I Peter A Case Study In Living Victoriously Admidst Hostility & Persecution
A Living Hope!
I Peter A Case Study In Living Victoriously Amidst Hostility & Persecution
I Peter is a wonderful Book in the New Testament! Peter is judiciously astute at offering encouragement to suffering Christians! It is important to him with everything that was going on that they be assured during this time the Lord was with them! It is once again in the corridors of I Peter we find believers who are being maligned, mistreated, misundertstood and suffering because of their belief in Jesus Christ. Peter himself was beaten and put in prison for His steadfastness in his belief! He as well was doing and obediently living out the will of the Lord in His life!
Peter begins I Peter with a powerful salutation reassuring them that JESUS CHRIST 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 it is 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 …”
It is quite interesting because no different than NOW the Christians were being penalized for genuinely honoring Jesus Christ in their 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. Who had wanted to dominate and control JESUS of all people! Due to their spiritual blindness they could not see that He only wanted to enlightened them to a better way of living. So now after His resurrection and ascending to Heaven; now His followers were being suppressed! They were also pursued by the government for even the most minor infractions and worked along with the religious leaders to entrap then. 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. If one 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. One must really be prayerful and discerning!
Peter learned much from his experiences with the Lord! He encourages us to “Be holy, because I am Holy…” This is what the Lord tells us to do! Holiness means that we are dedicated to God we have been purchased for an invaluable price by the Blood of JESUS! I Peter tells us one must be aware and sincerely embrace and implement God’s principles in our lives, with this often comes much persecution. The gift of The Holy Spirit really should be a welcomed gift it WILL bring much comfort! 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 the believer! The Holy Spirit is accessible to teach, guide, help us better understand and instruct us in the Ways of the LORD! One must daily ask for His infilling presence. The freedom we have in Jesus Christ does not mean we can do whatever we want.
I Peter encourages us by letting us know that we are chosen by God! Our security and significance is only 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! We have a Living HOPE! 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 strategically placed in the path of believers! You are an open target for fiery darts from both sides. But be of good courage! “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…”
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 TRUST THE LORD! To truly embrace wholeheartedly the principle; The LORD is my SHEPHERD! This means that “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 strengthened!
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 has inherited! That in itself brings some interesting variables to the table! He is under a microscope as well as the weight of the world is upon his shoulders. Many who voted him in a few months later where ready to vote him out! How long do you think it takes him to find out what really is going on?
Notice the influx in the rise of racial discrimination. Are not police called to "protect & defend?" Rather than to shoot and kill and then think if they should have preserved life; especially when the crime was not life threatening? It is not by coincidence....Never the less the Lord has allowed this to be! 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 our President. If you are a Christian you are to pray for the President rather if you like him or not... The President represents the people! The LORD has allowed this to be as well.We as believers are to represent GOD! You have no idea of the pressure his position is under! With America in a flux a lot of “stuff” is flakey. Property values have plummeted, many businesses and banks closed, as well as the unemployment increased! Yet now they are slowly rising. Foreign and domestic terrorists are all around us! Trust and loyalty, commitment and family values have been hindered, compromised and put on the back burner! The United States government even "SHUT DOWN" because President Obama and the Senate could not reach and agreement...
LORD HELP US! But remember this is only for a season. All the signs are here we are nearing the latter part of the “last days!” We can always have HOPE in the LORD! PRAISE GOD for His Comforter His Holy Spirit!
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. 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 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 BLOOD of JESUS! We are to NOW live to righteousness! What is righteousness? It is living our lives to please HIM, His way, by implementing His principles each and everyday within our lives dependent on 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! Being a Christian is a 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 or coercion! Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd! Notice how 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!!!"
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 Him. 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…” Keep your eyes on Jesus! ~ "TO GOD BE THE GLORY!" FOREVER! & EVER!! ~