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Peter 1:1-4 Simon
Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have
obtained like precious
faith with us
through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and
peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus
our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things
that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that
hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding
great and precious
promises: that by these ye might be partakers
of the divine nature, having
escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
The Divine Nature
Lord is not like our present day politicians. He
makes promises that we can depend upon. These
promises are precious. Those
who believe God's promises, particularly as they relate to forgiveness
of sins, obtain a new or divine nature. This
divine nature and these precious promises are available to all who have
obtained precious faith. This
is really good news in a day of so much delusion and confusion.
of the Exceeding Great and Precious Promises
Peter 5:7 “Casting
all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
say, “If all else fails, I will just have to trust the Lord.” We
shouldn’t have to wait until all else fails to trust the Lord. The
Lord cares concerning each of His own personally. He
wants to be involved in our lives.
your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you
have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake
verse is usually generalized to say that the Lord never leaves us or
forsakes us in any circumstance. If
we are sick, He will not forsake us. If
we are going through family problems, He will not forsake us. If
we are true believers, I am sure that it is true that He is always with
us, even when the outcome to our problems is not to our liking. However,
the verse really has to do with the problems of our earthly needs. We
need to be content with what the Lord provides and the Lord will provide
Lord tells us in the sermon on the mount that He takes care of sparrows,
he clothes flowers and he will take care of us. See Matthew 6:25-34.
let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap
if we do not lose heart.”
give up. We
all get discouraged at times. We
all feel that our work is unappreciated, that our accomplishments are
negligible and that there is no point in continuing to “do good.” Of
course, the alternative is “doing bad.” And
that is a black hole into which we certainly don't want to fall. But
the Lord says we will reap if we faint not. So
we need to keep planting and watering.
therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them
to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you
always, even to the end of the age. Amen."
are three conditions in these verses that must be met if we are going to
know that the Lord is with us (at the end of the age). First,
we must make disciples. Second,
we baptize. Third,
we teach them all things. We
make disciples before we baptize and teach them all things. Making
a disciple means that we teach the truth of the death, burial and
resurrection of Christ and that we teach the need to be born again. We
need to consider baptism a requirement for Christian testimony. Only one
who has become a disciple should be baptized, but everyone who claims to
be a disciple should show that by being baptized which means that they
should be immersed. Baptism
represents a burial and a resurrection. The
water is a picture of the grave. Baptism
cannot be considered optional if we want the promise that the Lord is
with us. We
don't need to be baptized to go to heaven, but who would want to go to
if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you
to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
promise is as secure as John 3: 16 even though Peter
reminds us, ‘’Knowing this first, that
there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own
lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the
fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning
of the creation (2 Peter 3:3-4).” Don't
listen to the scoffers. The
Lord is coming for His own. It
may be today.
for the week of August 7, 2016
There is Rest and Then there is Rest!
116:7 Return to your rest, O
my soul, For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
What is it?
of us probably think of a good night's sleep when we think of resting.
Resting in this passage could mean a number of things but it
seems to be primarily a ceasing from worry and anxiety.
This Psalmist may have had a physical ailment from which the Lord
delivered him. However, it
is easy to apply this psalm to our spiritual condition.
I notice that the Psalmist must have been at peace and then
became anxious and then returned to a state of peace.
I suspect that the last condition was much better than the first.
Often when we are at peace it is because we are ignorant of our
real condition. For example,
we may feel that we are healthy when we are not.
Then the doctor finds something wrong and we go into a panic.
We are anxious. Then
if we find the cure, we relax again.
is much the same way when we are considering our relationship with God.
Most people do not know that they are sick as far as God is
concerned. Sin has caused
the sickness and even though we know that ultimately we are going to
die, we don't worry about it because we are sure that we are healthy
right now. Death seems to be
a distant problem. We are at
ease even though we shouldn't be. Then
when we hear the Gospel and find out that sinners will be judged for
their sin unless it is forgiven, we get anxious.
We wonder how we can get right with God.
We call this being awakened to our condition.
It causes us to be troubled which is why the Psalmist says he
found trouble and sorrow. Then
when we hear and understand and believe the good news that Christ died
for sinners, we get peace or rest again.
But this rest is real. This
rest is based on the cure for sin. This
rest is found in Christ. This
rest is so sweet because it doesn't depend on our “doing.” It is
obtained by trusting in what Christ has done for us.
Why do we Need it?
one can be truly healthy unless they get the rest that they need.
Sleep and rest allows our bodies to heal.
It also allows our minds to “unwind.”
Many of people have sleep apnea that keeps them from reaching
what is called “rem” sleep where our minds seem to deprogram and
where we feel rested in the morning.
I talked to a friend who thought he was losing his ability to remember.
He was anxious and was researching his condition on the internet,
and I think he had also talked to doctors.
I found out that he was not sleeping well.
I suggested that his memory problems and anxiety would likely go
away if he could figure out how to get a good night's sleep.
I haven't talked to him recently to see how he is doing; but even
if that is not his whole problem, he will never be really healthy until
he starts getting a good night's sleep.
We know that this is a problem for a lot of people because of all
the sleep aids that we see in the drug stores.
Tylenol PM might not be a bad thing if it really does help a
How do we Get it?
good dietary habits, and proper exercise may all help in getting a good
night’s sleep so that we feel rested.
Some vacations also help us recharge.
Of course some of us come back from our vacations so tired that
we need a vacation from our vacations.
Nevertheless, there is nothing quite like feeling relaxed and
we can fool ourselves into believing we are at peace with God and with
our consciences. That is the
rest that needs to be disturbed. When
we hear the Gospel and find out that there is only One God and One
mediator between God and man; when we find out that there is only One
way to heaven; when we find out that we are lost and useless to God
without the faith that saves because of our sin; then we become anxious.
The Bible calls this conviction.
John 16:7-11 tells us about the work of
the Holy Spirit in this regard, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It
is to your advantage that I (the Lord Jesus) go away; for if I do not go
away, the Helper (the Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I
depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict
the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
of sin, because they do not believe in Me;
of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no
more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
as we hear the Gospel which tells us that Christ died for sinners, when
we hear that the work that saves was finished on the cross, when we hear
that trusting the Word of God and thus trusting Christ saves, a burden
rolls away. It is the burden
of sin. And we find true
rest and peace. Matthew
11:28 says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I
will give you rest.” Notice
it is those who have been convicted (who labor and are heavy laden) who
are invited to come and who get this rest.
could well ask ourselves, are we at peace because we are ignorant and in
unbelief? Or have we been
awakened, and have we found true peace with God through the Lord Jesus
Meditation for the week of
August 14, 2016
1 Corinthians 1:9 God is
faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus
Christ our Lord.
Faithful or Trustworthy
The Corinthians had problems. They
were believers. They had been called into the fellowship of the the Lord
Jesus Christ whom they and Paul called Lord.
But they were immature, divided, and filing lawsuits one against
another. They were
tolerating immorality. They
were not separating from the sin or the sinners in Corinth which was bad
even by the standards of the world in which they lived.
Some were being so bold in their testimony as to eat things
offered to idols because they now knew that the idol was a fiction
created by man; and yet they weren't considering that that their actions
could harm others who thought that by eating they were actually
worshiping those idols. These
Christians were getting drunk at the Lord's table.
Obviously, these Christians were not enjoying the fellowship into
which they were called.
Fellowship is Partnership
Fellowship is a precious thing. It involves being like-minded and
working together. It is
participating in the same projects and goals.
It is agreement. Whenever
there are problems and divisions among Christians, someone is out of
fellowship with the Lord. 1
John 1:3 says, “That
which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have
fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with
His Son Jesus Christ.” When
our vertical fellowship (that is, our fellowship with the Father) is
right, then our horizontal fellowship (that is, our fellowship with one
another) will be right. Because
the Corinthians were having trouble with the horizontal aspect of
fellowship, their real problem was with their vertical relationship with
God. I think that is why the
climax of the epistle is chapter 15, where the Gospel is clearly spelled
out (to Christians mind you) and where they are reminded of the power of
the resurrection and of the promise of the Lord's return.
It is in Chapter 15 that Paul reminds them of victory.
In 1 Corinthians 15:57, Paul says, “But thanks be to God, who
gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Because of that victory, he encourages them to keep on keeping
on. The next verse says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be
steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing
that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
are to Continue in Fellowship
of the four pillars of the church in Acts 2:42 is fellowship.
I really don't think Luke was writing about a half hour for
coffee and cookies between meetings although that is one way of
expressing our friendship. But
fellowship involves every aspect of the church and of the work of the
Lord. Fellowship should be
expressed by our unity at the Lord's Table as we remember the Lord.
is expressed by the gift of helps. We
may not have the ability to do something ourselves, but we can sure
encourage and help others that do. We
can help missionaries on the front-lines by praying for them and by our
financial support. That
support may come through congregations, but many times it comes through
individuals who see a need that the church they are attending does not.
Since the Gospel is free, missionaries should not charge those to
whom they are preaching the Gospel; but those back home can make sure
that they are able to eat and to keep a roof over their heads while they
minister to those who have not heard the Gospel.
Paul appreciated the help of Phillipi in that regard.
He mentions that once and again that assembly had come to his
rescue (Philippians 4:16). In
the first chapter he calls their help fellowship in the Gospel (verse
5). Even the Lord was
supported by those who believed in him and in many cases that was by
women. (See Luke 8:3).
for Services Rendered
people justify hiring pastors and paying for them because of 1 Timothy
5:17-18 which says, “Let
the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially
those who labor in the word and doctrine.
For the Scripture says, "YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE AN OX WHILE IT
TREADS OUT THE GRAIN," and, "THE LABORER IS WORTHY OF HIS
WAGES." I am not sure
that “double honor” in this passage justifies employment contracts.
I think it justifies regular and continuing practical fellowship.
However, one thing I know by personal experience is that
fellowship given to support a work by one who is truly partnering with
you because the Holy Spirit has moved them to do so is an experience
that far surpasses a pay check.
is wonderful. When we are in
fellowship with the Lord we will be in fellowship with one another.
When we are in fellowship one with another, we will be working
together for the furtherance of the Gospel.
This will be expressed in a lot of ways.
One way, however, will be for individuals as well as churches to
financially support those who want to keep the Gospel free.
for the week of August 21, 2016
Love Really Make the World Go 'Round?
1 Corinthians 13:13 And
now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is
a recent Saturday morning as I pulled out on the highway, I saw a woman
and a young boy walking along the side of the road.
They were holding hands. He
was holding a big container of what was likely soda pop from the
convenience store not too far away.
Since we live in a manufactured home community and since some of
the people who live there are very poor, I assumed these two did not
have a car or much money. But
they had each other. I know
that I am making assumptions when I say it looked like a mother was
spending quality time with her son; and that she had just bought him
something that he wanted, even though it might not have been good for
him. She wasn't forcing him
to excel at some sport, she wasn't making him do his homework, she was
just spending time with him. I
wondered if this boy realized that he was experiencing one of the most
precious things that anyone can experience.
He was experiencing his mother's love.
She was showing that love by just being there with the boy.
I may not know the whole story behind the scene that I witnessed,
but I have to admit that seeing that mother walk with that boy while
holding his hand, gave me the “warm fuzzies.”
And then I thought of the verse that I have quoted in today's
kinds of Love
our society thinks of love, people usually think of erotic or romantic
love. That kind of love is
found in our Bible. The
Song of Solomon is certainly a poem of erotic love.
However, the New Testament does not use the word for erotic love
at all. That kind of love is
exciting and attractive, but it can be self-serving and usually does not
last. It has to mature into
something more substantial and permanent.
The New Testament does distinguish between charity, a love that
is often defined by duty and sacrifice, and the love of friends.
The love of friends is a mutual thing.
Charity may not be mutual. However,
when we show charity to one that we think is unlovable in the sense of a
friend, we often find ourselves liking the person to whom we are showing
charity. Often they become
our friend. We use one word
to explain all these different facets of love while God has several
words helping us to understand the concept of love.
is Love or Charity the greatest Gift?
is an ad that I have seen many times that says the world runs on Dunkin.
I think they mean that eating Dunkin Donuts energizes us.
But actually love in its different aspects is what should run the
world. Christians need
friends and the fellowship of a church should be the best place to find
those friends. We are
admonished in Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of
ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another,
and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
We need other Christians friends so that we can encourage
(exhort) one another. Living
a Christian life in isolation makes us targets of Satan and can cause us
problems with depression and assurance.
We can lose our confidence in the good that the Lord has in store
for us. We may become
useless to others.
we need the love of a friend, we also need to experience and show the
love of charity. It is the
charity of God that provides salvation for us through the sacrifice of
His Son. We tend to be
self-centered in our friendships and in our romantic relationships.
While we do good things for others, it is always with the idea of
being happy ourselves. But
when we show charity, we are usually transcending self.
Recently, we have had major flooding in northeast Iowa.
The communities that have been flooded pulled together to save
the towns and to help one another. To
me, they were showing Godly charity although many of the people involved
were probably friends. Often
it is difficult to distinguish between true charity which is a God-given
gift and and the love that we show for a friend.
While charity is given without expectation of return or personal
benefit, the person showing the charity always benefits.
is certainly Needed!
a country where the political system and the economic system are based
on personal greed, criticism, lies, bullying and cheating, it is
certainly a breath of fresh air to see communities coming together to
help one another. It
certainly is refreshing to see a mother and a son walking hand in hand
down the road. It is great
to know that God SO LOVED the world, that He gave His only Son.
I know someone is going to ask if God loved His Son since we
would never allow our sons to suffer like He did if we coult prevent it.
He said He did. He
said in Matthew 3:17, “And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying,
'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'” Obviously His
love for the people in the world is measured by His love for His Son.
To be personal, His love for me is measured by His love for His
Son. His love for you is
also measured by His love for His Son.
world does not run on Dunkin'. The
world runs on love. It
really does make the world go 'round.
It is the oil that keeps the engine running smoothly.
Without love, things get really sticky and kind of noisy.
My prayer is that each of us has experienced the love of a friend
as well as the charity of God today.
Meditation for the week of
August 28, 2016