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Service Archives > 60 1 & 2 Peter - Rock Solid - 2013 > How to Attract Flies

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How to Attract Flies
1 Peter 3:8-12
Skip Heitzig

1 Peter 3 (NKJV™)
8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;
9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
10 For "He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.
11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil."

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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60 1 & 2 Peter - Rock Solid - 2013

The old saying "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar" fits perfectly with Peter's letter. He's been telling Christians how to live in plain view of the unbelieving world. Now he goes into the church and tells us how to treat each other. It's his hope that an exhibition of real, Christian love will provide a base of satisfying fellowship for us and attract unbelievers. But how?

When Jesus asked his disciples. "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" Peter responded "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus promised Peter that upon the Rock of that confession He would build His church.

The truth of who Jesus is empowers common man to speak the message that opens the doors of heaven to sinners. Join us to learn strong principles for godly living and reach new heights in our faith as we work our way through Peter's epistles—writings which evangelize the lost and instruct the church. Pastor Skip Heitzig guides us through First and Second Peter in the series Rock Solid.

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Outline

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  1. By Our General Attitude (v. 8)

  2. By Our Gentle Response (v. 9)

  3. By Our Genuine Motivation

    1. Because Scripture Speaks to Us (vv. 10-11)

    2. Because God Evaluates Us (v. 12)

CONNECT QUESTIONS

  1. What does it mean to be of one mind?

  2. Love among God's people is important. According to John 13:35, how will others know we are disciples of Christ?

  3. In this passage, Peter gives us a picture of love. How can we love others practically?

  4. Peter knew we would be hurt by others. But how did he tell us to respond (see v. 9)?

  5. If we do this, what will we inherit (see vv. 9, 13)?

  6. What did God reveal to you in this passage?

  7. Is there anything that applies directly to you or to someone you know? How can you take aim at changing a negative behavior in a biblical way?

  8. Who was this passage originally directed to?

  9. How does this passage apply to believers?

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. As followers of Jesus, the watchword isn't me, but you
    2. "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar" —Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac
    3. First Peter 2:11-3:12 deals with how believers live their lives before an unbelieving world
    4. Three areas of social interaction: government, workplace, home
      1. Our general role in all of these? Submission
      2. Fourth area: the church—"all of you" (3:8)
    5. Tertullian records Roman government sending spies into churches (2nd century AD)
    6. How to attract flies? By three sweet things…
  2. By Our General Attitude (v. 8)
    1. Five-fold description of the attitude of the believer is summed up in one word: love (see Matthew 20:37-40)
    2. Be of one mind, or like-minded
      1. Does not mean uniformity
      2. "If two people agree on everything, one of them isn't thinking"
      3. Early church disagreements and arguments
        1. Paul and Barnabas argued over John Mark (Acts 15:37-39)
        2. Apostles argued over who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Mark 9:33-34, Luke 22:24)
      4. Having one mind = cooperation in the midst of diversity
        1. Jesus prayed for this (John 17:20-21)
        2. We must agree on the core issues of Christianity
    3. Having compassion
      1. Sumpathes (Greek), meaning to feel an emotion or to hurt together
      2. First, think the same things; now, feel the same things
      3. "Your hurt in my heart"
      4. Romans 12:15, 1 Corinthians 12:26
    4. Love as brothers
      1. Or, love one another as brothers should
      2. Perhaps Peter had Andrew in mind as he wrote this
      3. 1 John 3:14
    5. Be tenderhearted
      1. Eusplagchnos (Greek), literally meaning having good bowels; intestines, kidneys, or guts were where the deepest emotions were believed to have resided
      2. Be deeply concerned for others
      3. The church ought to be the place where the walking wounded feel at home
    6. Be courteous
      1. Or be humble-minded; this was considered weakness in Greco-Roman culture
      2. Humility is the grease that keeps the gears of relationships running smoothly
      3. "I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other and the taller you grew in Christian grace, the more easily you could take them. I have now come to realize that God's gifts are on shelves one below the other, and it's not a matter of growing taller but of stooping lower" —paraphrased from F.B. Meyer
  3. By Our Gentle Response (v. 9)
    1. Bless back that you might get a blessing
    2. This might have been a topic close to Peter's heart (see Matthew 26:51-52)
    3. What separates Christianity from all other belief systems, including Judaism?
      1. We love our enemies
      2. Jews had to have laws to limit vengeance: lex talionis (Latin; see Exodus 21)
      3. Imprecatory Psalms
    4. Persecutions on earth today will add blessings to you in heaven tomorrow (Matthew 5:11-12)
  4. By Our Genuine Motivation (vv. 10-12)
    1. Why should we do any of this?
    2. Because God says so in His Word
      1. Peter quotes the Old Testament (Psalm 34)
      2. It takes the whole Bible to make a whole believer
      3. This is the way to have a good life: if you love life, then love people
      4. Joie de vivre (French), describes someone who is a lover of life—vs. Solomon (see Ecclesiastes 2:17)
    3. Because God is watching
      1. Watching = superintending, watching over with care, protecting, listening to
      2. You don't need to worry about the people who do you evil; God sees it, notices, and will take care of it
    4. This whole passage (1 Peter 3:8-12) describes God's character (Romans 5:8)
  5. Closing
    1. We are not the company of the faultless; we are the company of the forgiven
    2. We should open our doors to the unlovely and the hurting and show Christ's love
    3. That's how to attract flies

Figures Referenced:  Benjamin Franklin, Tertullian, F.B. Meyer

Greek/Hebrew words:  sumpathes, eusplagchnos

Cross references:  Exodus 21, Psalm 34, Ecclesiastes 2:17, Matthew 5:11-12, Matthew 20:37-40, Matthew 26:51-52, Mark 9:33-34, Luke 22:24, John 17:20-21, Acts 15:37-39, Romans 5:8, Romans 12:15, 1 Corinthians 12:26, 1 Peter 2:11-3:7, 3:8-12, 1 John 3:14


Topic: Love

Keywords: love, church, relationships, witness, unbelievers, non-Christians, blessing, enemies, humility, compassion, one mind

Transcript

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Pastor Skip Heitzig guides us through First and Second Peter in the series Rock Solid.

We're doing a series in the book of First and Second Peter called Rock Solid. Peter was one of the early disciples of Jesus. Imagine getting to hang out with him, and listening to him, watching him. And so we've had the privilege of studying what he has to say in First Peter, chapter 3. How many of you have toddlers? Raise your hands, I want to see. Okay, just notice all the people so you can pray for them. [laughter] How many of you had toddlers? Okay, you've had them. How many of you are toddlers? Raise your hand. [laughter] Just kidding.

You know, toddlers have their own rules. You know that, right? There's like a whole set of laws just for toddlers. And the following are the "Property Laws for Toddlers": Number one; if I like it, it's mine. If it's in my hand, it's mine. If I can take it from you, it's mine. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine. If it's mine, it's must never appear to be yours in any way. Number six; if I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine. If it looks just like mine, it's mine. If I saw it first, it's mine."

"If you're playing with something and you put it down, automatically mine. And, finally, if it's broken, it's yours." [laughter] Although it says here in parentheses, (No, the pieces are probably still mine.) Hey, that's fine for toddlers, but it's certainly not fine for mature believers in Christ. As followers of Jesus the watchword isn't mine, but yours; not me, but you; not self, but others. The title of my message this morning is "How to Attract Flies." Yeah, that's exactly it, "How to Attract Flies."

Let me tell you where I'm coming from. Back in 1744 a saying was written in Poor Richard's Almanack attributed to Benjamin Franklin. It's the old saying that says, "You'll catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar." Now, anybody from a developing country visiting America would scratch their heads at that little saying like, "Why would you ever want to attract flies to begin with?" But the point of that is simply this: when you have a sweeter approach, a nicer approach, you are going to be more successful in achieving your goals than if you're mean and cantankerous.

You'll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar. So why am I calling the message "How to Attract Flies"? For this reason: the entire section that we have been studying the last several weeks, beginning in chapter 2, verse 11, all the way to where we are now is all dealing with how we as believers live our lives on the stage of this world. The unbelieving world is watching us very carefully. And it could be, it could be, that by the way we live our lives in all of those areas, we actually attract the antagonist and attract the adversary. And so he's already told us some ways to do that.

We continue in chapter 3, verse 8, where he says, "Finally," or to sum up what I've been saying. "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil, reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For 'He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it."

"'For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.' "Now let me just bring you back up to speed to where we've been studying the last few weeks. You know that Peter has been talking about the three major areas of social interaction: in society, or our relationship to government; at the workplace, or our relationship to our employer; and in the home, husbands' and wives' relationship to each other. That's what we've been talking about the last few weeks.

We have also noted that Peter says the general role for all of us in all of those roles can be summed up by one word. Remember what it is? Submission: submit to authority, wives submit to their husbands, servant to their masters, etcetera. Now Peter takes us to a fourth area of social interaction. And this is restricted now only to the Christian believer, and that is, the church. As believers we live in society, we have jobs, we have marriages, but we also have a family of believers. That's why he says, "Finally, all of you," verse 8. He's writing to Christian believers who interact with each other.

Now, the world is going to watch us in our relationship to government. And they're going to be able to see us in our relationship to our employer. And they're going to be able to look into our marriages and see how we do that. But most of them are not going to come into the church and check us out. Now some will, some will come to our meetings, but certainly they're going to see how we deal with each other when we're out in the world. And it could be, it could be that we are so compelling in our testimony that we actually attract those unbelievers by the way we treat each other.

Listen to this: in the second century A.D. a guy by the name of Tertullian, a church historian, said that the Roman government was so suspicious of churches because they were growing so rapidly that they would send spies into the church to check them out. One of the spies reported back to the Roman government, and I'll quote it to you: "These Christians are very strange people. They meet in an empty room to worship. They have no image. They speak of one by the name of Jesus, who is absent, but whom they seem to be expecting at any moment."

And they concluded by saying, "And my, how they love him and how they love one another." What a compelling, attractive testimony to be able to see in the lives of believers. So looking in these verses I want to look at three sweet things that can attract flies. Number one is our attitude, number two is our response, and number three is our motive or motivation. So, first of all, we do so by our general attitude; second, by our gentle response; and third, by our genuine motivation. Let's look at our attitude.

Verse 8, "Finally," or to sum it up, my final words in this subject, "all of you," all of you Christians believers that I am writing this letter to, "all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous." Now, we have a five-fold description, and I'm going to unravel quickly each one of those for you. But the five-fold description of the general attitude of the believer, it could all be summed up in one word, one word---love. Just like Jesus summed up the whole law in one word, love, so our relationships should be summed up by this one word, love.

But we have a five-fold description. Notice the first: "Finally, all of you be of one mind," or the word "like-minded" some translations say, "be like-minded." Now, just think about this for a moment. Is that possible, "be like-minded"? You know what most of us define like-mindedness as? You agreeing with me---that's like-minded. "This is what I think and you should agree with that." No, no. That's not unity, that's just uniformity. The Bible never calls us to that. There are differences of opinions that we have.

If we right now were to open up a discussion on politics, or on styles of clothing, or on what shows are appropriate to watch on television, or what styles of Christian music are appropriate to listen to or have at church, we would open a can of worms and we would have one huge disagreement. It's the way we are. We don't agree on everything. I had a friend of mine say, "If two people agree on everything, one of them isn't thinking." [laughter] I have certain views on eschatology, on the end times. I have views on the rapture, on the tribulation, on the millennium. I have views about the Holy Spirit.

Some of you may not share those views, that's okay. I always want to be gracious enough to allow you to be wrong. So that's all right. [laughter] The early church didn't always agree, did they? There were disagreements and arguments and divisions over things like meat sacrificed to idols, over keeping the Sabbath, over which days are appropriate to worship, over which widows should be taken care of by the church finances. Paul and Barnabas argued over John Mark. The twelve apostles argued over who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

I mean, there are---there's a litany of disagreements even in the New Testament. Someone once said, "The church is a lot like Noah's ark, were it not for the flood on the outside, you sometimes couldn't stand the stench on the inside." That's because we are fallen humans all gathered together to be like-minded. Now, listen, we don't have to think alike, we do have to have one mind. We do have to have one mind. Having one mind or like-mindedness, I would describe as this: cooperation in the midst of diversity, cooperation in the midst of diversity.

Best example I can think of, your human body, the very example Paul used of the church, "the body of Christ." There's different parts with different operations, there is diversity, but there is cooperation in that diversity. And that's the very thing Jesus prayed for. He said, "Lord, Father that they may be one even as you and I are one that the world may believe that you have sent me." So, here's the deal: there are some core issues, let's call them "essentials."

There are nonessentials, but there are essentials that we must all agree on: the nature of God; the person and work of Jesus Christ that he is God in human flesh that he came to this earth, that he took our place dying on a cross, that he rose physically from the dead, and that he's coming again. There are core issues that you must believe in to even be a Christian. We are of one mind with those issues. Secondary issues, well, they're secondary issues. We are of one mind.

Second on this list: "having compassion," compassion. Here's the word in Greek: sumpatheis/sumpathés. We get the word sympathy from it. It comes from two words: pathos, pathós, which means to feel or it means to have an emotion or to hurt, pathos; sum or sun [soon], together, to feel together. It literally means "feel the same thing." So it's interesting, he says, think the same things, "be of one mind." Now he says feel the same things. Here's the best definition I've ever found to have sympathy: your hurt in my heart; your hurt, your pain, your hurt in my heart.

In other words, I can't be callous, I have to share your joy and share your sorrows. Romans chapter 12 verse 15, "Rejoice with those that rejoice, weep with those that weep." Or First Corinthians 12:26, "If one member of the body suffers, we all suffer; if one member is honored, we are all honored together." That's having compassion, feeling together. Look at the third on the list: "love as brothers"---stop right there. I grew up with three older brothers, so I read something that says, "Love as brothers," and it doesn't, like, lift me up to some lofty place. [laughter] Because I love my brothers, but I also, like, chased a couple of them with a baseball bat from time to time.

I mean, we were brothers. It says, "Love as brothers." I'm going, really? A better translation would be, and it's helpful for guys like me, "Love one another as brothers should." Now that's helpful. Peter wrote this and I can't help but feel that Peter had his own brother Andrew in mind when he wrote this. Andrew was a good brother, a loving brother. He was the one who led Peter to Jesus Christ. So love one another as brothers should love. By the way, it's one of the proofs that you and I are saved. You want to attract flies? Love your brother and your sister in Christ.

How on earth can you love an unbeliever if you can't even love a brother or sister? It's a proof that we are saved: First John, chapter 3, "We know that we have passed from death into life, because we love our brothers." Look at the fourth thing in this description in verse 8, "be tenderhearted." Now, I just gotta tell you, that's a very difficult word to translate. Because the original word, "be tenderhearted," the original Greek word is a word called splagchnos, and it actually means your intestines, your kidneys, your guts, your heart, your liver. That's what it refers to, splagchnos.

And a literal translation of this reads this way: "have good bowels." [laughter] "Did I just hear that in church? Did my pastor just tell me to have good bowels?" That's what it says. And here's why it says that: because a couple thousand years ago in the ancient world it was believed that the deepest emotions that a person feels is in the intestinal region. We still, we still talk it that way, don't we? We say, "So, what is your gut saying?" Or we speak about intestinal fortitude: "I feel it in my gut."

If I were to get some of you to stand up here and face a crowd because you're just like, you're---some people are just so petrified of standing in front of people, you would have what are called---what?---butterflies. You feel all queasy in your intestinal region, your stomach. "What is that? I feel weird." Some of you would actually feel nauseated. So the deepest emotions were felt in the intestinal region. So even though it's hard to translate this, it would better be rendered, "You must be deeply concerned for others."

Let me put it to you this way: the church ought to be the place where the walking wounded feel at home. People who are wounded and beat up by this world should be able to come because we revel in being tenderhearted with each other. It's something we should be great at. If you're on the staff of this church, or you're an usher or a greeter, or you're on the security team, and you see people come in and---let me just tell that you I thank God for your service, but we have to guard against the tendency to see another person with another issue, another problem.

We're around this stuff as pastors all day long, and easy for us to just say, "There's another death, another divorce, another catastrophe has happened." We have to really guard ourselves from leaving this beautiful, sweet spot of being tenderhearted toward one another. The fifth description is "be courteous." I'll just be honest with you, this doesn't really help me a whole lot. In fact, I don't think it's a great translation. Other modern translations do a better justice to this word "be courteous." When I---I hear my mom right now, saying, "Say 'please' and say 'thank you.' "

That's being courteous, right? A better word is "be humble-minded," be humble-minded. Now, tell you why this is such a shocking statement, because when Peter wrote this in the Greco-Roman era, humble-mindedness was not considered a virtue, it was considered a weakness: "Only weak people are humble people." When the Greeks conquered people, they turn them into humble-minded people---"They're our slaves." The Greeks loved such qualities as self-confidence, self-esteem, self-assertiveness. They would have loved the swagger of the modern hip-hop artists, or Clint Eastwood, "Go ahead, make my day."

The Greek would have said yeah! Peter goes, "Nooo, rather than that, a humble-mindedness." Humility is the grease that keeps the gears of relationships running smoothly. I read something by F. B. Meyer, where he said, "I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other, and the taller you grow in Christian grace, the more easily you could take them. I have now come to realize that God's gifts are on shelves---one below the other. And it's not a matter of growing taller, but of stooping lower." Humble-mindedness.

So all five of these form a beautiful description of the general attitude of the believer, which is love. Okay, that's fine. We're okay. Chapter 3, verse 8, got that down, we're good at that. "Okay, I'll work on that, Pastor, thank you." Okay, now it gets hard, because in verse 9 he's turning from people who are nice to you, and brothers and sisters---"Hi brother, hi sister, love you, tenderhearted, sympathy"---to people who are not, who are mean to you. What do you do if somebody is really grouchy and gripy or insults you or tries to hurt you?

Well, I'm glad you asked. Verse 9, this is our gentle response: "Not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing." Okay, so I don't know here, I don't know if he's referring to unbelievers who are in the world persecuting the believers who are in the church, or, or he could be speaking about fellow believers in your church who are just simply hassling you, you have a disagreement with. Either way it's all the same.

How do you treat them? You don't hit back, you don't fight back, you don't yell back---you bless back "that you might [obtain or] inherit," he says, "a blessing." I gotta tell you, I think this was very close to Peter's heart. I think Peter, when he wrote this, had a very specific thing in his mind from his past experience. Because there was a time in Peter's life where he did try to fight evil with evil. He did try to fight back. Remember the time when Jesus and his disciples were in the garden of Gethsemane and they came to arrest Jesus, and the Roman soldiers came, and remember what Peter did?

Remember he got down on his knee and was really humble and he said, "O Lord, just whatever your will is. I just want what your will is, because whatever you want"? He did that, right? He did not do that. What did he do? He took out a sword. He took out a sword and he saw the servant of the high priest, and thank God he was a fisherman and not a swordsman, because he was trying for his head and he missed and got his ear and cut it off. And Jesus said, "Peter, Peter, put away your sword. Don't you know that those who live by the sword will"---what?---"they'll die by the sword."

"Put it away, it's not how you fight this, Peter." So when Peter is writing this, I believe that's still fresh in his memory. You don't return evil for evil or reviling or reviling, but blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. Now, this is such a hallmark of the Christian faith, and if you were looking for something that is the dividing line that separates Christianity from every other belief system, this is it: we love our enemies. That's what separates up from every other belief system in God---we love our enemies. It was unheard of, it was unheard of.

Even the Jews had in the Old Testament what was known as the lex talionis; that is, the law that says the punishment fits the crime. You've heard it before, it's in Exodus 21. Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot---that's the lex talionis. By the way, it's usually misinterpreted. Do you know why that was given? To limit vengeance, because human nature would want more than just an eye or a tooth or a foot. "You took out one of my eyes, you're going to be blind in both of your eyes for life." "Oh, yeah. You took out one of my teeth in that fight, you'll wear dentures forever."

That's human nature. So, to limit that the lex talionis was given: eye for eye, tooth for tooth, limb for limb. But this, to bless someone? Now, I gotta tell you, here I am up here with this microphone speaking to you, and I just gotta tell you, this is so easy for me to preach about, this is so hard for me to do. Anybody can preach on this, it's good preaching. "Love people." But I tell you the honest truth, put me behind the wheel of a car, [laughter] it's a different situation.

There was one time when I'm on the freeway here in town and I tell you, I just---I've always thought Albuquerque's the place where all the bad drivers come and we all live together in one city. [laughter] I'm on the freeway and somebody drives and pulls right in front of me and then slows down. I wanted to follow him through town all day long! [laughter] That was in my heart. Just yesterday I'm in Uptown, I see a parking space and it's right up by the Apple Store. It's like, "This is from God." So I'm seeing it, it opens up, I'm about to turn in, blinkers on, I'm waiting."

I'm waiting for him to get out. I'm thinking, "Thank you, Jesus." Just then, right before I turn in, somebody sees it and scoots right in and takes my spot. I so wanted to mess his mirrors up and put his windshield wipers up, and . . ." It's not easy to do. Easy to say, easy to talk about, easy to preach about, easy even to listen to, perhaps, but to do this is tough. I was reading in the Psalms---have you ever read these psalms in your Bible called "imprecatory psalms"? Ever heard of those? It's a theological way to mean not-nice-guy psalms, vengeance psalms.

It's where David calls down God's wrath from heaven on his enemies. Ever read psalms like that? They're in the Bible. And I remember when I first read these I was sort shocked and I was drawn to that kind of literature. It's like, "Wow! That's in the Bible." And I read that psalm where David said, and I quote, you can tell I memorized it, "Lord, break their teeth in their mouths." I read that and I said, "Man, I'm going to underline that. [laughter] That baby's a life verse right there. That's right in the Scripture."

"Hey, Pastor Skip, what's your favorite life verse?" "Oh, here it is: 'Break their teeth in their mouths.' " [laughter] And I'll be honest, there have been times where I've actually prayed imprecatory prayers. I'm so glad that God is a good God and he doesn't listen to everything I say. "Uh, not gonna say yes to that one." [laughter] But I found something---as I prayed for people, my heart began to change. As I genuinely prayed for my enemies, it might start out very vengeful, but I start thinking about them, my heart begins to soften, it begins to change.

And what Peter says is that you return blessing, knowing---look what it says, you need to see it, "Knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing," you may inherit a blessing. You will get blessed when you bless, instead of do what feels right and react. You will be blessed. Persecutions on earth today will add blessings to you in heaven tomorrow. Jesus said that in the Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven."

I read a book, it impacted my life years ago, by an author, a pastor named Juan Carlos Ortiz. He was Argentinian. Juan Carlos Ortiz was in a leadership conference he was writing about. He said, "I saw a man who was in my former denomination, so I went over to him," he said, "to hug him." But the leader saw him coming and stood back and he said, "Don't hug me, we're enemies." And Juan Carlos said to this fellow brother in Christ who said, "Don't hug me, I'm your enemy," he said, "Oh, well, I didn't know we were enemies." And then he said, "Praise God! Now I have an opportunity to love my enemy."

And he walked up to him and hugged him close and publicly prayed in his hearing, "Lord, thank you for my precious enemy. Bless his life, in Jesus' name." Now the guy was shocked, but he said within one year he was preaching at that man's church. You will receive a blessing. So how do you attract flies? By your general attitude of love; by your gentle response of blessing; and third, and we'll close, by our genuine motivation. Let's finish this up.

Verse 10, Peter says, "For 'He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.' "That's the motivation. Why do you do it? Here's the mo---here's why. He says, "For," and then what does he do? He quotes what? He quotes the Old Testament. He's quoting a psalm in the Old Testament.

So follow his thinking: do this, don't do that; because or for; and he quotes Scripture. In other words, he's showing his audience, "The reason we do anything is because God says so in his Word," quoting Psalm 34. One of his favorite psalms obviously, because he quotes it at least three times in this letter, so far he has. By the way, one of the great reasons why I'm such a stickler about our Wednesday night through-the-Bible Bible studies from Genesis through Revelation is for this reason: I think it takes the whole Bible to make a whole believer.

And understand what God says through all of his Book adds that much more to your life. Notice what it says, "For 'He who would love life and see good days.' "Let me ask you something: Do you want a good life? How many of you want a good life? And you want to have a good day. I get that all the time, "Hey, have a good day." Want to have a good day, want to have a good life? Here's how to do it. If you love life, then love people, the good people and the bad people. Do you love life? I love life. The French have a little phrase, they call it joie de vivre.

Joie de vivre describes somebody who loves life, wakes up every day, "Ah, another day!" that ebullience, that positive attitude, a lover of life. But there are some people who hate life. Solomon who should love---he had every reason to love life because he had so much---wrote in his little journal in Ecclesiastes, "Therefore I hated life, because everything was vanity and vexation of spirit." Some people hate life. Other people, and I would say a lot of people, just endure life.

I know a lot of Christians, they just endure life. "How you doing? "Okay. I'm making it through. One more day." That's okay if you do that for like a week, but the following month and the following year---"How you doing?" "Okay." It's like what, did the spirit of Eeyore take over or what? [laughter] They just endure life, they're always enduring. Other people try to escape life shirking their responsibilities and opportunities. They don't love life, they don't endure life, they escape life.

But you can enjoy life and that's where you realize Sovereign God is in control of me, and even allows the good and the gnarly people that come into my life to be there for his own purpose, and I'm going to treat them with blessing and not cursing. That's one motivation. Here's the second, verse 12, "For the eyes of the Lord are on righteous." You get the idea that God is just sort of peeking down from heaven looking at you. Not like watching you to see how you're doing, did you mess up, but he's---the idea of this is he's superintending, he's watching over you with care, he's taking care of you.

He's protecting you and he's paying attention to you and listening when you pray. That's-that's the picture. "For the eyes of the Lord are on righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers; but"---but---"the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." So here's the deal: I don't have to worry about the people who do evil to me, God is taking notice of that. He's watching over me and he's going sort all that out in the end, so I don't have to be the guy to exact revenge. That's a high motivation.

I do it because the Bible says to do it, and I do it because God is watching over me, superintending my life, taking really good care of me, and he'll worry about all those evil people. I want to close with this thought: as I went through this description of sweetness, I couldn't help but think this is exactly what God is like. Romans, chapter 5, "God demonstrated his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." While we were sinners, Christ died for us. When we were unlovely, Christ died for us. When we rejected him, Christ loved us and died for us. It's just like Jesus.

So here we are, we are not the company of faultless, we are the company of the forgiven, which goes to show and should be proof by the fact that we open our doors to the unlovely, to the hurting, to the raunchy, and we show Christ's love. Oh, yes, the standard of holiness; oh, yes, truth; but his love. And that's how to attract flies. And they want to be attracted, they're just looking for someone and something sweet. Would you bow with me? Father in heaven, your Word says, "Taste and see the Lord is good." There really is a sweetness about the character of Jesus the Savior that we love and serve.

There's such a beauty there. We are first to proclaim that in our own human nature we are not that. We are those people who do get upset, whether we're driving in a car, or standing in a grocery line, or watching a news report on television, or listening to a conversation. There's something that wells up within us, wants us to fight back. I pray, Lord, that like our Father, you, and like our Savior Jesus, that we would be those who are compassionate, loving, tenderhearted, humble-minded, and those who give blessing. Because you said to do it, and you said you'd take care of those who don't.

I, finally, pray, Father, for those who are gathered with us today either outside or over in the Hub, several hundred others who are not in this room, as well as those of us who are, those listening by radio and any other device. Lord we come to the end of this service where we evaluate our own lives and I pray, Lord, you would draw us to the cross. With our heads bowed, I'm speaking now to those of you who may have come but you haven't come to Jesus Christ yet. You have haven't come to Jesus personally to be personally forgiven.

You may be a wonderful person, even a churchgoer, a very religious and devoted person, but you have never come to a place in your life where you have surrendered to the lordship and the authority of Jesus Christ. I want to give you that opportunity before we leave this morning to do that. Or if you have wandered from him and you need to come back home, if you're in this auditorium and you desire to find his forgiveness and his love on a personal level by giving your life to Christ or coming back home to Jesus, I want you to raise your hand up in the air right now as we close this service so I can see it and I'll pray for you.

Just keep it up for a moment. Lord bless you, right over here, I see your hand. And right there, sir, I see your hand up toward the front. Anyone else? Raise it up. You're saying, "Yup, I need to do this. I've been needing to for a while." Yes, sir, toward the middle; on my right. Who else? God bless you, and you on my left, and you beyond that. That's right, right on. Anybody in the family room? God bless you. Yup, I see your hand over there; and on my left toward the back; to my right toward the back; right over here on my right. If you're outside in the amphitheater or in Solomon's Porch or in the Hub, there's a pastor there. You slip your hand up and let that pastor see you there.

Lord, I pray, and what a privilege it is to lift up these men and these women who have come to this place in their lives where they're doing the smartest thing they could ever do, the wisest choice they could ever make, and that is, to entrust their lives to you, the giver of life, and the Savior and lover of souls. I pray, Father, that you would give them now that sense of release and satisfaction and joy as they come to the cross, and also purpose, Lord. Give them strength to live each day for your glory, we pray in Jesus' name, amen.

For more resources from Calvary Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig visit calvaryabq.org.

Additional Messages in this Series

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9/1/2013
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A Pebble, a Boulder & a Solid Foundation
1 Peter 1:1
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Peter is the most famous of the apostles, even though he only wrote two short epistles in the New Testament. But of all the early followers of Christ, Peter is perhaps the most relatable to us since he demonstrates all the weaknesses and failures we see in ourselves. But Peter's personal life and his writings become a composite model of "strength through trust." Any weak, wobbly, failure-ridden person can become Rock Solid through Christ.
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9/8/2013
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The Underpinnings of a Rock-Solid Life
1 Peter 1:2
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Peter skillfully lays the foundational basis for the Christian life to his readers in a single verse. We've been picked by God, placed in His family, and promised future benefits. For anyone who has ever struggled with a weak faith, these truths can be transforming. In this introduction to Peter's letter, let's unpack the meaning of these encouraging realities.
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9/15/2013
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Stepping Stones of the New Birth
1 Peter 1:3-5
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"Born again" wasn't a term invented by the popular press or religious fundamentalists. It was something Jesus told Nicodemus must happen for anyone to enter heaven (see John 3:3). Peter certainly heard that term from Jesus and speaks of it here (as well as in 1 Peter 1:23). It's a term synonymous with being saved and having eternal life. What does this new birth provide? In a word—solidity! Coming to Christ brings hope, inheritance, and power.
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9/22/2013
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Why We Hate Trials (And Why We Love Them)
1 Peter 1:6-7
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If the trials of life could only exist by popular demand, we would have voted them away long ago. People, by and large, hate suffering of any kind. Here in the Western world, we have made it our aim to mitigate against any form of it by a multitude of distractions and experiences. There is even a theology that seeks to say God never wants us to suffer—ever. Let's look at five reasons why we hate (and love) trials, and consider how they can be used to make us better people.
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9/29/2013
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Rock Solid Relationship or Relationship on the Rocks?
1 Peter 1:8-9
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Why do we insist that having a relationship with God is not the same as being a religious person? How is a relationship with Him even possible, since He is GOD and thus is unique from all other creatures? Today, the answer to that will be made simple as we consider the simplest components of any relationship, including a relationship with God.
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10/6/2013
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Our Bedrock Salvation
1 Peter 1:10-12
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God has always planned on saving you. You were never an afterthought or a last-minute consideration. Not only have you been chosen before time began (1 Peter 1:2), but throughout the ages your salvation has been expected and planned for. The spokesmen of the Old Testament wrote about Jesus’ coming and the new covenant of grace, which you are now a part of. All this makes our salvation more secure than ever, built on the bedrock of His promises.
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10/20/2013
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How to Walk in the Dark
1 Peter 1:13-18
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Holiness is an uncomfortable subject for most believers. We have no problem assigning holiness to God as we sing, “You Are Holy, Oh Lord!” But our minds get muddled when we think of our own holiness because we don’t want to appear holier than thou. So what does it mean to be holy? And how can we live holy lives around unholy people? In short, how can we be “children of light” (Ephesians 5:8) while walking in a dark world?
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11/3/2013
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Where You Fit in God's Plan
1 Peter 1:18-21
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God's plan always involves people, and you are one of those people. God's plan includes you. Just think of it. God had you in mind when He put His plan together for the whole world. So where do you fit in that plan? When did this plan have its beginning? How much did this plan cost, and what is your part in it? Today we make that discovery by noting five vital truths:
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11/10/2013
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Rock Solid Love
1 Peter 1:22-2:3
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Peter's love for his Friend and Lord, Jesus Christ, was at one time on shaky ground when he denied that he even knew Jesus. His love would even get questioned by Christ later on (John 21:15-17). But now Peter knows that love for Christ and love for His people is all part of the same package. A relationship with God includes an affection for God's people. Four components of a rock-solid love are given by the very man who learned what true love is.
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11/17/2013
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Got Milk?
1 Peter 2:1-3
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Babies need milk to survive and to thrive. And newborn babies need and crave it a lot. So too, those who have been spiritually born-again need spiritual milk so that they can grow and be mature. As believers grow, they will begin to enjoy more solid spiritual food. But here Peter is addressing our appetites?those things we desire and crave. He gives us a three-part instruction that will curb and train our appetites in such a way that maximum growth will be achieved.
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11/24/2013
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This Old House
1 Peter 2:4-10
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God has been building His "house" since He first made the world. This is not a physical home nor a temple of worship as much as an assembly of peoples whom He has gathered to Himself. The stones He chooses are human beings in relationship to Christ, the cornerstone foundation. Let's consider God's site-plan for this construction project today.
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12/8/2013
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Maximum Impact
1 Peter 2:11-12
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How can Christ-followers make the most meaningful impact on the unbelieving world? That was in Peter's mind when he wrote this letter to scattered believers facing hostility from their neighbors. Four principles that transcend time stand out here; these will encourage us and empower us as we seek to influence our world for Christ and leave a lasting impression.
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1/12/2014
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The World's Hardest Activity
1 Peter 2:13-17
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Some people are just gifted at music or naturally talented with their hands. Others find that sports come easy, while others can perform math functions with total ease. But there is something that practically everyone finds difficult and that is submission. To abdicate our will to that of another, even for the sake of order and peace, is extremely tough. But there are higher goals and loftier purposes for believers to live submissive lives.
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1/19/2014
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Take This Job and Love It
1 Peter 2:18-21
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I want to make you a promise today: If you can learn and master the four principles in our text, your job will never be the same. The tedium, tension, and labor will give way to a higher motive that will bring authentic joy and deep satisfaction. As Peter addresses slaves in the ancient Roman world, let?s apply it to a much more modern and humane situation?your place of employment.
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1/26/2014
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You Remind Me of Someone!
1 Peter 2:21-25
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Whom do you remind people of? At work or in society at large, is it evident that you are a Christ-follower? Jesus is always our supreme example for how to live a godly life in an ungodly world. Peter told us that we should submit to government as well as to management, and now he tells us why we should—because Jesus did and He's the one we follow.
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2/2/2014
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The Irresistible Beauty of a Tender Heart
1 Peter 3:1-6
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The most attractive people in the world are those who display depth of character and pleasant personalities. Solomon insisted that “[outward] beauty is passing” (Proverbs 31:30). As Peter speaks to a common issue in the early church (Christian wives married to unbelieving husbands), he also gives us three marks of a tenderhearted woman: in her actions, attitudes, and admiration.
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2/9/2014
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The Four-Sided Fortress of a Husband's Love
1 Peter 3:7
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If life is to be rock solid, then family relationships—especially marriage—must be rock solid. No wonder Peter speaks to husbands after addressing wives. In his directive toward submission, he addresses citizens (and not government officials); he addresses servants (and not their masters). But when it comes to the home, he addresses both wives and husbands. Let's consider how a husband's love can make a woman feel firmly secure.
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2/23/2014
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When Holiness Meets Hostility
1 Peter 3:13-17
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Faith is not neutral. It’s a powerful and dynamic force that changes behavior (if it is genuine faith). Unbelief is also a powerful force, and when believers try to live out their faith in an unbelieving environment, there are some predictable and unavoidable results. Let’s consider four truths from Peter’s pen that will be helpful when God’s holy people meet up with a hostile world.
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3/2/2014
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A Reason for Every "Ouch!"
1 Peter 3:18-22
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Perhaps the most common word in our language is the tiny word, "Ouch!" Every day, it's repeatedly expressed in variant forms around the world. It's a word that conveys pain and suffering. Peter’s audience knew all about suffering, but they didn't always know how it could actually be used for anything good. Christ's own sufferings provide the best example of both the power and usefulness of suffering.
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3/9/2014
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The Invisible War
1 Peter 3:18-22
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In every war, strategy plays a role. Each side plans and makes movements in accordance to what it learns about the other side’s tactics. If information is leaked, a counteroffensive can be launched. This can be seen in the grand and most profound war of the universe: The Invisible War. In this battle, Satan and his minions wage war against God, His angels, and His people. We’ll consider it by looking again at one of the most enigmatic texts in the New Testament. Let’s unravel it.
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3/16/2014
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Should I Get Soaking Wet?
1 Peter 3:20-21
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So what's the deal with baptism? Why do Christians practice it? What does it have to do with my relationship to God? Peter raised the issue of baptism in this letter, but he tied it into what happened during the time of Noah and the great flood. What on earth could one have to do with the other? Let's unravel these verses and then relate them to our current understanding of Christian baptism. Does this really save a person?
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3/23/2014
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Just Counting Time or Making Time Count?
1 Peter 4:1-6
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There is a certain amount of time allotted to us all, and we all decide how we are going to spend it. But none of us knows exactly how much of it we have left. So a huge question for all of us is: What will you do with the time you have left? Some never face that issue honestly, thinking that they'll always have plenty of time. Today, let's consider four solid principles that will make the time you have left really count.
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5/4/2014
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Living Like There's No Tomorrow
1 Peter 4:7-11
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People have been predicting the end of the world since the beginning of the world. But Scripture declares there will be an end. For some, their world could end this week or this year when death pays them a visit. But with whatever time we have left, we should live with a sense of imminence and anticipation that God's kingdom is around the corner. What elements can make our lives stronger as we await the end of the age?
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5/11/2014
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The Dos and Don'ts of Suffering
1 Peter 4:12-19
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Pain and suffering dominate our world. To some, that poses an insurmountable roadblock to faith in a good and loving God. How can a loving God let such unlovely things happen all around the globe every day for millennia? Not only is this a deal breaker for unbelievers, but it presents a quandary for believers who want to make sense out of everything in life. The apostle Peter weighed in on these issues in a very personal way to his fellow Christians.
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5/18/2014
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Profile of a Good Shepherd
1 Peter 5:1-4
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"The church needs leaders who serve and servants who lead." So said one notable pastor. Peter doesn't address just the suffering flock of believers in this letter; he also has encouragement for the leaders of the flock—the pastors. What are the characteristics of a shepherd who serves among God's flock? What are his responsibilities, and how can a church flourish under such leadership? Here, Peter places himself and fellow shepherds under the microscope.
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5/25/2014
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The Upright Walk of a Bowed-Down Man
1 Peter 5:5-7
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One website I came across recently stated that "the more in control you are of your life, the more assured and confident you'll become." The same website warned readers to not trust others. That is, unfortunately, the by-product of our proud world. But walking among others means we sometimes need to bend low in humility for the sake of solidarity and unity. Peter's words on this are timeless.
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6/1/2014
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Lion Alert!
1 Peter 5:8-9
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Just think what would happen if a lion from our local zoo escaped and was wandering around the park, looking for a fresh kill. Can you imagine the pandemonium that would erupt if such a misfortune occurred? Imagine no more! Our Enemy is far more dangerous and formidable and is on the prowl to destroy the spiritual lives of the residents of planet Earth, especially those who belong to Christ. Let's consider the battle and the potential outcome.
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6/29/2014
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A Rock-Solid Finish
1 Peter 5:10-14
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Peter ended his letter with a few nuggets of distilled truth. In just a couple of verses, he concentrated everything he had already said. To his suffering audience, Peter offered assurance of God’s perfect plan that began when they trusted in Christ and wouldn’t end until they were firmly secure in the glories of heaven. Though pain is part of the process of perfection, the finish line is worth it!
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10/12/2014
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Building a Forever Faith
2 Peter 1:1-11
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To build a home or a commercial building requires having the right people and the right materials in place. There is a critical path for the work to follow. And there are blueprints and building codes for the builders to follow. It's the same when it comes to building a spiritual life. As Peter began his second letter, he spoke to the need of spiritual growth. To build a "forever faith," Peter shared four important principles to build successfully.
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10/19/2014
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How to Live and Die Well
2 Peter 1:12-15
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Peter lived his life knowing the brevity of it. Here, he wrote as an older man in his seventies. Realizing there was more road behind him than ahead of him, he gave a model for us. Essentially we have here an excellent example of how to live well and how to die well. Let's answer the question How can I live and die well? by considering four keys passed along by Peter himself.
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10/26/2014
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Is It True? How Can I Know?
2 Peter 1:16-21
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Truth is a slippery word. Definitions get assigned to it that are contradictory, purely individual, and without any validation. Peter wanted his readers to know things. He was giving them truth that was both personally familiar and prophetically verifiable. How can we today know that what we believe in and hope for is actually true?
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11/2/2014
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Watch Out for Fakes!
2 Peter 2:1-14
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Counterfeiting has become a multibillion-dollar industry that extends all around the world. Fake jewelry, fake purses, fake paintings, and, yes, even fake medicines are sold as if they’re the genuine articles, when they are cheap (though amazingly real-looking) imitations. It’s the same when it comes to truth. What makes a false teacher of false teaching? Peter gave three recommendations in dealing with such counterfeits.
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11/9/2014
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Caution: Ruts Ahead!
2 Peter 2:15-22
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The quality, comfort, and success of a journey depend largely on the conditions of the road, the company you keep, and the destination you’re heading for. False teachers and their devotees guarantee a perilous voyage and a bad finish! Today we are challenged to live cautiously as we make progress in our journey of faith and to watch out for ruts.
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11/16/2014
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Look, Jesus Is Coming!
2 Peter 3:1-10
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The second coming of Jesus Christ will be the greatest day in humankind’s history. The promise of His return to rule the world He created has been what believers have longed for the last 2,000 years. Jesus’ return will be the solution to every social, moral, political, and spiritual issue and problem. But what do other people (besides Christian believers) think about such a notion? And, as we wait for His return, what should we look for, and where ought we to be looking?
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11/23/2014
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Breaking Up Camp and Moving On
2 Peter 3:10-18
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We have studied both letters of Peter and have seen how anyone whose life would otherwise be weak, wobbly, and failure ridden can become Rock Solid through Christ. This is vital since life in this world is dynamic, shifting, and transitory. This world is passing; its glory is fading. Thus, anyone who places all their energy and hope in this life alone will be disappointed. Today, as we end our series, we consider where we are eventually headed and how to arrive safely.
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There are 35 additional messages in this series.