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The Fire Christ Kindled

fiery-trials

from Google Images

Jesus said that at least part of his commission in coming into the world was to kindle a fire on the earth (Luke 12:49a). This was said in the context of his coming in judgment upon his disciples (Luke 12:22-48), and in the context of his own crucifixion (Luke 12:50) or judgment at the hands of men. The fire of which Jesus spoke was the fire of suffering (judgment), for some, it means being persecuted for righteousness. Jesus seems to say that this fire of judgment is already lit (Luke 12:49b; cf. 6:11; 11:53), in that he was already being persecuted (John 5:16), which would culminate in his own death. Moreover, if Jesus was persecuted, it follows that anyone who claims to be his disciple would also be persecuted (John 15:20; cf. Luke 12:45). Therefore, in his first epistle Peter sought to encourage the believers in Asia Minor, concerning their present condition and how that condition served God’s purpose, and, not only so, but he also shows that judgment would come to their persecutors.

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Posted by on January 18, 2017 in Epistles of Peter

 

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Judgment and Identifying with Others

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from Google Images

The phrase, the end is at hand, or one similar to it has become one of the most used phrases in the mouths of the cynics to show the Bible is merely a book composed by men. If this could be preached throughout the 2000 year history of Christianity, how could anyone take the return of Christ seriously? How could anyone take Scripture seriously, when those named as its composers were so wrong about the return of Christ in the first century AD? Certainly, it is claimed by the cynic, the New Testament shows Peter and Paul not only expected Christ to return in their expected lifetimes, but these men, unquestionably the leaders of the Jesus movement in the first century AD, predicted it. And, the accusation is: “They were wrong—pure and simple!” Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2017 in Epistles of Peter

 

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Was the Gospel Preached to the Dead?

no-debate

from Google Images

Several of Peter’s lusts of men (1Peter 4:2) which he enumerates in 1Peter 4:3 have to do with excessive indulgence in wine. Although there is room for a literal interpretation in his context, I wonder if his main thought was an over indulgence in certain behavior (Isaiah 29:9-15). The words of the prophet concern a people who have secretly conspired (Isaiah 29:15) to do evil. Thinking no one knew their motives, the Lord tripped them up, so that the wise and prudent among them were unable to insure success of their plans (Isaiah 29:14), because the people honored God with their lips, but not with their hearts (Isaiah 29:13). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2017 in Epistles of Peter

 

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What Type of Persecution Was Endured?

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Perhaps due to Hollywood productions that depict early Christians in Roman arenas facing lions and the like, we have come to believe persecution means persecution to the death, but this is not so. We are told that, because Jesus healed the afflicted on the Sabbath, the Jewish authorities persecuted him (John 5:16). The idea that they also sought to slay him is added to the fact that they were already persecuting him in some way or another. In one instance they claimed he was mentally unstable and had a demon (Mark 3:21-22). At other times the authorities stalked him, hoping for an opportunity to take him into custody (cf. Luke 6:7; 14:1; 20:20). They sought out people who would lie about him (Matthew 26:59-61), and provide “evidence” they could use in their effort to have him executed in their courts (cf. John 7:20, 25; 11:49-50, 53). Finally, they paid a large sum of money to have one of his own to betray him (Mark 14:10-11). All this, although culminating in Jesus’ death, was persecution, and Jesus tells us: “If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you (John 15:20).[1] Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Epistles of Peter

 

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The Context of Suffering for Christ

enduranceThe idea of suffering comes with a mixed bag of beliefs or practices that one has gotten and retained from being taught as a child and growing up in traditions coming from society. For example, if one has given himself over to be an athlete, he might have heard it said: “It isn’t working unless it hurts!” That is, if one is really interested in the prize, one must endure suffering along the way. This, of course, is also the goal of military discipline. So, suffering, although negative in tone, is often pursued in order to gain a desired positive goal. Jesus had a goal in mind, and he knew suffering was the only path to take in order to achieve that end. Therefore, he embraced the way of the cross, not because he enjoyed suffering, but because it was the only way of attaining the end for which he was born (John 18:37; cf. Luke 12:50; 22:15). The believer is called to follow Christ and, according to Peter, suffering has its place in the believer’s way of life. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2017 in Epistles of Peter

 

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Why Put Oneself in Harm’s Way?

hopeJesus told us that, if someone struck us on our right cheek, we should then offer the other (Matthew 5:39). Isn’t that inviting persecution? Not really! It no more invites persecution than saying: “Don’t kill Bill” invites someone to kill Bill. All Jesus meant was, if what we do for him causes some to treat us unjustly, don’t cease from doing the good, simply because some are opposed to what we say and do. Jesus simply meant that we should be ready to receive insults in order to spread the Gospel.[1] As Peter writes to believers in Asia Minor, it seems the persecution being conducted there revolved around malicious slander (1Peter 2:12; 3:10, 16). The unbelieving Jews seemed to be trying to get followers of Jesus into trouble with the gentile authorities (cf. Acts 13:50; 14:2; 17:5-9; 18:12-13). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in Epistles of Peter

 

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Don’t Be Afraid of the Enemy’s Fear

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In 1Peter 3:8 Peter tells his readers to be of one mind. However, this is in the context of being of one mind with the believers’ enemies. This suggests a meaning of the believer seeking to understand the motives of those who seek to him harm. With this in mind, we shouldn’t be intimidated with the same fear that directs the thoughts and behavior of those who oppose us (1Peter 3:14b). The question arises, then, what did Peter’s readers’ enemies fear? I believe we are able to answer this question by reading the Scripture that Peter seems to refer to in his epistle. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2016 in Epistles of Peter

 

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