by your actions in your marriage and your family life.  Run away from anything that even appears to be sinful, and let your husband see your faithfulness to him and to Jesus.  Christian wife, do you like to dress nicely and put on jewelry for your husband?  Do not just do this outwardly, but in your heart as well.  In fact, it is more important to have a beautiful heart than a beautiful body.  Your beautiful character will do more to attract your husband both to you and to Jesus than all the jewels, make up, and expensive clothing in the world.  Be gentle and loving, quiet and patient, and you will be commended by your husband and by God.  Character is something that can never be stolen from you, as precious jewels can.  This is the way the women in Scripture who trusted God acted, beautifying themselves on the inside, through their good character.  Remember how Sarah submitted herself to her husband Abraham, showing him respect as the head of her family.  If you show similar character and strength of heart, you will do well.  Just be careful to examine your motives – do not aim to please your husband out of fear of what he will do if he is angry with you, because that kind of relationship is not healthy or loving, and do not make your husband into an idol, aiming to please him above God.”

 

1 Peter 3:1-6

10/4/17 Patience Will Be Rewarded In Heaven

“Are you a servant?    Show honor and respect to your master through obedience and by always doing your best work.  Whether your master is good and gentle or hard and cruel, he is your master.  Respect and obedience, even in hardship, for a hard master here on earth will show respect and obedience to your Master in Heaven, and you will be rewarded by God.  It is good to endure suffering because of your love and honor for God.  What does it gain you to suffer patiently for your own wrongdoing?  Nothing at all!  But if you do good, and unjustly suffer persecution for your good, you will be rewarded by God for the patient endurance you show in your suffering.  Jesus told us that we would endure persecution for His sake if we belong to Him.  He Himself was our example, suffering willingly for our sake, and showing us how to do the same for His sake.  And He suffered all the more unjustly, because He lived a completely sinless life, as Isaiah prophesied, saying, ‘who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.’  When Jesus was hated, He did not hate  those who were against Him.  When He was persecuted, He did not use violent words or actions in return.  He turned to God, giving everything over to Him, because God is the only One who is a just judge.  Jesus took the punishment for our sins when He died on the cross, giving His own body, His own life, for ours.  He gave up everything willingly so that we could live for what is good and right, once we surrendered ourselves to His will and put our sinfulness to death with Him on the cross.  We are healed by the wounds our Messiah suffered.  You were like sheep, wandering away from your safe pasture.  But Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has brought you back to Him.  He is the Shepherd, the Lord of your souls.”

 

1 Peter 2:18-25

10/3/17 Respect For Authority

“With so much persecution of our brothers and sisters now, especially here in Rome, you must take extra care to make sure you are submitting yourselves and your families to all authorities, for your sake and for the sake of our Lord and Messiah, in whose Name we do all that we do.  Remember that those in power are set there by God, so treat them accordingly – the emperor as the highest authority in the land, then the governors, appointed by the emperor to encourage those who are following the laws and to punish those who are breaking them.  This is God’s will for all of you, so that your good will speak louder than the evil of those working against you.  You are set free by the sacrificial gift of Jesus for you.  It is freedom from enslavement to sin, so do not go back to sin willingly, using your freedom to hide your sins.  Remember that we are God’s servants, and act in His will.  Respect everyone, as we are all created by God and loved by Him.  Love your brothers and sisters in our Messiah.  Serve God in love, but also in fear, as He is not only your Heavenly Father, but the supreme authority over you, the only One who can decide your eternal destiny.  Honor the emperor, whether you agree with him or not, because to disobey the emperor is to disobey God.”

 

1 Peter 2:13-17