Saturday, May 30, 2009

Living The New Life - Coming To The Living Stone

1 Peter 2:1-8

Instead of having malice (hate), guile (deceit), hypocricies, envies, and evil speakings, we are to desire the sincere milk of the word so that we might grow. This is the nature of the new life. We desire the milk of the word of God as a new-born babe desires its mother's milk.

We can do this only if we have tasted that the Lord is gracious, and he has been gracious to every one of us who has trusted in him as personal Savior. His amazing grace has both surprised us and has blessed us with spiritual blessings.

We came to him (verse 4) as to a living stone. Peter is not the rock, Jesus is. He is both Petra and Lithos (rock and stone). He is the stone that was chosen of God to be our propitiation, our substitute, our Savior. He is precious. Peter uses the word "precious" seven times in his writings. The word precious tells us that he is greater than anything that has been created, and he has a name that is above every name.

We, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house. This house is the kingdom of God, the household of faith. We are also a holy priesthood, the priesthood of the believers. Every believer is a priest of God (Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). Therefore, we are to send up spiritual sacrifices to him: the sacrifice of ourselves, our talents, our minds, our prayer and praise. These will be acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. God has laid in Zion a chief cornerstone, and those who believe on him will not be confounded or ashamed.

To us who believe he is precious, but to those who do not believe, he is disallowed; but Jesus has been made the head of the corner (the Cornerstone) of his kingdom. To the unbelievers, he is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. These unbelievers, rather than desiring the sincere milk of the word, stumble at the word of God. They think the word of God is less than precious.

God has determined to save certain people in the earth, and he will save them according to his own will and purpose (Eph. 1:4), but some he has determined to leave in their sinful state. We cannot regard this as an easy doctrine, but it is one that is borne out in scripture time and time again.

The central message of these verses is that we have come to the living stone, and we are to give praise and glory as well as our lives and minds to send up spiritual sacrifices to our God, who saved us by his grace. We should, then, be grateful and thankful that we are the children of God. Let us read our Bibles and desire to know God's word so that we can work for him and send praise to him our whole lives.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Living The New Life - In Loving One Another

1 Peter 1:22-25 - (C) 2009

Loving one another is the basic theme of these few verse of scripture. This is one of the strongest subjects of the New Testament--that of loving one another. The phrase "love one another" is mentioned 35 times in the New Testament, so it must be an important subject.

This subject is surrounded with some circumstances that make loving one another one of the most vibrant doctrines of the scriptures. In order to love one another properly we must understand some basic doctrines that give us strength to be able to accomplish this commandment.

First, we have the fact that we (those who love one another) have purified our souls by obeying the truth. Obeying the truth is the same as obeying the gospel. Obeying the gospel means that we have believed it (See Rom. 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?). When we believed the gospel, we obeyed the gospel (the truth), and our souls were purified, or sanctified, John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. This purification has given us a new life so that we can in a real way love one another.

We obeyed the truth through the Spirit of God, for without the Spirit we can do nothing. Faith is a fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22. The Spirit of God indwells us, for the Bible says in Rom. 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his; and if any man does not have the Spirit of God, he cannot love his neighbor in the true sense of the word.

Second, we have been born again, not by corruptible seed but by the word of God, that is the word of the gospel (See 1 Peter 1:25). This word lives and abides forever: it will never change or become corrupt as seed in the ground corrupts before it brings forth its stalk and fruit. Jesus died on the cross and came forth in his glory, but the gospel is the same in time and eternity. If we are born again with this incorruptible seed, then we can love one another truly.

Third, we find a comparison between the grass of the field and the word of the Lord. The grass "falleth away," but the word of the Lord (the gospel) never fades. It endures forever. The same word (gospel) that sustains our love one for another in this life will continue to sustain that love in timeless eternity future.

This love is an unfeigned love, one that is true and not deceiving. Having this kind of love is an evidence of our true salvation from above: 1Jo 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Living The New Life - As Obedient Children

1 Peter 1:13-21 - (C) 2009

In living the new life as obedient children, we are not to fashion ourselves according to the former lusts in our ignorance (when we were lost in our sins). Paul said in the book to the Romans in Rom. 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. We are living a new life, not the old life under the law and under sin, whereby sin reigned in our flesh.

Living Hopefully

1 Peter 1:13 tells us that we are to be sober (sober-minded) so that we can hope to the end of grace. That end is our deliverance from this world at the return of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Many believers do not live hopefully; they live as though they are burdened down with yesterday's and today's burdens and problems. If we were to look to the future at the grace that will be ours in our great deliverance, we would not be so anxious about the things that come to us every day of our lives.

Living Holily

1 Peter 1:15 tells us that we should be holy in all manner of conversation (practices of life). We should consider everything that we do whether it is holy or whether it will bring shame to our Savior or bring disgrace to our own witness. Peter alludes to a scripture in the Old Testament to call us to holy living: Lev. 20:26 And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.

Living Fearfully

Notice 1 Peter 1:17 says that we are to pass the time here on earth with fear; that is, if we call on the Father, who judges without respect of persons. Everyone wants God to be his Father, but we must all remember that he is the Great Judge of all. He will not count us guiltless who claim him as our Father and then disregard the judgment of God, for one believer is no greater than another in God's judgment. We are to fear this judgment, for he will judge every man's work--my work and your work. He will not allow one work to go unjudged. We should live in the fear that we might disobey him in his commandments; therefore, we should study his commandments, meditate in them day and night, and obey every one without slackness.

Living Redeemed

Part of living this new life is to know that we were redeemed, but not with corruptible things such as silver and gold or from the religious practices from the tradition from our fathers. We were, however, redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who is without spot. Notice 1 Peter 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: This Redeemer was foreordained to be our Redeemer, and he was manifested (shown) unto us in these last days for us to love and appreciate and obey.

Living Faithfully

We believe in God by Jesus Christ, his election and calling, and his mercy and grace. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2). God raised him from the dead, which is the crux of the Gospel, the living value of the life and work of Jesus Christ, that in which we have our justification. Our faith and hope are in God through Jesus Christ; therefore, it is important that we live this new life by faith. Remember, the just shall live by faith (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38).

This is an awesome new life that we are living, but we are not living it for our own benefit but for the glory of God. Jesus is the reason for our faith, the awesome object of our faith, and the finishing of our faith. Through faith in Jesus Christ we have abounding grace and sustaining faith that will lead us into a bright future. We cannot lose, because Rom. 8:31 says, What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Living The New Life - The New Life Begun

1 Peter 1:1-12 - (C) 2009

Here we find the beginning of the new life in Christ. Peter explains to the strangers scattered the beginning of spiritual life. Every believer knows about this beginning. He knows that he was once dead and now he is alive. He knows that he has been spiritually resurrected from the dead and that he lives in the Spirit of God.

Peter in these verses gives us some theological insight regarding the beginning of our new life. He speaks, first, of election. The word election means chosen. We who are saved have been chosen. Notice Eph. 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: This election, or God's choosing us before the world began, has to do with his foreknowledge, knowing his people intimately beforehand.

The Spirit of God has been sanctified, or set apart, for the purpose of bringing us to conviction and faith in Jesus Christ: John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: . This was not done, however, without the obedience of Christ in sprinkling his blood from the cross, washing our sins in that precious blood so that he could bring us to God (See Rev. 1:5; 1 Peter 2:18-19).

He has begotten us again (verse 3) unto a lively, or living, hope by his resurrection from the dead. Because Jesus Christ is no longer dead, neither are we dead but have been resurrected unto new life to an inheritance, one that does not corrupt, is not defiled, and that does not fade away. However, that inheritance is reserved in heaven for we who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, and it will be revealed in due time.

Because of all that God has done for us, we are to rejoice greatly even though we have many temptation. If the preamble to this book does not ring loud and true in your ears, then you will not be prepared for the trials that will most certainly come your way; because the trial of our faith is more precious than gold. These trials must be tried; otherwise, they are not trials. These trials are to bring glory and praise to God at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

Though we have not seen Jesus, yet we love him: we believe in him, for salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). Now, even though we have trials, we rejoice with a joy that is unspeakable but is full of glory to God.

The prophets inquired into this salvation and searched diligently to know more about it, but the mysteries of this salvation were for us, not them. The Spirit of God was in those prophets (See Numbers 27:8 and Nehemiah 9:30), and they prophesied about the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow those sufferings.

The angels desire to look into the mysteries of salvation, but salvation does not pertain to them; it pertains only to God's chosen. This should make us, his chosen, very grateful and humble.

The new life has begun; now we must live it. It is to God that we live it, not to ourselves. We shall see many ways in which we can live this new life taught to us by the apostle Peter.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Mother

By Pastor Ronnie Wolfe
May 7, 2009

Her softest voice gave comfort sweet.
Her gentle hands gave peace.
Melodious voice soothed every soul.
And gave my heart release.

Her calm reminder of my wrong
And sternest interjection
Gave me pause to think the right
For sin a strong rejection.

Her skill amazed me as I watched
Her hands sew stitch to stitch.
The finest garments we all wore.
They satisfied our itch.

Her faith was strong, my constant guide
To draw me to my God.
Her Bible near and full of cheer
She taught me how to love.

God took her home to live with Him,
And all our hearts fell ill,
But we know how to remain strong;
Her heart is with us still.