The Hope of Glory

March 30, 2018 at 10:19 am | Posted in I Peter | 8 Comments
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The Book of I Peter was written by the Holy Spirit, using the Apostle Peter as His human instrument. Peter’s first name was Simon. “Peter” meant “rock” or “stone.” The two leading Apostles of the early church were: Paul, who was assigned by the Lord to minister primarily to the Gentiles; and Peter, who was assigned to minister primarily to the Jewish people.

The Lord Jesus, during His earthly ministry, had given these to commands to Peter:

1. Strengthen the flock.

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Luke 22:31-32

2. Care for the flock.

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

John 21:15

Many Bible scholars believe that the letter we know as I Peter was written from Rome, so Peter probably did minister there, but he was not the first to minister there, and he did not establish the first Christian church there, and he was not the first pope.

Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:

Romans 15:20

Paul did not minister evangelistically where other Apostles had gone, and we know that Paul accomplished the Lord’s goal for him to take the Gospel to Rome.

I Peter is believed to have been written in or around 63 A.D. It was written to believers who were undergoing severe persecution and suffering. The Holy Spirit’s word of encouragement for those who were suffering was that their suffering would lead to glory.

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

I Peter 1:6-7

The suffering of the believers would be terrible, but we must also keep in mind the superior sufferings of Christ.

Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

I Peter 1:11

We might say that Paul was the Apostle of faith, and John was the Apostle of love. If so, we would say that Peter was the Apostle of hope. Hopelessness is a condition produced by an unhinged mind – a mind that has come loose at some point between the beginning and the end.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

I Peter 1:3

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

I Peter 1:13

Your physical birth did not come with a guarantee of glory, but if you have been “born” spiritually (born again), you were born for glory.

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

I Peter 1:23-25

Because of God’s promise at our birth (our spiritual birth), He guards us until that glory is fulfilled – until it “comes into bloom.”

To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

I Peter 1:4-5

While we are being guarded, and watched over, we are not to be idle, and God is certainly not idle in our lives. He is working to prepare us for glory. What is the number one way to prepare something for glory? To pamper and coddle it? To leave it to its own devices? No. Trials, temptations, tests, even suffering, purify us and prepare us for glory.

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

I Peter 1:7

Does all this mean we have to wait to experience glory? Not necessarily. We must have the gift of faith to receive the gift of salvation that secures our home in Heaven, but, until then, we are striving to grow in faith – to see something of what Heaven will be like begin to come into our lives now.

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

I Peter 1:8

As we begin to think about all this glory, we get excited, and we might tend to get “carried away,” which is a common expression we use for someone who we perceive to be overexcited, but the expression, “carried away,” should also remind us that Satan is like a roaring lion who is looking for the opportunity to “carry away” sheep who disobey their shepherd, and who wander away from his protection.

The Assurance of the Blood

December 28, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Eternity, Hebrews | 6 Comments
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Perhaps over the past year you have done some good works. Perhaps you have done God’s will. Perhaps you have even – dare we say it without sounding proud? – done some things which were not only PLEASING in the sight of the Lord, but which were WELLPLEASING to Him?

If so, we have Him and Him alone to thank for these accomplishments and blessings – since these types of deeds and activities would not be possible with anything less mighty, amazing, and all-sufficient than Resurrection power, perfectly good and great shepherding, and all-powerful blood which purchased and confirmed an everlasting covenant!

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Hebrews 13:20-21

Perhaps you feared God more over the past year than you ever had before. If so, and if this fear was a holy and reverent fear given to you by God in His grace, then it is very likely that He has also caused you to grow in knowledge and wisdom. These things, too, were and are secured by His blood-bought covenant!

And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

Jeremiah 32:40

Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

Luke 22:20

Among the assurances that will keep you going as you face the trials, struggles, temptation, troubles, and battles that a new year will surely bring, I hope you will resolve to look to: (1) God’s own Word, preserved in the Holy Bible; (2) the seal of the Holy Spirit upon your soul; (3) the facts of the Crucifixion, burial, and Resurrection of the God-Man, Jesus Christ. But don’t forget this one, too: The everlasting Covenant – wholly the act of the Triune God – found in the shed blood of the Savior.

From What Were You Saved? (A and B)

July 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Posted in Isaiah, Salvation | 16 Comments
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Lord, thank You for Your great plan of salvation – offered freely to us even though it cost You so much. When we look in Your Word we see that we are so unclean, and we have no excuse – we are undone. All our reasoning, all our speculation, all our schemes and imaginings apart from Your Word must be crucified. Lord, help us to recognize that You are now, have always been, and will always be worthy of all praise, honor, and glory, and to recognize that You alone can save and sanctify. In the holy name of Christ Jesus. Amen.

Have you been “saved?” If your answer is “yes,” and if you understand the term “saved” to be synonymous with “born again” or “regenerated,” then let me ask you this: From what were you saved?

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5 (emphasis added)

The “He” in that verse is Jesus. The “our” is you and me.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:6 (emphasis added)

“The LORD” is God the Father. The “Him” is Jesus. The “us all” is you and me.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Isaiah 53:7-10 (emphasis added)

“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him” means that it pleased God to bruise Jesus. Does that surprise you? Have you heard it before? Is your understanding of salvation limited to a Gospel tract containing the “ABC”s of salvation: “A.dmit (that you are sinner); B.elieve (that Christ died for you); C.onfess (with your mouth the Lord Jesus)?” To help us have a deeper understanding of what it means to be saved – and from what we need to be saved – I want to present to you a different set of “ABC”s.

Christ’s A.gony

Most people have either seen a film called The Passion of the Christ, or have been in a church service where someone has preached about some of the graphic and violent details of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. You have probably heard about the crown of thorns, and the beatings, and the Roman whips, and the spear piercing His side, and the blood pouring down (not the discreet trickle of blood that is depicted in popular Roman Catholic art, but a veritable blood bath). If so, you may have the idea that this type of physical suffering is what Christ endured in our place, and I certainly do not believe we should try to minimize the importance of the physical suffering of Christ on the Cross. But there was much more to it than that.

Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 22:42-44

Before His arrest and subsequent crucifixion, Christ was in agony as He prayed in the Garden of Gesthemane, and it was more than the agony of knowing that He was going to endure a painful physical death. As He sweated out great drops of blood He was thinking about more than Roman whips and punches – about worse than thorns and spears and nails and thirsting and physical torture. As Christ looked forward from the garden to the Cross, He saw the moment when He must say, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me..?” We are talking about the perfect Son of God Who had never for a fraction of a moment been out of the loving graces of His Heavenly Father. He was a Son who had never grieved His Father – had done nothing but bless Him for all eternity. When Jesus accepted the Father’s will, and agreed to drink the cup instead of letting it pass from His lips, He suffered agony that went beyond the physical. If you have been “saved,” it is true that the physical “stripes” on the back of the Lord Jesus were endured in your place, but what you have been “saved” from is so much worse than sickness and physical pains and infirmities and ailments.

Christ’s B.ruising

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him…

Isaiah 53:10

We use the word “bruising” to mean a little discoloration of the skin due to a relatively minor injury. But the word being translated as “bruise” in Isaiah 53:10 means “to crush.” It contains the idea of the way grain was placed into a millstone to be ground into bits – crushed and utterly shattered. How could it please the Lord – God the Father – to bruise – to crush – His Son?

He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.

Proverbs 17:15

If you are truly “saved,” then God has justified you, meaning that He has declared you to be righteous, even though, as a sinner, you are truly wicked. How is it that God can declare you righteous without being an abomination unto Himself? And how is it that He allowed Christ Jesus – the only truly “just” human being to ever walk the earth – to be unjustly condemned? The answer lies in understanding exactly what transpired on the Cross of Jesus Christ, which we will look at next time.

Where to Find Yourself

September 22, 2009 at 2:08 pm | Posted in Genesis | 7 Comments
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“Genesis” means “beginning.” The Book of Genesis is the beginning of the Bible, but not the beginning of God. He had no beginning and He will have no end.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

The first verse of the Bible presupposes the prior existence of God. God did not create the heavens and the earth and all the things and living creatures because He was lonely or bored. The triune God is eternally self-sufficient in glory. And He has enjoyed the fellowship of Perfect Father, Perfect Son, and Perfect Holy Spirit throughout all eternity. To be perfect means to be complete, to need or lack nothing.

In Genesis we can see some very basic things about God’s existence, and some of the basics of His plan concerning His creation.

We should not get frustrated that we can not understand more about God. The fullness of His glory is not comprehensible, but the glory of God is not discouraging or “hopelessly confusing.” Actually, it’s hopeFULLY confusing. If we are not motivated to service and worship by God’s glory and utter “otherness,” then there is a serious problem with our doctrine.

God is called by the Hebrew name Elohim 32 times in Genesis before the first appearance of “YHWH” – Jehovah.

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

Genesis 2:4

Jehovah is “the mighty God.” Elohim is plural – God in three Persons. Also, in Hebrew, there is a great reverence of God’s name. The plural form Elohim is used because plural forms are used to give greater emphasis and magnitude to that which is being described. For example, some have argued that we shouldn’t speak of the majesty, beauty, and perfection of God. Rather we should speak of His majesties, beauties, and perfections. The glories of God – all His attributes – are overwhelming and unending.

So, we see that Genesis is a book of basics – a book of fundamentals. When you really want to learn as much as you can about something, you start at the fundamentals. This is true of academic, athletic, and practical endeavors. When I coached tee-ball, we didn’t start off by learning how to turn a double play, or hit the cut-off man. We started by learning what a ball is, what a bat is, and the order in which to run the bases. Sometimes – even in Bible study – you have to start at the basics.

Passages from Genesis are found quoted over 200 times in the New Testament. In Genesis we find the blueprint for God’s whole plan of redemption.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Revelation 21:1, referencing Genesis 1:1

In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Revelation 22:2, 14, referencing Genesis 2:8-9, 3:24

In Genesis the tree of life is forbidden and guarded. In Revelation it is open and available.

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

Revelation 19:7-9, referencing Genesis 2:24

Genesis has the first marriage. Revelation has the last.

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Revelation 20:10, referencing Genesis 3:1

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Revelation 21:4, referencing Genesis 2:17

And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

Revelation 18:21, referencing Genesis 11:9

In Genesis Babylon is built. In Revelation it is destroyed.

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 11:15, referencing Genesis 3:15

In Genesis the Redeemer is promised. In Revelation the Redeemer reigns.

In Genesis the first Adam disobeyed in a garden. In the Gospels the last Adam accomplished the ultimate obedience in a garden. (Luke 22:41-42)

Genesis tells us a great deal about ourselves. It tells us where we came from, why we are here, and what God expects us to do.

In Genesis we learn about God, ourselves, and our world. When you first meet Christ, you learn about God. Then you learn about yourself. Then you learn about the world.

There is a heresy which says that Biblical Christianity is “all about me.” But there is also a heresy that says, “It’s not about me at all.” No psychologist, self-help program, chemical, or worldly experience will help you “find yourself.” However, if you look, you will find yourself in the Bible.

Exposing the Enemy and Going Forth with the Truth

June 30, 2009 at 10:57 am | Posted in Acts | 20 Comments
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Acts Chapter 8 introduces us to Saul of Tarsus, who would become the Apostle Paul.

And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Acts 8:1

Saul saw Stephen stoned, and he approved of it. But you have to wonder if it affected him – if God used it to begin to prick his conscience.

And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Acts 9:5

Something was bothering Saul, stabbing at his conscience as he charged down the road to Damascus like an angry bull.

As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

Acts 8:2

He “wreaked havoc” on the early Church – tore it to pieces like a wild beast – the way Samson once did to a lion (which normally tears the lamb.) But the early Church was empowered by the Lamb of God; persecution only caused it to grow.

Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

Acts 8:4-5

Philip went to Samaria. The Samaritans were half-Jewish and half-Gentile. When the Assyrians had conquered the northern tribes of Israel, they brought in people to intermarry. The Samaritans were the second ethnic group in Acts upon which God poured His Spirit.

Philip’s revelations were confirmed by special miracles for a special ethnic group.

But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:

Acts 8:9

Simon was doing satanic miracles; Philip was doing God-empowered miracles.

To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.

Acts 8:10-11

Simon’s miracles bewitched the people; Philip’s preaching set them free.

Satan got Simon to infiltrate Philip’s ministry.

And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

Acts 8:18-20

The laying-on of hands is there in Chapter 8, but not in Chapter 10 when the Gentiles receive the Holy Ghost. Laying-on of hands is not necessary for Spirit baptism – and notice that only the Apostles could do it. There is only one prerequisite for Spirit-baptism: Salvation.

Simon the sorcerer has a word named for him: simony. Simony is the buying and selling of church offices. Simon was willing to pay for the ability to lay hands on people and impart the Holy Spirit to them. There is much division and confusion and strife about this among the professing Christian church today, and, obviously, if you read this, you can do what you want, but I would be very careful about paying money – whether you call it a “love offering” or “sowing a seed” or whatever – for some “anointed” object.

Peter was very good at ferreting out Satan, and he spoke harshly to Satan’s secret agents when they were exposed. When he exposed Ananias, Peter asked him, “Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?” (Acts 5:3) He told Simon:

Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.

Acts 8:22-23

It is possible that Ananias and Sapphira would have destroyed the church in Jerusalem, and likewise Simon could have destroyed the church in Samaria. It may be that Peter was so good at spotting Satan’s infiltration tactics because of his past experience with Satan trying to infiltrate the disciples through Peter himself.

But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Matthew 16:23

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Luke 22:31-32

Acts Chapter 8 also contains the important account of the Ethiopian eunuch. This Ethiopian servant would have been wealthy – he was riding in a fancy chariot. And it may be that he was not a real “eunuch” in the modern sense of the term, but rather a high-ranking servant who had retained the name. In any event, he had a scroll of Isaiah – which would have been very rare to have in those days. He apparently had an interest in being a Jewish proselyte. However, if he was in fact a real “eunuch,” he would have been barred from temple worship due to his physical mutilation. He could have still been what was known as a “God-fearer” (this is what Cornelius was). God-fearers were Gentiles who tried to observe the Jewish laws and rites, even though they could not be true Jews. Joseph pretended to be an Old Testament example of this. He gave his brothers a hint when he sent them home, saying, “This do and live; for I fear God.” (Genesis 42:18)

And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?

Acts 8:30

The Ethiopian was reading from Isaiah 53:

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

Isaiah 53:7-8

This passage of Scripture deals with the Messiah as a substitutionary sacrifice.

Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Acts 8:35-39

Please note that the Ethiopian had to be saved before he could be baptized.

Philip was “caught away” – this implies a supernatural phenomenon. He ended up at Azotus, and then preached his way back to Caesarea – about 60 miles. There are few spiritual events that will energize your Christian life like leading someone to the Lord and seeing him saved.


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