I Peter: A Case Study in Living Victoriously Amidst Hostility & Persecution
A Living Hope!
I Peter A Case Study In Living Victoriously Amidst Hostility & Persecution
This New Testament book of I Peter is a wonderful book brimming with excitement. The Apostle Peter is judiciously astute at offering wisdom and encouragement to suffering Christians. Here Peter fulfills the commission he was given by Jesus Christ. It is important to him with everything that was going on that they be assured during this time the Lord was spiritually still with them. It is once again in the corridors of I Peter we find believers who are being maligned, mistreated, misunderstood and suffering because of their belief in Jesus Christ. Peter himself was brutally beaten and put in prison for His steadfastness in his faith endowed belief. He as well was obediently living out and accomplishing the will of the Lord within His life.
Peter begins I Peter with a powerful salutation reassuring them all that CHRIST JESUS had given them a wonderful “imperishable inheritance that can never spot or fade!”
Gold is a great illustration of what happens in the life of believers. When gold is actually subjected to intense heat the impurities are burned away but the pure gold remains. The Key Verse is: “These has come that your FAITH of greater worth than gold which perishes even though refined by fire may be proved genuine and may result in Praise, Glory, Honor when JESUS is revealed …”
Seek GOD Above ALL!
It is quite interesting because no different than NOW the Christians were being penalized for genuinely honoring Jesus Christ in their daily life. Here in the Book of I Peter they were being socially and economically oppressed because they were a perceived threat to the current organized religious system. How interesting, of all people, the religious leaders wanted to dominate and control JESUS. They did not want their current practices or traditions to be altered. Due to their spiritual blindness they could not fathom that He only wanted to enlightened them to a better way of living.
Now after His resurrection and ascending to Heaven; once again Jesus' followers were being oppressed. They were also being pursued by the government for even the most minor infractions, who worked alongside the religious leaders to entrap them. The religious leaders were more interested in their positions of authority than in embracing and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ! They even went so far to divide their families as well as lie about the resurrection. If one of them became a believer they were penalized.
Today there is much orchestration and conspiracy and subterfuge that goes on under the radar that most believers as well as non-believers are not aware of it. Some continue to attempt to divide your family and discredit you as well. Don't fret know God is sovereign. He is totally aware. Learn to place those you love on; "GODWATCH!" We serve a Omnipotent GOD in HIS time HE will intervene... One must remain cautious, patient, trust God and really be prayerful and discerning.
"GOD WILL FIGHT YOUR BATTLES!"
We serve an all-knowing GOD! Faith is one of our greatest spiritual assets. We must not resort to worldly tactics. God is the Author and Finisher of our faith. We can trust Him completely. However we must know His Word. We are to then learn how to firmly "STAND" upon the TRUTH of GOD'S WORD. We must never seek vengeance. However we must also learn to guard our hearts from those who collude with others against us. With the help of the Lord we can rise above whatever comes our way and look to God for strength. He is above ALL and CAN KEEP us from falling. By God's Grace; "we CAN OVERCOME evil with GOOD!"
Peter learned much from his experiences while following Jesus. He encourages us to embrace the Word. “Be holy, because I am Holy…” This is what God tells us to do. Holiness means that we are dedicated to God and we have been purchased for an invaluable price by the precious BLOOD of JESUS! I Peter tells us one must be aware and sincerely embrace and implement God’s principles in our own lives, with this often comes much persecution. The precious Gift of The Holy Spirit, His Comforter really should be a welcomed GIFT. His Holy Spirit will bring us much comfort and peace. It goes much deeper than the babbling and emotional outbursts that we so often see today...
"BE STILL & KNOW that I AM GOD..."
When Jesus ascended to heaven after his crucifixion He did not leave us alone. Upon the profession of your faith and belief in Jesus Christ, His precious Holy Spirit, His Comforter comes and abides within us as believers. The Holy Spirit is accessible to teach, guide, direct, protect and help us better understand and instruct us in the Ways of the Lord. His Holy Spirit will lead us to ALL TRUTH! One must ask for His infilling presence when necessary. The freedom we have in Jesus Christ does not mean we can do whatever we want.
God will give you His peace that surpasses the understanding of man through His Holy Spirit! THANK YOU LORD! The only Mediator between God and man Is Christ Jesus!
I Peter encourages us by letting us know that we are chosen by God. Our true security and significance can only be found in the Lord! No trial or manmade test can ever take away the gift of God’s precious Holy Spirit, His marvelous "Plan of Salvation" and gift of Eternal Life! Once attained we have a LIVING HOPE! We are "SAVED" by the Grace of God. This earth is not our home and we are just passing through. But one must be aware of the trappings, pitfalls and landmines that are often strategically placed in the path of believers. You are an open target for fiery darts from both sides. But be of good courage. Keep Yourself daily adorned within the Spiritual Armor of GOD
“As you come to Him the LIVING STONE rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to HIM you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house… But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a Holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful LIGHT…”
There is True SUCCESS in GOD
Did you know that true SUCCESS is really only found in knowing GOD! Knowing that He is without doubt the “Author and Finisher of your Faith” is important. YOU CAN FOREVER TRUST THE LORD! One must first learn to truly embrace wholeheartedly the principle; The LORD is my SHEPHERD! This means that you fully believe His Word when it says; “Ye though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear NO evil, for GOD is with me...” It is during trials your FAITH is or can also be strengthened!
Look at what has been happening around us
Yes, we are to submit ourselves to the governing authorities. We are to pay our taxes and obey the laws of the land. Note the disparity our current government is under. Notice the enormous deficit that President Obama the first President of Color of America inherited. That in itself brings some interesting variables to the table. He was under a microscope as well as the weight of the world was upon his shoulders. Many who voted him in a few months later where ready to vote him out! How long do you think it took him to find out what really was going on? Notice the scandalous presidential race between President Trump against Hillary Clinton. Notice what happened under President Trump's Administration…
The United States government even "SHUT DOWN" because President Obama and the Senate could not reach and agreement. This also happened again under President Trump's administration.
Discrimination is evident... We are living in a spiritual war zone. Are not police called to "protect & defend?" Rather than to shoot and kill people of Color and then think if they should have preserved life; especially when the crime was not life threatening? Why so many people of Color killed? This is not by coincidence... Notice down the years the increase in numerous senseless mass shootings? We can learn much from history. It is in times like this we as a nation and world need to turn to the LORD rather than away from HIM! We are to pray for the President. If you are a Christian you are to pray for the President rather if you like him/her or not... The President represents what the people voted for. The LORD has allowed this to be; as for whatever reason?
Now please do continue to PRAY for President Biden & Vice President Harris. May they also PRAY and look to GOD for direction. We must look at the continuing effects of; The Pandemic Pestilence & Plague of the notorious Coronavirus and its variants. For it has changed the environmental safety throughout the world. Millions have died. LORD HELP US!
Notice the influx in the rise of racial discrimination. The 2021 Coup to overthrow the government incited by President Trump brought much resentment and hate to light. It also brought to the forefront the "Systemic Racism" that continues. Notice the difference in which the protestors or should I say rebels were treated... LORD HELPS US!
Regardless of who is President we as believers are to represent GOD!
PRAY for our country's stability. Pray for America to embrace the principles it was founded upon. With America in a flux a lot of “stuff” is flakey. During the recession at one point property values plummeted, many businesses and banks closed, as well as the unemployment increased. Now during the calamity of the Coronavirus Pandemic, they are steadily rising. Yet, the unemployment was higher than ever and the country has been divided... Foreign and domestic terrorists are all around us... Now Russia is at war with the Ukraine and continues to incite division throughout the land... Trust and loyalty, commitment and family values have been hindered, compromised and put on the back burner by many.
LORD HELP US! But remember this is all only for a season. All the signs are here we are steadily nearing the latter part of the “Last Days!” YES, THESE ARE THE "PERILOUS DAYS!" However; We can always have HOPE in the LORD! PRAISE GOD for HIS HOLY SPIRIT / HIS COMFORTER!
I Peter gives us wonderful insight how to respond when going through persecution and oppression. “But if you suffer for doing GOOD and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were the called, Christ suffered for you leaving and example, that you should FOLLOW IN HIS STEPS!” WHAT DID JESUS DO? “When they hurled insults at Him, He did not retaliate, when HE suffered, He made no threats. At times HE simply remained silent... Instead He TRUSTED Himself to HIM who judges justly.”
It is here in I Peter we learn that Jesus’ suffering was for a greater purpose. It was for then, for us NOW as well as FOR in the future. Dying for our sins on the cross, He redeemed us from the curse of original sin. We have inherited what is called “Substitutionary Atonement!” Jesus amended and atoned for the enmity between us and GOD. God has showered His GRACE upon us. We have been restored and now are given Eternal Life. There really is POWER in the precious BLOOD of JESUS! We are to NOW live to righteousness. We are to live to sin less and less... What is righteousness? It is living our lives to please GOD, His way, by implementing and embracing His principles each and everyday within our lives dependent upon His Holy Spirit!
We the people are GOD'S CHURCH not the “brick and mortar, stucco buildings we gather together in!”
God never intended that His “church” become a mere weekend activity. GOD'S CHURCH is to exist within the home of believers... Being a Christian is a everyday fulltime lifestyle! One must become anchored in the Lord when going through. Know as a believer you are a living stone. Christ Jesus is the Chief foundational corner stone! As children of God we are to be peacemakers. Being a peacemaker is not a passive role. When conflict is apparent we are to bring it to the forefront so we can seek resolve “GOD'S WAY!” Making peace is really harder than war. It takes the Love of God and discipline to respond with patience than impulsively react.
“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are Blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. ALWAYS be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the HOPE that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is GOD’S WILL to suffer for doing GOOD than for evil. For CHRIST died for sins once and for all, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring to GOD…”
I Peter contains instructions for righteous living for wives, and husbands, men and women, young and old. He also tells the elders that they are to “shepherd GOD’S FLOCK” faithfully. To lead by example and not by force, manipulation, power, or coercion. Christ Jesus is the Chief Shepherd. We ALL are HIS Sheep Notice how the Apostle Peter does not try to put himself above them. He says “I appeal as a fellow Elder a witness of Christ’s sufferings…” Peter was a pillar of the Church. It is important to know that God sees all we do. God’s recognition is more important than the praise of others. "The gates of hell will not prevail against HIS CHURCH!!!"
"BE GOD'S CHURCH EVERYDAY & EVERYWHERE!"
Peter is often referred to because of his fear that led up to him denying Jesus before being crucified. It was His Faith in Jesus that allowed him to get out the boat and walk on the water to Jesus. It was only when he took his eyes off Jesus he began to sink! But at least he got out of the boat. Sometimes it may seem like suffering lasts forever… Although it was true before Peter received the Holy Spirit he wavered. Peter names means “petros” stone or rock. Here in I Peter he stands boldly and proclaims the TRUTH of the WORD. He says” Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the FAITH, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are going through the same kind of sufferings…”
Live everyday for the Lord. Stay in HIS WORD! Keep your eyes on Jesus! ~ "TO GOD BE THE GLORY!" FOREVER! & EVER!! BLESS HIS HOLY NAME!!!