Falling on their faces like Jesus

The people of Israel knelt with their faces to the ground when they prayed and gave thanks – Jesus as did when He prayed in Gethsemane. Should we humble ourselves and do the same?  I think that position in quite humbling and reminds us ho God is and His importance in our lives.

2 Chron 7:3 All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the Lord, saying, “Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

Mathew 26:39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”

Mark 14:35-36
35 And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. 36 And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”

Luke 22:41-42
41 And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

Is forgiveness necessary and do I forgive if they have not asked for it?

“Is forgiveness necessary and do I forgive if they have not asked for it?”

These are two very difficult questions to deal with for most people who have been hurt. Many of us would like to nurse our wounds and some of us would like to strike back when we have been hurt. But we need to look at what scripture says regarding forgiveness.

Jesus told us that things which cause us to stumble are bound to come. But we must forgive if people sin against us and we tell them and they change (repent), we are to forgive them – even if it is something they do over and over again.

Luke 17:1-5

 1He said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.

The aposles thought an increased faith was needed to be able to do this. But Jesus said to use the little faith they had – because that could move trees.

We see this echoed in Mark 11. Jesus told Peter and the other apostles that if they had faith, if they truly believed – without doubt, then they could tell a mountain jump into the sea and it would happen. But notice something else – IF while you are praying you realize you have ANYTHING against someone, you need to forgive them so you will be forgiven as well. Your unforgiving heart can affect your own forgiveness and whether your prayers are heard.

Mark 11:20-26

20 As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. 21 Being reminded, Peter *said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus *answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. 24 Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. 25 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. 26 [But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”]

Again, no mention is made of theperson you have something against needing to ask forgiveness before you forgive – its not for him, but for you. This way you release your anger; you soften your heart; you live the love God demands us to have and to show to others.

Jesus also tells us that you being angry with someone will send you into hell. This is very likely to be another aspect of having an unforgiving heart.

Matthew 5:21-24

21 “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. 23 Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

By asking forgiveness from someone who has something against you, you are having to humble yourself and soften your own heart, and will likely help him soften his.

Some might think that we only need to forgive others if they ask for forgiveness. But that is not what Jesus said – he said that if they ask, you must forgive. In verse 26 (which some manuscripts do not have), we need that if you do not forgive, you will not be forgiven.

In Matthew 6, Jesus was more clear on the need to forgive people – and no mention is made of them having to ask forgiveness.

Matthew 6:9-14

9 “Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Just to be sure people understood that Jesus was not simply speaking of financial debt, He was clear – if you forgive people for their transgressions, God will forgive you and if you do NOT forgive, God will not forgive either.

We see this also in the book of Luke.

Luke 11:2-5

2 And He said to them, “When you pray, say:

‘Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 ‘Give us each day our daily bread.
4 ‘And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”

We ask God to forgive us because we have forgiven others. Its not so we will be forgiven that we fogive. We forgive because God has changed our hearts, softened our hearts. And since God has done this, which caused us to forgive, we are forgiven in the same way.

When it came to Jesus living as he taught, look at what Jesus did on the cross itself:

Luke 23:33-34

33 When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.

No one asked Jesus to forgive them, or to ask God to forgive them. They did not repent and change and ask forgiveness first – Jesus simply forgave them and asked God the Father to forgive them as well.

We see a perfect example of how we need to forgive in the martyr Stephen.

Acts 7:54-60

54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

 Stephen forgave and asked God to forgive his murderers – which included he who would become the apostle Paul. And this forgiveness of others is the same thing Paul taught.

Colossians 3:13

13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you

In fact, we need our eyes to be opened, and to turn from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to the power of God. If we do that, we will have our sins forgiven and have a place  with those sanctified by Christ.

Acts 26:15-20

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.

IF we do not do that, we are not forgiven, and are not obeying God, and will not have the Holy Spirit.

Acts 5;30-32

30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

But if we do believe, we will have forgiveness of sins.

Acts 10:42-43

42 And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 43 Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

So. We must forgive others. If we do not forgive, it is because we do not have forgiveness. Our sins will not be forgiven if we do not forgive. Its not that our forgiving causes our sins to occur, but that our forgiving others reflects the changed heart we were given when God forgave us our sins when we believed in Christ.

 

 

Do you think you are saved, but live a secret life?

Do you think you are saved, but live a secret life?
Do you go to church, and are you compliant to God in all areas except may be you have an addiction which controls you?

Are you led on by various impulses, instead of by God?
Are you able to see the sin in others’ lives but having difficulty seeing it in yours?
Are you able to justify your sin because you are only human?

Luke 13:5

I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

Apply the knowledge of God to your own heart and life!

GOD must be first in your life! Do not have merely a FORM of godliness…

2 Timothy 3:1-9

1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 HOLDING TO A FORM OF GODLINESS, ALTHOUGH THEY HAVE DENIED IT POWER; AVOID SUCH MEN AS THESE. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, LED ON BY VARIOUS IMPULSES, 7 ALWAYS LEARNING AND NEVER ABLE TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.

Joshua 24:23

23 Now therefore, put away the foreign gods which are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.

2 Chronicles 30:8

8 Now do not stiffen your neck like your fathers, but yield to the Lord and enter His sanctuary which He has consecrated forever, and serve the Lord your God, that His burning anger may turn away from you.

JESUS is the only way out of a life of darkness.
John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

If you are truly saved, your life will reflect the change! God will give you a new heart, and a new spirit, and will cause ytou to walk in God’s way, and make it so you are careful to obey God.

Ezekiel 36:26-27

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 ordinances.

If you are truly saved, you will be a new creation – the old will have passed away.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Are you a new creation? Are you saved? Does your life reflect repentance towards God and from sin?

If not, then repent, turn to God through faith!

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.

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