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Seven Critical Challenges for Living in This World (A Study of I Peter 2): R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

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 seventh —

This seventh critical challenge involves the believer’s behavior towards others. We are to show “proper respect” to everyone. Sometimes that’s quite difficult to do, isn’t it? Notice, however, that it is “proper” respect. We are not to favor others because of their status or wealth or power.

And Peter gets very specific in breaking down the category of those to whom we should show proper respect. We are to: (1) love the family of believers; (2) to fear God; and (3) to honor the emperor. Love, fear, honor. Those are high qualities for the follower of Jesus.

Today’s Challenge: We’ve covered some very important commands in our look at I Peter 2. As you think about these seven, which one stands out as the one you most need to work on?

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2021 in I Peter 2

 

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Seven Critical Challenges for Living in This World (A Study of I Peter 2): Free Slaves?

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 sixth —

This one seems a bit contradictory, doesn’t it? We are to live “as free people” but “as God’s slaves”! Someone has said that man’s first duty is not to find freedom, but a Master. How true. We’re gonna serve somebody, as the great theologian Bob Dylan once said.

We can misuse our freedom in Christ to do and to cover-up EVIL! Really! The Christian world was shocked a while back to learn that a world-renown apologist for the Christian faith was using his freedom (and his organization’s finances) for his own sexual escapades. We underestimate our inclination to do evil to our peril.

Today’s Challenge: How might you and I show our freedom in Christ today? How might we demonstrate that we are most free when we are serving our Lord God? Any thoughts?

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2021 in I Peter 2

 

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Seven Critical Challenges for Living in This World (A Study of I Peter 2): Submitting to Government?

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 fifth —

Submission is hard sometimes, isn’t it? Whether it’s to a spouse or to a duly-elected government (perhaps one for which we didn’t vote), putting ourselves under human authority can be challenging.

Note the reason we are to submit ourselves to human authority: it is for the Lord’s sake. How? Maybe the idea is that if we rebel against legitimate human authority, we are presenting Christianity as a religion of disobedience and strife, rather than as the honorable movement that it is.

Note the two aspects of human authority Peter mentions: the emperor (as the supreme authority) and governors. Note also why these authorities are sent by God: “to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.” Punishment and commendation.

Today’s Challenge: How, specifically, can you submit to God-ordained human leadership? At the very least, you and I should be praying for those who are in authority over us. Are we doing that?

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2021 in I Peter 2

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes! (Trust)

As we are right in the throes of election season, Calvin’s words ought to frighten us! We need leaders we can trust! Thank the Lord, we can trust HIM! HE is the One who guides governments and controls history! Pray for your government leaders today — and for those who will be our leaders tomorrow!

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2020 in trust

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 72)

Psalm 72

Of Solomon.screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-6-23-34-am

Endow the king with your justice, O God,
    the royal son with your righteousness.
May he judge your people in righteousness,
    your afflicted ones with justice.

May the mountains bring prosperity to the people,
    the hills the fruit of righteousness.
May he defend the afflicted among the people
    and save the children of the needy;
    may he crush the oppressor.
May he endure as long as the sun,
    as long as the moon, through all generations.
May he be like rain falling on a mown field,
    like showers watering the earth.
In his days may the righteous flourish
    and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.

May he rule from sea to sea
    and from the River to the ends of the earth.
May the desert tribes bow before him
    and his enemies lick the dust.
10 May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores
    bring tribute to him.
May the kings of Sheba and Seba
    present him gifts.
11 May all kings bow down to him
    and all nations serve him.

12 For he will deliver the needy who cry out,
    the afflicted who have no one to help.
13 He will take pity on the weak and the needy
    and save the needy from death.
14 He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
    for precious is their blood in his sight.

15 Long may he live!
    May gold from Sheba be given him.
May people ever pray for him
    and bless him all day long.
16 May grain abound throughout the land;
    on the tops of the hills may it sway.
May the crops flourish like Lebanon
    and thrive like the grass of the field.
17 May his name endure forever;
    may it continue as long as the sun.

Then all nations will be blessed through him,
    and they will call him blessed.

18 Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel,
    who alone does marvelous deeds.
19 Praise be to his glorious name forever;
    may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and Amen.

20 This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2016 in government

 

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Another Pessimistic Election Cartoon!

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 9.22.02 AM

We who are followers of King Jesus must, absolutely must, pray for our leaders! Our God is much bigger than any presidential election. Pessimistically, in our “evil of two lessers” election, we are obligated to intercede for Hillary and Donald.

What will you pray for — specifically?

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2016 in presidential election

 

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NONE OF THE ABOVE! (Some comments on our Presidential Election)

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 6.28.10 AM

I don’t know about you, but I’m deeply concerned about our upcoming Presidential election.  Neither candidate inspires me!  Both trouble me greatly.

I’d like to start a new organization called NOTA.

HILLARY OR DONALD? DONALD OR HILLARY?

HILLARY OR DONALD?
DONALD OR HILLARY?

This stands for “NONE OF THE ABOVE.”  Even though it would be expensive, if we all voted NOTA, they would have to start the process all over again — and pick better candidates.

I know that we believers are to pray for our leaders.  And both Hillary and Donald drive me to my knees!

 

Your comments?

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2016 in presidential election

 

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The Believer and Government (Part 5 of 5): An audio sermon

Thinking through Romans 13:1-7 in this election season, we are asking how the believer in Jesus is to relate to human authority.  Here is what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 13:Screenshot 2016-01-23 06.55.23

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.  4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13)

We saw that this passage breaks down into four sections:  I.  A Command to Obey (v. 1); II.  A Servant to Fear (vv. 2-4); III. A Freedom to Find (vv. 3-4); and IV. A Debt to Pay (vv. 5-7).  That’s my sermon outline.  Here’s the audio of my message:

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2016 in government

 

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The Believer and Government (Part 4 of 5)

Thinking through Romans 13:1-7 in this election season, we are asking how the believer in Jesus is to relate to human authority.  Here is what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 13:Screenshot 2016-01-23 06.55.23

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.  4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13)

I see this passage breaking down into four sections:  I.  A Command to Obey (v. 1); II.  A Servant to Fear (vv. 2-4); III. A Freedom to Find (vv. 3-4); and IV. A Debt to Pay (vv. 5-7).  That’s my sermon outline.  Let’s think about this last section —

IV.  A Debt to Pay (vv. 5-7)

Here we learn that the believer’s submission to government is not just obedience to a command, but is a debt that is owed.  Our consciences ought to bother us when we realize Screenshot 2016-01-23 21.07.22we have an outstanding debt that we could pay but choose not to.  Although our conscience is not an infallible guide to life, a conscience shaped by the Word of God can motivate us to respect the authorities which God has established.  Four items are mentioned that fit into Paul’s category of a debt to be paid out of a good conscience:  taxes (ouch), revenue, respect, and honor.  (to be continued)

One takeaway:  I don’t like owing a debt to the government, but I do and you do.  Respect!

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2016 in government

 

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The Believer and Government (Part 3 of 5)

We are continuing to think through Romans 13:1-7 in this election season.  How is the believer in Jesus to relate to human authority?Screenshot 2016-01-23 06.55.23

Here is what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 13:

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.  4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13)

I see this passage breaking down into four sections:  I.  A Command to Obey (v. 1); II.  A Servant to Fear (vv. 2-4); III. A Freedom to Find (vv. 3-4); and IV. A Debt to Pay (vv. 5-7).  That’s my sermon outline.  Let’s think about —

III.  A Freedom to Find (vv. 3-4)

We can be FREE from FEAR if we don’t do what is wrong!  That’s pretty simple, isn’t it?  There should be a legitimate fear for wrongdoers.   They should fear the power of human government to bring the sword into the Screenshot 2016-01-23 08.40.01conversation!  We can be free from the fear of punishment by properly submitting to human authority and doing what is right.

There is much attention given these days to terrorists, but little emphasis on the TERROR which ought to plague evildoers!  Human government is (although unknowingly) functioning as God’s servant when it brings punishment on the evildoer.  (to be continued)

One takeaway: I should fear the Lord, but not fear the authority He has put over me (if I do what is right).

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2016 in government

 

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