Tuesday, August 4, 2009

1 Peter: Lesson Six

"And do not be conformed
to this world, but be transformed
by the renewing of your mind, that
you may prove what
is that good and acceptable
and perfect will of God."
Romans 12:2


Let us begin with prayer....

Lord, I pray and ask You to remind us today what it means to serve You. I pray that You will speak to us through Your word this day and set our hearts right.

Please forgive me of my sins and cleanse me with Your precious blood. I pray that You will wash me and put in me a clean pure heart like Yours. Teach me to hold every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

I pray for each person reading this lesson. I pray that Your words will lift them up and give them strength to get through each day. I pray that You will speak to their hearts and deal with them by renewing their minds in Christ Jesus.

In Jesus' name.....amen."


Living Before God Our Father

In our last lesson, Peter told us of how the prophets of old searched diligently, as a miner dug deep into the rock for the ore he sought, for the meaning of the salvation of our souls. He told us of how even the angels are so desiring to know of this salvation.

We were reminded of how the prophets wrote their messages for us...future believers...that we would know of the grace that would come to us.

Today we will look into what it means to be a Christian...saved by grace....living before a holy and just God whom the prophets spoke of in the Scriptures.

1 Peter 1:13-16 "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts as in your ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written,"Be holy, for I am holy."

Fasten Your Belts!

Peter is telling believers that there is work to be done...and we need to be sober and vigilant in our work!

When I prepared to leave on my mission trip to Slovakia, I was in the word everyday and praying diligently everyday. But yet I was still unprepared for the spiritual attacks that hit me from all sides!

I had been warned by friends who had experienced the same thing, and yet I was not ready for the attacks. I knew the Lord was allowing Satan to attack me and that gave me comfort to know that the Lord thought I was ready to handle it. But yet it still hurt!

One thing I know for certain is this: the Lord never left me during any of those attacks from the devil. HE was always there when I called out to Him or searched for Him in the Bible.

Peter wants us to remember that grace that saved us and the grace that will be "brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" so we are not despondent. No! Never! Peter wants us to remember that hope that is within us.

Please read:
Romans 5: 1-5 Matt 5:11-12 James 1:3

Hope does not disappoint! I know that for sure! I have put that verse to the test for meaning and it passed that test with flying colors, as we like to say.

I was attacked financially, spiritually, emotionally, and even endured my marriage being attacked. The only thing the Lord spared was my health....blessedly! I was shocked at the intensity of the attacks on all facets of my heart, but not surprised with how merciful the Lord was when I passed those tests and made it to Slovakia with the others.

I was sober and vigilant in that I knew the attacks were coming....but even then I was shocked at the hurt. Just imagine what the early Christians had to endure with the enemy in the world!

1 Peter 1:8-9

Peter's words of encouragement must have meant the world to those early believers.


"as obedient children..."

Peter wants us to remember who we were before Christ saved our souls...but he doesn't want us to dwell on it. He doesn't want us to remember the "former lusts" that held us captive to the bondage of sin.

Instead, we are to be as obedient children of God who are now transformed through the renewing of our minds by the word of God.

That means our conduct must mirror His.

Matt 4:1-11
Jesus survived Satan's attacks through the word of God. He used Scripture to fight off the attacks of the devil!

Hebrews 4:12 Eph 6:16

Jesus was prepared to do the works of the Father who sent Him because He was getting His strength from above. He girded His loins and prepared for battle!
Matt 9:35-38

But He did it with love and compassion...for He was God in the flesh.


Life Application

"Be holy, for I am holy."

Complete holiness should be the desire of all Christians. To be like Christ is the final vision for us all. Jesus came to leave us an example to follow. The apostles left us an example to follow as well: suffering for Christ.

Peter reminds us that our whole conduct must be pleasing to God in order to be used by God. I went through a period of "cleansing" during those spiritual attacks before my trip. I tried to see it that way even though I was almost broken. I read the Scriptures, cried out to fellow believers to lift me up in prayer, fasted and prayed all in preparation for the mission.

And I reaped the rewards from the Lord for all that I had endured. He took care of me and all of the team while were were away. I had deep dreaded fears that the students wouldn't like me, but the Lord calmed my fears and gave me wonderful children who made me smile daily.

I know now what it takes to serve the Lord: die to the flesh and live for Christ.

Peter wants us to know and understand this point, that serving the Lord isn't easy. It could cost us our lives or the lives of those we love.

But we were left with a perfect example of that perfect obedience and will of God in Christ Jesus when He walked this earth. We must be holy as God is holy. We must imitate Him though we will never equal Him. Just considering how holy God is should bring us to our knees in praise and worship.

We were taken to a very beautiful mountain range in Slovakia for a day of rest and recuperation. As I stood on that mountain top and watched the clouds part and reveal the sun, I began to worship the Living God of all creation. I knew He was giving me a gift for serving Him. It was not money or material wealth...fame or fortune....no, it was a most precious gift He knew I wanted and needed to see: His beautiful creation.

You see, God is an artist and from one artist to the other....He knew I needed to see beauty all around me. I saw the Master Artist show me one of His many masterpieces that day! I cherished it as I stood there on that cool mountaintop. I thanked Him for that gift. It made all the suffering of spiritual warfare worth it all just to be that close to Him if only for a few moments.

We serve a holy God who loves us and knows us personally. We serve an awesome God!

Take time out today to praise Him and worship where you are.


"It is a great favor to be called effectually by divine grace into the possession of all the blessings of the new covenant; and great favors are strong obligations; they enable as well as oblige to be holy." -Matthew Henry (Commentaries, 1961, p. 1941)


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