Vs. 15, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” I like John’s style of explaining things…this chapter focuses now on our relationship with Christ. There are many things that can keep us from the Love of Christ…the hatred of others, the love of the world, the false teachings of others, the denial of God in our life… Jesus is our advocate, Jesus is our example and Jesus is our commander. He helps us against our enemies and Jesus is the source of our hope!
Regarding application…Walking. Vs. 6, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” Before there were planes, trains & automobiles =)…there was walking. It still is the main source of how we get from point “A” to point “B”. Imagine if you didn’t have the ability to walk. We truly take the simple act of walking for granted. Yet, I believe we take the our Spiritual walk for granted even more. For Christians…there is no denying it…We claim to be “In Christ!” Yet..talking the talk vs. walking the walk are two very different things. Why is it that Christians complain and cry out “Woe is me” when trials and tough times come? Why is that these trials make us question God’s love? Because…we don’t know God’s word! If we truly did…we would realize that the walk Jesus took was filled with joys & trials.
Remember the movie “Forrest Gump”? There was a time in the life of Forrest that he could not walk well…and as he got older and went back home…he decided to not only start walking but jogging across America. It became a phenomon in the movie as many followers began to run with Forrest. But when asked where he was going or why he was doing it…Forrest didn’t really have an answer…he just did it. But we don’t just walk for no reason. We walk with deliberation and conviction. We are called to go down the path less traveled. We must walk with Jesus. You must walk with Jesus. Why? Because He lives in us!
This letter was composed sometime around 85-90 A.D. with the intent to remove doubts and resssure young Christians about who Jesus was. John is the same author who wrote the Gospel of John…and he was older now and perhaps the only surviving apostle at this time. This is the same John that would walk & talk with Jesus, watch Jesus die, met Jesus after He rose from the dead and saw Jesus go up to Heaven. It’s safe to say that John knew who the Lord was…and that love would convey itself in this letter. John also wrote this letter to counter false teachers.
Vs. 9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” What a great verse to memorize…all Christians should have this verse memoried and written on our minds & hearts. We see John testifying of the magnificent truth about Jesus in the first section of this chapter. Jesus was and is as real to John now just as Jesus was real when He was with John on earth. Though our lives at times are filled with sorrow & trials, God also wants us to have that eternal joy in having that relationship with Him (Vs. 4). But, John also challenges us to have a “honest” relationship with Jesus (Vs. 6)
Regarding application…Test of Obedience. Vs. 6, “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” Question: Are you in true fellowship with Jesus? This past Sunday, I spoke on Mary’s love to Jesus with the anointing of oil. Fellowship with Jesus is loving him and love others. But, deceit began in the Garden of Eden has been a constant enemy in our lives. Deceit is part of this whole thing we can sin. It’s not that real Christians don’t sin…sin in the life of a believer can break our fellowship with Jesus, but it does not break our eternal salvation! When you get in a heated argument with your parent…our relationship can suffer for awhile, but it doesn’t mean that they are going to no longer call you their child. We are saved from the consequences of sin by Jesus’ death…and yet we are saved daily from their power of sin because of Jesus’ life in us (Holy Spirit & Jesus’ Intercession). As we grow & mature in the Lord, we realize that we want to make “Every effort” to not sin for it grieves the Lord so. Thankfully, it is not by what we do that saves us…it is what Jesus did! God’s Love is truly Amazing!
Vs. 8, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” It was not an easy time for the Christians during Peter’s letter. You can see Peter’s strong admonition to stay true to God’s Word (Vs. 2). We should never be ignorant (not knowing) of God’s Word…we know that Jesus will return, therefore we should never forget it and live like He could return today. I love Vs. 9 and how it reminds us that God has chosen not to come back yet because of His desire for us to make sure we are doing our job to go out and bear witness of Him! We must be diligent in our walks & always be alert of the traps & mines that can come along our path. We must grow both in the knowledge (His Word) & the grace (Walking with Him) of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Regarding application…Make Every Effort! Vs.14, “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” In other translations “dear friends” = Beloved. Think about this… Question: What really matters in this life? There are many worthwhile things to pursue in this life…Godly friendships, good grades in school, good career to support a family one day, find a good church…etc. But, the heart of the matter…what really matters is asking yourself…what is true objective of my life? My goals or God’s goals? God’s Goals or My Goals? You cannot choose both. You must choose one.
I loved the child book story of the “Little Engine That Could.” The whole premise is this little “choo choo” train having to go up this enourmous mountain. It is a daunting task and it seem impossible by all human standards. Yet the “little engine that could” had this mantra (saying)…rather than feels sorry for itself or say, “I can’t do it”…the “little engine that could” kept on repeating these words…”I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, etc…” It’s a wonderful story to show not only children but all of us a illustration about life. But for the Christian…”I think I can” should really translate to “I know God can, I know God can, I know God can….” When we “Make Every Effort” to die to ourselves, God can do anything His will desires in our life. Amen!
Vs. 1, “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.” We should never underestimate the danger of false teachers. Please note: Keep in mind that a false teacher is not a person who teaches false doctrine out of ignorance. Throughout history, many great teachers over time have and do hold different interpretations to minor matters…but false teachers are professed believers who know the truth but who deliberately teach lies in the hope of promoting themselves or getting financial gain from their followers. But we know God will ultmately condemn them for their selfish greed. I like the fact that Peter doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to this very serious topic.
Regarding application…Sad Reality. Vs. 21, “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.” Pastor John Vernon McGee would once say after his sermons…“Friends, if you came in here today unsaved and you walk out of here unsaved, I am the worst enemy that you have ever had, because you have heard the gospel and you can never go into the presence of God and tell Him that you have never heard the gospel. You have heard it, and it will be worse for you when God pronounces judgment than for any heathen in the darkest part of the earth today.” This reminds me of Judas Iscariot…Jesus would say it would have been better if Judas had never been born. This is different from those of us who know what is right, but the flesh is weak. These are people who deliberately strive to hurt the church and all that it has worked for. Let us be discerning children of God so we can not only keep from being duped…but also help others be able to keep from following such false teachers.
Peter’s second letter was written shortly after the first one…around 66 A.D. This letter was written a little before his martyrdom…Peter could sense his end was near. Peter puts up warning signs against many of the so called Christians abandoning their faith and going to false beliefs. The storm clouds are approaching and Peter hopes to warn all Christians on how to fight the good fight. One of those weapons is knowing the Word & knowing Jesus Christ in our daily lives. The christian life is more than “born again”…it is a continual process of maturity & growth.
Vs. 3, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” The definitive word here is “knowledge”…God has given us His Word as a precious gift. We see the emphasis of growing in His knowledge from Vs. 5-11, as we possess all of these qualities we grow and are able to continue to be used powerfully by the Lord. As we look at Scripture, we see the that all of this prophecy has its roots in Jesus Christ & inspired by His Holy Spirit…there is no need to ever doubt the truth!
Regarding application…Always Remind. Vs. 12, “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.” Question: Why would Peter be stressing this so importantly? Because Peter knew his days were numbered. Perhaps if he knew he would live to a ripe old age…the urgency wouldn’t be there…but knowing his days were numbered, he was compelled to urgently remind all those who would listen how important it was to continue to grow in the Lord…even if they had it in their head knowledge, he was still going to remind them. Peter might have sounded like a broken record, but we can never remind each other enough to love & grow in our Lord Jesus Christ. That is why we have church, that is why we turn to the Lord in our daily devotions, that is why we have Christian accountability (S.A.G.)…the moment we arrogantly think we don’t need to be reminded…well…that’s a pretty powerful indicator that our heart has grown cold.
Vs. 8, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” As Peter closes this letter, we see that he wants us all to remember our battle is not against flesh & blood. No matter what transpires or what suffering we may have, we are called to remain faithful to the work God has given us (Vs. 1-5). We are also reminded to be humble and think of others as better than ourselves (Vs. 5-7). And lastly, we need to be ever watchful of the enemy and be alert like a shepherd in the night with his sheep (Vs. 8-11). And the culminating factor will be that as we endure to do these exhortations, one day we will eternally be with our Lord & Savior!
Regarding application…Legalism Vs. Willing Heart. Vs. 2, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be…” While Peter is addressing the official leaders in the church, I absolutely believe this admonishment applies to us all! God doesn’t call us to serve the church and then see our heartless attitude. What if you asked a favor from a friend and were really hoping they could help you…and their response is, “Okay, I guess…” and their shoulders sulk and their attitude of their face & actions show they really would rather do something else. Question: How would you feel? First off, not much of a friend…you would probably feel bad for asking them to do that favor…and maybe remember not to ask them again in the future. We should never do things simply because God has commanded it….we should do it because of a willing heart. When we begin to complain or have that bad attitude…simply look to the cross and remember the blood that was shed for you. If that isn’t inspiration enough…than nothing in this life will ever be.
Vs. 1, “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.” Peter has already addressed everyday suffering, but now he tells of specific persecution & suffering to come. We are reminded that when we suffer it really is a road to purification (Vs. 1-6) But another real plus to suffering that it most definitely will unite a church who seeks to do His will (Vs. 7-11). But the greatest factor of suffering is the fact that when we suffer, Christ is glorified. Christ is Glorified = We suffer. We suffer = Christ is glorified. This should be a stark lesson on why we should never complain when we suffer.
Regarding application…Loving Covers Sins. Vs. 8, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” What a wonderful verse! This is one of my favorite reminders about love in the Bible! Fact #1 – No one is righteous…in other words…no one is ever going to be perfect. Everyone is going to hurt you at some point in your life. Fact #2 – We are to love with the love of Christ. Not our own ability to love, but to love through the eyes & heart of Christ. Love still loves no matter what. If this were truly practiced…there should never ever be a divorce between believers. If this were to happen…people would stop holding grudges and sins against each other.
Show me a church where there is love, and I will show you a church that is a power in the community. In Chicago a few years ago a little boy attended a Sunday school program. When his parents moved to another part of the city the little fellow still attended the same Sunday school, although it meant a long, tiresome walk each way. A friend asked him why he went so far, and told him that there were plenty of others just as good nearer his home.
“They may be as good for others, but not for me,” was his reply.
“Why not?” she asked.
“Because they love really love me over there,” he replied.
Vs. 15, “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.” AMEN! This is one of the many reasons why we read His Word…so that we always have a response to give with love & gentleness. Christian women should remember that beauty truly comes from the inside, not the exterior (Vs. 2-4). Christian men should treat their wives with gentle love and honor (Vs. 7). We also are reminded of the word we don’t like to hear, but it is one all Christians must come to grip with…”suffering.” Anybody can suffer for doing wrong, but Christians must learn to suffer for doing what is right. Of course, Jesus is the example for us to follow.
Regarding application…Humble Responses To Insults. Vs. 9, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” Peter encourages Christians to act like & respond like Jesus. He endured suffering and ridicule without a vindicative response. There is a contrast between our natural tendency as human beings, to get even when we are offended versus with the way we should act as believers. Now…for a little “context” lesson…who are those who Peter is admonishing us not to repay evil with evil? Look no further than Vs. 8…Peter was not addressing some evil Roman pagan empire or the false prophets and teachers…Peter was addressing those who belonged to the family of God. Christians were paying evil for evil towards each other…the ramifications are obvious. If the outside world saw supposed Christians treating each other like this…than what would be the point of church if they act just like the rest of the world? Unfortunately, this same exhortation exists for us today. Most of us have probably been a part of a church split or seeing congregations get rid of Pastors etc… It’s moments like these that we see the church not practicing true love from Christ. Let us throw off that attitude like we deserve something and remember that if Jesus the very Son of God could humble himself before His own creation…than we could surely humble ourselves with each other.
Vs. 24, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” Suffering. Not a very pleasant word to think about, huh? Yet, Peter would address this topic and show us that we are not the only ones who would suffer…Jesus set the example for us. We must desire to grow and the only way to do that is taking the spiritual food so that we can endure the sufferings in this world (Vs. 2-3). We are also reminded as Peter quotes both Isaiah & Pslams how Jesus is our conerstone (Vs. 4-8). As Christians, we may think that the only one we need to obey is God, but Peter reminds us as people who bear Jesus’ name, it our duty to respect and obey the law of the land that we live in. If we don’t we could lose our testimony…so long as it does not go directly against the Bible (example: Sharing Christ).
Regarding application…Declaring God in Our Life. Vs. 9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Question: How do we delcare the praises of Him? By being a living “testimony” of how God worked and works and will work in your life! How do you know how to live a Christian life? Sure you can learn it from the Bible, but it enhances our learning process when we see it from other believers. That’s why church is so very important. When we obey & show our testimony of living for Jesus, we can teach someone by how we live in a very effective & perhaps even faster way if they simply just learned about God on their own. The power of declaring God and what He has done for us can change peoples lives! You are all teachers for God simply by the way you live for Him!
The Apostle Peter wrote what you are about to read while he was in Rome in A.D. 63 or 64. As you read to his words, keep in mind that Peter knew what it meant to deny Jesus, to endure beatings, to be threatened and soon he would be martyred for his loyalty to Christ. He had also seen his friends die and the church scattered. But Peter knew Christ and nothing could shake his confidence in his risen Lord. So Peter wrote to the suffering church that was spread throughout the Roman world. He comforts them with the hope of eternal life and challenges them to live holy lives loyal to Christ. (NIV Audio Bible)
Vs. 23, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” Peter exhorts us all on how to live in this crazy world. We have hope we hold onto that literally is “living” and grows (Vs. 3)…not just a living, but also a lasting hope! This hope leads to faith…a faith that is not tested is a faith that cannot be trusted. Hope also should lead us to live a life of holiness (Vs. 13-21). Such a simple word, but so hard to live by. Holiness means to live “set apart” from the world. Remember, if we are not “set apart” from the world, that means we are putting the world first and that translates into “hatred towards God.” Let God’s enduring Word change these wretched hearts of ours.
Regarding application…How are Christians to Love? Vs. 22, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” Answer: Love deeply from the heart! Question: How do we love sincerely and deeply? Answer: Obey God’s Word/Truth! Do you see where this is going? We cannot love sincerely & deeply if we are not rooted in God’s Word! We may be able to grasp a little of what love is…but in order to live and love the church & its people…we must first walk daily with Jesus. Question: Are you loving your brothers & sisters deeply? If you pray for sincere & deep love….God will honor a heart that truly desires & believes it’s possible.