Thanking God in the midst of difficulty

I look at everything that has happened in my family’s lives and recognize that God has allowed so much to happen (even while I recognize that people have made their own choices and those choices have affected them and others).
I know that what man and the enemy meant for evil (or even selfish pleasure), God meant for good (Genesis 50:20).
I know God will use these things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
I am comforted by the fact that my family can be comforted by God so they can comfort others with the godly love and comfort they have received (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
So even in the difficult times, we can easily find ways to be thankful to God and praise Him.
I thank God for what He has done, is doing, and will do in our lives.

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).

Why would a good and all powerful God make some people who were destined for hell?

The question has been asked, “Why would a good and all powerful God make some people who were destined for hell?”.

The answer is simple, but not one most people would like to hear. I will first answer in the form of a question:

Why make a bar of soap, when you know it will be destroyed through its intended use? Because it was made to be used to make people clean. 

Why make a whetstone, when running a knife over it will eventually wear it through and destroy it as it sharpens the knife?  Because it was made to sharpen a knife. That was the reason for which it was created.

Why does a good and all powerful God allow suffering? Because it is used to bring us and others to faith and to discipline and grow us.

Not everyone is destined for heaven. Some are destined for hell. This is what scripture tells us.

We have to realize that God has predestined some people to destruction.

1 Peter 2:8

and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

John 17:12

12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled

God has made everything for its own purpose – even the wicked.
Pro 16:4

The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil.

In fact, enemies of the cross of Christ are destined to destruction.

Philippians 3:18-19

18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.

God’s plan includes Satan and what he will do. In GOD’s time, the demons will be sent to the lake of fire and brimstone.

Revelation 20:10

And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

In fact, whatever we have obtained as an inheritance, it was because it was predestined by God to works everything according to the counsel of HIS will.

Ephesians 1:11

also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,



There is no choice after death – again, what scripture says.
Hebrews 9:27

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,

I dont think Adam and Eve had free will to not sin. It was destined – otherwise there would have been no need forGod’s perfect and all encompassing plan to include the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ. It was planned from before the beginning. 

Realize that if God gives someone to Christ, they WILL come to Christ. So, if you were given to Christ, did you really have a choice?

John 6:37

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

Realize that NO ONE can come to Jesus unless God calls him. So how much choice does someone really have if they cant choose unless God makes it possible for them and that for those God has made it possible, God has guaranteed will come? You couldn’t come to Christ without the Father sending Jesus and without the Father drawing/calling you and you must come If the Father sends you to Jesus.

John 6:44

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

If you were not given permission by God, you could not come to Christ.

John 6:65

And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

God gifts us with faith. 

Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

God works in us to desire and to do as HE desires.

Philippians 2:13

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

Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Jews, and the Gentiles ALL played the part that GOD predestined them to play so Jesus would be born when and where He was born, live his life, suffer and die and be resurrected on the third day.

Acts 4:27-28

27 For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.

So, God planned things out from the beginning. This plan included everything. God makes all things work according to HIS purpose. People are created for a purpose. Some will be given faith in Christ, while others will not. And that is on purpose. It was all planned for, and God works his plan to ensure the desired outcome is what happens.

1 Peter 2:13-25

1 Peter 2:13-25 NIV

“The Government, The Boss, The Christian”

Today’s message is taken from 1 Peter 2:13-25. Those of you who have heard my earlier messages in this series will recall that Peter was writing to Christians who attended various churches in what is now Turkey. The letter was written around 64AD – just a few years before his death around 67AD. It was written to encourage the readers during difficult times – it may be they were already facing organized persecution, or it may be they were simply facing the “normal” persecution people of this Jewish sect suffered – but regardless, it was a difficult time for believers, and Peter wrote to encourage them to endure and live lives that were worthy of the name of Christ. And so we continue…


13 Submit

This word often causes people – both Christian and non-Christian alike – great difficulty. In our culture, where individuality is highly regarded, submission is thought to be beneath us. Or that to submit means we are less than someone else. But let us examine this word carefully. The dictionary describes submit as “to yield to governance or authority.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of New and Old Testament Words describes it as a military term, “to rank under.” There is no mention of the person doing the submitting is less or more, better or worse, than the thing or person being submitted to. This word does NOT mean to resist with all your might, as some people seem to think is means. But neither does it mean to not speak up when it is called for. It means to yield to governance or authority.

It means that there is an order to things – are hierarchies of authority, and that as Christians, we live in a world where we must interact with one or more of those hierarchies. This word means that someone has authority over someone – such as the police have authority over you when they are investigating what might be a crime, but do not have the authority to tell you what to eat. The courts in our culture have the authority over people and organizations, to ensure the laws are being followed and in some cases, they have authority to determine when a law is not constitutional, and thus illegal.

Luke 2:41-51. Christ submitted himself to the authority of his human parents while it was appropriate to do so. All of us are subject to some form of authority over us. Each person in this world has to interact with one or more authorities in their lives – the most supreme of which is God himself.

[submit] yourselves for the Lord’s sake

to every authority instituted among men:

whether to the king,  as the supreme authority, 14

or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.


We all know that government rarely commends those who do right and are much quicker to punish (or at least begin the process of punishing) those who do wrong. But it does happen. But that is not the point. We are not to dwell on how fair or unfair it all is and not follow the laws of the land, or to follow only those laws we agree with. Peter is saying that you should willing accept the authority of those who have been given authority over you – in THAT time and place it was the emperor and the governors he appointed (although technically, Rome also had a Senate, Peter only mentioned the more well known, powerful, and obvious offices).

Today, in our society, we have to submit to the President, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Judicial system, the governor, the State Senate and State Representatives, the County Commissioners, and Mayor, and State and local judicial systems, as well as those who have been hired to fulfill roles which help the people in those offices carry our their responsibilities. We are to accept that the president is the head of the land, whether we like him or not. Regardless of our feelings on the matter, we need to willingly put ourselves under his authority. This means that if you think the president is a womanizer, you still follow the laws he pushes forth that get passed – even if you think they are bad laws. This means you pay taxes, rather than trying got cheat on them, or not pay them. This means you submit yourself to the authority of the police – even if they are being abusive. This means you obey the laws of the land in which you find yourself – if you are traveling out of the country, you are subject to the laws of this country, as well as those in which you find yourself. So obey traffic signs, police officers, judges, and every other kind of authority men have created.

Romans 10:4. Some people try to use this verse to say that Christ ended the law, and so we can pick and choose which laws we want to follow. Read it in context. Paul was saying that the Law of Moses, as delivered to the Jews, is ended because Christ fulfilled it. He lived the perfect life. But that is not to say we are not subject to laws – Peter is clear on this. We have to follow the laws of the land.

Of course, when I say to follow the laws of the land, I am not saying to sin. Turn to Deuteronomy 13:6-10. Now, I’m not saying to kill the rulers either. That order was given to a people who as a nation were to be separate from other gods and not be contaminated by them and God enforced this harshly – it was a concrete way to show that God’s people are to be separate from the world while living within it. But while the body of believers known as the church is a holy nation, we are not a sovereign nation. We have no right to set our laws over other people in such a way. In fact, we should not murder at all. Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-45 to love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you. No, I am saying to not follow people into sin. I am not saying to do something which God has already commanded us to not do. What I AM saying is that you need to do what God has said in his word – the Bible. If it is not spoken of directly, and you can not find a guiding principle which countermands the laws of the land, then follow them to the ‘T’. IF however, you find yourself in the situation where the laws are in disagreement with the word of God, then follow the Word of God. But when you break man’s law, suffer the consequences gladly.

15 For it is God’s will

            How much more plainly can it be made? God wants us to submit to the rulers of the land. And why?

that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.

There is the key! The idea here is that we should follow the laws – we should be living our lives with such righteousness that people who would try ot say bad things about us would have nothing to say. People who do not know Christ would know we are different.

                    16 Live as free men,

Read John 8:34. Sinners are slaves to sin. Romans 6:6 – as Christians, we have been freed – freed from the slavery to sin. In some places in this world slavery is still legal. Here in the US, there have been way too many cases where people have been made slaves. But Christ has paid the price and while some believers may have lives as slaves, they are spiritually free from sin. We should ALL live like we are free from sin. Do not be burdened by desires that make you want to do things you shouldn’t do. Don’t be overwrought with guilt. Don’t be controlled by envy. Don’t be gripped by the need to defend yourself. Don’t be driven by deceit. Don’t be held in slavery to your emotions or the things the world says are good or at least ‘natural’. You are not natural – you are the adopted children of God! You are FREE! You are FREE from SIN. Live like it.

but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil;

live as servants of God.

This is Peter doing what preachers do: say something and immediately being sure the people don’t misunderstand. Here Peter is saying just because you are saved through faith in Christ, just because you have eternal life, just because your sins are forgiven, don’t go out and commit more sins – especially in the name of ‘religion’, or under the mistaken assumption that “I’m saved, so I can do what I want”. Even though those of us who trust Christ are free, we should are not to use our freedom as a license to do whatever we might wish. We are to not pretend that because we are ‘free’ that we can sin. We need to live as slaves to God – to His righteousness. We need to live exemplary lives which demonstrate CHRIST’S righteousness. And this is how we do it:

17 Show proper respect to everyone:

This is not saying that we need to like everyone. Nor is it saying we need to fawn over everyone. Nor is it saying we need to be hypocritical about it. It is saying we need to show the respect due each person – whether that person is our equal in all things or not. Whether that person is in authority over us, or subject to our authority, we need to respect them.

Love the brotherhood of believers,

1 John 3:10-13; 16-16. Peter is repeating himself here, in 1 Peter 1:22, Peter said we are to have sincere love for other believers. Its not hypocritical, nor is it abstract or hypothetical. This is real, sincerely held love for people who believe in Christ. Love is what identifies us. Love is the common characteristic of all Christians. If you have sincere love, then you will help those brothers and sisters in the faith who need help. It does not matter if you like them. We may not like someone, or not agree with something someone is doing, but we must love them. Can you say you love all the believers you know? If not, you need to pray that God give you this love, because is it by such a love that we are known.

fear God,

Again, Peter is repeating himself. As I’ve said before, you are not to be looking over your shoulder in fear you will be caught doing something you shouldn’t be doing. You should be respectfully following the commands of God – being vigilant to the dangers of this life, but not worrying about getting caught. Show respect for God by loving him. Read 1 John 5:3. Love him by obeying his commands.

honor the king.

And this is done as I said earlier, by following the laws of the land. Don’t sin, but don’t disobey the laws either. And if there is a question about the law versus the Word, check with the pastor, check with other Christians, pray. If the law is contrary to the Word, follow the word and deal with the consequences of disobeying the law.

18 Slaves,  submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who  are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

This is pretty clear. Based upon the Greek word, Peter was specifically speaking to household slaves, but this applies to us today as well. Are you an employee? Are you a volunteer somewhere? Are you a member of a church somewhere? You are subject to the authority of those who are over you in that situation. It does not matter if you agree with that person; it does not matter if that person is a nice person, or harsh. Your responsibility is to submit to the leaders under whose authority you find yourself. Now, this does not mean to follow them into sin, but sort of that, you should be respectful and honor them.

19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.

            Peter is saying here that if someone does wrong and is punished for it and accepts the punishment, that is how it should be, but not anything out of the ordinary. But if someone does good and suffers for it and does not put up a stink about how unfair it all is, Peter says THAT is commendable. To suffer for doing right.


21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” a  23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;

1 John 3:5. Christ suffered for you. He never committed a sin. He never lied or stretched the truth. He never retaliated for what people did to him. He entrusted himself to the authorities. He died for your sins. He died for my sins. He died for all the sins of those who would believe in Him. And he did it so that we could die to sin and live for righteousness. This is what we are called to – to live for righteousness and to suffer gladly, so that God might be praised.

by his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. [1]

            Isaiah 53:5,9; Ezekiel 11:16. The healing Peter speaks of is not a literal, physical, healing. It is a spiritual healing – you have been given new life. You were going astray like sheep do, but now, as believers, you have returned to the Shepherd and guardian of your souls. For that is what overseer means – someone who looks out over you and looks after you and guards you from the wolves and other predators. He can only do that if you will follow him.

Look at how we care for our children. We need them to do what we say, for their own protection: “Don’t go out in the street – you might get run over by a car.” “Don’t eat too many sweets – you’ll get sick, it will ruin your teeth and you wont be hungry for dinner (which is supposedly more healthy than the sweets they want).” “Don’t hurt others – or they might hurt you.” “Don’t play with the electrical socket, it will shock you.” You get the idea. We love our children and want them to do what we are teaching them so they will live a full and happy life. God wants the same thing for us. God warns of us the dangers of not following Him. When we do things that God does not want, he will eventually allow us to do what we want and suffer the consequences.

But the verse says, “you WERE like sheep going astray.” Now you are someone who has said he trusts Christ. So live like it. Let God protect us from ourselves and others.

[1]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (1 Pe 2:13). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

1 Peter 2:1-12

1 Peter 2:1-12

“Don’t be a baby – Be a Holy Priest!”

1 Therefore,

Again, we see “therefore”, so we look back a bit to see what the “therefore” is there for. This time we see that Peter is speaking about having been born again. Since you have accepted the gift that God provided, the salvation gained through believing He sent his son to be born,  live a perfect life, suffer, die, and be raised from the dead, you are born again. And SINCE you are born again,


rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

The first thing to notice is that you are being told to do something. This is not a rhetorical statement that you are not expected to follow. No, Peter is telling us all to RID ourselves of the bad stuff – malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander – any and all kinds of those things.

So you ask, “what is malice?” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as, “desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another.” How many times has someone cut you off in traffic, or done better than you at something? Have you wished they would suffer some fate worse than death (hypothetically speaking, of course)? That is malice.  Have you ever wanted to ‘get even’? That is malice.

So what is deceit? The dictionary was not as much help here – it said it is the act of deceiving. So I looked at synonyms: beguile, delude, fraud, mislead, trick. Basically, its being dishonest. Its not tell the truth – lying. Its intentionally trying to make someone think something is one way when its actually another. How many times have you told that ‘white lie’ so as not to get in trouble or hurt someone’s feelings. That is deceit.

Hypocrisy is similar. It is pretending to be or believe something you are not or do not believe. To say you are against people drinking and then going out and getting drunk – that is hypocrisy. Saying you don’t believe in violence and then beating your wife (or husband) is hypocrisy.

Envy is a little different. Envy is the painful or resentful awareness that someone has something you do not and desiring the same thing. It could be a job, a car, a house, a wife, money, a way of life – anything. Envy is not being satisfied with what you have or where you are and wanting what some else has. God wants us to be content in Him and what HE provides. I’m not saying we shouldn’t improve ourselves or our lives. I’m saying don’t be driven by desires of things you do not have. Be content with where you are.

Slander is similar to deceit, but different as well. Slander is the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation. It is saying bad things about someone that are not true – it’s lying about someone. It’s being deceitful in a way that hurts someone else.

So Peter is basically telling us to be honest and don’t hurt others. Have you shared opinions about someone without checking it out? Have you purposefully said or done something to hurt someone – either their reputation or their feelings or their job? Have you said one thing and done the opposite? Have you seen something someone had and wished it was yours?

Stop it! Don’t be that way. Don’t do those things. Don’t feel that way. Be holy! Be righteous. Those things are not holy – they are from your former life, from the world. We need to be like Christ, not like we were – not like we are, but as much like Christ as we can become. So let God change you to become who HE wants you to be.


2 Like newborn babies,

crave pure spiritual milk,

            Now that you are new born Christians – and really, it does not matter if you have been a Christian 70 years, or 7 minutes, crave what feeds you spiritually. You need spiritual nourishment. You need what will help you grow. Have you seen a dog that has not been well fed? IF it grows to its proper height, it will have health problems and its ribs will be sticking out. It will never be what it should be. The same thing is true for people’s spiritual lives. If we do not get fed, regularly, and healthily, then we will suffer. Our faith may waiver; we may never grow past the desires we had when we were first saved; we may never let ourselves be used by God. We need spiritual nourishment. A baby who is hungry sets up a squall like you wont believe when he’s not getting the food he wants. He craves it. And when you show him the bottle, he reaches for it with everything he is – his mouth starts moving, his feet start moving, his hands start reaching for the milk he needs, wants, craves. YOU need to be like that little baby – you need to reach for the milk with everything you are and have. You need to get the milk – the spiritual feeding. You need to read the Bible, attend services, meetings, be with other Christians OFTEN. You NEED that spiritual nourishment. Imagine what God can do with a congregation that reaches for the spiritual milk with everything they have!


so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

            Ps. 34:8. Tasting implies ‘trying’. Now that you’ve tried the Lord and found Him good, you need to eat more. Will you always need to have someone bottle feed you, or will grow past that so you can learn to feed yourselves? You need spiritual nourishment to grow up. I’m not just talking about becoming a good teenager or a good adult – I’m talking about becoming a GODLY person who is willing to step out in faith. Someone who is reading the Bible daily, praying daily, keeping company with other Christians, going to church. But someone MORE than that. Someone who walks so closely with God that he speaks with you. Someone who walks so closely with God that you don’t have desires that are not of God, not of faith, not of love. I’m talking about being so spiritually nourished that you become like Christ. Christ was used by God in a mighty way. There have been countless people in each generation who have been used by God in mighty ways. I challenge you to become someone who is so attuned to God that He uses YOU in a mighty way. Do you know computers? Do you know medicine? Do people naturally come to you for help? Do you like to sing? Do you like to dance? Do you like to talk? Do you like dinosaurs, history, science? Can you keep books? Can you read? Can you read to others? Can you teach them to read? Do you have the knack of making money? Can you help others learn to make money? Have you considered missionary service? You don’t have to go overseas to serve the Lord – some people do it right here. Have you considered being a Bible teacher? A preacher perhaps? Have you considered starting a mission to help others? Have you considered being a Christian counselor? How about a deacon? What ministry can you start? Or if starting things is not your thing, what ministry can you be part of? You don’t have to do it full time. There are plenty of opportunities right here in Homestead – right here in this church. How can God use you? What talents do you have? Is God prompting you to get involved? Does God want you to do something more than you are? How will you let God use you?


The Living Stone and a Chosen People

4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him—

Here Peter is using the symbolism used by God elsewhere. Turn to Ps 118:22-23. Turn to Mark 12:10. God used David to pen the words quoted by Christ himself. Jesus is that living stone which was rejected by men. But he was chosen by God and is precious to him – and to those of us who have accepted Him.


This letter is written to people who accepted Christ as their savior. They already came to God. You’ve already come to God. You have already come to the live stone.


5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house

As you come to him, you are like living stones. You are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood. A stone sitting by itself is not worth much. You could throw it I suppose, but there’s nothing constructive in that. However, as you lay one stone next to the capstone, and another on top it, and one next it, you begin to build something. It starts as a stone, but as you add more, you begin to create a building. In the same way, we, as believers, are being used to create something grand – a spiritual house. One of us by ourselves may not be used as a spiritual house, but as we add more and more, we collectively become something more than what we are individually. We need to be together. As we come together, we become something grander than what we can be individually.


to be a holy priesthood,

God is forming us into a priesthood. This is our purpose – why we were chosen. Just as a craftsman selects the right stones and shapes them to become a creation, so too have we each been chosen to be shaped and fashioned into something more than any of us by ourselves are. We are becoming a family, a tribe if you will, of priests. Each of you is a priest. Each of you is someone who can talk to God and for God. Of course, you need to be in close communication with God before you start trying to speak for Him. You need to KNOW GOD and KNOW what he wants you to say before you start trying to be his mouthpiece. But all of us together are becoming a group of people who can and should proclaim God everywhere. The priesthood led Israel. They ruled it at some points in time. They were leaders. Are you a leader? Will you let God turn you into one, or a better one if you are already a leader?


 offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Here is another command. The last one in this chapter was to “rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” The next one was to “crave pure spiritual milk so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” This one says that, as priests, we  should offer “spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” This is not written just to me, or to Pastor John, but to all of us – we all need to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God. We’ll see what one those spiritual sacrifices are in a bit, but suffice it to say that a spiritual sacrifice is anything done in faith.


6 For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,

a chosen and precious cornerstone,

and the one who trusts in him

will never be put to shame.” a


            Isaiah 28:16. Peter is quoting scripture showing that God chose the cornerstone – Christ – and he can be completely trusted.


7 Now to you who believe,

this stone is precious.

            Christ is precious to those who love Him. If he’s not, I will remind you to please check your faith – you need to KNOW Christ as your savior. If you don’t then he wouldn’t be worth much to you.


But to those who do not believe,

“The stone the builders rejected

has become the capstone, b c

8 and,

“A stone that causes men to stumble

and a rock that makes them fall.” d

They stumble because they disobey the message—

which is also what they were destined for.

            Ps 118:22 and Is 8:14. Some use this to say that the unbelievers are destined to not believe – this is certainly a possibility. For Isaiah 6:10 is quoted by Christ in John 12:40, saying their eyes would be blinded and their hearts hardened – but in context, that would be because they already had decided. Those who decide to not believe reject Christ (the capstone) and are destined to stumble.


9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God,

Since you believe, you are chosen, have been made into a royal priesthood (the priesthood of believers), a holy nation – the nation of God. You belong to God. Does your life show that? Does your life reflect the holiness of God? When people see Buddist monks, they recognize them because of the shaven heads and orange robes – people know who and what they are. Christians do not have a particular way of dress, but we’re known by how we live – by the love we show others. Are you living in such a way that when someone sees you they KNOW you’re a Christian?


that you may declare the praises  of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Here is the reason you have been made a priest, and all of us a priesthood – to tell people how great God is. This is a spiritual sacrifice – telling people how great God is. We need to show how much we love God by talking about Him. When you gather around the cooler at work, when you are in the grocery store, when you’re checking out at Wal-Mart, when you are standing in line to vote – talk about what God has done in your life. I’m not saying each of us will lead people to Christ – but each of us needs to share how great God is in our lives – how important God is to us.


10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

There was a time when you had not received mercy, you were not a believer. But now you have, and you are. You are a person of God. As such, you have the responsibility to live like a godly person. You have the responsibility to live a holy life and to talk up how good God is.


11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. [1]

            Peter repeats what he said in chapter 1, live as aliens and strangers in the world – live like you’re passing through. Abstain from sinful desires. Not just ‘do not give into them’, but do not even HAVE them. Sinful desires are in a war against your soul, but you don’t have to give in to them – you can fight it. And you do it by turning to the Word of God – both Christ, the Word, and the written Word we call the Bible. In so doing, even though people might say bad things about you, they will know better. The things you do will cause people who do not believe to glorify God when Christ returns.

So I urge you also, live a life worthy of the name you hold – Christian. Turn to the Word. Become enmeshed in it, and Him. Beg him to change you. Don’t be who you were. Don’t be who you are. Be Christ-like.


 b Or cornerstone

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

God says to have nothing to do with people who claim to be Christians but who live sinfilled lives and refuse to repent.

God expects Christians to behave certain ways, and warns us to not have anything to do with those who call themselves Christians but live sinfilled lives. Indeed, we are warned that folks who call themselves God’s people, but are not, are dangerous to those who are truly God’s people.

Proverbs 14:7

Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge.

Proverbs 20:19

He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets,
Therefore do not associate with a gossip.

Matthew 18:15-17

15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. 2 For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.

1 Corinthians 5:11

 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

Ephesians 5:8-12

  8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.

 Titus 3:9-11

  9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.

 1 Timothy 4:1-8

  The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.  6 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

2 Timothy 2:15-17

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

2 Timothy 3:1-7

  1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.  6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Freedom is found in Christ

Addicted? You can be free!

John 8:34-36
34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Romans 6:18-23
18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Galatians 5:1
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

%d bloggers like this: