The Conclusion!

We will finish up 1 Peter this time but first I want to talk about a little about the church being persecuted today- here is a link to a story I have been following for sometime now- this is not a unique story but is very common:

http://www.christianpost.com/news/iranian-pastor-nadarkhani-refuses-to-deny-christ-in-exchange-for-freedom-67165/

Here is a link with information on which countries are currently persecuting Christians.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/iranian-pastor-nadarkhani-refuses-to-deny-christ-in-exchange-for-freedom-67165/

Peter is writing this letter to encourage the churches that were being persecuted.  In the early days of the church the persecution came from the Jews. We can read in the book of Acts how the Apostle Paul, then known as Saul of Tarsus, originally persecuted the church. He sent many Christians to prison and even to their deaths, then we can read about his conversion experience also in the book of Acts.  After an encounter with the risen Lord- and the Lord changing Saul’s  name to Paul, we see that the now Apostle Paul did more to advance Christianity than any one else since. Paul died a martyr for the Christian faith and wrote over one third of the New Testament.  Then it was the government persecuting the church, the church was considered by many government officials as a threat and at one time was even declared to be a secret society by the Roman Government and was outlawed.  Christianity is still outlawed by many countries today, most of them that are under Islamic rule and those that adhere to Sharia Law have outlawed Christianity.  Another problem the early church faced was some false teaching that had infiltrated the church- mainly the heresy of Gnosticism was being taught by false teachers. What is Gnosticism? 

Gnosticism traces its roots back just after the beginning of the Christian  Church.  Some researchers state that evidence of its existence even predates Christianity.  Whichever the case, the error of gnosticism had affected the culture and church of the time and possibly even a earned a mention in 1 John 4.

The word “gnosticism” comes from the Greek word “gnosis” which means “knowledge.”  There were many groups that were Gnostic and it isn’t possible to easily describe the nuances of each variant of Gnostic doctrines.  However, generally speaking, Gnosticism taught that salvation is achieved through special knowledge (gnosis).  This knowledge usually dealt with the individual’s relationship to the transcendent Being.

A more detailed Gnostic theology is as follows.  The unknowable God was far too pure and perfect to have anything to do with the material universe which was considered evil.  Therefore, God generated lesser divinities, or emenations.  One of these emanations, Wisdom desired to know the unknowable God.  Out of this erring desire the demiurge an evil god was formed and it was this evil god that created the universe.   He along witharchons kept the mortals in bondage in material matter and tried to prevent the pure spirit souls from ascending back to god after the death of the physical bodies.  Since, according to the Gnostics, matter is evil, deliverance from material form was attainable only through special knowledge revealed by special Gnostic teachers.  Christ was the divine redeemer who descended from the spiritual realm to reveal the knowledge necessary for this redemption.  In conclusion, Gnosticism is dualistic.  That is, it teaches there is a good and evil, spirit and matter, light and dark, etc. dualism in the universe.

What we know about Gnosticism is gained from the writings of Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Tertullian, Origen, and some later manuscripts discovered in the eighteenth century such as the “Codex Askew, Codex Bruce, the Berlin Gnostic Codes and, most recently, the Nag Hammadi collection.” Nag Hammadi is a town in Upper Egypt near ancient Chenoboskion and 13 codices discovered were discovered about 1945.

The danger of gnosticism is easily apparent.  It denies the incarnation of God as the Son.  In so doing, it denies the true efficacy of the atonement since, if Jesus is not God, He could not atone for all of mankind and we would still be lost in our sins.

There is debate whether or not this is a Christian heresy or simply an independent development.  The evidence seems to point to the later.  Nevertheless, the Gnostics laid claim to Jesus as a great teacher of theirs and as such requires some attention.  It is possible that 1 John was written against some of the errors that Gnosticism promoted.

Ok now lets finish up with the last chapter of 1 Peter.

1 Peter 5

New King James Version (NKJV)

Shepherd the Flock

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly,[a] not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

Submit to God, Resist the Devil

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for

“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”[b]

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Be sober, be vigilant; because[c] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may[d] the God of all grace, who called us[e] to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Farewell and Peace

12 By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand.

13 She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love.

Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Peter 5:2 NU-Text adds according to God.
  2. 1 Peter 5:5 Proverbs 3:34
  3. 1 Peter 5:8 NU-Text and M-Text omit because.
  4. 1 Peter 5:10 NU-Text reads But the God of all grace . . . will perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
  5. 1 Peter 5:10 NU-Text and M-Text read you.

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly,[a] not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

Whenever one enters into spiritual leadership there comes with that great temptations. Peter here is warning the elders to resist the baits that the devil lays out in the forms of pressure, profit and power.  An elder should serve out of eager willingness, not out of greed or under some kind of compulsion.  A pastor should not abuse the power that they have but be a servant leader and the pastor’s life should set the proper example for others to follow.  It has been said that the best sermon one can preach is how you live your life. Those who lead the flock well will be rewarded by the Lord, the Great Shepherd, Himself. 

 

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for

“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”[b]

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Be sober, be vigilant; because[c] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

These passages are very similar to James 4:6-10.  Both passages quote Proverbs 3:34.  Peter is simply encouraging his readers to humble themselves before God and to resist the devil.  James was written before 1 Peter so it is possible that Peter used some of  the ideas that James presented in his letter. Peter was also aware of Paul’s letters.  ( 2 Peter 3:15)

Be sober, be vigilant; because[c] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 1

This is a perfect description of spiritual warfare.  The Bible makes it clear that the devil is not a myth or the product of the imagination.  The Bible makes it clear the not only is the devil real but is also the fiercest enemy of God’s people.  The Christian life is an ongoing battle against satan and all the dark spiritual forces of evil.  Peter repeats over and over again in this letter that the persecutions and the suffering they are going through are a direct attack by satan.  We can resist and oppose the devil with the strength that God provides for His people.  It is by faith that we have already been rescued from satan’s power.  The power of Christ far exceeds the power of the devil. Do not let satan scare you, march forward under the banner of Christ in His name, and you will defeat the devil and his ploys through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus will one day defeat and vanquish satan forever.  

 

Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may[d] the God of all grace, who called us[e] to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

 

Peter beginning in v 10 is encouraging his readers to look forward to God’s final redemption and reward. 

14 Greet one another with a kiss of love.

The cultural practice of kissing cheeks took place regularly among family and friends.  Paul instructed his readers to greet one another with a “holy kiss”.  Peter says with a “kiss of love”.  

This concludes the study of 1 Peter. Thus far we have been doing what is called book studies. I would like to change direction a bit and do some subject studies.  I have been thinking to start with a study on angels. The last two books we have covered are the most challenging of all the books in the Bible to study, that would Revelation and 1 Peter.  Revelation is symbolic and convoluted with reaching farther back into eternity and farther ahead into eternity than any other book of the Bible and 1 Peter, each word is so profound and deep that one could spend a life time analyzing just a few verses of either book. 

Remember I am on the radio on Wednesday evenings from 9-10 pm (est)

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/universallifechurch

If you missed a show and would like to hear it they are archived here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/universallifechurch/2012/01/26/universal-life-church–dr-davids-bible-boot-camp

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Remember to pray for our persecuted family!

 

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One comment on “The Conclusion!

  1. Sergey Malovatov says:

    Jas 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
    Jas 2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
    1Pe 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
    1Pe 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
    1Pe 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
    1Pe 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
    1Pe 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

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