Peter Knew We Should

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten
us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus
Christ from the dead.”                                             I Peter 1:3 

After Acts 11 we do not know much about Peter the Apostle.  This was the man who was so dominant in the life of the beginning years of the church.  Yet as time went forward it was others who we knew.  The first half of the book of Acts it switched from Peter to Paul.

This we do know through tradition that Peter turned to the East and North whereas Paul traveled to the West.  Why this fact was true it was not known nor is it now.

The first letter Peter sent to the churches was in the vicinity of what today is the nation of Turkey.  That country did not exist then as it does now.  This area was under the sovereign power of the Roman Army.  The five were mentioned in the first verse are but names from the past to us today.  However, we should understand that there were thriving areas at the time of the First Church.

This part of the world had experienced numerous conquerors such as Xerses, Alexander, and then Rome.  Actually all of the previous conquerors wanted two things from these places – taxes and young men for their armies.  Taxes can only be collected if there is commerce so there was a free movement for the evangelist such as Peter, to travel.

The letters by Paul, Peter, John and others were written to keep the church pure and away from the wiles of the world.

This traveling evangelist carried the message of the Gospel – the death, burial and resurrection of Christ from the grave.  Peter carried this idea forward in I Peter 1:2. 

“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through
sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood
of Jesus Christ; Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” 

Keep in mind we should have a valid reason why we act.

The United States has a history of doing acts that from all most any viewpoint no one knows why it was.  In 1918 President Woodrow Wilson sent the United States army to Russia.  At that time Russia had 28 competing governments.  The U. S. generals could not understand why they were there and much less their mission as well who they were to fight.  They asked Woodrow Wilson what was to be done he would reply to do what was necessary.  I do not know if his philandering days were over yet.

President Woodrow Wilson was a disaster.  This man was evil.

Peter knew what he was to do.  Keep the church holy and pure.

When Peter told these people that they were chosen to be a special people, the translator used the word elect to say they were special.  In fact there is a deeper meaning for Peter wrote actually they were chosen by God before they were born.  This should apply to us also.

You and I are set apart as a special person.  He gives three reasons why this is true: 

  1. God chooses us
  2. The Spirit purified us
  3. When we obeyed the blood of Jesus gave purity 

Once becoming a Christian never accept the remark you are not superior.  We are the only ones who are God’s chosen.

GOSPEL 

In the souls of the Christians today there is confusion about the concept of what it is.  When asked what is the gospel of Jesus there are many answers given.  The remarks will be from love to service, giving money to time, and kindness to good works. All of these enter into the Gospel but they were not just the Gospel.  The Gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus from the grave.  What this does is assure us of eternal life.  This was the message of the First Church until right now.  The communication is still the same This is the core thought of following Jesus of Nazareth.

One should understand that death is not the annalation of us.  We actually pass from one state of being to another.  People become sad at another’s death but we should believe that there is another life. Sadness is short lived.

Here is the promise as found in I Peter 1:3.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according
to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 

Peter says that there comes a time when we can be assured of a special gift.  The probate of the estate has happened.  Jesus paid the price on the cross the Judge Almighty has proclaimed the inheritance has all ready been assigned to anyone who follows the plan of redemption as told to us in the New Testament.  It is:

  • Hear the Gospel
  • Believe the message
  • Confess Christ
  • Repent of the sins in your life and
  • All of this is followed by immersion as commanded by Christ

It is then one should follow the teaching of Jesus until death when we leave this world for the next period of our existence.

The plan is simple.  It is not contemplated.  Even those of low mentality can follow these remarks.  It does not take a genius to follow the Master.  There is no restriction on who can do this.

On Mars Hill in Athens Paul said this Gospel is for all people.  See Acts 17:26 

“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the
face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and
the bounds of their habitation.” 

This is not the pigment of our skin that tells us where we are going at death.  It is whether we followed Jesus of Nazareth.

This is not a fleeting idea that can be cast off and soon laid aside.  It is until we face death.  Faith in Christ must be kept until life here ends on the earth.

PETER SAW THE FUTURE

There is one characteristic of the Bible which is so moving.  It is honest in its assessment of life.  Jesus knew that temptation would be a significant part of living.  It was then.  It is now.  It will be every day from now on.  The Christian life is not one of no troubles.  There is no data about the sin which we Christians will face on a daily basis.  Peter pulled no punches when this was written.  See I Peter 1:7

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that
perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and
honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”

In this year of your life persecution, trials and hardship will come.  In fact be glad it did as this is a sign that God is strengthening you.

BELIEVING IN THE END

There is no one alive today who can say that he or she saw Jesus.  Yet in the belief of some Christians great works have been performed by those who never saw Jesus this side of the River Jordan.  Some of the greatest works of art, music and poetry were made by people who never saw the physical form of the Son of God.

Isaac Watts Statue

Born: 1674 ~ Died: 11-25-1748

 Isaac Watts was born in 1674.

*”Southampton Isaac Watts Statue” –  Original uploader was Alan Ford Transferred from en.wikipedia; transfer was stated to be made by User:Blurpeace.     Isaac Watts died November 25, 1748.    Here are some of his trials:

  • 5’ tall
  • Never married
  • Huge head
  • Suffered ridicule for appearance
  • Rejection by woman he loved
  • Poor health
  • Living conditions depended on others and
  • Other odds against

Here was a man that wrote some of the greatest hymns.  The following is a partial list of some of the hundreds of poems he wrote that were set to music:

  • O God Our Help in Ages Past
  • When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
  • Joy to the World 

Here was a man who was not pleasant to look upon yet from him came some of the most magnificent poems in the English language.  We are told his body was rather repulsive yet from the inside came beautiful words.  Maybe the remark is correct, “Never judge a book by its cover.”

As in the beginning Christianity was not attractive.  Now it is the only thing that can save the world from destruction.  It has a beauty all of its own.

PUZZLED TIMES 

MINISTER AT A PODIUM_320 X 239

Picture Credit: Sandy Fleischmann from Flickr.com

The message of these years has been watered down.  When leaving a church service often we say to ourselves what was said.  Or maybe put another way, that sermon had nothing that could be applied to me.  Yes, I come to church to worship God but the sermon left me cold – here are some suggestions for more powerful sermons:

  • Do not read the sermon
  • Do not read the prayers
  • Forget the robes
  • Speak with conviction
  • Practice before a mirror
  • Call for a changed life
  • Tell others death is not the end
  • Forget the power point screen and
  • Instruction from the Bible

These are very simple suggestions that influence common people. This will be true in the United States as well as the world.

What I am trying to explain is that people want to believe in something that will give a reality to this life. It seems most people make little or no contribution to others while alive.

As I look around my life I see others who need help as these five church areas contained in I Peter 1:1.  Now this has greater strength.  I Peter 1: 8,9 should be a support for our lives.

“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet
believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end
of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”

This lesson from I Peter 1: 1-9 should help us in these ways:

  1. Others have gone through similar situations,
  2. You and I are in the mind of God pre-chosen
  3. Our inheritance comes from God the Spirit and Jesus
  4. Temptations will come and
  5. It is the resurrection where our hope arrives

Peter saw Christ.  His testimony is true.

“Under His wings I am safely abiding; tho the night
deepens and tempests are wild, Still I can trust Him; I
know He will keep me; He has redeemed me, and I am
His child. Under His wings, O what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er; Sheltered,
Protected,, no evil can harm me; Resting in Jesus, I’m
safe evermore.”                                                         Sankey

 

Gerald Fugit 

October 26, 2014

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