Ever since I was compelled by the Holy Spirit back at the end of October to stop all “warnings” I have had a ache in my heart for much of the body of Christ. Because of that ache I still look for things that will be beneficial in the “tumultuous” days ahead spoken of in 2 Timothy chapter 3………the following is one of those things………please read and consider it.
I haven’t issued any warnings for the past 60 days since I received a prompting from the Holy Spirt to “stop”………so this is not from me but a warning that needs to be listened to and seriously pondered.
This world is not my home….
I’m just passing through….
My treasures are laid up….
Somewhere beyond the blue….
The angels beckon me….
From Heaven’s open door….
And I can’t feel at home….
In this world anymore!
1 Peter 1:1-2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliensG3927, scatteredG1290 throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
G3927 παρεπίδημος parepidēmos
From G3844 and the base of G1927; an alien alongside, that is, a resident foreigner: – pilgrim, stranger.
G1290 διασπορά diaspora
From G1289; dispersion, that is, (specifically and concretely) the (converted) Israelites resident in Gentile countries: – (which are) scattered (abroad).
As I was sitting in my quiet time this morning, this song was going through my mind; VISIONS / NOT OF THIS WORLD . I took our daughter to a concert some 25 years ago where this group did this song……….and the words of TRUTH are playing out in our lives each and every day since then.
As we continue this study in 1 & 2 Peter I think it would be appropriate to stop and go back to the very beginning of the letters……..and see if perhaps we have forgotten just who (and what) we are. Give the songs (whichever one you are familiar with) a few minutes of your day and then look at the rest of it in that light.
Anxiety…….what anxiety……..do I look like I’m suffering any ANXIETY ????????
Of course…….if that picture was really me there would be a lot less hair to be pulling out!
1 Peter 5:6-10 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, (7) casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
(8) Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (9) But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
(10) After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
In watching the news of this past week it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make the determination that stress levels have increased within much of the population of our country. Stress & anxiety are two of the major “killers” of our hyper-driven society, they account for much of the physical problems of the human body and even can be labeled as a disease……….even coming to that understanding creates its own anxiety………time for a pill!
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
The world has its many ways of relieving stress from heavy drugs, to just going fishing (I’m particularly fond of that one)…….but being a true believer, and accepting the fact that ANXIETY & STRESS are an EXPECTED condition of that position, our Lord and Savior has provided His own “relief system”……..casting ALL of it on Him.
You will notice however that right after Peter admonishes his readers to do that, he goes into a warning of someone who is constantly working on the circumstances around us to create the stress and anxiety……..hoping that we will resort to our own methods (which in actuality are his “methods”) of relief. This is where we get the word “scheme” from in Paul’s letter to the Ephesian believers;
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemesG3180 of the devil.
G3180 μεθοδεία methodeia
From a compound of G3326 and G3593 [compare “method”]; traveling over, that is, travesty, (trickery): – wile, lie in wait.
So, as the stress & anxiety increase in our lives we are going to have to make a conscious decision to “cast ALL our cares upon Him”…………with the key word being “ALL”. Our human nature wants to cast SOME of those cares on Him and take care of some of the cares ourselves……..thus creating more STRESS & ANXIETY. Hmmmmmm………better go fishing to get some solitude to think about that one!
1 Peter 4:14-17 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. For it is time for judgment to beginG757with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
G757 ἄρχω archō ar’-kho
A primary verb; to be first (in political rank or power): – reign (rule) over.
Because of the many Internet posts being shared over the past couple of days on the judgment of God being immanent for our country because of the overwhelming support of anything and everything godless………and because this coming Sunday is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church……….I felt it necessary to jump ahead a little in our study of 1 Peter. In the above portion of scripture the Holy Spirit is prompting Peter to draw a very clear distinction between the two groups who will suffer God’s judgment. He didn’t include a third group that would escape this judgment…….it is simply two groups……..the righteous and the unrighteous. We have to remember that this was a letter to the CHURCH…….not to the general populace as a whole. What he was saying is that within the CHURCH there are those who will suffer God’s judgment as a righteous Born Again believer and those who will suffer as a non-Born Again follower.
We have a tendency to look at the major things listed above in distinguishing between the two groups…..but that’s because in Peter’s day the CHURCH had very definitive lines drawn between the truly saved and the unsaved. Today’s “progressive” & “emergent” church has so blurred the lines that the average Christian has no idea how to distinguish between the two. This has been a very successful tool that the enemy of our souls has used since the beginning……just blur the lines. CHURCH leadership that have listened to & followed the wrong spirit have de-emphasized the importance of things like spiritual warfare, prayer, holiness, ETC. and replaced it with entertainment, psycho-messages, and anything & everything to blur any line of distinction. Much of this kind of folly is because they have lost all fear of God being a GOD-OF-HIS-WORD. God’s word (as written above) is very clear…..judgment will come……and it WILL BEGIN in the household of God……..that they (church leadership) will be held accountable for their leading;
James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowingG3609a that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.
G3609 οἰκεῖος oikeios oy-ki’-os
From G3624; domestic, that is, (as noun), a relative, adherent: – (those) of the (his own) house (-hold).
The Greek is very clear here……..these teachers knowingly accept the responsibility of teaching the TRUTH of God’s word IN ITS ENTIRETY! If they fail to do so they knowingly accept the ramifications of their teaching. If there is “NO FEAR” of God and His inerrant Word…..then there is “NO FEAR” of His Judgment for them as teachers and “NO FEAR” of what their teachings have done to the sheep that will face the judgment…….that WILL BEGIN in the “household” they are responsible for!
So…….this Sunday, are we going to be guided to pray for the believers around the world who are suffering for their faith………or are we going to be guided in examining something else……..all WILL be judged……….STARTING IN THE HOUSE!
1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. (emphasis added)
After last night’s reaffirmation of the godless condition of our country and the impending judgment that WILL befall us, I find it quite interesting that the part of scripture we are going to look at today will fit so completely.
We looked recently about not being “surprised” and I really wasn’t with last night’s decisions (I was however deeply saddened)…….not just on the leadership chosen for the nation but on the unregenerate condition of the majority of its citizens. Anything & everything that was expressly forbidden in scripture was eagerly embraced by the majority of the populace…….from un-abated abortion to recreational drug use to the marginalization of Israel. But for true disciples of Jesus Christ it was a MANDATE for increased (DEGREE) persecutions (FIREY ORDEAL) & (SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST) that was prophesied to take place before He returns. I really don’t say that lightly as I know that I have been guilty of not following the “MANDATE” given in scripture as much as I should have.
Acts 1:7-8 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and ye shall beG2071My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
G2071 ἔσομαι esomai
Future tense of G1510; will be: – shall (should) be (have), (shall) come (to pass), X may have, X fall, what would follow, X live long, X sojourn.
As you can “clearly” see in the above portion of scripture, spoken by the Lord Jesus Himself, the “MANDATE” was not given as a mere suggestion…….He was emphatic. If we, as born again believers in Jesus Christ, would have spent more time in reaching the lost with the truth of the gospel……..and less time playing church………the spiritual condition of the country would possibly have been different. I am truly guilty of spending more of my “born again” time playing church and helping to produce the “MANDATE” of the apostate church…
2 Timothy 3:1-5 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. (emphasis added)
…and I’m sure if we were all honest it would be much of the same in all of our lives. But, just like last night’s nightmare is now history, we must ask ourselves; “where do we go from here”?
I really can only come up with one thing as a starting point……individual & corporate……REPENTANCE! I need to emphasize “corporate” because of the number of times “we” & “us” is used in the following portion of scripture and because Peter was speaking to the whole “church” corporately in its impending “fiery ordeals” in the verses above!
1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
This should be enough for us to chew on for the next few days, and as we accept His forgiveness, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off with the power of the Holy Spirit……..we will be ready to face any and every DIFFICULTY that WILL come our way in the dark days ahead…….and we will REJOICE.
I have been having this phrase rattling around my spirit for the past couple of days and even though I know I need to concentrate more on preparing to stand I can’t ignore this particular warning. The writers of the New Testament (and its Author) are addressing some critical spiritual issues and reinforcing it with this emphatic wording. I believe that this wording exemplifies the deep love and concern for the body of Christ with its frailties in the areas of deception.
The Greek word for the English word “ignorant” is as follows;
G50 ἀγνοέω agnoeō
From G1 (as a negative particle) and G3539; not to know (through lack of information or intelligence); by implication to ignore (through disinclination): – (be) ignorant (-ly), not know, not understand, unknown.
The interesting thing about this Greek word is its usage in the different translations. The King James uses it in 13 verses 14 times, while in the New American Standard it is only used 3. The 11 times it is used in the KJV have been translated differently, for instance, in the letter to the Romans;
Romans 1:13 I do not want you to be unawareG50, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.
In another case in 2 Peter the translators used a different Greek word altogether;
G2990 λανθάνω lanthanō
A prolonged form of a primary verb, which is used only as an alternate in certain tenses; to lie hid (literally or figuratively); often used adverbially unwittingly: – be hid, be ignorant of, unawares.
2 Peter 3:5-8 For when they maintain this, it escapesG2990 their noticeG2990 that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escapeG2990 your noticeG2990, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
What is important to understand here is the ability of the enemy to capitalize on an area of weakness within the body of Christ……….something he has become a master at. The verses in 2 Peter must be critical to our understanding because it is something God promises will happen because of the promises He kept in what happened in the past. The enemy of our souls wants us to be “IGNORANT” or having a biblical fact “ESCAPE OUR NOTICE” so he can mislead or utterly deceive us into his vein of thinking. In 2 Peter the author is reminding his readers that there will be a worldwide judgment by fire at the very end. Because Satan, (and his minions), know their fate in this judgment they want to distort the “biblical facts” with their own wishful thinking version of the events to mislead those not paying attention…..thus the emphatic warning.
So……….whatever your translation is……………..please take the “facts” to heart and not fall for the Dominionist’s theory of God not having to judge the world because we have successfully “cleaned it up enough” to pacify Him.
2 Corinthians 2:10-11 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorantG50 G3756of his devices. KJV
2 Corinthians 2:10-11 But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorantG50 of his schemes.
We live in very interesting days where much of the world senses a drastic change coming in our economic condition and are being told to diversify investments within your portfolio with precious metals, like gold and silver. We, here in America, will be electing a president next week and most (the majority) of the country is focused on our economy and which man will be able to “save us”…….economically. I could literally spend the next few days writing commentary on this issue but I really want to see how this could possibly tie into 1 Peter.
Over the past few days we have been examining 1 Peter 4:12-19 and have looked at just a few of the words in verses 12 & 13. We will remain there for another couple of commentaries because of the extreme importance of the content. Let’s look into this further;
1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fieryG4451 ordealG4451 among you, which comes upon you for your testingG3986, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. (Emphasis added)
The first thing of importance is something that is “implied”……..Peter doesn’t say; “the fiery ordeal that might come upon you”……or; “the fiery ordeal that will come upon all who don’t live in America”….he simply makes a blanket statement for ALL born again believers (disciples) in Jesus Christ down through the whole of Christianity’s history.
It has been a very disheartening thing over the past 14 years that we have been sharing with the American church about persecuted believers….and constantly hearing statements like “we’re so blessed to live in America and not have to deal with any of this”…….wait a minute…….does that mean that these persecuted believers are less blessed or actually being judged for something? Over the past couple of years my wife has been asking that question in almost every one of her meetings, and then stating emphatically that the real “blessing” is simply Jesus…….not all of “the stuff”(fool’s gold)that we call blessings! Paul was ABSOLUTELY CORRECT when he told Timothy that “ALL WHO CHOOSE TO LIVE GODLY IN CHRIST JESUS WILL BE PERSECUTED”!
Now that we have the implication established we will move onto the other two words of importance. Peter uses another “unique” Greek phrase “fiery ordeal” to really help his readers understand what Jesus is really looking for and what he will be awarding at the Bema seat. Here is what the phrase means;
from G4448; a burning, hence a refining: – burning (2), fiery ordeal (1).
You can see by the NASEC that this Greek word is only used 3 times in the whole NT because of its unique meaning of “REFINING”. This is where the precious metal comes into the picture. There are 5 verses in the OT that use the word “refine”, but none as pointed as this one;
Zechariah 13:9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”
Wow….that’s got everything we are looking at in regard to 1 Peter…..refining silver & gold and having it tested for its quality. That is really what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell the church…..that part of it will be refined and tested for its quality and found to be acceptable……and a larger part will be “fool’s gold” and fail the test at the Bema seat.
So, “Christian”……will we “call on His name” or something (or someone) else (remember…there will be the majority who will worship the beast and take his mark)?
Will we hear His voice saying “these are My people”…..or….”depart from Me I never knew you”?
Will we say; “The LORD is my God”……..or……”shrink away from Him in shame at His coming”?
WHAT DOES YOUR PORTFOLIO LOOK LIKE WHEN PUT TO “THE TEST“?
From G3985; a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication adversity: – temptation, X try.
From G3984; to test (objectively), that is, endeavor, scrutinize, entice, discipline: – assay, examine, go about, prove, tempt (-er), try.
For those of you old enough to remember Gomer Pile of the Andy Griffith Show, this famous phrase that he used on a regular basis should come to mind. However, when it comes to the Word of God there really should be no “surprises” if we are truly paying attention.
1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, do not be surprisedG3579 at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. (Emphasis added)
G3579 ξενίζω xenizō xen-id’-xo
From G3581; to be a host (passively a guest); by implication be (make, appear) strange: – entertain, lodge, (think it) strange.
Peter is giving the idea to his readers that because of their knowledge & experience of their WALK in Christ they really are to expect the same kind of treatment Jesus got as He “WALKED” out the commandments of His Father. We can say that because of the statement he made prior to the “do not be surprised”;
1 Peter 4:1-2 ThereforeG3767, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. (Emphasis added)
We need to see something here that is extremely important……that being the word “THEREFORE“! As you can see by the NASEC below it is used 178 times in its original meaning and implied in another 313 verses just within the New Testament.
G3767 οὖν oun;
a prim. word; therefore, then, (and) so: – contrary *(1), however *(1), now (5), so (153), so then (9), so…then (1), then (141), therefore (178).
“Therefore” is a word that is used primarily as an adverb which we all should know implies an emphasis to an ACTION! What I believe the Holy Spirit is doing here is to give every “reader” down through “Church” history EVERY OPPORTUNITY to pay strict attention to “what the Spirit is saying to the church”. In the verses above, we, as born again believers, are not to be caught by surprise at anything the WORLD, FLESH, OR THE DEVIL throws at us to knock us off our path….because we are commanded to “arm ourselves with the same purpose” BEFORE it is needed for the “fiery ordeal”.
The world has its purpose……..the flesh has its purpose……and the Devil has his purpose…….our sole PURPOSE is to match up with HIS PURPOSE……….but know that when we do this we will (not we might) suffer persecution! Here again, Paul reminds his readers of the same thing;
2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (Emphasis added)
So, a major part of preparation is to simply “PAY ATTENTION” to the right Spirit as He speaks to us and validates it through His Word………..just like the saints in Peter’s and Paul’s day.
Over the past few weeks the Lord has been laying on my heart that it truly is time for this watchman to remember His word to me 7 years ago this month…….and bring the “seasons of HIS warnings” to a close. I have been struggling a little bit with that in wondering what the next step is to be but know that it’s not the time to settle back in and relax….but to start more of an emphasis of “preparation” for the part of the church that have heeded the warnings God has been issuing through many different watchmen & women.
I want to start with detailing Peter’s admonition to the Body in his time, which is really the Body of all time;
1 Peter 4:12-19
BelovedG27, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a ChristianG5546, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. (Emphasis added)
There is much to consider in this passage of scripture so we shall take it a little at a time to allow the Holy Spirit time to perhaps “renew our minds” a bit since there is a real possibility that we have been “tainted” with the worldly ideas & programs of apostate church. I really don’t say that casually but hopefully with enough power to break through the enemy’s “constant” deception and bold face lying that I have warned about for so many years now.
The very first thing that we need to “closely examine” might be considered to be a “no brainer” but with the rapid expansion of apostasy that we see taking place it is a very important distinction that Peter is making here…….and that we will also be making in the not too distant future. I have highlighted two words in the portion of scripture above, notice the Greek meanings of both and especially the number of times the word “Christian” is used in the New Testament;
G27 ἀγαπητός agapētos ag-ap-ay-tos’
From G25; beloved: – (dearly, well) beloved, dear.
From G5547; a Christian: – Christian (2), Christians (1).
In the portion of scripture below Paul, actually King Agrippa, is drawing another very clear distinction;
Acts 26:25-29 But Paul *said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words of sober truth. “For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner. “King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do.” Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a ChristianG5546.” And Paul said, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.” (Emphasis added)
King Agrippa understood that there was definitely something different about the highly intelligent man before him….that really didn’t have anything to do with intelligence…..it was a “Spirit thing” taking place. I believe that is what Peter was speaking to when he addressed his audience as “Beloved”…..he was drawing a clear distinction. The time for “words of evangelism” were over at this point, he was not putting out a plea to “get saved”……..he was stating facts about what was going to take place with the judgment of God…….and on whom it was going to start.
So, what can we surmise and learn from this in regard to the modern day “ChristianG5546“? First and foremost is the fact that there will come a day, and I truly believe it’s here, that the “FOCUS” of the “ChristianG5546 ” will be evangelizing the lost while walking among them……not bringing them to church to have a preacher evangelize them. The “FOCUS” of the church will be to equip the “ChristianG5546 ” to go out to the lost and “do the work of the ministry”……what a novel idea………wonder where that came from! If the judgment starts in the house of the Lord (which we all know is the temple of the Holy Spirit) then a true “ChristianG5546 ” will be judged on what he/she did in accordance to the Word of God….not sin. That is why Paul & Peter had to make this very clear distinction.
In the next commentary we will look at some more “DETAILS” that cannot be ignored!