:) Finally had some time! Next week should be fun... we're heading into some messianic prophecies... :)

Happy studying!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Peter Chapter 2

vs. 1

- Get rid of all evil behavior. Deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.

- Deceit- “a deceiving or lying. A lie or a dishonest act or acts. Lying or misleading, not to be trusted.”- Webster's

- Hypocrisy- “the condition of being a hypocrite- a person who pretends to have feelings, a goodness, etc. that he does not really have.”- Webster's

- Jealousy- “Worried or afraid that someone is taking the love or attention one has or wants. Resulting from such a feeling. Unhappy because another has something one would like; envious.” - Webster's

- Unkind Speech- “not kind; hurting the feelings of other; harsh; cruel.”- Webster's

- You are a new creature in Christ. Act like it! Throw off the old behaviors and the old habits. It might take years to break some of these habits... but you have to try! You can't walk this walk passively. Nor can you depend on God to fix everything for you instantaneously. It takes work and effort on your part sometimes too.

- With God's help, you can become who you were truly meant to be in Him. But you can't make those forward progressing steps with a ton of baggage on your back.

- Ephesians 4:17-32, 5:1-20

vs. 2-3

- Just like babies need their mother's milk, so we need the Word of God.

- So too do new Christians.

- Babies eat every 2 hours or so. They eat, then they sleep, then they eat, and so on and so forth... maybe some screaming in there somewhere.... They sometimes seems to be constantly hungry.

- But just as babies constantly need nourishment, so too should new Christians need a constant intake of the Word. Just as babies need frequent contact with mom and dad and loving people in general, so too should new Christians desire frequent contact with fellow believers who are strong in the faith and who will lovingly teach them this new walk.

- footnote- “One characteristic all children share is that they want to grow up—to be like big brother or sister or like their parents. When we are born again, we become spiritual newborn babies. If we are healthy, we will yearn to grow. How sad it is that some people never grow up. The need for milk is a natural instinct for a baby, and it signals the desire for nourishment that will lead to growth. Once we see our need for God's Word and begin to find nourishment in Christ, our spiritual appetite will increase, and we will start to mature. How strong is your desire for God's Word?”

- Are you growing in the faith? Are you digging in and growing? Or are you anorexic? There is no such thing as overeating on the Word of God...

- I Corinthians 3:1-3, 14:20
- II Corinthians 13:8-9
- Philippians 3:15-16

vs. 4-10

- We are building a temple. Christ is our living Cornerstone, and we the living stones building the temple.

- Christ was rejected by people, but was chosen by God for great honor. (Just as we, once we have decided to follow Christ, are rejected by the world, but chosen by God...)

- In this temple, we are not only part of the building as a whole, but we are also Christ's holy priests. Through the mediation of Christ, we offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.

- footnote- “What are the “spiritual sacrifices” that we offer to God? When sacrificing an animal according to God's law, a priest would kill the animal, cut it in pieces, and place it on the altar. Sacrifice was important, but even in the Old Testament God made it clear that obedience from the heart was much more important. God wants us, His “holy priests,” to offer ourselves as living and spiritual sacrifices—daily laying aside our own desires and following Him, putting all our energy and resources at His disposal, and trusting Him to guide us.”

- I Samuel 15:22-23
- Psalm 40:6-8
- Amos 5:21-24

- footnote- “Christians sometimes speak of “the priesthood of all believers.” In Old Testament times, people did not approach God directly. A priest acted as intermediary between God and sinful human beings. With Christ's victory on the cross, that pattern changed. Now we can come directly into God's presence without fear, and we are given the responsibility of bringing others to Him also. When we are united with Christ as members of His body, we join in His priestly work of reconciling God and people.”

- Exodus 19:5-6
- Isaiah 61:6-7
- Ephesians 2:19-22
- I Timothy 3:14-16
- Revelation 1:6
- Hebrews 4:14-16
- II Corinthians 5:11-21

- The cornerstone is the basis for the entire building. This is the referral point to make the walls straight, to make the building ultimately square, to level the building by... everything refers back to the cornerstone. Peter refers to Isaiah 28:16-17 which says “... Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken. I will test you with the measuring ling of justice and the plumb line of righteousness...”

- If we believe in the Cornerstone, we will never be disgraced. Our building will be a solid, perfect one if we trust the Cornerstone.

- But there are those who rejected the Cornerstone. “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.”

- Psalm 118:22-23

- Why would Christ cause people to stumble and fall? Isn't that Satan's job? Well, they are stumbling because they do not obey God's Word. And if they do not obey... they “meet the fate that was planned for them.” Which is not a pretty one...

- Romans 9:30-33
- Isaiah 8:13-17

- But we, are royal priests. A holy nation. God's own possession.

- Because of this can we not show other's the goodness of God? He called us out of darkness into light. We had no identity as a people, but we are now the people of God. We could have no mercy, but God has given us richly of His mercy.

- Acts 26:15-18
- Hosea 1:6-11, 2:1

- Can we not rejoice in this?

- footnote- “People often base their self-concept on their accomplishments. But our relationship with Christ is far more important than our jobs, successes, wealth, or knowledge. We have been chosen by God as His very own, and we have been called to represent Him to others. Remember that your value comes from being one of God's children, not from what you can achieve. You have worth because of what GOD DOES, not because of what you do.”

vs. 11- 12

- Peter warns us to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. That way, even if they accuse you of wrong, they will see your honorable behavior and they will give honor to God when He judges the world.

- footnote- “As believers, we are “temporary residents and foreigners” in this world because our real home is with God. Heaven is not the pink-cloud-and-harp existence popular in cartoons. Heaven is where God lives. Life in heaven operates according to God's principles and values, and it is eternal and unshakable. The Kingdom of Heaven came to earth in the symbolism of the Jewish sanctuary (The Tabernacle and Temple_, where God's presence dwelt. It came in a fuller way in the person of Jesus Christ: “God with us.” It spread through the entire world as the Holy Spirit came to live in every believer. Someday, after God judges and destroys all sin, the Kingdom of Heaven will rule every corner of this earth. John saw this day in a vision, and he cried out, “Look, God's home is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them.” (Revelation 21:3). Our true loyalty should be to our citizenship in heaven, not to our citizenship here, because the earth will be destroyed. Our loyalty should be to God's truth, his way of life, and His dedicated people. Because we are loyal to God, we often will feel like strangers in a world that would prefer to ignore God.”

- We are to be separate from the world... that sometimes means standing out because we're different... But it also means that regardless of what is now the norm or is acceptable social behavior... is not necessarily acceptable for us... I know that kind of sounds like we're putting ourselves above everybody else... but the fact is, we are held to God's standard... He doesn't change His standards just because the world has lowered theirs...

- Romans 13:8-14
- Galatians 5:16-26
- James 4:1-17
- Philippians 2:14-16

- footnote- “Peter's advice sounds like Jesus' in Matthew 5:16: If your actions are above reproach, even hostile people will end up praising God. Peter's readers were scattered among unbelieving Gentiles who were inclined to believe and spread vicious lies about Christians. Gracious, godly, and winsome behavior on the part of Christians could show these rumors to be false and might even win some of the unsaved critics to the Lord. Don't write off people because they misunderstand Christianity; instead, show them Christ by your life. The day may come when those who criticize you will praise God with you.”

vs. 13-17

- Because we are God's, we should respect all human authority... whether the king, or the governor, or the mayor, or the cops... Anybody in authority over us should be respected by us.

- This also applies to following rules at work and respecting your boss...

- footnote- “When Peter told his readers to respect all human authority, he was speaking of the Roman Empire under Nero, a notoriously cruel tyrant. Obviously he was not telling believers to compromise their consciences; as Peter had told the high priest years earlier, “We must obey God rather than any human authority” (Acts 5:29). But in most aspects of daily life, it was possible and desirable for Christians to live according to the law of their land. Today, some Christians live in freedom while others live under repressive governments. All are commanded to cooperate with the rulers as far as conscience will allow. We are to do this “for the Lord's sake”—so that His Good News and His people will be respected. If we are to be persecuted, it should be for obeying God, not for breaking moral or civil laws.”

- Romans 13:1-7
- Titus 3:1-2

- We are free in Christ... but that does not mean we are free to do whatever we please. We can't use our Christianity as an excuse to be able to do whatever we want to... Not only do we need to follow the laws of the land (so to speak), but we also have to follow God's laws. However, if the laws of the land conflict with the laws of God... God's laws take precedence.

- Galatians 5:13-15

- “Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king.”

- Proverbs 24:21-22

vs. 18-25

- Peter now gives instructions to those who are slaves.

- footnote- “Many Christians were household slaves. It would be easy for them to submit to masters who were gentle and kind, but Peter encouraged loyalty and perseverance even in the face of unjust treatment. In the same way, we should submit to our employers, whether they are considerate or harsh. By so doing, we may win them to Christ by our good example. Paul gave similar advice in his letters (Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-4:15), as did Jesus (Matthew 5:46; Luke 6:32-36).”

- Submitting yourself to someone else... especially someone who is overbearing, or pushy, or controlling... is incredibly hard for us to do... It goes against our very nature. We are taught very early in our lives that we are our own person. We are to be independent of everyone else. We can make it on our own. We don't need anybody else telling us what to do or how to do it...

- James 3:17-18

- But everything on earth is a mirror to heavenly things... if we can't submit ourselves on earth... we won't be able to submit ourselves to our Father in heaven. Our spiritual life should spill over into our earthly one... our actions and reactions to the Father, should be the same to those around us... To respond in love to the Father when he asks something of us, and in anger to another person when they ask something of us... is not a good indicator of our heart's condition.

- So regardless of what you are asked to do by your superiors, do it out of respect. (unless it goes against God's moral law...)

- God is pleased when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment.

- Sometimes it takes a lot of prayer to be able to hold your tongue... I know this week there have been more than a few times I really had to bite my tongue... But because they are older than I... and because they are my co-workers... I bit my tongue... Then went to my room and yelled at the walls for a while... lol but point being... God and I had to work on some things this week. I was angry and upset most of this week... Every day it was something else. But I did what I was supposed to do. Through much prayer, I stopped myself from saying things that could have damaged relationships irreparably and stopped myself from showing a side of me that would have crushed my witness with these people. Is the battle over? Probably not... am I more ready for it? Hopefully... but no guarantees... I pray that God strengthens me this week and keeps me from responding in anger.

- Peter says that we get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.

- God called you to do good. Even if it means suffering... God wants you to be obedient above all. He has called you to be His mirror. You are to be His reflection. Christ suffered for us... so we should be willing to suffer for Him.

- Acts 14:21-22

- He has given us His example to follow... and we are to follow in His steps.

- What kind of attributes did Christ leave as a witness for us to follow?

- He never sinned. He never deceived anyone. He didn't retaliate when He was insulted. He didn't threaten revenge when He suffered. He left His case in the hands of God (Who always judges fairly). He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds are we healed. We were once like sheep who wandered away, but now we have turned to the Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.

- Isaiah 53:1-12

- So what does this mean for us? We should be sinless. We should never deceive anyone. We shouldn't retaliate when we are insulted for our faith, for who we are, or for what we do. We shouldn't threaten revenge when we are suffering under another person. We should leave our fate up to God. We should be dead to sin and live for what is right. We should cling to our Shepherd, the Guardian of our souls for every need...

- For who are we? Are we perfect? Definitely not... So WHEN we fall... what should our response be? Repent, get back on the path, and move forward. God isn't going to cast us off because we don't measure up to His perfect example... But we should strive to show Christ as much as possible... And even in our falling and repenting... Christ is evident...

- Hebrews 13:20-21

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