Daily Bible Study Notes

Wednesday September 26, 2018

Called To Account

 

Wednesday September 26, 2018

Read 1 Peter 4:5-6.

There are many end-of-the-world movies in existence today. Mostly, they follow the same plot. Something is threatening to end the world. It could be an alien invasion, a disease outbreak or a natural phenomenon. Either way, the plot is always relatively the same. Something threatens the world. The Americans put together a crack team to deal with the crisis and a relatively unknown person provides the key to saving the world. After mayhem, chaos and loss of life, the star comes through and the world is saved. A new beginning ensues for all.

The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ will mark the end of the world as we know it.Whichever version you subscribe to (premillennial, postmillennial or amillenial), it is going to be a dreadful and terrible day. It will be a time of great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world. Cataclysmic events will over take the earth and the heavens. There will be famine and earthquakes. There will be terrible signs in the heavens. The oceans will roar louder than ever before and mankind will stand afraid of all that is happening. Some will even melt with fear. Wars will erupt. Nation will take on nation and kingdoms will fight against each other. And, when the Son of Man comes, condemnation upon all the evil and wicked will be meted out.

As that day draws near, mankind will seek theories and explanations for the signs in the heavens and on the earth. Global warming, El Niño, the gravitational pull from the alignment of the planets of the solar system and a host of other theories will be put forward to explain the powerful anomalies. Experts will look for answers in all the wrong places.

But as Jesus appears in the sky, every face will be upturned, some with great delight for their salvation has come. But, others will be aghast, filled with dread for they will know without any hesitation that their lifestyles, their disbelief and their self aggrandizement have earned their soon-to-arrive condemnation. At that time, everyone will know that judgement is soon to come. Every eye will see Him, as lightning in the east is seen in west. Soon, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Those so called ”Christians” who deceived themselves and gave only mental acknowledgement to Jesus but continued to live for themselves will be equally filled with fear and dread. Those who hid their self-indulgence behind closed doors but stood in churches across the world with upturned faces of feigned delight, will, likewise melt with fear. Those who continued to live in wilful disobedience, dishing out pathetic self-justifying excuses to anyone who sought to rebuke them or correct them, will likewise melt with fear. Deep down, they know their deception will soon be unveiled.

There will be a day of reckoning. Every person will be called to account. All that has been hidden will be brought into the light. Every secret and every motivation will be revealed and made plain. Jesus reminds us in other places that this day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. We don’t know the day or the hour. The implication is clear. We must live in readiness because the Son of Man will come at some unknown time.

This day of reckoning drives and motivates Christians onwards and upwards. They continue to make a difference in their world, today, because they know that their Lord and Saviour is coming. The unbelieving world will scoff and stand in disbelief because the Christians refuse to join in their flood of dissipation. In their disgust, they will heap abuse on Christians and look for ways to trap them in sin. They will take great delight in persecuting Christians. But the certainty of the coming of the Son of Man will give the believers a strength beyond their own means. Even though the world will mock and ridicule the believers, the reality of the second coming of Christ spurs them on.

All of the end-of-the-world movies generally end on a positive note. After the defeat of the enemy, there is happiness and peace for all - at least until the sequel is made. But, when Christ returns, there will be happiness and peace to all, to all those who love the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in Him for salvation. There will be no sequel. The perfect new creation will continue for ever and ever.

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He has a perfect plan in place for this world and is moving all things towards the completion of that plan.

Adore God that He is so loving and so gracious that He has included you in this plan.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God for your salvation through Christ Jesus.

Thank God for the salvation of everyone in your congregation.

 

Supplication:

Pray that the Kitchen Ministry will continue to reach many people with the gospel of salvation.

Pray that the ministry would grow to reach more needy people.

Ask the Lord to allow gospel conversations to happen around the table as dinner is shared.

Pray for many conversions.

 

 

Discuss

 

1.Why should we preach the gospel to all and sundry?

2.Why do Christians live in hope?

3.Discuss the three views of the end time, namely the premillennial, post millennial and amillenial views. You may need to google each one.

4.See if you can draw a time line picture of each one.

5.Why is it important to be, at least, conversant with these theories?

 

 

 

Tuesday September 25, 2018

Strange Fellows, Them Christians

Read 1 Peter 4:1-4.

Scientists, psychologists and even social workers have been studying motivation for centuries. One wonders if they’ve progressed at all. But, even without a science or psychology degree, it is clear that different people are motivated by different things. Different groups are motivated by different things. Christians are motivated by different things to non-Christians.

We saw in verse 1 yesterday, that when a believer arms themselves with the same attitude of Christ Jesus, who suffered in his body, they are done with sin.They are no longer enslaved by sin and are no longer bound to obey it’s desires. The Christian is no longer motivated by the payoff from sin.

Verse 2 picks up on the distinction between Christians and non-Christians. “As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” Evil desires, passions and lusts no longer motivate or drive the believer. Life is about far more than meeting and fulfilling one’s “needs.” On the contrary, the believer lives life for the will of God. In other words, the Christian is motivated or driven by the will of God. He wants nothing more than to put that will into practice in his own life and into the communities in which he is engaged.

God’s word envisages that every area of the believer’s life comes under the will of God. The notion that God gets a tithe of one’s life - Sonday morning at church, a small fraction of one’s income and a minute smattering of service here and there as opportunity and circumstance allow) - is simply anathema to the Bible.The Biblical view is that the believer lives to do the will of God in every situation and with everything that the believer has and is. God owns 100% of the believer’s finances and the believer seeks to do the will of God with 100% of his or her financial assets. The Lord owns 100% of the believer’s time. He or she seeks to do the will of God with every second of his or her life. The Lord is master of the believer’s gifts and talents and he or she uses them to complete God’s will 24/7.

As the believer grows in this kind of all-encompassing sanctification, he or she will almost invariably find a rather negative and scathing reaction from the world. The world is happy to tolerate Christian beliefs but fanatical beliefs and wholehearted Christianity is simply intolerable. The world usually declares war on believers who submit fully to their Lord and Saviour.

Such intolerance may take the form of name calling among younger people (goody two shoes and the like), mocking and joke making in more “tolerant” societies, social ostracization, threats, economic sanctions and outright persecution in the more anti-Christian societies.

The world just cannot understand why someone would choose to forgo self pleasure and self indulgence. It cannot fathom restraint, moderation and self denial. Even more so, the world cannot see the logic and the purpose of serving a ”higher power” or greater good that is completely anti-self.

But, the Christian is motivated by the love of God, received through Christ Jesus, to do the will of God. The believer finds exceeding joy in doing the Lord’s will and in submitting every area of life to the will of the Lord.

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that His holiness and His love make His will worth knowing and worth doing.

Adore God that He is perfect and pure in all ways and in all things.

Adore God that His Word is worth knowing and worth storing in our hearts and minds.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God for the love of Christ Jesus brought to you and made known to you through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Thank God that salvation is available to all who call on the name of the Lord.

Thank God that your Christian community is there with you, to help you bear the load and walk the mile.

 

Supplication:

Pray for the believers in China who face legal pressure to pervert the teaching of the Scriptures and to be less moderate in their faith. Pray for boldness, for gospel sharing opportunities and for growth in the Word.

Pray for the believers in rural Vietnam who risk being ousted from their community and their homes for worshipping Christ. Pray for wisdom and for opportunities to make disciples.

Pray for those in the underground church in North Korea. Pray that God would protect them and give them great wisdom to serve Him. Pray that these Christians would make many disciples and that the nation would begin to change for the better.

Pray for Christians in the West to be passionate and deliberate in their service of the Lord, especially as affluence makes lethargy so common.

Pray for the Christians in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Both countries have sworn to eradicate Christianity. Pray for courage for the believers. Pray that they would stand strong through the storm and that nothing would move their faith. Pray that many disciples would be made.

 

Discuss

 

1.How can a believer find the will of God for their life?

2.How do you know if your entire life is being lived for the will of God?

3.What reactions from the world have you seen as you seek to live for the will of God?

4.What things stop or hinder Christians from living for the will of God?

 

Small Groups

 

 

Read 1 Peter 4:1-11.

 

 

Sing songs of adoration and praise.

 

 

 

 

Having read 1 Peter 4:1-11, consider the following;

According to verse 1, we are to have the same attitude as Christ. What is this attitude?

 

What is the result of having such an attitude?

 

 

What affect will this change have on the unbelieving world around us?

 

What will be the outcome for those who do not believe in Jesus according to v5?

 

 

Why does Peter think that the end is near, according to verse 7?

 

 

 

What should we do in the light of the end being near according to vv7-11?

Having read 1 Peter 4:1-11, consider the following;

What does the passage say about Christians?

 

What does it say about non-Christians?

What does it say about our God?

What practical implications come out of the passage?

What theological teachings come out of the passage?

How would you summarise the point of the passage?

Many Christians do not know their gift from the Lord and hence, are relatively uninvolved in the local church.

How can a Christian find out what their God-given gift is?

Having read 1 peter 4:1-11, consider the following:

 

What does it mean to arm ourselves with the same attitude as Christ Jesus, v11?

 

In what way does this help us?

 

What are some of the evil desires that still could drive a Christian’s life? What does it mean to live for the will of God?

 

How can a believer know if he is living for his/her own evil desires or for the will of God?

 

How can we grow to be more clear minded and more self controlled?

 

How can we grow in loving each other more?

 

What spiritual gift do you have and how are you using it in the body of Christ?

 

 

Having read 1 Peter 4:1-11, consider how you might pray in terms of

 

Adoration Confession Thanks

Supplication:

 

Spend time in prayer as a small group.

 

Dive Deeper

Evangelism should never be considered as just another thing to do. Rather, it’s a mindset and a way of life.

The mindset begins by realising that we are living in the end times and that Jesus could return at any given time. With that mindset firmly entrenched in our psyche, we change our way of life and live accordingly.

It is this lifestyle of living in the light of the end that causes our life to be evangelistic. As people see our passion for Christ, our love for the brotherhood and the commitment of our lives, they will inevitably ask us questions. These questions open up doors for evangelism.

As the Lord says in 1 Peter 3:15-16, But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Living in the light of the end and always being prepared to answer those who ask us about our hope and our assurance is an attractive lifestyle that draws people into Christ Jesus.

It all begins with a mindset - Jesus is coming back to judge the living and the dead. The mindset leads to a lifestyle and this lifestyle is evangelistic by its very nature


 

 

 

Monday September 24, 2018


 

Coming Up this Sonday September 30, 2018 1 Peter 4:1-11 Living in the Light of the End.

 

 

This week’s memory verse 1 Peter 4:7 (NIV84) The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.

Lethargy

 

Read 1 Peter 4:1-2.

Lethargy has set into many parts of the church. We know that Jesus has died on the cross for our sins. We know that He has risen from the dead and has overcome death. We know that He has ascended to the right hand of God the Father and that all angels are subject to Him. But, because of the long time since all of this has occurred, lethargy has set in.

As Peter wrote to his readers, it’s evident from the epistle that he was expecting Christ’s return. He was living and writing in the light of the return of His Lord and Saviour.

But after 2,000 years of waiting for the return, other priorities have crept into the church and into our lives. Work is far too important to miss so church gets pushed into the background. Study and passing the upcoming exam takes priority over reading Word, praying and connecting with God. Chilling with our mates is far more important than small group and church functions. Watching the latest flick or binging on that series we’ve missed for the last month because of busyness gets the top billing on the weekend above and beyond fellowship and the working bee at church.

Peter’s attitude is a spectrum away from ours. He wants his readers, and us by default, to be armed. The Greek which we translated as “arm yourselves” was used of a Greek soldier putting on his armour and taking his weapons. It pictures a heavy-armed foot-soldier who carried a pike and a large shield. There is another word for light-armed troops. The Christian needs the heaviest armour available, to withstand the attacks of the enemy of his soul. To have the same attitude toward unjust suffering that the Lord Jesus had, will cause us to react toward this suffering as He did.

He encourages his readers, and us by default, to recall how Christ suffered in His body as he hung on the cross and to arm ourselves with the very same attitude. Those who have suffered in their body, Peter tells us, are done with sin. Those who suffer should have the same attitude as Christ - patiently entrusting themselves to God and allowing Him to work as He wills. Those who suffer should react as saints and not as sinners. The power of sin has been broken and they are no longer chained to old ways and old habits. They can walk in the newness of life that Christ has given them.

If we are going to live in the light of the coming of Jesus, we will think seriously about sin and we will assassinate temptation and sin where ever the Lord shines the light on it. In the light of the coming ofthe Lord, no sin is acceptable and striving for holiness in all things is the best and only option.

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He is perfectly holy, pure and righteous.

Adore God that all His ways are just and that every word of His can be trusted and obeyed.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that the power of sin has been broken in your life and that you are no longer a slave to sin.

Thank God that you can walk in righteousness and live a life pleasing to God.

 

Supplication:

Ask the Lord to bless the Committee of Management with deep wisdom and skill as they maintain the church, pay the bills and move ministry forward.

Pray that the women and men on the Committee will be Spirit-filled and able to think with a kingdom perspective about all things.

Pray that the CMTC students would grow and mature in their faith and their ability to serve and minister in the Kingdom.

 

Discuss

 

1.What is the word ‘therefore’ referring to in verse 1?

2.Discuss how we might arm our selves with the same attitude as Christ’s.

3.What does it mean to be done with sin if we have suffered in the body?

 

 


 

Saturday September 22, 2018

Confusion

 

Read 1 Peter 3:18-22.

 

There is some confusion in the Christian world regarding the sacraments and baptism, in particular. The Westminster Confession of Faith is upheld by the Presbyterian Church as a true and right interpretation of the way we understand the Scriptures.The teaching of the Westminster Confession of Faith on the sacraments and on baptism are reproduced below.

Chapter 27
The Sacraments

1. Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace. They were directly instituted by God to represent Christ and his benefits and to confirm our relationship to him. They are also intended to make a visible distinction between those who belong to the church and the rest of the world, and solemnly to bind Christians to the service of God in Christ, according to his Word.

2. In every sacrament there is a spiritual relationship, or sacramental union, between the visible sign and the reality signified by it, and so it happens that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other.

3. The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments, rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them. Neither does the efficacy of a sacrament depend on the piety or intention of him who administers it, but rather on the work of the Spirit and on the word of institution, which contains (together with a precept authorizing its use) a promise of benefit to worthy receivers.

4. There are only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the gospel: baptism and the Lord's supper. Neither sacrament may be administered by any person except a minister of the Word, lawfully ordained.

5. With regard to the spiritual realities signified and exhibited, the sacraments of the old testament were essentially the same as those of the new testament.

Chapter 28
Baptism

1. Baptism is a sacrament of the new testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, by which the person baptized is solemnly admitted into the visible church. Baptism is also for him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of forgiveness of sins, and of his surrender to God through Jesus Christ to walk in newness of life. By Christ's own appointment, this sacrament is to be continued in his church until the end of the age.

2. The outward element to be used in this sacrament is water, with which the person is to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is to be performed by a minister of the gospel, lawfully called to that office.

3. Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary. Baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water on the person.

4. Not only those who personally profess faith in and obedience to Christ, but also the infants of one or both believing parents, are to be baptized.

5. Although it is a great sin to despise or neglect this ordinance, nevertheless, grace and salvation are not so inseparably connected with it that a person cannot be regenerated or saved without it. Neither is it true that all who are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.

6. The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time when it is administered. Nevertheless, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Spirit to all (whether adults or infants) to whom that grace belongs, according to the counsel of God's own will, in his appointed time.

7. The sacrament of baptism is to be administered only once to any person.

Copied from https://www.opc.org/documents/MESV_frames.html

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He loves us so much that He gives us tactile signs to help us in our faith and to grow us in grace.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that He is gracious towards us, loving and compassionate, not giving us what our sins deserve.

 

Supplication:

Pray that the Lord would guide us and lead us tomorrow as we gather for our service of worship tomorrow.

Pray that the Word of God would be powerful and effective and that it would bring conviction, repentance, faith, healing and growth as needed.

Pray that the congregation would grow as more and more people put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.

 

 

 

Discuss

 

1.Can baptism save a person?

2.Can a person be genuinely saved without being baptised?

3.Having read today’s notes, why do Christians get baptised?

 

Friday September 21, 2018

Christ’s Suffering

 

Read 1 Peter 3:18.

There are bits in the Bible that are hard to understand. 1 Peter 3:18 is one such verse and has been used by sects and cults to brainwash people and to lead them astray. One popular cultish group, for example, reads verse 18 and concludes that even the dead people can hear the gospel from Jesus’ own lips because he preaches to them even while their souls are imprisoned.

Interpreting difficult passages is much easier if we remember the cardinal rule of Scripture - Scripture cannot disagree with itself. If my interpretation of one passage contradicts another passage of Scripture, then my interpretation is wrong. It’s that simple.

But, not all of verse 18 is difficult. We can make good headway into the verse as we consider the easier parts. The verse makes clear that Christ offered himself as the perfect sacrifice once and only once. No more offering for sin can be made because Christ has offered Himself. Anything that seeks to resemble, or to be, a sacrifice for sins must be acutely and exactingly rejected and dismissed.

Christ is the righteous one. He is the only one who stands outside of the pronouncement of Romans 3:23 - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Being wholly righteous and being fully man and fully God, Christ is the only one who could legitimately offer himself up to God as the once for all sacrifice for sins.

Christ’s sacrifice was made for the rest of the world. He offered Himself for all those who fall under the sentence of Romans 3:23, namely, everyone from Adam and Eve onwards. No single person in the history of humanity can stand acquitted before God without the sacrifice of Christ Jesus.

Christ Jesus died on behalf of the unrighteous. He died under the curse of God that was designated for the unrighteous. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus came as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

The purpose of Christ’s death was that we might come to God. It is through faith in Jesus, and only through faith in Jesus, that a person can come to God. Forgiveness of sins is found in no other name. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. If any person refuses to come to Jesus in repentance and faith, he is choosing to walk in condemnation.

The next part of the verse starts off easy, but quickly ascends up the mount of difficulty. Jesus was put to death in the body. Physically speaking, he died on the cross and was laid in the tomb. He was made alive by the power of the Spirit. Death had no hold on Jesus. He was resurrected to eternal life on the third day.

Peter then declares that Jesus went by the power of the Spirit and also he went and preached to the spirits in prison.

While some cults and sects argue that Jesus went and preached salvation to them so that they can be saved, it is much better to read, in context, the preaching of condemnation, not salvation.

That souls in eternal prison could repent and find salvation disagrees with the rest of Scripture. Hebrews 9:27 says very clearly that a man is destined to die once and then to face judgement. There is no option of salvation after death. If a particular interpretation of 1 Peter 3:18 contradicts the rest of the Bible, that interpretation is simply wrong.

But, if we assume that Christ preached condemnation to the disobedient souls in prison, then our interpretation fits with the rest of Scripture.

There are several difficult passages in Scripture. It appears that the cults and the sects seek to lead people astray by zooming in on these verses and by building a large chunk of their theology on them. With a little investigation and with comparison to the rest of Scripture, we can begin to find, or at least approach, the intended biblical meaning.

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He has given us His infallible and inerrant Word.

Adore God that He loves us enough to send His Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that He has poured out His Holy Spirit into the hearts of all who believe.

Thank God that the Holy Spirit allows us to interpret the Word and to apply it to our lives.

 

Supplication:

Pray that each person in your church would understand more of what it means for Christ to die on the cross for the sins of the world.

Pray that as we grow in understanding, we would also grow in love for God and love for each other.

Pray that our youth group would grow in such comprehension and love for God and love for each other.

Discuss

 

1.Why does Peter bring up the death of Christ here in verse 18?

2.Write out the verse in your own words.

3.Christ died for sins once for all. This means that no sacrifice for sins can be made. In what way do various people or religions seek to offer up a sacrifice for sins?

4.How should we treat such sacrifices?

 


 

Thursday September 20, 2018

 

Better Suffering

 

Thursday September 20, 2018

Read 1 Peter 3:17.

Suffering and tough times are difficult. They can drive us to despair or to our knees in humble and complete dependence upon God. But, suffering can be our undoing. Suffering can cause us to question God and be suspicious of His ways and doings.

Peter understands that life in this world is no bed of roses. He knows that life can quickly go from bad to worse, He knows that those who ask us to give a reason for the hope that we have in Christ Jesus may turn and seek to devour us. Peter is under no illusions. He is not wearing rose coloured glasses.

Regarding suffering, Peter states what may not be obvious to all his readers. It is better, he says, to suffer for doing what is right than for doing what is wrong. Those who do evil deserve their suffering and punishment. There is no question about the unjustness of their plight. They get what they deserve. But, those who suffer for doing good, suffer unjustly. They do not deserve suffering. They have not caused it and they have not earned it.

But Peter does not explain it or defend it. He simply states that it is better to suffer for doing what is good rather than for doing what is evil. Lurking in the back of Peter’s mind is, no doubt, the memory of Christ. He has already stated, in 1 Peter 2:22-24, “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 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. He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

Jesus committed no sin. He never sought to please Himself. He was totally righteous and perfectly good. Even so, he suffered immensely. Not only did He suffer physically at the hands of the Romans, think of the scouring, the beard-plucking and the bashings and the painful nails that held Him to the cross, but he also suffered “spiritually” as the weight of the sins of the world were laid upon Him and as the Father poured out His wrath on Jesus.

Jesus suffered in the extreme for doing good. Peter reflects the experience of Jesus and simply tells us that it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.It is better to follow Jesus and to walk in His footsteps than to suffer for our unrighteous and evil deeds. It is better to imitate Christ than to imitate the world.

Peter himself would go on to suffer immensely for his faith in Jesus. He would put into practice the very words he penned in this section. He would suffer the ultimate cost for doing the ultimate good, living for Jesus and making disciples in His name. Tradition tells us that Peter was crucified under Nero. He chose to be crucified up side down, tradition says, because he did not feel worthy to be crucified as Jesus Himself was crucified.

The Apostle Paul serves as another example of suffering for doing good. He tells us in his own words (2 Corinthians 11:23-27) how he has suffered.

23 ... I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.

Suffering and tough times can have a varying impact on our lives. What impact it has, depends largely on where we are with God and how close we are to Him. How close are you to God, right now?

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore Jesus that He willingly suffered the pain of the cross and death for our sakes and for our salvation.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that He has chosen you to receive salvation through the blood of Jesus and that He has a road marked out for you,

 

Supplication:

Pray that the staff would be rested and refreshed on their day off.

Pray that God would continue to lead the staff as they minister and serve among us.

Pray that God would refresh and renew each person in your congregation and that Sonday’s gathering would be a great time of praise, of worship and of sharing love around Christ together.

 

Discuss

 

1.In what ways have you suffered for doing good?

2.What did you do about it?

3.What stories of others suffering for doing good have you heard about?

4.How can sharing such stories help us?

5.Why does Peter include verse 17 at this point in the letter?

 

 


 

Wednesday September 19, 2018

Always Be Prepared

Read 1 Peter 3:15-16.

There are people in this world who have an answer for everything and who think that they know everything, or at least something, about everything. They share their opinion as if everyone wants to, and needs to, hear it. They can be as annoying as a mosquito on a balmy night.

When Peter calls the Christians to be ready at any given time to answer the world, he is not saying that they should seek to be like annoying little mosquitoes on a balmy night.

A brief reading of the verse reveals what Peter is encouraging his readers, and us, to be doing.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

When Peter says that we are to be prepared always, he is reiterating and expanding on the call of 1:13 to gird up the loins of our minds and to be ready. We are to have an answer for the world as they ask us about our hope in Jesus. But, stock standard, pre-fabricated answers that we can roll off our tongue with the least energy or thought, will never satisfy the world.

The world is meant to see our hope living and thriving. We have been given new birth into a living hope throughthe resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1:3).This hope is to be seen by the world. In fact, it’s to be so obvious that they ask us about the hope we have in Jesus. Being curious and wanting to know, we are to answer them in ways that draw them to Christ. It’svery hard to be an annoying mosquito when someone has asked you about your hope in Jesus.

Our answer to the world is to highlight Christ Jesus whom we have set apart, sanctified or revered in our heart as Lord. Our answer is to draw them to Christ and, God willing, lead them to repentance and faith as well.

As we answer, we are never to be rude. We are never to speak to non-Christians in negative or demeaning ways. We are not to slander them or treat them as inferior beings, as unintelligent or as unworthy of our time and energy. We are to speak to them with gentleness and respect so that they will not further malign the name of our Lord and Saviour. We are to keep our conscience clear before God, doing everything in our power to draw them to Christ.

It’s quite possible, if you think again of Peter’s original audience, that some non-believers would demand an answer from the Christians regarding the hope they have in Christ. Such demanding could be from the local community as they seek to drive them out of town. It could be from the authorities as they seek to cajole or pressure them to recant their faith. It could be a threat used against them as they face the lions or the instruments of torture in a dark and dismal gaol cell.

In such circumstances, being gentle and respectful is a must. The non-Christians who are maliciously attacking the believers will see the quality and reverence of the Christian life. God willing, they will be ashamed of their slander.

Understanding that God can use even the hardest and most trying times in our lives to bring conviction to unbelievers, causes our hearts to well up with praise.We can offer up the sacrifice of praise and confess His name, even as we stand strong through the fires of persecution. We can stand tall and confident in our God, even as the unbelievers rail against us, mock us and attack us.

Christians are called to have an answer at the ready for everyone who might ask them of the hope that they have in Christ Jesus. But, we are never called to be annoying mosquitoes on a hot balmy night that cause irritation and angst to people. We are to be a soothing balm that brings healing and wholeness into their lives.

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He is so sovereign and so in control that He can use our situation, even negative situations, to bring glory and honour to Himself.

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

Thanks:

Thank God that He will give you the words you need in tough situations.

Thank God that you need not worry before hand about what you will say. God will teach you what to say at that particular time.

Supplication:

Pray that our Kitchen Ministry will reach many people for Christ Jesus as the gospel is faithfully proclaimed each and every single week.

Pray that the team would continue to work well together and serve together as a well oiled machine.

Pray that God would continue to bring along the guests in increasing number for our Wednesday night meals and that the conversations around the table would be Christ centred and God honouring.

Discuss

1.Describe the Christian hope.

2.In what way is this hope living?

3.How is this living hope displayed in our lives?

4.Discuss a time when someone asked you about your hope. What did you say? How did the other person respond?

Tuesday September 18, 2018

Set Apart Christ as Lord

Read 1 Peter 3:15a.

Overcoming fear can be one of the most arduous mountains we may ever have to climb. Overcoming fear can make scaling Mt Everest seem like a walk in the park. But, we need not despair. There is hope and victory in Christ Jesus.

The key to overcoming fear, according to 1 Peter 3:15a, begins with setting Christ apart as Lord in our hearts. The implications of this verse are staggering and encompass our entire life. With Christ set apart as Lord in our heart, we know the proper place of all things -other people, human institutions, Christian brothers and sisters and even ourselves. As we understand the proper place of all things, fear melts away and a quiet and strong confidence in the Lord takes over.

Setting apart Christ as Lord at the very core of our being means, first and foremost, appropriating the truth that’ ’all authority in heaven and on earth has been given’ to Jesus. With Christ as Lord in our heart, we know for certain that no human or human authority can overcome Christ. We know that all powers, even the demonic powers, are submissive to His will and His command. Regarding fear, we know that nothing can happen to us apart from the will of Christ Jesus. Having set Christ as Lord in our hearts, we begin to overcome the fear of mankind and what they might do to us.

As we set apart Christ in our hearts, we also grow deeply in our desire to please Him. As that desire grows and matures, denying Christ or speaking ill of Christ in the face of adversity or persecution becomes a non-option. Like Polycarp before the proconsul, when he was called upon to denounce Christ or die, such denials or retractions of our faith become unthinkable. We would rather die than blaspheme our Lord and our King.

Even more so, with Christ sanctified as Lord in our hearts, we grow in joy. The joy of the Lord really does become our strength. Walking the rocky road, going the extra mile, giving above the tithe, even facing the confiscation of our things or laying our life down for our Saviour and our King become joyous sacrifices that we offer up to the Lord every single day of our lives.

But, the million dollar question still remains to be answered. How do I set apart Christ as Lord? The answer can be as complicated as it is simple. The original Greek word for ‘set apart’ means, more literally, to make holy or to sanctify. It means to make a distinction and to honour someone or something as holy.

When we set apart Christ as Lord we make a deliberate and conscious choice to put Christ in the ultimate position of authority and love in our heart. We make a choice to love Him, to serve Him and to be His in all things in every single area of our life. As such, we make a deliberate decision to honour Jesus with our thought life, our finances, our computer use, our words, our TV habits, our relationships and friendships, our parenting, our reactions and even our reactions to our enemies. In short, we make a conscious and deliberate choice to seek to honour Jesus in everything.

Such setting apart is a deliberate choice that has to be made every single day. Such setting apart can be watered and grown or left to dwindle and die. Having made that decision, I water and fertilise it by

Spending time daily communing with God. Be warned. It’s very easy to simply go through the motions of reading the Bible and praying. Connecting with God or communing with God is a daily necessity.

Meditating on the Word. Rather than simply reading the Word, we need to come to the Word with a sense of it’s reality. It is the Word of God and every time we open it, God is speaking to us. Meditating or thinking deeply or even studying the Word is a must if we want to keep Christ as Lord in our hearts.

Meeting with other Christians. It’s imperative that we meet with other Christians both formally (Church, Small Group, conferences etc) and informally (meals, coffee etc). As we meet, we need to make sure that the centre of our meeting is Christ and not football or the amount of rain received or the latest car we’ve purchased. Such topics are fine to discuss but we need to deliberately and consciously seek to encourage each other in Christ Jesus.

Overcoming fear is not easy. But, if we are going to make headway, we have to deliberately and consciously make a choice to set apart Christ as Lord each and every single day.

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore our God that He is worthy of being sanctified in our hearts and that He actually demands as much from the world.

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

Thanks:

Thank God that through the power of the Holy Spirit, you can sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart and that you can serve Him selflessly each and every single day.

Supplication:

Pray that our Small Groups would be havens of gathering together for encouragement, for blessing each other and for growth in the Lord.

Discuss

1.What does the word Lord mean?

2.What are the implications of setting apart Christ as Lord?

3.Why do we need to set apart Christ as Lord each and every single day?

4.Have you set apart Christ as Lord in your heart?

Small Group

Read 1 Peter 3:13-22

Sing praises and adoration to the Lord.

Having read 1 Peter 3:13-22, discuss the following: What does it mean to be blessed in suffering, v13?

In verse 14, Peter quotes Isaiah 8:12. Explain what Peter is saying here in context and explain why he quotes Isaiah.

When should we be ready to answer the world as it asks us to give a reason for the hope we have in Christ?

What does Peter mean in verse 17 when he says that it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil?

V18 is linked to v17 by the word ’for’. Explain why Peter talks about Christ’s death in v18 and how it is linked to v17.

Having read 1 Peter 3:13-22, discuss the following:

What does the word blessed mean?

What does it mean when we are blessed by God?

V15-16 assumes that our hope can be seen by the world. What is the hope we have in Christ?

Why does Peter talk about Christ preaching to imprisoned souls in vv18-20? ie, show the flow of Peter’s argument.

What does this passage say about a/. God?

b/. Saints? c/. Sinners?

Can a person be saved without being baptised?

Why should a believer be baptised?

When should a new believer be baptised?

What suffering might we face today in Australia for doing good, as per v14?

What might it look like to be blessed in this situation as per v14? What things cause us to fear?

How can we overcome such fears?

What does it mean to set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts, as per verse 15?

Verse 15-16 assumes that the people around us see our hope in Christ. In what way is your hope in Christ visible toothers?

How can we be prepared to answer everyone who asks us about the hope we have in Christ?

Having read 1 Peter 3:13-22, consider how you might pray in terms of

Adoration Confession Thanks Supplication:

Spend time in prayer as a small group.

Dive Deeper

Gospel sharing opportunities rarely come at a convenient and opportune time. Sometimes they fly at us at a million miles per hour and disappear in the blink of an eye. We have to be watchful and ready to make the most of everyopportunity.

Peter makes is very clear that we are to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that youhave.”

The million dollar question is, are you ready? Can you share your faith at a moment’s notice? Could you lead someone to faith in Christ Jesus without warning or priornotice?

ChristLife Presbyterian Church has developed a training series to equip you to be ready to share your faith. Won By One is an equipping series designed to show you how to share your faith with anyone and everyone.

The program can be found athttp://

www.christlife.org.au/video-resources/won-by-one.

Simply download the workbook and watch the corresponding videos. You’ll soon be equipped and ready to share your faith at a moment’s notice. You’ll be ready at all times to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have in Christ Jesus.

Monday September 17, 2018

Coming Up this Sonday September 23, 2018 1 Peter 3:13-22 Answering the World

This week’s memory verse 1 Peter 3:15-16  But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

 

 

Do Not Fear

Read 1 Peter 3:13-14.

Fear is a debilitating condition that often paralyses us and causes us to be unproductive and unfruitful in our faith. Fear causes us to shrink back and to close our mouths at the very time we should open it. Fear causes us to look down when we need to look someone square in the eye. Fear causes us to walk away when we should walk forward. Fear causes us to dim the Christ-light when it needs to shine brightly.

The Apostle Peter addresses various Christian communities who are being attacked for their faith. In ideal conditions, citizens of any land are not harmed if they are eager to do good. Peter has already called the people to submit to every authority instituted among men (1 Peter 2:13-25). He has called husbands and wives to submit to each other in various and appropriate ways(1 Peter 3:1-7) and he has encouraged them to persevere should they suffer for doing good. Under normal circumstances, such good living would not result in persecution or harm.

“But”, adds Peter, ”even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.” It takes a whole new mindset to see the blessing of persecution and suffering. To see how blessed we are in tough times, we need to jettison and assassinate the age-old belief that faith is meant to make everything rosy. We need to disassociate ourselves from the lie that God’s role is to make everything smooth and right in our life. Quite the contrary! We need to understand that Christ suffered immensely for us and has set an example for us that we should follow in His footsteps.

Like Paul we need to yearn to fellowship in Christ’s sufferings (Phil 10-11) so that we might attain to resurrection of the dead. Like the faithful heroes of Hebrews 11, we need to joyfully accept the confiscation of our property, the gaol sentences that go with loving and living for Jesus and even the giving up of our lives for the sake of Christ and His kingdom.

As James and Paul remind us, we are to see the good in difficult times. We are to know, deep within, that God is working in us and growing our perseverance, and our character, and our hope. We need to internalise the reality that the hope of Christ will never disappoint us.

Since we have Christ Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we are not to fear their threats. We are not to fear what they fear. We are not to be crippled by fear. We are not to allow the Christ-light flowing from our lives to be dulled or covered, even in the smallest degree.

But overcoming fear is difficult. Overcoming the paralysis seems impossible and a task far too mammoth for our paltry faith. How can we move forward? How can we grow? How can we change? How can we make headway when the winds of life blow constantly against us? Tomorrow, we will explore and answer such important questions.

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He is completely sovereign in all things, even the things in and around your life.

Adore God that knows the beginning from the end and that He is powerfully at work as we move from one to the other.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that you have nothing to fear in this world or in the next.

Thank God that He loves you immensely and that He continues to lavish you with His love each and every single day.

 

Supplication:

Ask the Lord to grant the Committee of Management great wisdom and skill as they tend to the temporal affairs of the church and as they plan for 2019.

Pray that the Committee would be wise in implementing our 5 year plan and in moving the mission and ministry of this church forward.

 

Discuss

 

1.What things cause us to fear?

2.In what ways might Peter’s original readers have suffered for doing what is good?

3.In what way might we suffer for doing good today?

4.How can we overcome fear that paralyses our faith.

 


 

Saturday September 15, 2018

It’s Easy

Saturday September 15, 2018

Read 1 Peter 3:8-12.

Dieting to lose weight can be hard work. It can be arduous and somewhat soul destroying as all the goodies of life - chocolate cake, pavlova, rich full cream milk cappuccinos and richly marbled wagyu steak – pass us by. But, it doesn’t have to be hard. It’s easier, perhaps just easier for some, if we keep our eyes fixed on the goal - losing weight, gaining fitness and better health, avoiding a coronary occlusion and so on.

Peter is likewise calling us to keep the focus. He’s urging us to keep the goal in mind. We’ve already been told, in chapter 1, that we have new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We have been given an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for us and we are kept for it. We are receiving the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls. It’s in this salvation that we rejoice and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.

Peter has also told us that we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who belong to God. Effectively, according to the Apostle, we are the fulfilment of the Old Testament nation of Israel and our role is declare the praises of Him who called us out darkness into His wonderful light. Our job is to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.

But such a role can, and often does, come with suffering. When we submit, such submission could be taken advantage of. Such submission can make us easy targets for those who seek to further their own cause or who want to minimise or eradicate the gospel.

Given the reality of the situation and the myriad of negative possibilities, Peterencourages his readers, and us by default, to remain focused on the blessings of the Lord. He encourages us to remember that the Lord’s eyes are upon His righteous children and his ears are attentive to their pleas. They can confidently call out to Him at any moment for any reason. They can be assured that He hears their prayers. They can also be assured that the face of the Lord is against those who perpetrate evil, especially those who perpetrate evil against the Lord’s own children.

In today’s world Christians still face bitter and evil persecution. In our own land, we face persecution of a different kind. Though the intensity is growing and will probably become lethal in the near future, for now it’s still a form of persecution that drives believers into hiding and into quietness. The promise made to the original readers still applies today. The eyes of the Lord are still on the righteous and His ears are still attentive to our cries. The face of the Lord is still against the evil and the wicked. They will face the full fury of the wrath of the Lord if they fail to repent and worship Christ Jesus.

As we focus on our salvation and the promises of the Lord, it’s easier to walk in holiness and righteousness. It’s easier not to give into temptation as we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord and the Word He’s given us. It’s easier to respond with blessing, with prayer and with compassion rather than with retaliation, with evil and with insult, as we focus on Him and keep His promises before our eyes.

Whether we’re dieting or seeking the Lord’s face and to walk in faithfulness, it’s all a matter of focus. As our focus sharpens, it becomes easier to reach the intended goals. How sharp is your focus on the Lord?

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He has given us His precious promises and that by them we can assassinate the evil desires that lurk within us.

Adore God that He has given us the power to walk in paths of holiness and that He has assassinate the power of sin in our lives through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that He has given you victory over sin and darkness through the work of Jesus at Calvary.

Thank God that He has called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.

 

Supplication:

Pray that your church will grow and multiply as it declares the wonders of God’s salvation.

Pray that this salvation will bear much fruit both inside and outside the congregation.

Pray that God’s Word would grow in each believer and bear much fruit in their individual lives as well.

Discuss

 

1.Outline the flow of Peter’s argument from 1 Peter 1:1 to 1 Peter 3:12.

2.How does a Christian cling to the promises of God when he goes through tough times?

3.What encouragement can one Christian give to another from this week’s passage, who is going through tough times?

 

 

 

 

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