Friday, May 01, 2020

The Rock Speaks (6)

Looking back over the last few posts from 1 Peter..... if I am honest, I realize what a hard section I am covering!

When I got away from it to write about Jesus walking on the water yesterday, I ended up laughing.

Jesus walking on water seems WAY more plausible than what I have been writing about...human beings yielding to others, even to the point of mistreatment, for the glory of God.

And Peter fleshes it out to citizens, to slaves, to wives, and to husbands..... and every bit of it has difficulty!

But I am not laughing now... Peter is dead serious!

He sums it up again in this powerful section today:

1 Peter 3:8–12

 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. [9] Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing

[10] For

(quoting Psalm 34:12-16)

“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
[11] let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.

[12] For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Did you see it? We often fly right past it. As believers, we are NOT to revile back when being reviled...on the CONTRARY... we are to bless others who are reviling us!

How do we grade out on that report card? Give me an 'F'-  if anyone mistreats me or slanders me, I am ready to fight them.... I demand to defend my name and reputation!

Peter finishes up this major point (submission... even at times to the point of suffering!) by pointing to an ongoing reality.....

Let's pick up again the flow of what he is saying:

Believers/followers of Christ have been born again to a living hope .

That hope is rooted in the gospel: the death and resurrection of Christ for the salvation of sinners.

This message is securely in the Scriptures, it takes root in the heart, and produces a fruit; the pursuit of holiness- mostly manifest in a love for others and deep submission to God and His sovereignty. This is a process where evil attitudes and behavior are put away and the people of God clearly demonstrate love and service to others- not as 'rule keeping' but a sincere change of motives and desires.


AND all of this takes place in an arena of challenge and combat.

Christ is our treasure..... but He is also an offense to unbelievers.

Our exhortation is to never retreat from the world... on the contrary, we are called to live out the life God has called us to in full view of the rebels. We are to proclaim the good news and answer the charges or questions that come from those who do not call Christ Lord (this will be part of tomorrow's lesson).

As in any competition or battle there are certain fundamentals that should adorn our life:

Peter says we should 'have' these things- it isn't a suggestion... it is a command!

1) Unity of mind

2) Sympathy

3) Brotherly love

4) Tender hearts

5) Humble minds

Interesting list: Christianity has been said to be a 'full contact sport' touching all the modes of human experience: mind, emotions, and will. This list has overlapping features and yet is distinct as well. How about it? Do I have these qualities? ... we ALL should HAVE them.

And, these attributes have results. For example, IF we have unity, love, tender hearts, and humble minds we will NOT repay evil for evil, we will NOT revile, instead we will bless- THIS IS OUR CALLING.

I picture Peter hearing the Lord's voice as He preached the Sermon on the Mount.
I love that Peter immediately goes to His Scripture, the OT, and quotes Psalm 34:12-16.

Look at that passage again! What if God came to your front door, rang the doorbell, and asked the question: Do you want to love life and see good days? Who on earth would say NO!

And He then gave you these instructions:

Speak no evil

Be honest

Turn from evil and DO good

Seek peace

He finishes by saying: I'm watching you, and I will be for you, and I will answer your prayers.

How fired up would we be?

And so we set out to do it. 
We really get after it. 
We walk around encouraging people, serving others, and loving.

Then we find something strange... we aren't really winning the adulation of the world. 
In fact, people are growing pretty hostile!

Peter follows up with advanced instructions:

Don't be afraid of those who hate you or seek to destroy you... they really can't harm you.
Don't be troubled- Do not let them ruin your day.

It is almost like Peter says- "Jesus taught me this... when you are persecuted, when you suffer for righteousness sake- you will be blessed!

Peter was with Jesus for three years during the earthly ministry of Christ. Peter had still had such a long way to go. When Peter swung that sword in the garden... I don't think he was living according to his commands here, that he wrote many years later.

Peter knows failure in these areas:

When he denied Him.

When he was prideful.

When Paul had to confront Peter's hypocrisy in the early days of the church.

What Peter is commanding is a life long, only by the Holy Spirit pursuit.

So I close today with this:

To follow Christ is sweet.

But it is never done for the satisfaction of men.

It will never gain the applause of popular approval.

It is always done for the glory of God.

But that is the only legitimate aim in life that matters.

I encourage you to continue to read with me in 1 Peter.....  there are some interesting phrases and concepts  coming our way

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