Thursday, September 27, 2007

1 Peter Part III: Unrealistic Expectations?

1 Peter 1:14-2:3

Our world is full of relationships, and these relationship carry certain expectations and responses. There are also certain necessities that need to e in place for the relational responses to meet the expectations. For example, the public expects teh police to respond to a 911 call. For this expectation to be met, the police need to have acces to the call, maps, and cars.

Sometimes the expectations in a relationship can be unrealistic. Expectations usually seem unrealistic in a relationhip when the tools are not in lace to live up to the expectation.

Remember that the faith that guards salvation stays true and pure, and if this is the faith that is in us, then God has certain expectations of what that faith will produce in us. Let's look at our relationship with God, what he expets from us, how we should respond to Him, and whether he provides what is necessary for us to respond properly.


In 1 Peter 1:14-16 we find that God expects obedient children to have a change of behavior tha tleads to holiness. For a change of behavior to lead to holiness, it has to involve a change of heart. This obedience leading to holiness is expected by God to be total and absolute. There can be no compartmentalizing of holiness. Holiness that is not 100% is not holiness at all.

You might ask, "How can God expect this of us. It just seems unrealistic."

Well, God is Holy...he is perfect, and he has given us the necessary tools to live in holiness. It is a process (sanctification) but it is one that leads to perfection.

Truths from vv14-16

1. Ignorance is not a valid excuse (v14)
2. God is perfect (v15)
3. Holiness requires all (v15)
4. Holiness is a command from God (v16)
5. Our holiness is based in Christ's holiness (v16)

Verses 17-21 are address to Christians who truly see God as their father. This Father, God, is characterized as the One, the only one, who impartially judges. One response we have to that characteristic of God is fear. So, one response we should have to this expectation of holiness is a response of fear. The second response we should have toward this expectation of holiness is appreciation and worship for the price that was paid for our salvation and sanctification.

Unfortunately we rarely respond with fear, respect, and appreciation. More often we respond with disrespect and an attitude that cheapens grace. We say, "well, I'm saved, so my future sins are covered by the blood of Jesus, so it's ok if I slip up and sin this one time." We cheapen the gift of grace by continually sinning and not living in fear of the judge who wants us to be holy.

We have forgotten the ugliness of what happened on the cross. The cross is not a clean cross covered in gold and hung on a chain or decorated with flowers, it is a bloody cross on which the ultimate price was paid. Don't forget the ugliness of the cross. Don't cheapen the price that was paid for you by your sin.

Truths from vv 17-21

1. Judgment is real (v17)
2. Fear is an acceptable reaction towards God (v17)
3. Our redemption was costly (v18-19)
4. Christ's appearance was for you (v20)
5. Christ's death and resurrection direct our faith and hope to the right place. (v21)

So, if God expects holiness from us, and expects us to respond to that expectation with fear, respect, and worship, what tool(s) has he given us to meet those expectations?

According to verse 22, obedience to the Truth purifies our souls. A purified soul is a holy soul, and the Truth is found in the Word of God. So, the Word of God is the tool that God has given us to live up to the expectations he has placed on us. One great thing about the Word of God is that it is not just an old book. Verses 23 and 25 characterize it as living and abiding. The Holy Spirit wakes up the Word of God in our hearts, minds and lives spurring us on to holiness. The Word will endure forever, unlike the self-help advice that clogs our bookshelves and tv screens.

Truths from 1:22-2:3

1. Obedience=purity and purity=obedience
2. The Word of God is internally and eternally active (v23, 25)
3. The Word of God is nourishing (2:2)

Long for the pure milk of the Word! If you don't know the Word, then you can't expect to live in holiness. God has a REALISTIC expectation of holiness in us because he has given us His Word!

Element 07 Recap

Wow, what an awesome weekend of worship, fellowship and bible study! I know I had a blast, and from what I hear, you guys did too! Enjoy these pictures and get ready for Element 08! Remember, stay in the word, all the time, and see what amazing things God does with your life!

1 Peter Part II:The Guardian

1 Peter 1:3-13

In part one of this series in 1 Peter, we talked abou the providing, producing, and protecting of salvation. Now, let's move on to what Peter calls the Hope and the Guardian of Salvation.

The Hope of Salvation:

Truth 1: The merciful gift of a second chance is the Hope of Salvation (v3)
Truth 2: The Hope of Salvation is based in life. (v3)
Truth 3: A perfect inheritance is the Hope of Salvation

The Guardian of Salvation:

Truth 4: Faith tis the Guardian of Salvation (v5)

What does this faith look like?

The Faith that Guards Salvation...

1. Rejoices even in the face of trials (v6)
2. Stays True and Pure (v7)
3. Praises, glories, and honors the coming of Jesus (v7)
4. Lvoes what is not seen (v8)
5. Beleives what is not seen (v8)
6. Responds with Joy and Excitement (v8)
John MacArthur says, "Genuine faith and ture joy belong together." (Commetary on 1 Peter, Page 39).

If your faith does not look like this, then it is time to examine your salvation. These are evidence of true faith, the faith that guards salvation.

So, what's our job with regard to this faith?

God revealed to the prophets the Truth about the coming of Jesus, how he would live and die, and what he would mean for mankind. They know they would not see Him, but htey still loved, believed, and rejoiced in the reality of Christ with faith that led to their salvation. Everything they wrote and said was for our benefit. Their love of Christ has brought the Truth of Chrsit to us so that we can believe. We also hav eth ebenefit of the help of the Holy Spirit.

The Truth about Chrsit was passed down from the prophets to the New Testament believers, and has now been passed on to us. Who are you passing it on to? It's our turn! Get your head on straight and get ready for action. Set your hope in the right place, not on this earth and on things that are only a shadow of the reality of our true, perfect inheritance!

1 Peter Part I: The Who, the How, and the Why

1 Peter 1:1-2

Let's start this study of 1 Peter with a look at some of the background and the salutation of Peter's letter to the scattered church.

Who Wrote 1 Peter? the Apostle Peter

When was 1 Peter Written? Probably around 64 AD, right before the Neronic persecution of the Christians started.

Who was 1 Peter written to? Churches and believers in what is today Turkey

Wy was 1 Peter written? To encourage the church to stand firm in the True grace of God in the face of escalating persecution and suffering (MacArthur's commentary on 1 Peter, Page 10)

An important thing to remember is the extent of the Neronic Persecution. Nero was emperor of the Roman Empire, and the people of Rome were a bit sceptical of this new Christian faith that they knew little to nothing about. The Christians had things called "love feasts", they shared everything, and they refused to pay tribute to the Emperor as divine. When a good chunk of Rome burned and many people began to blame Nero for causing it to burn, Nero turned their anger toward the Christians. Christians were thrown to wild dogs to be eaten and were covered in wax and staked into the ground to be set on fire and used to light Nero's garden. This is what the church in the Roman Empire was getting ready to face, and Peter's letter comes just at the right time with a message that they needed ot hear.

Truth: God is always on time wiht meeting the needs of his people!

When Peter starts his letter, he packs a lot of depth into his greeting. He doesn't just say, "hey guys, it's Peter, hope ya'll are doing well." He goes deep in the first 2 verses of this book. Peter ties the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to Salvation, defining each of their roles, and also tells us the who, how, and why of salvation.

He first tells us that our election and salvation are according to the forknowledge of God. This means that the Father initiates salvation. We, as humans, do not first come to God, he draws us to himself.

The Father is the WHO of salvation. He is the one doing the drawing and the saving.

Peter then explains that our salvation is by the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit produces and protects salvation (cf Ephesians 1:13; 4:30; Rev 9:3-4). The Holy Spirit leads us to holiness.

The Spirit working in us for holiness is the HOW of salvation.

Peter finally says that we are saved so that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood. This means that the Son provides salvation through His blood. Salvation is not meant to be a one time event that then makes no impact on our daily lives...there is expected obedient that comes with being chosen.

Obedience to the Son and the cleansing power of His blood is the WHY of salvation.

Why is this important enough to put at the beginning of his letter?

If we have been drawns to salvation by the Father, if we are being sanctified by the Spirit and living in obedience to the Son by the power of His blood, then we can have the grace and peace to its fullest measure.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Element 07

Element 07 Discipleship weekend September 21-23.

The cost of the full weekend of Element is now only $35!!! Don't miss out on this weekend! Turn in your money THIS WEEK!!!
Check out for band details and more info!

300 (Part 2)

Flood Zone Recap
September 3, 2007

You may have always heard that there is power in numbers. But is there really power in numbers?

Remember Gideon? He has been chosen by God to battle and drive out the Midianites, so he rounds up his army. This army that he puts together totals 32,000 men. The army that they are fighting (the Midianites and Amelakites) is so numerous that they look like locusts on the valley shore, numbering like the sands on the sea shore, with camels too numerous to count. So, 32,000 versus A LOT. But for God, fighting with 32,000 just isn't fair, for the Midianites. God decides that 32,000 warriors is WAY too many and wants to lower the number to show His power in the battle.

So God takes the number down to 300.

300! Remember how many they are fighting...we can't even count them they are so many!!! And God wants to fight with 300!

Why did he choose 300? There are 3 reasons why he chose these 300 men:

1. They were not afraid (Judges 7:2-3). There is no room for fear in the battle for Truth. 22,000 of the men were afraid, so Gideon sent them home.

2. They were vigilant (Judges 7:4-6). Only 300 of the men paid attention to what was around them while drinking out of the stream. They understood that they wouldn't be able to see the enemy if they weren't looking for him.

3. So that God, not man, would receive glory for the victory. (Judges 7:7) The battle may have seemed too easy for 32,000, and they men might have thought that it was their power that won the battle. With only 300, however, there is no mistaking who won teh battle...God!

So, now we know why the 300 were chosen, and we know the task before Gideon is a HUGE one, and we know that God is the one who has sent Gideon on that task, so what will the outcome be? How did God equip Gideon and how does God equip us to finish the task?

1. God gave Gideon boldness (Judges 7:9-14)

2. God gave Gideon a plan of attack (Judges 7:15-18)

3. God always wins (Judges 7:19-25)

Do you trust tha twhen God wants to use you he will protect you, give you boldness, give you a plan of attack and will always win? Do you trust tha the knows what he is doing? Do you trust Him more than you trust yourself or your friends?

The battle may seem impossible, but God always wins!