Precious Faith

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:1-4 (KJV)

Simon Peter a very close friend of the Lord Jesus Christ as He walked, worked, and lived and died on the cross is the Spirit-inspired writer of both First and Second Peter.  He is one of the apostles of Christ.  At one time he was influenced by the devil when he told Jesus that He would not die (Matthew 16:23;  Mark 8:33).

Peter writes of the Precious Faith that we receive “through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ”; so then we must know that “Faith” also is the “Gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).  The work of faith and salvation are the gift of God.  They are in fact the same.  When you have faith in Him then you are saved.  When you are saved, then you have faith in Him.  It is the gift of God.

Paul the apostle wrote in Romans 3 that “…All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23), but in Christ Jesus, we have been called into that glory and the virtue of it.  We are no longer separated from God, and even more, because we are in Christ we are recipients of the “exceeding great and precious promises… that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature.”  Having the “divine nature” means that we have been given the heart and mind of Christ. The will to think, to act, to live like Christ.  That means we no longer have the heart of sin, but we hate sin just as Jesus does, and we love righteousness, holiness, and righteousness.

We are delivered from the corruption that is in the world, and our desires are what God desires for us.

If you are still desiring to live in your sinful passions and lust, you enjoy living in sin, then you have not been delivered from the corruption of this wicked world.  You are still bound in sin and death, and you are on the road to eternal destruction and hell.  You need to call on the name of Jesus who died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and He rose again.  One day He will come again just as He said He would (John 14:1-3).  Call on Him today, even now.

Before the Foundation of the World

“And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” 1 Peter 1:17-21 (NKJV).

To be holy is to be set apart from the wicked society in which we live. Not as monks, or as though in a world of our own, but apart in the sense of not participating in the world system of greed, debauchery, lust, uniformity, etc..

Being holy, and since we as Christians call on the Father on a quite regular basis we also know that He is One who judges us justly, and fairly according to our works, and knowing that we will conduct ourselves with the utmost respect for Him who holds our hearts and each breath we breathe in His hands. We will live with the fear, knowing that the time of our lives is in His hands.

Knowing the Father as we do; we also know that we have not been redeemed by material things. Our redemption is not founded on how much gold or silver we possess, or how much we give away. It is not based on any form of material wealth. It is not gifts given for the fulfillment of the traditions of men, such as Old Testament ceremonial laws, and forms. Our redemption is not dependent upon someone else paying our way out of a fictitious purgatory. The price of our redemption was paid to God our Father by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Our sin debt was owed to God.  God owes us nothing; not even a chance of salvation.

Jesus Christ, the precious lamb of God, paid our sin debt to the Father for us. The price of our redemption was His life. He laid it down, and no man took it from Him. As a matter of fact; the Father took His life (Read Isaiah 53:4). Jesus was that sacrificial Lamb who was without spot, and without blemish. There was no sin in the life of Jesus Christ, but He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and the wrath of Almighty God was poured out to the max upon Him.

This was “foreordained” even before the foundations of the earth were laid, and it was fulfilled on that day when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. It is only because of this wondrous gift that anyone can call on the name of the Father, and He will hear us, save us, and give us life eternal. No one can come to God except it be given by the Father, through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Because of the resurrection of Jesus from death, He has been restored to the glory He had with the Father from the beginning. His glory renewed we can now have faith and hope in God. Without this, there would not be much of a point in our brothers and sisters, or any in Christ suffering for His name. Because He lives we live. Because He died for us, we can die for His name’s sake, and give Him the glory.

May God bless our brothers and sisters who are suffering for the name of Jesus.

Perspective

Byway Blessings

I have always enjoyed driving! I guess that is why when I was blessed with a job about 30 minutes from home, I really didn’t mind. Most of the time I listen to music when I am driving along, but that was not the case today. Silence reigned in the car and I was very deep in thought on my drive this morning when I focused on the road ahead I noticed it looked like mountains in the distance. Now I know there are not any mountains in Southwest Georgia at least not since last Thursday. The clouds were arranged in the sky in a way that made it look like the Great Smoky Mountains in the distance. For a moment in time my eyes were playing tricks on me. My perspective was tainted; I was seeing something in a different way.

In my walk with God, I often see…

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Day Two Hundred Seventy and One

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to be a more watchful thinker, and use my mind for fruitful things.

We have all been to “Amusement Parks” where we go to relax, ride rides, watch shows for entertainment purposes; but how often have we stopped to think about what the word “Amuse” means?

If you do not know, it means “No thinking”.  Let us all be more fruitful in our thinking.  Think before we speak.  Think before we act.  You get the idea.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (KJV)

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” 1 Peter 1:13

“For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Hebrews 12:3

Christian Persecution

There are a few people I know who have jail, and prison ministries. They do it because they believe God has called them to go to the places where men and women are incarcerated for crimes against God and humanity. Yet, these minister to the men and women who are willing to listen to the message of Christ; the hope for all mankind; even the murderers and rapist and child molesters.

The event from Acts which we read today is not of criminals who have violated God’s laws, but violators of men’s laws which are against God. The apostles had preached when they were ordered not to preach in that name of “Jesus”; yet, they did. Hear what they said:

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand, a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him.” Acts 5:29-32 (KJV)

This takes place following their arrest, and imprisonment. An “Angel of the Lord” has come to them in the “common prison” and opened the doors, and sent them to preach in the temple. They went, and that is where they are found the next morning. Doing as they had been told by God.

When men’s laws are against God’s law, then Christian men and women are to continue their practices of being Christian; obeying God’s Word, His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments. I do not think we Christians should be surprised by persecution in a dark world. We ought rather, be surprised that we are not; because the apostle Paul has written, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV). Now, I do not want to be persecuted, but really, if I am not; am I really living a godly life? The apostles were.

As Peter stated above; “We ought to obey God rather than men”. That begins through our faith; trusting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour; obeying Him in our lives; being His witness.

One thing this passage of Scripture teaches is that the freedom of speech is from God, not men; therefore men cannot take it away. Let our speech be always with words that glorify our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Words for Christian Living 060913

“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”  1 Peter 4:8

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”  1 John 4:18

“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”  Revelation 2:4  (KJV)

By the Will of Man???

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’  And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount.  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”  2 Peter 1:16-21 (KJV)

It has been said by many people, “You can make the Bible say anything you want it to say.”  In one sense that thought is correct if you take a verse of the Bible from one place, out of its context, you can have it tell you to “Go and hang yourself”, but we know that is not what it really says.

If one is to have any understanding of the Scripture it must be understood in the light of other Scripture.  “No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” says Peter, so we must be aware when we interpret Scripture that we twist it by using only that point of interpretation.

Let me give you an Old Testament example.  When Moses led the children of Israel through the wilderness to Kadeshbarnea, it appears in Numbers 13:1-3 that there is a direct commandment from the LORD to send men into the Promised Land and come back with report; however in Deuteronomy 1:22 and following we see that there were people of the tribes who had came to Moses requesting that before they cross the Jordan River that spies be sent to examine the land and the people.  By knowing that we not only learn that though God may have spoken to Moses directly, He also spoke to him through the people he was leading.

There are many who try to build theologies by using a verse of scripture in one place, one book, one paragraph, or one chapter; and do not look at the whole.  If we do not trust and believe the whole for interpretation we will stand in danger of not only losing our minds, but also our hearts to unbelief.  The Scriptures are eternal; not one jot or tittle will pass away, until all are fulfilled.

-T.A.

Being Devoured???

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.  To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”  1 Peter 5:8-11 (KJV)

Sometimes in life the Christian man and woman feels as though they are being attacked both on the inside and the outside.  We may wonder “Why?”, and now we have the answer.  The devil, our adversary, is voracious in his attacks against all those who love God through His Son Jesus Christ.  Do not lose heart; it has been that way for millenniums.  Every child of God who has lived has come under those hateful, demeaning, devouring assaults.

What is the Christian to do when she/he does not know what to do?  Keep on doing what you know, that is of the faith and Scripture.  The Christian is to remain sober; that is clear minded, vigilant going on in the faith, always doing what you already know to do, and do it faithfully.

You who have been “called…unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus…” the devil will not win.  He has already lost.  His battle was lost at Calvary, and when Jesus cried out “It is finished” He meant that all the work He came to do was done, and now He is seated at the Father’s right hand awaiting that day when all evil will be put away; and He in His glory shall reign forever more.

-T.A.

 

 

 

 

 

The Christian and the Ordinances of Men

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.  Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” 1 Peter 2:13-17 (KJV)

No one likes the word “Submit”, however the Christian is given decree, commandment by the apostle Peter, and Paul (Romans 13:1-5) to submit and be subjected to the “Ordinance of man”.  We may not like it, and we will also see that that command is when the king, or governor is doing righteously, for good, and not for evil.

The Christian is free from sins guilt, condemnation, and free to be obedient to the LORD.  In the LORD we are not to use our freedom for evil purposes, or as Peter puts it “For a cloke of maliciousness”; or a cover to do evil.

Peter ends the statement with “Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honour the king”.  And that is the direction we are to take.  We are to love the brethren, and honor the king; however we are to “Fear God”; not the king, or any form of government.

-T.A.

Day 87 – The Power of a Godly Life

The title of this reveals some inadequacy in my own life.  I do not believe that I exhibit the power of Christ in my life as I ought.  I fall short.  I read the Bible and for today particularly James’s and Peter’s Epistles; and I hear their calls to faith that works, and godliness.

My reading was James 4-5, and First and Second Peter.

James writes,

“From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?  Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”  James 4:1-4 (KJV)

We Christians, especially today, and probably in every age do not realize the power we have with God in prayer.  Maybe I should say, at least I do not.  Part of the problem with the Corinthian church was jealousy over spiritual gifts.  Can you imagine us fighting over who is more spiritual?  The answer is “None”.  I was reading a book by E. M. Bounds, and a chapter about “Prayerless Praying”.  The following is a sentence from that chapter –

“Prayerless praying lacks the essential element of true praying; it is not based on desire, and it is devoid of earnestness and faith.”

When Brother Bounds mentions “Desire” in that sentence he is not meaning worldly, fleshly desire but rather the desire God gives (Psalam 37:3-4).  Our praying is more like rubbing a bottle for a genie, and getting three wishes; and that comes to nothing.

Notice James mentions also, the power of the prayer of the Old Testament prophet Elijah –

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.   And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”  5:16b-18

I look at Elijah, then I take a look at myself.  I have something greater than Elijah, yet not the faith or the power.  Sometimes it seems my prayers have an opposite affect than what I ask; at least from my point of view.  Why did Elijah have so much authority and power in his praying?  I believe it must have been because he was jealous to glorify the LORD of hosts.  He was outraged by Israel’s departure from God; and he was willing to risk his life to restore her back to God; even approaching the king Ahab, and Jezebel.

Now look at what Peter says of holiness –

“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”  1 Peter 1:15-16

Peter mentions our being “Born again” (1 Peter 1:23), and that it is not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible.  That it is “by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever”, that we are born again.  Born from above, born of God are similar phrases and trues given us throughout the Bible.

Peter gives men instruction concerning their wives,

“…Ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”  1 Peter 3:7

A husband can be so out of fellowship with his wife, his fellowship with God is broken and his prayers hindered.  Peter has given previous instruction to the wives, to slaves (2:18 – 3:6).  They have their responsibilities in Christ as well.  Let no Christian think they can be holy unto God, if they are not following the direction of the Spirit of God and His Word.

The apostle Peter mentions Paul in 2 Peter 3:15, and this is what he says,

“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”  2 Peter 3:15-16 (KJV)

There had been some contention between the apostles Paul and Peter; yet in Christian love Peter acknowledges that the writings of Paul are part of holy Scripture, and need to be heard (See Galations 2:11-14ff).  Peter desires that the Christian “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (v. 18).  That is my desire for all Christians as well; even myself.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 030811

Matthew 14 – 16 is our reading for today.

The text we look at today is from the 16th chapter following Peter’s great confession that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God.

Who do men say that Jesus is?  The disciple’s answers were that He was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or some other of the Old Testament prophets; giving answer to some comments people had made as to who He was.  The all important question asked by Jesus at this point was, “Whom say ye that I am?”  That is the clincher for the actual answer.  Peter’s answer, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God”, and that is the answer by all who will have eternal life.

Following this confession of Peter, however, it seems that the devil himself confuses Peter, and is rebuked for his speech;

“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.  Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.’  But He turned, and said unto Peter, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.'” Matthew 16:21-23 (KJV)

From the time of the confession of Peter Jesus begins to teach them that His destiny is to go to Jerusalem and die.  This is what the disciples were hearing, and that is the reason for Peter’s words of denial in the above passage of Scripture.  Jesus didn’t leave the matter without hope; He did speak of His resurrection of being “raised the third day”, yet Peter’s response comes from the dark recesses of his being.

We must think about this for an instant.  Peter loved Jesus, and to hear him speak of His coming death was a shock to his ears and heart.  That, nevertheless, does not excuse his mind being opened for the devil’s use.  Peter has been called “The disciple with the foot shaped mouth”, slow to think, quick to speak.

Can you just see Peter taking Jesus aside and rebuking Him.  Peter, do you know what you are doing?  He is thinking from the way of men, not the way of God, God’s Word and God’s will.  Many a time I have heard said that Jesus is calling Peter “Satan” in His words.  Not so.  Jesus recognizes who the infiltrator is, though there is a two fold action here.

Jesus first directs His rebuke to Satan who has tempted Jesus before (Matthew 4:1-11); and then to Peter telling him that his heart is not on the things of God, but those of men.  It is my conviction that the devil never wanted Jesus to go to the cross and die; he tried to misdirect our Savior from His atoning work; thus the temptations of chapter 4; the temptations from the masses to be king, and so forth; and now through Peter the devil attempts it again.

We must give our hearts to God, His Word and His will for our lives.  We, like Peter, may not always be able to understand what is going on, in fact, we may never understand; we are called to trust, believe and be faithful in what God says.  Jesus was faithful unto death.  That is our calling as well.

-Tim A. Blankenship

2 Peter 3:1-18

The Second Coming Of Jesus – A Certain Event

In second Peter we see Peter writing to encourage and motivate the followers of Christ – Christians – toward developing a Christ like character (chapter 1);  We see then Peter warns of the dangers, and deception of false teachers and their demise (chapter 2); and in chapter three we see that he gives us some reasons for what seems as delay of the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The first reason Peter gives seems to be that there will be scoffers.  Scoffers speak of the delay as evidence that the Lord is not coming.  Some of these scoffers are those who improvise there teaching to fit with the delay they envision.

2 Peter 1-10

THE STIRRING OF THE PROPHET’S AND APOSTLES WRITINGS (vv. 1-2).  I mentioned a few weeks ago in a sermon at Carr Lane Baptist Church that this “stirring” is similar to taking a pot of soup which needs stirred up to bring all the settled foods into balance with the rest of the ingredients.  When you do that to a bowl of stew or soup you have a much better soup for your bowl.

This is somewhat similar to what Peter is stirring up for the followers of Jesus when he writes of stirring.  There are many people, pastors and preachers who are getting away from the teachings of the prophets, prophecy, and the coming of the Lord teachings.  Peter was stirring it up reminding us of His soon appearing.  Are we failing our Lord and His calling in our lives if we shun to proclaim the prophecy of Scripture of the second coming of Jesus.  Is it relevant for our day?  Most certainly it is.  Peter considered it relevant.

We should shun the words of the scoffers who will proclaim to us that “the second coming is when someone gets saved”; or ” the second coming is when a believer dies and Jesus comes to escort them home”; or “the second coming is only a spiritual metaphor for the church overcoming the world”.  Anyway you get the idea.  The second coming is in fact the bodily appearance of Jesus coming back with His saints, to Jerusalem, and setting up His kingdom;  ruling and reigning on earth as King of kings, and Lord of lords.

THERE WILL BE THOSE WHO SCOFF AT THE PROMISE (vv. 3-7).  Some scoffers are just out and out haters of the second coming idea.  “It’s been said and taught for two thousand years.  If it was going to happen it would have happened by now” is the thoughts and idea of many an unbeliever.  Is that form of “scoffing any different that that the professing Christian may use when teaching the ideas presented in the above paragraph?  The above Ideas only present a “christianized” thought of the scoffers.

“Where is the promise of His coming?”  The promise is sure.  It is my conviction, and one backed up by Scripture that just as surely as the first coming of Jesus was fulfilled and happened just as promised; so too will the second coming of Jesus be fulfilled just as promised.  Just as Jesus came the first time born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), and is recorded in the New Testament as being fulfilled (Matthew 1:18-2:23); He will return with His saints to Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:1-5), and reign on the earth.  It will happen in God’s good timing and fulfill His purposes and glory; not ours.

Just as Noah; while he was building the ark (Genesis 6:9-22); was preaching and warning of coming judgment by the flood.  The many prophets warning Israel of God’s wrath upon sin should they refuse to turn from sin would surely come.  So will the coming destruction by fire come about in God’s timing and for His glory.  The world, the earth is being “Kept in store” for that great day, then the world “Will know that I am the LORD”, says our God.

THE LORD IS NOT SLACK IN HIS PROMISE AND CALLS FOR REPENTANCE (vv. 8-9).  One thing we need to realize is that God is not delaying the return of His Son.  He is not slack concerning His promise, the promise of Jesus “I will come again, and receive you unto myself…” (John 14:3) will be fulfilled just as He has promised.

God says “It will come”  it is assured us, so we best be calling many to repentance and faith in Christ.  This idea that is being presented by the Oprahites that God is in all people, we make our own destiny, life and such is a lie from hell.  The only way to life, and life eternal is through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I guess you could say that another reason for the seeming delay is God’s “longsuffering” or patience.  He is waiting for that moment in time when that final individual will be saved completing the Church.  We do not know what day that will be, but we can know that it will be one great triumphant day.  When it happens the events which take place in this world will be horrific, for those who are “earth dwellers”; loving the world and all that is in it.  He is giving all who live and breath today a chance to repent, and be saved.  He is not required to and does only because of His grace and mercy.  All are in His hands of justice, righteousness, and holiness.

THE THIEF AND THE “DAY OF THE LORD”.  “The day of the Lord” will be a day that will make the flood appear as a small and forgetful thing in comparison.  It will be a day when the world will know that God is the LORD of all the earth and of all creation.  The evolutionist will be in awe, and in their pride, unless they repent and believe, will be stricken and die in their rebellion.

We must remember, be reminded, that “the day of the Lord” is not restricted to a twenty four hour period but is  most likely a time of judgment, and is probably equivalent to about 7 years.  What ever length of time; whether it be 3.5 years or less; it will be sufficient time to rid the world of the leadership of Satan, his followers, and all evil.

The thief will come when no one is suspecting it.  The thief will come when the lights are out most times.  He/she may come when you are asleep.  There are many sleeping today, unaware and unprepared for the coming of Jesus Christ.  I have even heard some young believers say things like, “I don’t want Jesus to come yet.  I want to have children and watch them grow up”.  I am afraid that some with attitude either don’t know what they are saying, or don’t love the “appearing of our Lord”.  Nothing can take the place of the coming of the Lord

Getting Ready/Being Ready For The Second Coming

In this final part of chapter two we see the need for preparing, being ready for when the Lord returns.  Some accuse those of us who will teach and preach the second coming of Jesus as being relevant for the times.  There could actually be nothing more relevant than getting people prepared for when Jesus comes again.  The world is full of troubles and strife.  People need to know Jesus; the end of troubles and strife for the world.  He changes hearts and lives, strengthens us for the troubles we face on earth, and prepares us for eternity.

2 Peter 3:11-18)

KEEP LOOKING FOR THE NEW (vv. 11-13).  In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read, “Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new”.  Verse 10 above speaks of “elements melting with fervent heat” and things “dissolving”.  That is the purpose of making all things new.

Individuals do not need to wait until the cosmos is changed.  You and I can be changed by the power of the blood of Jesus Christ by our faith in Him, today.  Yes!  We look for that day when all things are made new in this world.  However, when we have been made new through our faith in Jesus Christ the world takes on a different hue in our view anyway.  We are changed.  We are made new, then one day when Jesus comes again the world, the cosmos will also be changed and made new.

Note Peters question which is also a very clear statement as well.  “What manner of persons ought ye to be…?  This is Peter’s words for getting our lives on the “straight and narrow” and keeping them in the way; being prepared for the coming of Christ.  Living so that others may see Him living within for His glory.  The new heavens and new earth will be a place where there will be nothing but righteousness.

MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO BE AT PEACE WITH GOD (vv. 14-16).  God has made the way for us to be at peace with Him.  “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Romans 5:1).  Our justification comes from God through the cross.  He has made us just.  Being just we have peace with God.  Nothing takes that justness or peace away, however, when we get away from daily committing ourselves to God in His Word, and prayer we stand to lose the peace of mind that only He gives.

Keep in the peace that He gives by daily committing to the reading and study of His Word.  Spend time in prayer, praising and adoring the One who died for your sins and His Father.  “The peace of God which passes understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7)

Be at peace with the Word of God.  When you twist it as those Peter writes about you cannot have peace with God.  They and you twist it to your own destruction.  The sad part about it is that others may follow your teaching and twisting.  Any teaching that takes away from Jesus and glorifies man or his teaching is from hell.

STAND AGAINST ERROR (v. 17).  There are many false teachers in the world today.  Some of those profess Jesus Christ with their lips, but their lives and teaching show something completely different.  Professing Jesus Christ these will give credibility to other beliefs for the access of heaven and God.  Do they understand the atonement of Jesus Christ; His death, burial and resurrection?  It really doesn’t seem likely that they do.  They teach error, and those who fall for their lies will find themselves in hell on judgment day.

Those who teach anything other than Christ Jesus and Him crucified are deceiving the people.  I mean this in the matter of salvation.  Any who teach or preach apart from the Scriptures/the Bible are out of God’s will and not worthy of being heard.

THE GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF HIM FOR HIS GLORY (v. 18).  It was the hearts desire for Peter that the followers of Jesus Christ grow in grace and knowledge of Him.  When a baby is born we expect that baby to mature and grow.  I have heard parents or some grandparents say things so silly sometimes like, “It’s too bad that they grow up”.  They really don’t mean it; not if they stop to really think about what they said.  A healthy baby will grow, and mature into an adult; and that is as it should be.

Peter, nor any pastor who is worth their salt, wants those who come to faith in Christ desire for them to stay an “infant” of faith.  That is the reason for preaching and teaching.  To motivate, encourage, feed, strengthen, and guide them into the proper food and eating for the life they live and for what is ahead for their lives.

The Lord’s “tarrying” in His coming is for our growth, and knowledge as well.  He knows the right time, and I believe that time is set, and has been for all time and eternity.  He knows the time, the day and the hour.  Our task in life is to preach, teach, learn, grow, and be prepared, be ready; for the coming of the Lord is nearer than when we first believed.

The time and day will come, and He will come fulfilling  His promise.

-Tim A. Blankenship

These are sermon study notes I will be preaching at Carr Lane Baptist Church on Sunday October 18, 2009 morning and evening services.

Guard Against Filthy Dreamers

“Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.” Jude 8 (NKJV).

We must look backwards in the text to see the meaning of the “Likewise”. The apostates who lived in unbelief, rebellion, and immoral conduct were also “filthy” (KJV) dreamers. They had no regard for the Word of God. They reject all authority, and spoke evil of those who had leadership.

In rejecting leadership this most likely means that of God’s Word, His leaders, and spoke evil of angels as well – the angels of God especially; probably assigning themselves power over angels. Giving dreams, and visions as much authority as the Word of God. Any messenger of God would have been evil spoken of.

The ones of whom Jude writes were probably saying they had a message from God, when all along their message was opposed to God.

Hear what Peter said of this very act:

“…Especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries…“ 2 Peter 2:10 (NKJV).

These that speak evil of dignitaries are those who have no love for Jesus, nor much care for truth. They are given to whatever makes them feel fulfilled. “If it feels good that must be the right thing”. Could this also be dealing with those who have authority over us in government positions? “They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries…

With spirituality on the rise we as Christians must continue to guard our hearts and minds against the teachings of many who profess to know Christ, but do not, and teach in a manner which cries for the temporal fulfillment of the here and now; with not desire for the eternal, and living for Christ Jesus now.

Beware of those who pretend to know Christ, but deny the cross of Christ, deny His deity, deny His resurrection, and His coming again. These also will deny the full, completed revelation of the written Word of God. The truth of Jesus Christ is that He died on the cross for our sins, and the victory was won on the cross, He was buried carrying our sins away, and He arose from that grave bodily to show forth the victory over sin, death, hell and the grave.

Trust in the power and the authority of Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Quickly Perishing

When I look at our society today I see so many who are quickly perishing, and are completely unaware of it. Why do I say they are unaware of it? They live as though there was no end. They live as though there is no God. They live as though they will answer to no one.

We are all fickle at times. We can so easily be led astray, be deceived and deluded. There is something we all must realize and that is, that, there is more to life, than “Me”. “Me” will one day end, and then what. Hear what the apostle Peter has written,

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1:24-25 (KJV).

It is a terrible thing for man who is quickly perishing to give so much confidence and power to things which we cannot take with us. I heard the story of a woman who was married to a wealthy man, on his death bed, who wasn’t leaving anything to her, and wanted it all cashed out before he died and, then, put into his coffin with him at his burial. She went and cashed everything out, and the day of the funeral put a box in the coffin before they closed the lid. A friend who was with her asked, “What was in the box?”, and she proceeded to tell her of her deceased husband’s request, and that she had placed it in the box. She went on to say, “I deposited the money in my checking account, and wrote him a check. Now he can cash it any time he chooses.”

Any one with any sense knows when you die, that, silver, gold, or paper money will be of no service to you. It too will rot, rust, decay, and one day blow away in the wind with the rest of the dust.

There is only the “word of the Lord” that endures for ever, and that will be in the lives of those who put their faith and trust in Him through His Son Jesus Christ, and His death, burial and resurrection. “Forever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89). Those who will come to God the Father through God the Son will have an eternity with Him in glory. Call on His name today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Born Twice

Someone has said, “If you are born once; you die twice.  If you are born twice; you will die once.”

The title is a term which has been heard and used by many in various ways. If a man falls down a steep cliff and lives he says, “It is like I have been born again.”, but there is no change in the way he lives his life. One former President of the USA, made the term known, or better known by using it in his campaign in the seventies.

Peter the apostle writes:

“…Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,…” 1 Peter 1:23 (NKJV).

He previously wrote of having purified souls, which are connected with obeying the truth of God’s Word. There can be no true love for God or others except by the Spirit of God and His Word.

We are enabled, empowered to love and obey because we have been “Born again”. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again”. This is a spiritual birth. When we are physically born into this world we are spiritually dead, and separated from God. Our eternal destination is not God’s plan for us. He made us eternal beings to spend eternity with Him, but that was shattered by sin. There would be found no place for fallen man (Revelation 20:11).

The new birth comes about by the supernatural power of God. It is not by the will of the flesh; for John has written, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13).

The seed of man is corrupt by sin. The seed of God is incorruptible, and by the Word of God the seed of God comes and quickens the spirit of man, giving New Birth. The Word of God is alive and lives forever. The Psalmist has written, “Forever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89). When the word is forever settled in heaven it is forever sure in the heart made alive by the Spirit of God.

There may be trials and tribulations in this life, but those made alive by the Spirit of God, and His living Word are overcomers, and have the assurance of glory in God, and living forever in His presence. Trials? Tribulations? In this world? Yes! Jesus said, “But be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Going Beyond

We hear much about love. Love for your wife, or your husband. Love for your child or children. Love for a friend. What is meant by the word “L.O.V.E.”? Real love goes beyond the ordinary. That kind of love is more than feeling; it is a decision. It is not driven by being loved by an individual; it is driven by the love of God, and it is displayed by a decisive act of mercy, grace and goodness; even toward one who has wronged you. Maybe I could or should say, “…especially toward one who has wronged you”.

Well no one can do that you might say. God and His Word teaches us to do just that thing. Hear the Word of the Lord:

“Since you have purified yours souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart…” 1 Peter 1:22 (NKJV).

This verse is directed toward loving the brethren, ie., our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is a “Going Beyond” type of love. We are to love when we are not loved by others. We are to love when it may not be convenient to do so. This is not just a speaking of words but an act of love.

This is the kind of love that responds to a command – the command to love. It is the kind of love which will take you to a neighbors yard to mow it when they need help, even though this neighbor has caused you many heartaches, and much grief. All Christians have this “Going Beyond” love.

It comes from a purified soul. You receive a purified soul by “obeying the truth through the Spirit” of God. This “Going Beyond” love is only possible through faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, and His bodily resurrection. This kind of love meets others at their point of need. This is the love of Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Our Conduct In The Fire

In this first chapter of First Peter we looked last at being holy. It is God’s command that His people, even Christians, and maybe should say, especially Christians be holy. We are called apart, set apart, so we are to be apart from the wiles, wickedness, and ways of worldliness.

Looking now at verses seventeen through twenty one we see what is required of us to be holy:

“And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” 1 Peter 1:17-21 (NKJV).

To be holy is to be set apart from the society in which we live. Not as monks, or as though in a world of our own, but apart in the sense of not participating in the world system of greed, debauchery, lust, uniformity, etc..

Being holy, and since we as Christians call on the Father on a quite regular basis we also know that He is One who judges us justly, and fairly according to our works, and knowing that we will conduct ourselves with the utmost respect of Him who holds our hearts and each breath we breath in His hands. We will live with the fear, knowing that the time of our lives is in His hand.

Knowing the Father as we do; we also know that we have not been redeemed with material things. Our redemption is not founded on how much gold or silver we possess, or how much we give away. It is not based on any form of material wealth. It is not gifts given for the fulfillment of the traditions of men. Our redemption is not dependent upon someone else paying our way out of a fictitious purgatory. The price of our redemption was paid to God our Father by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Our sin debt was owed to God.

Jesus Christ, the precious lamb of God, paid our sin debt to the Father for us. The price of our redemption was His life. He laid it down, and no man took it from Him. As a matter of fact; the Father took His life (Read Isaiah 53:4). Jesus was that sacrificial Lamb who was without spot, and without blemish. There was no sin in the life of Jesus Christ, but He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and the wrath of Almighty God was poured out to the max upon Him.

This was “foreordained” even before the foundations of the earth were laid, and it was fulfilled in that day when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. It is only because of this wondrous gift than anyone can call on the name of the Father, and He will hear us, save us, and give us life eternal. No one can come to God except it be given of the Father, through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Because of the resurrection of Jesus from death He has been restored to the glory He had with the Father from the beginning. His glory renewed we can now have faith and hope in God. Without this there would not be much of a point in our brothers and sisters; or any  in Christ suffering for His name. Because He lives we live. Because He died for us, we can die for His name’s sake, and give Him the glory.

May God bless our brothers and sisters who are suffering for the name of Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Standing In The Fire

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13-16 (KJV)

Considering that we are Christian by faith in Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection, and promised coming again; and that there are going to be trials and tribulations; which our Lord warned us of; how then should we live in this world? We are given guidance, counsel, and commandments as how we should live. It is really summed up in one short sentence – “Be ye holy, for I am holy”.

Peter addresses this matter beginning with the mind. The mind is the place of our thought processes. The mind is full of imagination both good and evil. There must be a “Girding up” of the mind. That is, bring it under control. A picture can be given concerning the ancient men of Bible days. When they were in a hurry and had to run; for an emergency, to get a message to an important person as quickly as possible, or even when defending one’s home – the men of that day wore robe type garments – they would take the bottom of their robes and tuck them into their belt, shortening the robe, and giving their legs room to move.

The “Gird up of the mind” would be just taking control of your thinking. Directing your mind toward wholesome thinking, pure thinking, godly thinking. You could even say, “Pull in all the loose ends”, so as not to leave something that will cause you to stumble later. Keep the mind on the things of God. Even for the Christian man or woman the mind can be a playground for evil. We need to guard the mind and keep it for God. If we do not do so, then, when evil temptations approach us, we will not be able to stand. None of us are without temptations.

The second thing we are told by Peter is “Be sober”. Those of us who do not drink alcoholic beverage may think, “Well, I don’t have anything to worry about there”; O yes we do. This has nothing to do with alcohol. It does have to do with the ability to think clearly. It would involve not allowing any substance influencing our thoughts; be it legal or illegal drugs, and that does include beverage alcohol. You will not be thinking clearly, or soberly when you have been influenced by the world’s drink, and other drugs. The MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE note for this verse, and this word states, “Be sober. Spiritual sober-mindedness includes the ideas of steadfastness, self-control, clarity of mind, and moral decisiveness. The sober Christian is correctly in charge of his priorities and not intoxicated with various allurements of the world.” These allurements can be an intoxication with finances, sports, technology, etc., anything that will lure the thoughts away from clear thinking.

Our hope should rest upon the promise of the return of our Lord and Savior. This is a teaching which is becoming less and less taught in some churches. It is called the “Blessed hope”, and that should be a light that brightens our eyes and our lives. When our Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper, He said, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29 NKJV). Jesus also said; concerning this Supper, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19), and 1 Corinthians Paul writes, “For as often as you eath this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (11:26). The revelation of Jesus Christ is much more than Him coming into your life to live. He is coming again with that same body He was raised and glorified through, in the resurrection.

When we go to a home where children are running about without a disciplinary hand, and there just seems to be chaos in the home we usually do not think to highly of those parents parenting skills. When you see them in the stores shopping they will be the children screaming for this toy, that game, or that particular set of clothing. Sometimes they will scream and carry on until they get it. No discipline in the home. Parents who allow that will usually not be looked upon as good parents. They will usually be ones who will say things like, “Kids will be kids”, or “We just can’t do anything with them”. However, when you go into a home and there are children who listen to their parents, and Mom tells them to sit and be quiet and they obey, or Dad tells them to put their toys away and they do it without fuss, you know you have come into a well disciplined home. We, as Christians, are the children of God. How does the world view the household of God? Are we obedient, well behaved, showing forth the good name of our Father? With girded up loins of the mind, having a sober mind, and having our hope firmly upon the promise of the coming of Jesus we will be obedient children. Obedient children will be putting away the former lusts which we practiced in our ignorance of godliness. It is from the hand of the loving Father who gave His love and paid the price for our sins, that we are able to love Him in return and know that we have everlasting life and His love forevermore.

The conduct of the Christian is to be in holiness. For some reason there are many who profess Jesus as Savior, but will not submit to His Lordship. Some of these call themselves “Free Grace” believers. I have a word for them. Grace is not free – It costs God the best that He had, and that was the life of His Son. If you have not submitted to Him as your Lord, then, He is not your Savior. Some one said it like this, “If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all”. His commandment is to be holy. “Be holy, for I am holy”. Jesus Himself said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV). Will He know you by the change that has taken place in your life by grace, through your faith that works?

Somewhere around the latter part of the sixth century B.C. there were three Hebrew young men who literally stood in the fire. They were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Daniel 3). They stood their ground in faith. No matter what may come – they stood by faith. They are forever remembered for the stand they took. They stood in the fire of Nebuchadnezzar, and we can stand in the fires of our testing only as we yield to Him our body, soul and mind. These three young men had girded up the loins of their minds, they were thinking clearly; they were not under the influence of any drug, but under the influence of the Spirit of God. They were remembering a greater purpose and Being than themselves. They knew it was not about them, but about God, His plans, purposes, and His glory. They chose to be holy. They chose to live and die if need be, for God. That is what the Christian must be and do.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Searching In The Fire

“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” 1 Peter 1:10-12

The prophets of the Old Testament had spoken and written of this great salvation. Isaiah the eighth century B.C. prophet foretold both the first coming of Jesus in the fifty third chapter of his writings (Isaiah 7:14; 53), and the second coming of Jesus in glory (Isaiah 11). That salvation which was previously mentioned (v. 9) is the salvation which Jesus is working in us, and will complete at His appearing.

By inspiration of the Holy Spirit we see that the prophets inquired and searched diligently into the matter of this glorious salvation. The salvation that was paid for with the blood from the body of God who had become human, that He might die. Did the prophet Isaiah realize he was writing of the death of God become flesh as he penned down Isaiah 53? I have a strange notion that he had a suspicion of it, and this is one of the areas which the prophets searched and inquired.

Some more questions I can think of concerning the search of the apostles: Did they see the types, the shadows, the pictures of their Messiah in the writings of Moses? Did they see Him in the sacrifice God made to clothe Adam and Eve? Did they see Him in the fire that guarded the gate to Eden after the fall? Did they see Him in the genealogy of Seth? What about in the Ark? What about as Abraham went to Moriah to offer Isaac as a burnt offering to God? In the sacrifices of the law of Moses? The sabbaths, and/or the Sabbath? I personally believe many of them did, especially since we are told that they “searched diligently”. A diligent search of Scripture will show us these things.

It seems by looking at verse eleven that they were wondering when these events were going to take place and whom they would be for. We know the answer to this today. He came at the appointed time, to His own people, but was rejected by His own. The person who came was the Messiah/Savior/Lord/God/King to sit on the throne of David for ever and ever.

The prophets wrote of His coming, His suffering and His glory. It is because He came and suffered for us that we have the strength, and power to stand strong and suffer for His name’s sake when we have opportunity. That is right ‘Opportunity’ is the word I used. If the early church people counted it a joy to suffer for His name (Acts 5:41). The suffering Jesus suffered for us is what He came to do. It was His very purpose in coming. To make it clearer; God sent His Son Jesus to become a man, in order to take on Himself all the sins of mankind, lay His life down as a sacrifice for our sins, be judged by the Father Himself, and the Father pouring all His wrath out on His Son, thus judging sin and putting the judgment away forever, never to be done again; the burial of Jesus takes that sin away never to be seen again, and the bodily resurrection is the seal of approval of the putting away of sin, and God’s seal of approval for the work of His Son. By the resurrection of Jesus we have the assurance of eternal life with Him, when we trust the work He accomplished on the cross.

Now, why shouldn’t we count it an opportunity to suffer for the name of Jesus? Not that I am going to go out looking for someone to kick me around, or boot me out a door. The suffering will be there when the time calls for it. When we do suffer for the name of Jesus we will rejoice that we were counted worthy to do so.

We see a second group that is mentioned in this text. That of “Angels”. It must surprise them that God could love us so much; but then again, maybe it doesn’t surprise them, but amazes them. You know “Amazing Grace”. I am not going to get into a long thing concerning angels, but I will say that they do exist. I mean the Bible says so. Angels came and ministered to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane when He had prayed. He mentions that He could call legions of angels to aid Him, yet, He doesn’t.

The prophets realized that Jesus was not coming in their time, but for another time, and that their writings were going to be used to minister to others. The disciples, apostles, the early church, you and me; and all who know Christ Jesus.

The prophets were successful in their search. The Holy Spirit gave them assurance of the completion of it. How else could Isaiah have peace when he is told that the people he is going to preach to will hear but not obey? The Spirit of God confirmed the message. The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of Jesus’s coming (Ephesians 1:13-14). He is the power of wisdom. He is the means of knowledge and understanding. He is the means to a holy lifestyle. He is the one who points us to Christ.

Let us; like the prophets of old continue to give diligent search to know this man named Jesus who is the Christ of God, the Son of God, and who died to save us from sin, and to clothe us in the righteousness of God. Because of Jesus God has declared us Just, by his own righteousness.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Panorama Of The Fire

 “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV).

A true “Panorama” is an ability to see clearly in every direction. The MIRRIAM/WEBSTER Dictionary – “2. a complete view in every direction”. This would fit with what we have by faith in Jesus our Savior. The One who takes us through the fiery trials of life.

Many of the people to whom Peter is writing have never seen Jesus; and that includes you and I. People were trusting the words of the apostles, and things were many times verified by the Holy Spirit with signs from God. Jesus spoke to Thomas, called the Doubter, “Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” John 20:29 (KJV). That same promise is spoken here by Peter. It applies to all people who hear the message of God’s Word/Gospel and believe what He has said.

When you realize what Jesus has done, is doing and will do for us; how can we not love Him. He left the glories of Heaven, laid aside His own glory, became subject to humanity, went willingly to lay down His life on the cross: He endured the ridicule, the beatings, scourgings, the cruel judgments, and died for us. His love motivates love for Him in the hearts of those who can see. Though we cannot see Him we still hear His Word, believe it and trust Him to do His work in us. That faith brings with it that thing that is “Unspeakable” or “Inexpressible”.

There is “Joy unspeakable”, inexpressible, beyond our imaginations, and “full of glory”. It must be His glory, because you and I have none to glow. He is full of glory. His glory was viewed even before His death and resurrection by Peter, James and John on what has been called the “Mount of Transfiguration” (Matthew 17:1-12). It is great to share in His joy and glory. That is what makes it joyous and glorious.

With the “Joy unspeakable” there is one of the most wondrous things about our salvation. That wondrous thing is that we will be there to see it take place, ie., our completed salvation. Let me assure you, that because, of the promises given us by Jesus and the words of the apostles we are just as assured of Heaven as if we were already there. However, it will not be complete until we are standing face to face, in the very presence of Jesus Christ Himself. There are some who believe that we cannot know that we are saved, and will have to wait until that day. I certainly find no assurance in that. Here is what John the apostle said, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:13 (KJV). Now, that sounds like assurance. Kept by the eternal power of God He sees His work through to completion. To suggest that God fails in what He begins is next door to blasphemy. Here is some more assurance, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6 (KJV). The “End of your faith” is when our sanctification is done here and we stand face to face with our Savior Jesus Christ. The salvation of our souls is guaranteed by faith in Jesus when we call on Him. The Holy Spirit is the seal of our redemption until we get there, and it is finished when we see Jesus.

Someone put it this way: “We have been saved from the PENALTY of sin; We are being saved from the POWER of sin; and we will be saved from the very PRESENCE OF SIN.”

Salvation is guaranteed by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives; “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:12-14 (KJV). When we are trusting in Jesus we can also trust that He sees the panoramic view of things, and is working all things for our good and His glory. Even in the fires of trials and tribulations.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Precious Faith In The Fire

PRECIOUS FAITH IN THE FIRE

“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 1 Peter 1:6-7 (KJV).

Precious is our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Precious can mean rare, and when you number the people of the world to the number of people who are in Christ Jesus it will be seen just how precious it is.

The word “Precious” is described in THE MIRRIAM/WEBSTER Dictionary as being, “Of great value”. Valuable, costly, etc. By this definition surely we have reason to rejoice in and out of sorrow, tribulation, and all our trials.

There are many trials and temptations within this world and in our daily lives. This faith that is “More precious than gold” can and will endure the fires that will try us. These trials and temptations often become heavier than we ourselves can bear. Rejoice in knowing that these trials are only for “a season”, and that the promises of God for glory will come to pass. It is quite assuring to know that even though “gold that perishes”, but our faith in Christ Jesus though tried with fire will be “found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”. This is talking about when our Lord comes again to receive His own unto Himself.

The word of Jesus is being fulfilled when He said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV). It is the faith that endures trials and tribulations which will glorify Jesus. If your faith is in faith then it will be a misplaced faith, as well as a foolish faith. Faith does not make what you believe to be true. Faith is believing what is true to be true, and carrying out what you believe. Let me try and illustrate; If you believe that you make the teachings of Jesus to be true because you believe them to be true, then your faith is in error. On the other hand if you believe that the teachings of Jesus are true, because Jesus said them, and He said they are true, then, your faith is genuine, and that faith is able to stand in the fires of trials and rejoice

It is the faith in Jesus Christ that is “More precious than gold” which will endure and glorify Him. Gold put through the fire becomes more pure, thus, the faith which endures the fire is made pure, and strong. “If your faith cannot be tested, then, it cannot be trusted” (Unknown). In the fire the “Wood, hay and stubble” (1 Corinthians 3:12), Paul mentions will be burned up. The precious things like, gold, silver, precious metals, and gems will be made purer, and will glorify Jesus. How is your faith? If you are trusting anything (such as your faith in faith), or anyone other than Jesus, it will not stand in the fire.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Preserved Through the Fire

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” –1 Peter 1:3-5

There is certainly assurance in these words of God’s ability to keep us for Himself and His own glory. That assurance has been called “Blessed assurance”. It truly is a blessed assurance when you know that Jesus died for your sins, that He was buried – carrying all our sins away; and that He arose from death. Not only was sin conquered, and carried away, but it was defeated. It can no longer condemn the redeemed.

By the mercy of God He has given us a new birth, and that birth is by a heavenly see. His mercy is an abundant mercy which is based on His everlasting love. The love of Jesus Christ is seen for us, in that he allowed vile, evil and wicked men to beat, whip, mutilate, and nail Him to a wooden cross for our sins. It is by grace through faith in Jesus that we are “Born again” to spiritual renewal and life.

It is a “Lively hope” or ‘living hope’ given by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. I was once asked the question, “If Jesus’ life was a gift given on the cross for death; how can that continue to be a gift if He rose bodily from the grave?” My answer to that is – He gave His life as an atonement for sin; He died and in His death He took sin with Him; in rising again, bodily, from the grave He shows that sin is done (sin’s bondage, condemnation, death is done), but life continues through Him. I do not know it that is clear enough, and it most likely involves much, much more; but I think that gives us a good message. Without the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave there is absolutely no hope for anyone – as Paul the apostle said, “We are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19). It is because of Jesus’s resurrection that we are assured of eternal life; and eternal life begins with faith in His finished work – by His grace.

This resurrection life in Christ has an eternal inheritance. The inheritance is massive. It is this – what ever Jesus has is ours. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” Romans 8:16-17 (KJV). You will notice that in these verses of Romans that we inherit His suffering and that is the only thing mentioned with the exception of, “Also glorified together”. Suffering with Him and His glory are very closely related.

We often think of “Inheritance” as great wealth, riches, comfort, etc., but that is not the case when it comes to Jesus. The so called “Word of Faith” people would have us believe we are to inherit it all right here and almost right now. The Word of God tells us suffering is part of our inheritance, then glorification with Him. The inheritance we have in Jesus is “incorruptible” meaning that it will not rust, rot, mildew, or decay; and it is forever. We are also told that it is “undefiled” – it is clean, holy, pure – nothing can defile it. Also it “fadeth not away” – this inheritance is never wasted, spent up, or bankrupt. It is reserved in heaven for all who belong to Jesus. It is reserved in your name, by God, and that makes it the most sure thing you or I have going for us. It is more sure than your next breath of air.

Those who follow Jesus are “kept by the power of God” for the salvation we have to be revealed in that latter day. By the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit we are moving closer to the completion of our/His salvation. That work of His on the cross is complete, there can no more be done for our atonement, but the sanctifying of the Spirit is at work, right now, fitting us for His Kingdom, and His presence. Even when we sin and our fellowship with Him is broken He still holds on to us, and by His Spirit and His Word He moves us back into His will. By the sanctifying work and the power of the Spirit of God we are PRESERVED THORUGH THE FIRE.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Prognosis By Fire

In this study I will endeavor to show that through suffering we are prepared for glory.  In the life of Jesus He was preparing for the cross through the things which He suffered, and endured ever faithful to the Father.  It is hard to imagine suffering in order to endure more suffering, but that is what Jesus did; “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered;” Hebrews 5:8 (KJV).

To begin this it will be a review of First Peter, and on this article we begin with verses one and two. 

 “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,  Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” 1 Peter 1:1-2

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ”.  This is one who spoke without thinking.  John MacArthur describes him as the apostle with “The foot-shaped mouth” in his book titled TWELVE ORDINARY MEN, and the title of that chapter is “Peter – The Man With The Footshaped Mouth”.

Now here is an epistle through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration written down by Peter himself.  Originally called Simon, Jesus changed his name to Peter/Cephas meaning ‘rock or stone’.  Peter is not the Rock upon which the Church is built (Matthew 16:18 – “And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”).  Peter is part of the foundation (Ephesians 2:20 – “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone;), but is not the Rock, upon which it is founded and built.

This letter was written in troublous times for the Christian. According to authorities in this area; the time is around the time that Rome was burned in which Nero set the fire and blamed it on the Christians and set the people of Rome to hating them even worse than before.  In a time of great persecution Peter wrote this letter to comfort and encourage those believers who were in “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.”  These Christians were “Strangers” and being that some were Jewish were dispossessed of their homeland.  The Gentiles and the Jews who had become Christians had also become “Strangers” to their families, friends, and work associates, because their home was now in Heaven.

Peter specifies to whom this letter is written.  The “Elect” or “Called” and as Paul wrote, “…Before the foundation of the world”.  This is an assuring thing – it is motivation to continue in faith.  Realizing you are the called of God has a strengthening effect on you.  To be chosen, called or the elect of God, and only so by the work of Jesus Christ on calvary’s cross.

“FOREKNOWLEDGE” is from the Greek word ‘prognosis’ which according to MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY is “a forecast esp. of the course of disease”, only God in His ‘prognosis’ is never wrong.  With God’s prognosis we know the outcome, and in Christ it is wonderful.

“Sanctification” is a process by which we are set apart, made holy in this life for the glory of God.  In sanctification the Spirit convicts us of sin, corrects us in our errors, and comforts us in our sorrows, and by and through the Word of God.  He puts us into “Obedience” and showing forth the sacrifice of Jesus in our lives.

“Grace” is Paul’s favorite word and filled his whole life.  It is also Peter’s.   He had experienced the grace of God extremely.  he denied the Lord three times, and was forgiven.  Where grace abounds there is peace. (Romans 5:1 – “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”; and then in Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which passeth all undestanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.)  In the midst of the fires of trials and tribulation there is always ‘Peace’ in Jesus.  Through Jesus you can have peace in the midst of the storm.

-Tim A. Blankenship