Preparing For The Best

Scripture: I Peter 3:8-12, CSB

8 Finally, all of you be like-minded and sympathetic, love one another, and be compassionate and humble, 9 not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you may inherit a blessing.

10 For the one who wants to love life and to see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit, 11 and let him turn away from evil and do what is good. Let him seek peace and pursue it, 12 because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do what is evil.

INTRODUCTION

Peter begins this section with the Greek word ‘telos’ which means to ‘sum up.’ It is translated in the CSB as ‘finally.’ Swindoll says that Peter is going back and giving us a summary of the Christian virtues he has been teaching. Since so many of you are familiar with the KJV, I will give you that list first:

  • Be ye all of one mind
  • Having compassion one of another
  • Love as brethren
  • Be pitiful
  • Be courteous
  • Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing
  • But contrariwise blessing

The CSB

  • Be like-minded
  • Be sympathetic
  • Be loving
  • Be compassionate
  • Be humble
  • Be forgiving {not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult}
  • Be a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you may inherit a blessing.

So tonight, we will take each virtue and unpack it.

  1. BE LIKE-MINDED: Unity is not uniformity, where everyone looks an acts the same. We all have a different set of spiritual gifts and we are members of one body but we don’t all have the same function. Remember what Paul said in I Corinthians…12:12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ….18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. So Peter is not talking about unison but Harmony. Unison is everyone singing the same eact note, harmony is different notes but the same tune. What Peter is talking about is having ONE SINGLE PURPOSE and that is obedience to Jesus Christ, the Head and Savior of the Body.
  2. BE SYMPATHIC. The Greek word here is very similiar to our English, it is ‘sympatheis’ and it literally means to ‘feel with.’ It literally means we care about each other. Again the human body serves as a good illustration. What happens when you get something in your eye, does it affect the other members of your body? Of course it does, the hand responds immediately and so do the fingers. When we are like minded with Christ as Paul says in I Corinthians 2:16, we feel each others pain. We also celebrate with each other.
  3. BE LOVING: The Greek word here is the same word from which we get Philadelphia; it is the Greek word for brotherly love. It is more than casual fellowship, it is deep affection for each other. I woke up one morning this week with the church on my mind and so I got up and began my bible reading: the verse that really spoke to me was I Corinthians 16:13-14, Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous be strong. Do everything in love. I am very honest and very direct, that can be a virtue but it can also be an excuse. There is nothing wrong with speaking the truth but the scripture exhorts us to speak the truth in love. I got up from bed seeking direction and this is where God lead me. I don’t desire confrontation but I stop running from it years ago. We never solve our problems by running away but in Kingdom work, we don’t solve them with the truth alone; we must love each other amidst our differences.
  4. BE COMPASSIONATE: No this is not the same word as ‘sympathy’, it is the same word used in Ephesians 4:32, my mother’s favorite verse in the bible…And be kind and compassionate [KJV, tenderhearted’] to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. This is a heartfelt compassion that is closely associated with forgiveness [as we will see later].
  5. BE HUMBLE: this is not false or fake humility [which is sickening]. It is certainly not self-pity which is the flip side of Pride. This is a learned humility that comes with failure {like Peter}. It is the ability to put others before yourself. Paul told the Philippians… Make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. — Philippians 2:2-4 (CSB) Humility is not thinking little of yourself, it is not thinking of yourself period.
  6. BE FORGIVING: [V.9] Don’t pay back evil for evil or insult for insult. God said through Moses…“Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay.” Again, the LORD speaks through Isaiah the prophet…“Look, it is written in front of me: I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will repay them fully for your iniquities and the iniquities of yourfathers together,” says the LORD. [Isaiah 65:6-7] Jeremiah reminded the Jews that God would repay their enemies…“Before your very eyes, I will repay Babylon and all the residents of Chaldea for all their evil they have done in Zion.” [Jeremiah 51:24] Then Moses is quoted twice in the NT… Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord. [Romas 12:19 and Hebrews 10:30]
  7. BE A BLESSING: [V.9] Giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you may inherit a blessing. Then Peter quotes Psalm 34…

10 For the one who wants to love life and to see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit, 11 and let him turn away from evil and do what is good. Let him seek peace and pursue it, 12 because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do what is evil.

CONCLUSION

The last two virtues, BE FORGIVING and BE A BLESSING go together. Unless we are willing to forgive, we will not be a blessing. Unforgiveness will sap your joy and keep you from loving life and seeing good days. Sin has taken its toll on the entire human race: we have all been hurt by sin–there is no exception. We have all been the victims of injustice at one time or another. BUT, those of us who cling to GRACE have given justice to the LORD. We make no attempt to even the score–we leave that to God. This is why we enjoy life. We do not assume a responsibility that is not ours.

Take a look at history: has the LORD been faithful to take care of Israel’s enemies? Yes or no? You know it is a firm YES.

As I look back over 50 years of serving churches, there have been a lot of hurts, a lot of painful experiences but now I laugh about them. They were not pleasant at the time but I never tried to settle the score and it all worked out for my good. God has never failed to avenge me, not once. I could tell you story after story.

God will and is avenging the death of His Son. You and I don’t need to concern ourselves with His system of justice…The LORD can handle without our help.

Now you can turn a deaf ear to what I am saying and you can try to expidite God’s judgment but if you do, you will destroy any chance of having a good and blessed life.

Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watch maker and friend to the Jews. She and her family help many Jews escape the Nazi death camps but eventually, they were found out and arrested. Her father was murdered by the Nazi’s and she and her sister Betsey were put in  Ravensbruck, a death camp. While there Corrie was treated with contempt. Her sister Betsy was not strong enough to survive and Corrie was discharged because of a clerical error one week before all the women in the camp were executed. After the war, Corrie traveled the world as an advocate for Christ. She was speaking in a church [in Europe I suppose] when she spotted one of the Nazi guards in the congregation. Her heart almost stopped as all the horrors of that death camp flooding her mind. “What am I going to do LORD?” She prayed. “What if that man approaches me after the service? What am I going to do? What if he extends his hand in fellowship? His presence in the service was upsetting but she made it through. Sure enough, the guard approached her after the service and put out his hand with an apology. He told her his behavior was unforgiveable but that God had forgiven him and he wanted her forgiveness also. It was a hard moment for Corrie as she thought about forgiving this horrible man but the Spirit of grace in her finally moved her to extend her hand and her forgiveness.

Later Corrie said, “I learned to give my pain to the LORD. I would picture it as a rose and lay it at the feet of Jesus.” You can hold on to your pain if you want but you will forfiet any chance of having a blessed life.

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We Don’t Know

 

Scripture Text: John 14:1-6

1 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 
2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 
3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 
4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 
5 “No, we don’t know, Lord, Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 

Introduction

I really identify with two of Jesus disciples; Peter [because I am impetuous] and Thomas because I am a doubter. Thomas was honest about his doubts and those things that he did not understand. He said, LORD, “We don’t know the way. We have no idea where You are going or how to get there.”

Folks there is so much I do not know:

  • I don’t know why bad things happen to good people.
  • I don’t know why the innocent suffer.
  • I don’t know why some die young and others live to be old.
  • I don’t know why some seem to lead care-free lives and others have a difficult time.

But there are some things I do know and they require little are no faith:

I. I KNOW WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL
Eccl. 8:8–None of us have the power to prevent the day of death.

I. I KNOW LIFE IS SHORT

  • Moses said–Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away.
  • Job said–“How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble! We blossom like a flower and then wither. Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear.”
  • David said–LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. 
  • James said–Life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 

III. I KNOW THAT WE LIVE IN A FALLEN WORLD

IV. I KNOW THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN [Infinite, sovereign, good]

  • Romans 6:23–The wages of sin is death. We die because we are sinners.
  • Romans 5:12–When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.

IV. EVERYONE NEEDS A SAVIOR

  • The bible says in I Thessalonians 5:23 that we are body, soul and spirit. PROBLEM: we take care of our body’s needs and even our soul but we neglect the spirit.

Conclusion

There is one thing I have to accept by faith and that is–God loves me. Now I do believe that He loves me because the bible tells me so. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. God’s love is more than a feeling, it is a fact. By trusting God’s word, I have assurance that I am loved.

I talked with John last Monday and told him I would be here today. John didn’t call back every few hours and say, “Are you coming Bro. Jack?” Because he took me at my word. If we can trust a man, surely, we can trust God.

 

 

Wedlock or Deadlock

1 Peter 3 New Living Translation (NLT)

Wives

In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.

Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands. For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.

Husbands

7 In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

INTRODUCTION

Since it has been a while between messages; let me remind you that Peter is giving these believers instruction and encouragement on SUBMITTING TO AUTHORITY which has always been a sensitive issue. Tonight, it will get even more sensitive as we talk about SUBMISSION IN MARRIAGE.

I want to encourage everyone to relax, take a deep breath and remember that this is the LORD’s instruction to us, not my instruction to you. Tonight’s subject has been totally misunderstood by our present culture. SUBMISSION is not a bad word. Mr. Webster says that Submission is the condition of being submissive, humble or compliant…an act of submitting to the authority or control of another. The Greek word means to make oneself a subject to another. In other words, it is exercising the humility to serve another. It is a word that fits Christ who is our ultimate example in submission [Philippians 2:3-8]

In our present culture, we have more information on marriage and more self-helps than ever before in the history of mankind and yet divorce is epidemic. What is the problem? Well, I think it is safe to say, it is not due to lack of information but lack of understanding and one of the most misunderstood concepts is SUBMISSION and God’s order for the home. If I were on TV tonight, this message would ignite a media fire storm; that is how misunderstood this subject is.

I. FIRST MISCONCEPTION: MARRIAGE IS A BED OF ROSES

Chuck Swindoll tells about the couple who got married, got in a buggy or carriage to leave for their overnight room before leaving for their honeymoon and a few hundred feet from the church, the bride took the reins because she didn’t think a lot of the husbands driving and they were fighting before they could reach their cabin. A WEDDING is one thing, MARRIAGE is another. Good marriages don’t just happen. They are the product of hard work and sacrifice.

Peter begins this teaching with instructions to the wives of unsaved husbands. When we marry a lost person, our marriage begins with a major problem which explains why Paul told us not to marry unbelievers. Peter here, is exhorting wives with unsaved husbands to be submissive so that they can reach their husbands with a gentle and quiet spirit.

These unbelieving husbands will be won by what they see, not what they hear. We can’t nag people into the kingdom of God. The better question might be: what kind of woman does it take to reach a lost man?

  1. Submissiveness
  2. Pure
  3. Reverent
  4. Inward Beauty
  5. Gentle Spirit

Let me remind you that marriage is a test to see if we can be faithful, loyal and true. This is a part of our stewardship training for the next life.

Let’s talk for a moment about what Peter is not saying

  1. He is not saying that a woman should hag it up. He is not talking about hair rollers, sweat pants and no make up. He is not saying that it is wrong to wear make up or to fix your hair any more than he is saying don’t wear clothes. It is OK for a woman to fix herself up but she must understand that real beauty comes from the heart not the store.  Your character is more important than your appearance. Don’t rely on externals, eventually they will fail you.
  2. He is not saying that a woman is to submit to anything her husband asked. We don’t submit to any authority when we are asked to violate God’s laws and principles. Peter makes it clear in verse 6 that we are not to be intimidated. We are not to submit out of fear. SUBMISSION is the true sense of the word is voluntary. No one forced Christ to submit: He did it voluntarily. Submission is a choice, you can either submit or not submit.
  3. He is not saying that it will always be easy. Submission is costly. It is not always easy. Peter uses Sarah as an example. Some have used the argument, “Sure, it was easy for her, she was married to a Saint.” Evidently, you have not read your bible. Twice Abraham lied about his relationship with Sarah to protect his own hide. Plus, he comes in one day and tells her God has asked for their son and he is going to sacrifice him. Plus he moves every few months. He refuses to settle anywhere.

II. THE SECOND MISCONCEPTION IS THE TERM “WEAKER VESSEL” [V.7]

  • The most literal translation of this verse is the NASB…You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
  • The NIV and CSB translate it weaker partner. There is no word for ‘Vessel’ or ‘Partner’ in the Greek.
  • The NLT offers some explanation: In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

Peter is definitely referring to ‘physical weakness’ and nothing else. God made the man to be stronger physically. Are there exceptions? Sure, we have women weight lifters. I have a grand-daughter who won a weight lifting competition last Saturday. Am I happy about this? No! I have known women who wanted to prove that they could do anything a man could include arm wrestle. Personally, I am not attracted to women who lift weights. I don’t want to live with a woman who can beat me up. All Peter is saying is that normally, the man is physically stronger than the woman which can make intimidation a temptation for the man.

Equality is a misunderstood word: no two people are equal, to be so, they would have to be clones. We have to face the facts, some are more intelligent than others, some are more athletically inclined than others. There is no such thing as equality among men, let alone the sexes. In many ways, men are inferior to women. We can’t carry a baby on our hip for hours. We don’t cook and wash dishes as well–just kidding. I say they to get your attention but seriously, there are many ways in which a female is superior.

  • Women are more intuitive than men.
  • Women can operate from both sides of the brain: they can multi-task.
  • Women are more sensitive. Try getting a man to listen and understand what you are saying, or feeling.

Peter is not saying that women are inferior, he is saying they are different and I say, Praise the LORD for it! Personally, I have no desire to be like women. I am not about to match my intuitive skills with my wife because I am going to lose. I don’t play checkers with her for the same reason. I’m not going to work on my multi-tasking skills so I can be like her, it will not work and I’m not wasting my effort. She and I are different and I celebrate the difference.

Actually men and women were not made alike. Adam is the clay man, he was made from red dust. A man is dirt, water and breath but the woman was made from the man, not from dirt, not directly. God created the man but He fashioned the woman. In other words, He spent more time on her and it shows. Some have explained this difference by using Gold and Iron. The man is iron, he is harder and stronger but the woman is gold, she is purer and more valuable. There is something wrong when Gold wants to become Iron but we live in a sin cursed fallen world where values are inverted. Our society scoffs at righteousness and praises immorality. We promote the killing of innocent children and protest the slaughter of animals for food.

III. THE THIRD MISCONCEPTION IS GOD’S ORDER FOR THE HOME

Paul said in Ephesians 5:22-23, Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. [this truth is also stated in 1 Cor. 11:3] God does everything decently and in order [1 Cor. 14:40] God created three institution to make life meaningful: [1] The Home [2] Government [3] Church and He created them is this order. Everything in His creation is about ORDER and AUTHORITY. The goal of communism is to destroy one and three, the home and the church and make GOVERNMENT supreme but this is not God’s way and it will not work.

Not only did He create these three INSTITUTIONS, He designed them to have ORDER and AUTHORITY within the institution itself. Take the HOME for example: He created the man first, then the woman or wife, and then the children, in that order. The man is to be the head of the wife and both are in authority over the children. NOTE: everyone except the children are IN AUTHORITY and UNDER AUTHORITY. I Corinthians 11:3, But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ.

God would not establish such an ORDER if it were not for the good of mankind. Everything He does is to make your life better. Can you imagine life without a home, government [law and order] and your church? A husband has some authority but he does not have “all authority”, that has been given to Christ. A little child asked me one day [WEE Care], “Bro. Jack, do you have a boss?” I said, “I sure do, His name is Jesus” I use to have a bumper sticker on my truck, “My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter.” ANYONE WHO REBELS AGAINST GOD’S SYSTEM OF AUTHORITY IS GOING TO SUFFER MISERY.

Perhaps you are doubting me. Don’t doubt me, what Peter said last is true…Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. Some men do it but for some reason I can’t, I cannot mistreat my wife and then get up here and preach because I cannot preach if I cannot pray. The last thing I want is for may prayers to be hindered. You can doubt me if you want and you can doubt Peter but I don’t.