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Seven Critical Challenges for Living in This World (A Study of I Peter 2): Good Riddance!

Some of you are aware that I’ve been engaged in a daily Bible reading program with my friend Frank in New Jersey for a couple of years or so. We choose a book of the Bible and read the same chapter each day for a week — then move on to the next chapter after that. Our procedure is quite simple and is explained here.

Well, I’ve started a small group of four men who are doing this kind of daily Bible reading and we’ve worked our way through Philippians and I Timothy, and are now going through I Peter. We drop each other a short email on Sunday about something we’ve learned in our reading together.

In reading through I Peter 2, I believe there are seven critical challenges that Peter gives us that are particularly relevant for us right now in our world. Here’s the first —

Of course, a proper understanding of this verse should take us back to I Peter 1 and all that the Apostle says there. His use of “therefore” builds on such powerful truths as: we have been born again (v. 3), we have an inheritance waiting for us (v. 4), we have a faith of greater worth than gold (v. 7), we possess an inexpressible and glorious joy in knowing Christ (v. 8), we have every reason to pursue holiness (vv. 13-16), we are to purify ourselves by obeying the truth (v. 22), etc.

In light of all that, we are to do some house-cleaning! We are to “rid ourselves” of certain specific sins: malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Got any of those? No? Then I guess this first challenge doesn’t relate to you.

Today’s Challenge: Take a cold, hard look at yourself this morning and ask, “Where do I find evidence of these five filthy sins in my life?” Follow with a second question: “How do I get rid of them?”

 

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2021 in I Peter 2

 

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One More J.I. Packer Quote: The Healthy Christian

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2019 in spiritual health

 

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Colossal Truths from the Letter to the Colossians! GET BUSY GETTING GODLY! (Part 8- final)

This is our last post in our study of what we are calling GET BUSY GETTING GODLY. The last two challenges are found in verses 15-16 —

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Today the last two challenges are:
(1) Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus (v. 17), and
(2) Giving thanks to God the Father through him (v. 17).

Now, technically, we skipped over the expression “as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts” (v. 16). These verbs (“teach,” “admonish,” “singing”) are actually not commands, but modifiers of the main verb “let the message of Christ dwell among you richly” (v. 16). HOW do we let the message of Christ dwell among us richly? There is an intimate connection between letting His message dwell in us richly and teaching and admonishing one another. We are not to be Lone Ranger Christians! We need the family of God.

But our last two main verbs are found in verse 17 (in reality the second [“giving thanks”] isn’t a main verb). Could there be a more comprehensive, sweeping statement than “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus”? If Jesus is God the Son, this makes perfect sense. If He is not, this is blasphemy of the highest order!

And in doing everything in His name we are to “give thanks to God the Father through him.” Doing all in Christ’s name is to be a thankful way of living life.

Thank you for staying with me through this study of GET BUSY GETTING GODLY! May the Lord help you — and me — to pick one or two of these commands and thankfully obey them today!

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2019 in christian life

 

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Colossal Truths from the Letter to the Colossians! GET BUSY GETTING GODLY! (Part 5)

Colossians 3 presents the challenge that we should GET BUSY GETTING GODLY. Let’s look at the next two specific commands about the Christian life in this very aggressive chapter:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Today the two challenges are:
(1) Bear with one another, and
(2) Forgive one another.

How we get along with fellow believers is really critical. The world watches our relationships with one another. And how we treat one another affects our walk with the Lord. How can I be in intimate fellowship with Him if I am at odds with other believers? The idea that I can have a meaningful and productive walk with the Lord and internally or externally be fighting with others in the faith is greatly challenged by I John (see how often that book substitutes “the people of God” or “one another” for “Jesus” or “God.” Quite an interesting study).

Bearing with one another seems like the very least we can do, but requires a great deal of patience and strength from the Lord. The second command of forgiving is qualified as “forgive as the Lord forgave you.” That’s a lot more difficult than simply putting up with someone else!

HOW has the Lord forgiven you? Show that same forgiveness to another brother or sister in Christ today!

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2019 in forgiveness

 

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The Choices We Make — Time for a Great Quote from C.S. Lewis (reprise)

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2019 in choices

 

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Colossal Truths from the Letter to the Colossians! GET BUSY GETTING GODLY! (Part 4)

It sounds strange to say that we should GET BUSY GETTING GODLY, but that’s what I see in this section of Colossians 3. The Christian life is not passive. There is much for us to DO, and much for us to put into PRACTICE! Let’s continue our study by looking at the third set of two challenges in this great text:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Today the two challenges are:
(1) Do not lie to each other (v. 9), and
(2) Clothe yourselves with . . . (v. 12).

First, we must not lie to each other. Why not? Paul says because we have “taken off” and we have “put on.” We have “taken off your old self with its practices.” Conversion begins the process of our recognizing and rejecting our old selves, our sinful selves, our self-obsessed selves. We stop lying to each other because the truth is now more important to us than our reputations! We are also told that we are to “put on the new self.” We experience an identify switch or change when we are saved.

The story goes that Augustine was walking down the street when he saw a familiar woman walking towards him. He bowed his head and walked to the other side. She called out to him, “Augustine! Augustine!” He did not look up or answer. She called all the more urgently and other passers-by began to notice. “Augustine! Don’t you remember me? Don’t you remember those nights together? Augustine! It is I!” Finally he looked up and replied, “Yes, but it is no longer I.”

Our identity has changed in Christ! We have put on — and must continue to put on — the new self “which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (v. 10).

Second, we are told we must “clothe ourselves with” (v. 12). Newborn babies are naked. New believers in Christ are not to be naked (spiritually). We have the responsibility to clothe ourselves with: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Wow. Those are a lot of virtues to work on!

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2019 in christian life

 

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Colossal Truths from the Letter to the Colossians! GET BUSY GETTING GODLY! (Part 3)

We continue our study in Colossians 3 about how we should get busy getting godly. Let’s look at the second two challenges in this passage:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

In his book No More Mr. Nice Guy, Stephen Brown makes the point that “God don’t make no wimps!” God does not want us to be wimpy when it comes to growth in the Christian life.

In verses 5 and 8 of our passage this morning we are told to (1) put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature, and (2) rid yourselves of all such things as anger, etc. These are active, almost violent images of execution and extermination!

First we are to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature. And Paul gives us a list so we are not left in the dark: five specific sins are mentioned — sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed. We are to execute these! And Paul adds for good measure that greed is idolatry!

Second we are to rid ourselves of certain other sins. And he gives us a list so we are not unclear: five specific sins are given — anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language (v. 8).

Do most Christians naturally think of the Christian life as involving EXECUTION and EXTERMINATION? I don’t think so. We set out on a path of simply being nice. And that’s no way to deal with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language!

The challenge today? Pick one of those nasty ten — and consciously ask God to help you KILL IT! Ask the Lord to help you SQUASH IT like that cockroach you discover under your kitchen sink! Don’t hesitate! Stomp it to death!

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2019 in christian life

 

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Colossal Truths from the Letter to the Colossians! GET BUSY GETTING GODLY! (Part 1)

As we continue looking at prominent themes in the epistle to the Colossians, this morning we dive into Chapter Three. Our text is a bit lengthy, but well worth the time to ponder it. We will take several posts to consider this challenge. We read in Chapter Three —

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I’m a big believer in marking up my Bible. This morning please notice the verbs that I have highlighted in BOLD.

How many admonitions (commands, challenges) do you count in this section of Colossians 3? I count fifteen specific admonitions in these verses. Here’s that list:
1. Set your hearts
2. Set your minds
3. Put to death
4. Rid yourselves of
5. Do not lie to each other
6. Clothe yourselves with
7. Bear with each other
8. Forgive one another
9. Forgive as the Lord forgave you
10. Put on love
11. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts
12. Be thankful
13. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly
14. Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus
15. Give thanks

We will discuss the first of these in our next post on Colossians.

The challenge today? Don’t passively let your Christian life slip away. Become active in pursuing a godly life!

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2019 in christian life

 

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A Spiritually Healthy Family (A Study of the Epistle to Titus) (Part 4 of 5)

God’s Word has so much to say to families today! All 66 books of the Bible can provide tremendous truth and help in raising our families and forming our families into God-honoring units before a lost and dying world!

I am looking forward to Family Camp at Camp Elim in Woodland Park, Colorado, on May 25-27.  There I will get  to preach five messages — and I’ve chosen to study the epistle to Titus from the perspective of the spiritually healthy family. Let’s read carefully the second chapter of Titus once again:

We have already seen that the spiritually healthy family cares deeply about the local church (1:1-9) and that, secondly, it recognizes false teaching in its many forms and opposes it (1:10-16). In our last post we saw that the spiritually healthy family appreciates and applies the clear instructions of God’s Word (2:1-10).

Let’s notice fourthly in this chapter that —

The spiritually healthy family —

IV. Allows God’s Grace to Have Its Full Power in Their Lives! (vv. 11-15)

[I have to confess that this passage — Titus 2:11-15 — is one of my favorites!]

We learn in this passage that God’s Grace —

I. Is a Salvation-Bringing Grace (v. 11)

Salvation is the rock-bottom foundation for a spiritually healthy family!

II. Is a Teaching Grace (v. 12)

Note both the negative and the positive aspects of grace’s teaching.

III. Is a Waiting Grace (v. 13)

How is the deity of the Lord Jesus shown here?

IV. Is a Purifying Grace (v. 14)

What is the logical expression of our gratitude for God’s purifying grace?

V. Is an Encouraging Grace (v. 15)

If you study the so-called five love languages, words of affirmation is a critical way to encourage others!

(We will conclude this five-part series in our next post)

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2019 in grace

 

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Getting Ready for My Next NJ Trip! (Part 3)

My next preaching trip to Cedarcroft Bible Chapel in New Jersey is coming up quickly and will be from March 31st to April 7th. I will also be teaching Sunday School on both Sundays (which we’ll talk about in a later post). When I was there last (Feb. 26-March 4), we looked at the topic “Why Should We Believe Anything at All?” For these two Sundays we will look at the subject “Why Should We Behave as Believers?” My first message will be on Titus 2:11-15 and my second on 2 Peter 1:3-11 (for April 7th).

Let’s look at the 2 Peter 1 passage one more time:

There is so much here about ADDING to our FAITH. The Christian FAITH (the foundation of the Christian truths) forms the bedrock upon which we BUILD OUR LIVES!

There have been some in the so-called Victorious Christian Life movement who have said things like ‘Let God — and Let God!” or “Trust God for your sanctification just as you trusted Him for your salvation.” There is truth in these slogans — but they can also mislead one to think that the Christian life requires no effort on our part. Note the language Peter uses in this passage: “MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO ADD TO” (v. 5) and “MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO CONFIRM YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION” (v. 10).

How much EFFORT are you and I expending to develop these virtues (GOODNESS, KNOWLEDGE, SELF-CONTROL, PERSEVERVANCE, GODLINESS, MUTUAL AFFECTION, LOVE)?

Here’s a challenge: Ask someone who loves you which of those VIRTUES you need to work on! And don’t get angry at them if they say, “Well, you could use a bit more SELF-CONTROL!” Or, “I think you can grow in your KNOWLEDGE of the Word, don’t you?” [Such loving feedback, by the way, doesn’t have to take the form of NAGGING!]

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2019 in christian life

 

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