Thursday, October 18, 2007

1 Peter Part VI-Who's the Boss?

1 Peter 2:13-25

Authority. Sometimes we like it. Sometimes we don't. How do you often view authority? Are you typically submissive to the authority around you: parents, teachers, pastors, police officers, crossing guards, bosses, coaches, referees, and principals?

In Part V we talked about how as living stones and followers of Chrsit we are people of privilege: we have the privilage of a special inheritance, the priviege of immediate and constant access, the privilege of true perfection, and the privilege of an infinite owner. This privilege also has a purpose: to proclaim the excellencies of God who has led us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.

Unfortunately, people of privilege often think they can do whatever they want. This should not be so with us. Peter address this attitude in vv 13-25.
Think about these questions for a minute:
What are some reasons you are obedient to authority?
What are some reasons you are not obedient to authority?
Peter gives us three biblical reasons we submit ourselves to governing authorities in vv 13-15.
1. For the Lord's Sake-You've heard people say the phrase "for God's sake" referring to many different things before. Peter is literally saying, for the sake of the kingdom of God, listen and obey authority.
2. God has put them in their position for a purpose-We also see this in Romans 13:1. That purpose is to punish evil and to praise good.
3. People will not be able to speak against you-Remember the context that Peter is writing in. Nero's persecution of the Christians is about to start. One reason for the persecution is the perception that Christians are rebellious toward authority. If the Christians will respect the authority placed over them, this argument against them will be silenced.
Here are 3 truths that come from the reasons we submit to authority:
Truth 1: Honoring the king benefits the Kingdom. (v13) Notice the little "k" and the big "K" here. When we honor earthly authority, we benefit God's heavenly Kingdom.
Truth 2: Rulers have a righteous purpose. (v14) Do our leaders always live up to this purpose righteously? Of course not! How should we respond when they fail to fulfill the purpose that is given them? Pray for the. Follow them as long as you can without disobeying God. And, please, don't talk bad about them!
Truth 3: Submission & respect muzzle critics. (v15)
But, what if your leaders ask you to do something unbibilical? Is Peter saying we should obey authority without exception?
The first way we can answer this question is by looking at the whole of scripture. We see several stories, including Daniel 6 and Acts 5 where righteous people chose to disobey earthly authority because that authority asked them to disobey God.
God wants us to submit freely to the authority he has placed over us. He does not want us to have the attitude "I answer to a higher authority" as an excuse to do whatever we want. V16 referst to this as using our freedom as a covering for sin.
Truth 4: Free submission is true submission. (v16)
But, when we look at authority, we do have to keep our priorities straight. Verse 17 lays out two areas of priorities: first toward those around us not in authority, and then toward authority.
First, Peter tells us to honor all me and love the brotherhood. We should not let our love for the church and the privileged get in teh way of the purpose of our privilege-the love and rescue of all men.
Second, we need to fear God and honor the king. Show your fear of God by hnoring the king He has put in place, but remember when ther eis a question of who to obey, God comes first!
Truth 5: Fearing God is top priority. (v17)
But, what about when we are treated unfairly by authority? How are we supposed to respond then?
Truth 6: The failure of men to rule responsibly does not excuse you from honoring them. (v18-19)
Truth 7: God is pleased when His people respond to injustice with honor and perseverance. (v20)
You might be saying, "but that's too hard to do. How am I supposed to stay encouraged to bear up under that pressure?" Check out v21-25!
Truth 8: Jesus is the perfect example (v21-22)
Truth 9: The righteous judge is still in control and worthy of trust. (v23-25)
This is the big picture! Respect authority that God has placed over you on earth so that no one can speak against your God. Regardless of how you are treated and what you suffer, follow the example of Jesus by entrusting yourself to the one who judges righteously!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

1 Peter Part V-Coming out of the...Cave

1 Peter 2:9-12

Refer to "The Cave" for an allegory of this passage from 1 Peter

Truths from 1 Peter 2:9-12

1. Christians are People of Privilege (v9)
-What privilege? The Privilege of a Special Inheritance; The Privilege of Immediated & Constant Access; The Privilege of True Perfection; The Privilege of an Infinite Owner

2. Privilege has a Purpose (v9)
-To proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.

3. Those in darkness have no true identity (v10)

4. True identity is found in God (v10)

5. Darkness is a place without mercy (v10)

6. God's marvelous light is full of mercy (v10)

7: Sin is not natural for those called into His marvelous light (v11)
-The fleshly lusts are not natural for us anymore if our identity is in Christ. When we chase after those lusts, then we are chasing after something tha tis contrary to our nature. If our true identity is in Christ, then our nature is one of perfection. To go back to the cave and participate in the things we used to do in the dark defeast the purpose of the light we carry!

8. Sin attacks the soul (v11)
-Sin is not just a physical thing. It attacks the very foundation of who we are.

9. Our behaviouir has an impact on how others respond to Christ (v12)

If you have Christ as the cornerstone of your life, then you are a child of privilege with a great purpose, so live like it. There are BILLIONS of people still in the darkness of the cave that have never seen the light. Work together to bring the light to the masses lost in darkness and regularly return to the light and bind yourself to others who have been called out of darkness. We need each other. We need our daily (if not hourly) dose of the rays of Jesus.

The Cave

The world I was born into is a cave full of darkness with no source of light visible deep within the cave. There is a light, however, filtering into the cave somewhere high above the depths of our dwellings, and there are those walking around in the darkness of the cave who have once been in the presence of that light. Their past exposure to the light is evidenced by the faint glow coming from their clothes. When asked how they found the light, they say they were called to the light. They say that the light hurt when they first saw it, but it was warm and glorious. If ever three, four or more of them stand together one starts to understand the pain that comes from exposure to the light. The pain is somehow pleasant, though, if endured for long enough.

They say they came back into the cave on a mission, but so many of them have been back in the cave for so long now that the glow from their clothes is almost gone. I know some of them from before they were called to what they describe as a “marvelous light” and they are still the same as they were before, apart from the glow. Every day they spend here in the cave they become more and more like they were before they encountered the light. A few, though, have returned to the source of the light on an almost daily basis, every time returning to the cave brighter than they were before. They can often be seen leading others from the cave to encounter the light.

I have heard that some of the people that have seen the light have established colonies closer to the mouth of the cave. They never return to this part of the cave.

Most of us are happy in the cave. We have grown accustomed to the darkness. In fact, I would say that it is really not dark at all. Those who have been called to the “marvelous light” say the cave actually seems darker to them when they return. If they stay here in the darkness long enough, though, they too agree that it really doesn’t seem that dark.

It seems unnatural to go to the light. Those who return to the light regularly tell me that what is unnatural is living in darkness. They are such a minority that very few listen to them though. The fact that the majority of those who have encountered the light come back to the darkness and stay here until they are exactly the way they were before shows me that darkness is where and who we are supposed to be. I do not believe the pain required to stand in the light is worth it if we all just return to the darkness.

I do fear the darkness at times. The darkness is so unrelenting that I find myself craving some light…even just a little light. And sometimes I feel lost, like I’m missing out on who I am really supposed to be. But most of the time I’m comfortable here, and that is what is most important. At least, it seems to be.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

1 Peter Part IV-iRock

1 Peter 2:4-10

If you were to come to the King of the Lawnmowers, what would you expect to do as his subject? What about the King of Chickens or the King of Jumping Jacks? I think we would all (and all probably do at one time or another) come to the King of Laziness and bow down before his as loyal subjects.

But, what about Christ? He has called us to himself as King, and when we come to Him as King we become "little Christ's" who please him by obeying His word. Remember his expectation...holiness, and his provision to meet that expectation, the Spirit an the Word.

But, how do we please God? What happens when we accept him, and what are the results of rejecting Him and His Word?

Define the word Precious.

Go ahead...try and define it...

Here's a definition for you: Cherished. Characterized by feeling or showing fond affecton for.

What is precious to you? Maybe your family, your pet, a favorite blanket or book. Will what is precious to you always be precious to other people too? Probably not because we do not all hold affection for the same things. Do you think the things that are precious to you are precious to God?

To answer that last question, you have to ask the question, "What is precious to God?" Peter answers that question for us in 1 Peter 2:4. The living stone is precious to God. Who is the living stone? Jesus! Read what else it says: "rejected by men." So...

Truth 1: What is precious to God is not always precious to man.

We often reject Christ even though he is "it". He is the One we've been looking for! He is a LIVING stone. Jesus is alive! He is someone unique, choice and precious. Since he is something unique we should respond to him differently than we respond to the people we see every day. Remember the respect and awe of worship and praise that comes from a heart of gratitude for the holiness of God? Jesus is alive. He's choice. He's precious. Receive him as precious.

In verse 5, those who come to Christ are compared to living stones, just like Christ is in verse 4. We are made alive when we come to Christ. Where does that life come from? CHRIST!

Truth 2: Life comes from life. We are made alive by the life of Christ.

These living stones are not going about life on their own, they are coming together to be built up into a spiritual house and temple of God.

Truth 3: You are God's House!

Not only are the little stones built together, they are built together for a purpose. This purpose (to be a holy priesthood to make acceptable sacrifice to God-v6) cannot be attained as an individual. The living stones (us) need to be in fellowship and communion with other living stones. For the sacrifices of our life to be acceptable, however, we have to remember the expectation of God for our lives in chapter one-holiness! Holiness is made possible by the Word of God, the cornerstone Jesus Christ.

Truth 4: Holiness is an essential element of an acceptable sacrifice (v5)
Truth 5: The only acceptable worhsip is through Jesus (v5)

Why is this worship acceptable? Because Jesus is PRECIOUS to God and his is the CORNERSTONE of faith. Because God has CHOSEN Jesus to be the foundation of worship. All other worship is an abomination before God. So, make sure your worship is directed appropirately.

There is great benefit to building our lives and our worhsip on the cornerstone, Jesus.

Truth 6: If you build on Jesus, you will not have your hopes dashed. (v6)

However, not building on Jesus and rejecting him as the cornerstone has unfavorable consequences. Verse 7-8 are clear that those who reject Jesus as the cornerstone stumble and are offended, disobedient to the word, and appointed to doom.

But Jesus IS the cornerstone. Just because someone rejects Jesus doesn't change the reality that He is still the chief cornerstone, it just changes how someone relates to Him. Instead of great hope, there is appointed doom.

Truth 7: Man's rejection doesn't change the reality of Jesus (v7)

But God has rescued us! We don't have to stumble around in disobedience and doom. He has called us out of darkness, so let's come to the cornerstone as little stones in worship of the foundation of true faith.