The Elements of the pattern of church service and life can be seen in scripture

The elements of the pattern of church service and life can be seen in scripture.

True worshippers are to worship in truth and spirit (John 4:24), by the Spirit of God (Philippians 3:3). True believers remained in the teaching of God (2 John 1:9). They would have obeyed God as opposed to rebelled against God (1 John 3:10).

Men, women, and children would have gathered together to hear what was being taught – It may have been that only children who were old enough to understand who were in church service (such as those who were age 12, the age of when Jewish boys have their bar mitzvah, which happens to be the age of Jesus when he was in the temple courts sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions) (Deuteronomy 31:12; Nehemiah 8:1-3; Luke 2:41-47; Luke 18:15-17; Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:20-21; 2 John 1:1).

They met together on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). They met in the temple courts, in people’s homes, beside rivers, in synagogues, and in lecture halls (possibly schools) (Acts 2:42-47; Acts 16:13; Acts 19:8-9).

The church leaders were male elders and male deacons and female deaconesses (Acts 6:2-8; Acts 16:13; Romans 16:1; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-10).

The communion supper (also known as the Lord’s Supper) was observed (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:18-32).

Prayers were offered up to God alone, in harmony with the will of God (1 Corinthians 14:15–16; Nehemiah 4:9; Matthew 6:9,;1 John 5:14).

Songs were sung to the glory of God and thanks to God was given (Ephesians 5:19-20; Psalms 95, 96, 98).

A free will collection was taken (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:7). The Church was not involved with business (Matthew 21:12–13).

Sometimes church discipline occurred (Matt. 18:17).

The Scriptures were publically read (Colossians 4:16; 1 Tim. 4:13), and the Word of God was proclaimed (Acts 20:7; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Timothy 4:2).

Indeed, each had a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:28).

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Should every Christian share the gospel, or evangelize?

What does the Bible say about whether every one who claims Christ as their savior should share the gospel? Should every Christian evangelize?

First, we must realize that we need faith to please God – needing to believe in God’s existence and that God rewards those who seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Second, we must realize that it is only by grace through faith that we are saved, not based upon anything we do, can do, have done, or will do.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

The faith we  must have is one which changes our lives – not be a intellectual assent to the proposition that God exists.

James 2:14-26

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

Acts 26:20

20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and alsoto the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.

 

 Finally, we must realize it is only by hearing the Word of God that we are saved. Indeed, the goal is for people to hear and believe.John 5:24

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Romans 10:11-14

 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

So faith comes from hearing the word of Christ.

But who is supposed to share that faith?

First, we know there are some who are called or gifted to share God’s word to equip the saints for the work of ministry and building up the body of Christ until we all attain the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to mature manhood.

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

What is the work of an evangelist? I think we can see it in 2 Timothy 4:1-5

1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

I think Paul described the work of an evangelist when he told  Timothy to preach the word, to be prepared, to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching, to be sober-minded, endure suffering.

In fact, the word ‘evangelize’ comes from Evanggeliso, translated in Acts 16:10 as “preach the gospel”.

Acts 16:10

10 When he had seen the vision, immediately we  sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

But while there is an office or role of evangelist, all of us are to be humble, tender, righteous,  prepared to suffer for doing good, and to give an answer for the hope that within us.

1 Peter 3:8-17

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 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

“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.”

13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

This is apologetics – talking about God.

This is not saying to try to win souls to Christ, or to be a used car salesman for Christ – as if trying to “sell” Christ to others. This is saying to talk about what God has done in your life. This is saying make God look good by letting others know of your experience with God. This is giving God the glory and credit for what God has done.

Although Paul certainly tried to win people. Indeed, he was compelled to do so.

1 Corinthians 9:16-23

16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, thatby all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

But although he was compelled to share the Gospel, He also asked people to pray that he would have an opportunity to share speak the mystery of Christ. Indeed, Paul told the Colossians to conduct themselves wisely with outsiders, speaking gracefully, so they would know how to respond to each people.

Colossians 4:2-6

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.

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Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

This tells me we must be willing to talk about God to others, and that we must vary our approach with people, finding the way or words which are most effective for each people.

But again, who should be sharing the gospel? We know Paul was an apostle, appointed by God. Jesus told the Apostles they would be His witnesses to the ends of the earth.

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, andto the end of the earth.”

Indeed, Jesus gave the Great Commission to the apostles, which many believe is given to all Christians, telling them to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all He had commanded them.

Matthew 28 :15-20

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Certainly every Christian is to let his or her light shine by doing goo works so God may get glory.

Matthew 5:13-16

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

We see in Philemon 1:4-7 where Paul prayed the sharing of Philemon’s faith may become effective the full knowledge of every good thing that is in use for the sake of Christ. This seems to be talking about faith, while Paul also spoke of deriving much joy and comfort from his love because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through him. That seems to be putting his faith and love into action so that people were refreshed.

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.

Parents are to bring their children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord – not provoking them to anger.

Ephesians 4:1-4

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

 Does this mean everyone you talk to about God and Christ will become a Christian? No. Sometimes you plant seeds; sometimes you water. But it is God who makes people become Christians – who gives them faith.
 
1 Corinthians 3:5-9
5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

Indeed, God has to cleanse us, give us a new heart, and a new spirit, and cause us to walk in His statues.

Ezekiel 36:24-29

24 For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances28 You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.29 Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you.

Christ is the author of our salvation.

Hebrews 2:10

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

Christ is also the author and perfecter of our faith.

Hebrews 12:2

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 But God uses us for His purposes. As we are filled with the Holy Spirit, God will use us to speak as and when HE desires – like He did at Pentecost.

Acts 2:1-4

1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

In fact, scripture tell sus that what is within you will flow from you – good and bad.

Luke 6:45

45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

If you are filled by God, that will be what you speak of.

Jesus spent three years teaching his disciples before He told them to wait  and they would  receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Then once the Holy Spirit filled them, the Holy Spirit caused them to speak as HE wanted them to speak.

It is GOD who works in us to both will and work for His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13

for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
 

So yes, we are all to talk about what God wants us to talk about. Some of us are to win people to Christ. Some of us are evangelists, preachers, etc. But all of us can talk about God, and raise our children in the word of God. All of us can love others in ways that God is glorified. All of us can live in a way that if we are asked, we can share what God has done in our lives to give us hope. Some of us plant. Others of us water. God causes the growth – not you and not me. Let God do the work through you, and God will get the glory too – as He deserves.

Should the local church be led by someone?

I made the statement, “It is evident to me the elders led the local church in the NT times.” But someone in disagreement, believing no scripture indicates a person should be in a position of leadership over other Christians, asked me why I said that.

Elders were not just older people. They were appointed by the church planters.

Acts 14:23

When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Titus 1:5

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you

Younger men were to be subject to their elders.
1 Peter 5:5

You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Elders ruled or led
1 Timothy 5:17

The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.

The one in the office of overseer must manage their family to be able to care for the church of God.
1 Timothy 3:1-5

1 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),

Elders are to guard the flock of which they have been made overseers. Being an overseer IS being a leader.
Acts 20:28

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Elders are to exercise oversight for their flock in the right way
1 Peter 5:2

shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness

The statement was made that elders were set-down into positions of lowly serving.

But appointing someone is not to “set down”into lowly serving.

This is what Jesus said in Mark 10:42-45 about leading:

42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus *said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many

This does not mean no one is a leader in a local church.

This is the actual meaning of the word Kathistemi:

1. to set, place, put

a. to set one over a thing (in charge of it) 
b. to appoint one to administer an office
c. to set down as, constitute, to declare, show to be 
d. to constitute, to render, make, cause to be
e. to conduct or bring to a certain place
f. to show or exhibit one’s self

1. come forward as

So people are not “put down into lowly serving,” but are set over the church. But as Christ said, we are to lead by serving.

So yes, it seems evident to me that elders are to be leaders.

1 Peter 5:1-14

1 Peter 5:1-14

“Do it God’s way!”

 

1To the elders among you,

Peter is now writing directly to the leaders of the churches. But this applies to leaders everywhere.

 

I appeal as a fellow elder,

Acts 1:12-14. Peter was there when the church began. And by the time he wrote this letter, he would have been getting up there in age as well. Peter is reminding the elders that they have reason to listen to him – he’s earned that.

 

a witness of Christ’s sufferings and

Acts 3:15. Peter not only was there when the church began, but also when Christ suffered. This is more ammo to bring against people who might not have wanted to listen to him.

 

one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:

1 Peter 4:13. Peter loads more ammo into the gun he is about to fire. Peter is saying He is a believer, was there when Christ suffered and was there when the church began. He has every right to speak as he is going to speak.

 

2 Be shepherds of God’s flock

Peter is reminding the church leaders that the people they are supposed to care for are GOD’S people. And he’s reminding them that GOD put them in positions of influence. He’s also reminding them that they are to be shepherds – people who guide and protect those under their care. Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:16 – If you are in a position of influence, it is because God put you there. And that’s the case whether you are own a company, or are a manager, or a teacher, or a mother, or a father, or a big brother or sister. GOD put you there. This is true for any of us in positions of influence! And since GOD put you where you are, you need to be the leader God has called you to be.

 

that is under your care,

Guide and protect those God has given you authority over. Don’t worry about people who are not under your leadership – don’t borrow trouble. You’ve got enough to worry about with the people God HAS put under your control. Acts 20:29-30. Be aware of what’s happening with YOUR people – you might have a wolf in sheep’s clothing among your flock. KNOW those whom God has given into your care.

 

serving as overseers—

            SERVE! Don’t lord it over them, be a servant leader. An overseer is a superintendent, a supervisor, someone who manages something for someone else. The people God has given you influence over are there because of God. Do what GOD wants you to do, not what the world says. Don’t try to lead using the world’s patterns, lead by the Word of God! To do that, you MUST KNOW the Word of God – you have to know Christ, and you have to know the Bible. To do THAT, you have to pray daily, minute by minute sometimes, you have to be OPEN with GOD. You have to READ the Bible. You have to study the Bible. THEN you can LEAD by the Word of God.

 

not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be;

And we are to lead with the right motivation. God wants us to be willing to be where we are. God wants us to be WILLING to be the leaders he has called us to be. God wants us to have the right heart for the job – don’t be doing it out of pride, or anger or compulsion, or because no one else will do the job (although sometimes God removes other choices for leadership to make it so we have no choice but to become a leader, but if that’s the case, be sure its what GOD wants, and not what others want). Do it because God wants you to.

 

not greedy for money, but eager to serve;

Don’t be a leader out of greed. Don’t worry about the money – if its too little, God will provide. But instead of greed, have the heart of a servant. In fact, Peter says to be EAGER to serve. We have to have the right attitude. God not only cares about WHAT you do, and HOW you do it, but also about the ATTITUDE you do it with. Do it because God wants you to. And if GOD wants you to do something, then he will definitely provide what you need to do the job – just rely on him, and not yourself!

 

3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

            Don’t be bossy. Don’t take advantage of the situation. Don’t try to run people over. Don’t be a dictator. Don’t try to act like you are really something special. Don’t try to do it the way the world would have you do it – do it the way GOD wants you to do it. Be the leader GOD has called you to be. Be an example to those around you.

 

4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Being the leader GOD has called you to be, leading in the way that CHRIST led, by being a SERVANT leader, will gain you a crown that will last forever!

 

5 Young men,

Now Peter turns to those who are not leading. It says “young men”, but He’s talking to everyone who is not a leader in the current context. Of course, he’s speaking to those who are not leaders in the church, but it applies to everyone who is under the authority of someone else – wives, children, employees, citizens.

 

in the same way be submissive to those who are older.

In the same way that the leaders are to lead, with the right attitude, with the right motivation, in the right way, the people who are not in leadership need to follow. When the leaders of the church, or a family, or a company, make a decision, it needs to be respected – not rebelled against. Not gossiped about. Not ignored. It needs to be followed! If you don’t understand, then ask. If you don’t like it, then pray! Pray for God to reveal what HE is doing. Remember, God has put these people in the positions they are in and HE will work all things out for the good of those who love HIM. Pray for God to give you the right attitude and the ability to follow humbly. That’s not saying to not speak up, but first pray for what to say. And then pray some more!

 

All of you,

Now Peter is speaking to leaders and followers. He is speaking to everyone in the church. You, me, everyone in the church.

 

clothe yourselves with humility toward one another,

Humility is the act or state of being humble. Humble defined as “not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive”. The idea Peter is trying to express is to wrap humility about yourself and tie it on – like a woman does with a sarong. You have to wrap it just right, and tie it just right – otherwise you aren’t covering what needs to be covered and it will just fall off. You have to work at it at first; it takes practice. But eventually, you will be able to do it without thinking. You need to be humble with one another. Don’t be proud. Don’t be arrogant. Don’t try to act like you know more or are better or are smarter or are prettier or are taller or are anything that someone else in the church is not – you might be all of those things, but don’t ACT like it.  Be humble, not proud.

because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” a

            Proverbs 3:34. God will bless the humble – God will show grace and mercy to those who recognize their need for Him. When you know that GOD is in control and you’re not, then you wont be so proud. Be careful, God WILL teach that to you if you aren’t willing to learn it on your own!

 

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Another definition for humble is “expressing a spirit of deference or submission.” Recognize where you belong in the hierarchy. As good as you may or may not be, God is at the top! So humble yourself, because you are no where NEAR as good as God.

When you submit to GOD, through faith in Jesus Christ, He will lift raise you to be in heaven when its time.

 

7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

            God cares so much for you that he gave his only son that you might live. If GOD cares for you, what more do you need? You need trust in God. You need to know who God is, and what God has done, and what God is doing, and what God will do. To do that, you need to pray, read the Bible, and pray some more! You need to know that you can trust him with your car, your house, your finances, your family, your job, your church, your life. Once you can trust God fully, on every point, in every thing, you will have no need to worry, or for medication to help you deal with depression or anxiety or any other mental condition. It’s a process. Its not usually instantaneous. So don’t go throwing your medications out the window just yet! Instead, take that first step: trust him with your soul. Then once you do that, trust him with something else of importance. And then something else. And then something else. And then something else. Until you get to where trusting God is natural. THEN you can get rid of the medications.

 

8 Be self-controlled and alert.

Don’t let anything control you. Don’t let your emotions control you. Don’t let your body control you. Don’t let what the world says control you. Be in control of yourself! And be alert! Look at what is going on around you. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Be aware!

 

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

            If you’re not a Christian, then you probably have little to worry about – he’s already eaten you or could do so when ever he wanted and you’d never know the difference. If you are someone who trusts Christ, then the devil is gunning for you. And if you are walking in faith, he’s really out to get you. And the more you walk by faith in Christ, the more the enemy will try to derail you! He can’t take away your salvation, but he can definitely try to discourage you. He can make you doubt. He can make you not want to walk by faith. He can make you ineffective for Christ. Look out for the enemy and his works!

 

9 Resist him,

standing firm in the faith,

You don’t have to worry about what the devil is doing, just be aware of it and resist his attempts to shake your faith or to make you in effective for Christ. Keep  growing in your ability to trust Christ.

 

because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

            Like the people Peter wrote to, you are not the only one suffering. There are other people going through the same thing you are. In fact, some of us have already been there and done that and gotten the T-shirt. The thing to do is to talk about what’s going on in your life. Who knows, you might meet someone who knows someone who can help – or maybe you talking about it will help someone else.

 

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,

Remember, God called you to faith in Christ! It was HIS doing. And while you might suffer now, in the end, you will be with Christ and THAT is what REALLY matters.

 

after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

You’re going to suffer. Its guaranteed. But hang in there. It wont last forever. And when its done, God will make it, and you, right.

11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Always give God praise.

 

12 With the help of Silas,[1] whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. 13 She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ. [2]

Peter is closing the letter with greetings from different people he is with or has recently visited. But notice something, Peter said Silas was helping him write the letter. If Peter could ask a brother in Christ for help, why can’t YOU? Rely on your family in Christ. What Peter said is true. Live a life worthy of name by which you are called – Christ. Live humbly, respectfully, self-controlled, not frightened, submit to those in authority. Love one another. Resist the devil. Stand firm on God’s grace. We all suffer, but God works all things for the good of those who love him – even our suffering. GOD will make it all right, and restore you is true. Believe what GOD is saying through Peter.


[1] Greek Silvanus, a variant of Silas

[2]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (1 Pe 5:1). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Acts 20

Day 20, Acts 20.

One of the common themes seen in the book of Acts is Paul going to new places to share the gospel, leading people to Christ, planting churches. But just as common is Paul returning to cities where he had previously been to encourage, exhort, and strengthen believers.

In one of those towns, Troas, Paul began speaking at mealtime. Since he intended to leave the next day, he prolonged his message until midnight. One young man was sitting at a window sill and fell asleep. In so doing, he fell out the window, to the ground three stories down. He was picked up dead. What was Paul’s response?

11But Paul went down and fell upon him, and after embracing him, he said, “Do not be troubled, for his life is in him.” 11 When he had gone back up and had broken the bread and eaten, he talked with them a long while until daybreak, and then left. 12 They took away the boy alive, and were greatly comforted.

When Paul got to Miletus, he called the elders of the church at Ephesus to him. He reminded them how he had served God humbly, dealing with the plots of the Jews. He reminded them how he bravely declared what was profitable, going house to house, telling people of the need to repent toward God and faith in out Lord Jesus Christ.

But notice that Paul knew he was headed to bonds and afflictions in Jerusalem.

22 And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me.

He wanted to finish the path God had laid out for him; he wanted to accomplish the ministry the Lord Jesus had given him to testify of the gospel of the grace of God. He then warned the elders of the church to be alert for those who would come into and from within the church to attack.

28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

He realized he was on his way to death. He told them they would no longer see him. The elders were saddened, realizing what he would face and how they would miss him.

36 When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And they began to weep aloud and embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him, 38 grieving especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they were accompanying him to the ship.

I pray God make us so effective. I pray God make us so diligent. I pray God make us so loved. May we each by used of God to move people to trust in Christ and live for God.

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