Monthly Archives: February 2015

Be The Rock – Part 7

If the last chapter was one of my favourite, this one scares me a little. And rightly so. I think that we should take a look at this chapter (2 Peter 2) and take a look at the warnings.

The first 3 verses of this chapter are used quite often today, however, I don’t think that they’re used properly. Every time some person disagrees with someone else’s doctrine, these verses get thrown around. These verses are talking about people who are deliberately trying to lead people astray, not about anyone who disagrees with your theology. Let’s all try and be careful when quoting this scripture. Having said that, if someone teaches something that is not backed up by scripture, don’t go blindly believing it. We are all responsible for our own walk with God, if you blindly accept what anyone tells you without checking it against scripture, it is you own fault if they deceive you. Be responsible, but be open to learning what is scriptural.

The chapter then goes on to show us how faithful God is to ‘rescue us from our trials’. Now this in itself goes against the thinking of many Christians. People always say things like, “God has given me this trial to help me learn”. If so, why would He ‘rescue’ us from a trial that He sent? I believe that we get ourselves into trials (or we get thrown into them by the actions of others, demonic beings or because of the fall of man), God works all things for our good, rescues us and helps us to learn from it. Sometimes He calls us into difficult situations, but if we put our trust in Him (easier said than done), we’ll be victorious. Don’t start quoting me facts about the disciples been killed and all the violence against Christians, that is persecution, which is also not from God. It is however something that we will all have to endure to a lesser or greater degree.

Here is a concerning verse. The first part of verse 10, He is especially hard on those who follow their own twisted sexual desire, and who despise authority. Oops. There is so much twisted sexual desire at the moment. Those of us who choose members of the opposite sex and refrain from sex until we are married, are in the vast minority. If you take a look at social media and articles about the governments of just about any country, you’ll find so much hate speech and abuse. Society in general have twisted sexual desires and despise authority. Be careful that you’re not in that category. The second half of this verse says the following, “These people are proud and arrogant, daring even to scoff at supernatural beings without so much as trembling.” Even more words of warning. Probably including even more people. So many people scoff at God, without a second thought.

Here is the interesting part, and I am no theologian, so I’ll let them explain this. In verse 12, it starts with “These false teachers..” Maybe I am wrong, but it looks to me like this whole chapter is talking about false teachers (or how we should be in contrast). This changes things. Now using this passage to condemn people with a different theology to ours, is even more ridiculous. The people spoken about here are blatantly against God. It shouldn’t be hard for us to spot them if we are walking with God as we should be. Take the responsibility of your walk with God seriously.

One last thing that I would like to look at is a bit of a shocker. Now I am not going to open up a debate about whether we are once saved always saved, or if we can ‘lose’ our salvation. There are loads of things to take into consideration, but there are two verses here that will throw a spanner in the works if you believe that you are once saved always saved. 20 And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. 21 It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. Now I am not quoting this to scare people or rock the boat. I just want to show everyone what the consequences could be if we are lead astray. Stay on top of your walk with God. Keep reading, and meditating on scripture. Pray, fast, have faith and keep your eyes on Jesus. The alternative is unthinkable.

Richard

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Be The Rock – Part 6

Today we take a look at 2 Peter chapter 1. What a lovely passage. Just what I needed to hear as I read it. I have recently been listening to some Andrew Wommack teaching entitled, Spirit, Soul and Body. This teaching is pretty basic stuff, but it did put some things into context for me. I already knew the truth behind what Andrew was saying, I just didn’t always let if filter through to the rest of my life. This passage illustrates some of what I have learned recently, so let’s take a look.

May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. We like the first part about God giving us more grace and peace, in fact we probably pray that quite often. Here is the difficult question, “Are you growing in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord?”. You see faith comes by hearing the Word of God. The fact that you’re reading this post, would suggest that you probably do. I do, but I can always do more. I’m not belittling what I already do, or putting myself down, just encouraging myself to do even more.

Verses 3 and 4 explain that we have been given everything that we need to live a godly life. Yes, we already have it. If you have been born again (believe and confess that Jesus is your Lord and Saviour), you have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. Yes, you may still need to be baptised in the Spirit (if you haven’t already), but the Gift is there. It also goes on to say that we can now hold onto the promises that God has given us. You see, this goes against what I hear from most people. Most people see themselves and weak and sinful, and they cry out to God and beg Him to do stuff. This passage says that we have already been given everything that we need. Interesting.

Peter then goes on to tell us what we should be doing, again, I don’t know how popular this part is either. Have moral excellence, build knowledge, have self control, exercise patience, be godly, show affection and love everyone. Here is Peter’s warning (verse 8) about what I have said above, “The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are short-sighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.”

The chapter then goes on to explain to us that the prophets who have spoken, were not just saying what they wanted, but what God wanted them to say. It also speaks about how God spoke through the disciples, and others. How often do you hear the argument that the Bible is written by people, and people get stuff wrong? This is just an excuse not to believe what the Bible says, and to cast doubt in our minds. I’m not having it. Peter probably heard the same stories, but he saw the truth with his own eyes. I’ll listen to his testimony, because I know that Jesus is the Truth, and scripture is God-breathed.

This passage often creates debates about works and grace, but I think that it deals with it nicely. It first deals with salvation, and the fact that it is a gift from God because of who He is. It then goes on to tell us to do works. Just to make it clear, we don’t do works to earn our salvation. We do works because we have been saved, and we wish to do what it right. Yes, doing what is right benefits us, that is how the Kingdom of God works! If we want a deeper understanding of God, and to walk a closer walk with Him, it requires action from our side. This action may ‘earn’ us a closer walk with God, or more grace and peace (as Peter says in verse 2), but works does not earn us salvation. The only way to receive salvation is if you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9

There is no excuse for not doing works, and there is no reason to base our salvation on our works. If Jesus is your Lord and Saviour, you can hold onto His promises, step out of your comfort zone, and do what He has called you to do. If He is not your Saviour, maybe you need to think about that.

No excuses.

Richard

Be The Rock – Part 5

1 Peter chapter 5 is packed with useful lessons, so let’s start straight away and see what it has to say.

The chapter starts off by instructing church elders to look after those who are less experienced. Now I don’t know about you, but I have been in some churches where this is not the case, I have seen church leaders lord it over others. Just like scripture tells them not to. Having said that, it also tells the rest of the church to submit to the leaders. It is easier to lead someone who wants to follow, and it is easier to follow someone who wants to lead as Christ would have us lead. Both of these are important. So if you are a new Christian, find a church with leaders that you respect, and then follow them. If you are an experienced Christian, maybe it is time to step up and lead others? Even if you are not an elder, if you show how you can serve fellow believers, you may become one.

1 Peter 5:6-7 says, “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honour. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” Now, before I get myself into trouble, let me say that I am not disagreeing with this scripture, I am merely putting it into context. We are told to humble ourselves under the mighty power of God, not humble ourselves under our circumstances. Let me explain. Going around saying how useless you are and that you can’t do anything unless God does it for you, is not what this is talking about. You see so many Christians use ‘humility’ as an excuse not to do anything. We are made new when we accept Jesus as our saviour, we are a new creation, and God will use us for amazing things if we let Him. Humble yourself to God, but stand against anything else in the name of Jesus. With authority and power. We now have the Holy Spirit, we are anything but weak! As for verse 7. Do you give all of your worries to God? I don’t. This is something that I have to make a decision to do every single day, it does not come naturally. It is such a freeing feeling when you do though, try and join me in doing more of this.

Take a look at verse 8 and 9. This is what I was talking about. The devil and his helpers are out and about trying to ‘devour’ us. We are told to stand firmly against him. No humility here. You see we often get it wrong, I have heard people humble themselves to the point of not wanting to stand against the demonic. The Bible tells us the opposite. We need to stand up to evil, with confidence, faith and power. The problem is that we don’t know how to do this, because we don’t spend enough time studying the Word. This scripture says be strong in your faith. Faith comes from hearing the Word. You want faith? Study scripture. Don’t just read it, study it. I know that it is hard, I struggle to get down to it too. This blog helps me to be disciplined, because if I don’t study it, I can’t teach it. I don’t find it easy, but I know how important it is.

This is the final post from 1 Peter, I’ll move onto 2 Peter next. Once that is done, I’ll see what God wants me to tackle next. If you have any suggestions on what you would like to hear about, or if I have said anything that you want me to discuss in more details, let me know via Google +.

I’ll leave you with part of Peter’s final greeting:

My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.

Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.

Richard

Be The Rock – Part 4

This chapter is probably not one that Christians like to read, but it is here for a reason, and I believe that it is very relevant. Especially this day in age. Let’s take a look through 1 Peter 4 and see what it has to say.

Most of this chapter is telling us that we are going to face issues as Christians, but it also gives us hope. Now let me make something very clear, not all suffering is because we are Christians. I have heard people say that they have to suffer because they are a Christian, because they did something and they need to deal with the consequences. If you did something wrong, the suffering is not because you were a Christian, if you are suffering because of your relationship with Jesus, then it is. Verses 15 and 16 show what I mean, “If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!” If you are in prison for murdering someone, it is not because you love Jesus, it is because you murdered. Now this is an extreme situation, there are others that aren’t so cut and dry. Make sure you suffer for the right reasons, and not just because you did something wrong.

The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. 8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. – Verses 7-9. This is important. Every day that goes by, we are one day closer to the end of the world. I personally think that we are getting close. Please just remember one thing, no one knows the exact time and day that Jesus will return, not even Jesus. So don’t go believing nutters who claim to know the time and day. Just live every day as if Jesus is coming tomorrow, but keeping in mind that He may not. We also need to remember that the spiritual gifts that we have, we only have for a time. There is no need for healing, prophesy, words of knowledge etc, when we get to heaven. We need to figure out what our gifts are, and get cracking using them. Verses 10 and 11 say, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.” If you’re not sure what your gifts are, there is a spiritual gifts test on the blog which you can download and use.

There is a warning that our old friends won’t understand what we are up to when we become Christians. When we are born again, we should start to change. Maybe not quickly, but we should start to see changes in our lives. Our old friends who are not undergoing the same change, won’t understand this. We need to be aware of this. This is why it is important to get some born-again friends. We need to have this support. If all of our friends are non-believers, they won’t understand our decisions, and they will try and stop us. This is not because they intentionally do it, it is just because people who don’t have the Holy Spirit, couldn’t possibly understand the decisions that we make when following Him.

One last word of encouragement for you, verse 19.

So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.

Keep the faith.

Richard