2 Peter Overview

There is debate over who wrote this book (Just letting you know).  It does not matter much to me since it was God breathed, but I am going to assume Peter since most scholars do.

The 1 Peter book was about consoling and encouraging Christians, from persecution from without.  The 2 Peter is a book of WARNING from within!  (Are you as shocked as I am about this theme being a huge part of almost every NT book!)  God KNOWS the false teachings in the Church.  People wake up and smell the Bible…There is NOTHING wrong with comparing your church to the Bible and seeing the errs.)

 This book will confirm that the BEST and ONLY way to overcome false teaching that creeps into the walls of Church is knowledge of His Word.  Do not neglect your Bible.

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2 Timothy

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I had to read this book twice.  The first time I read it I think I wasn’t sure what to expect so I wasn’t moved.  I put it down and came back a few hours later, re-read it and LOVED IT.

Paul knows he is leaving the earth soon.  We already know from Philippians (Click here for a short passage)he loves the Lord so much that death will be a gain for him.  Do we get that? Or do we love the world more than the Lord?

Anyway, Paul knows this is his last account to Timothy.    In 1 Timothy, Paul writes of GUARDING DOCTRINE, beware of false teachings, Arm up and protect yourself.  Now in 2 Timothy, Paul writes about guarding your testimony.  Walk the Walk.  Fight the fight!  In chapter 2 I like how Paul gave 3 examples:

  • Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer.
  • Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.
  • The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.

Something that has stood out to me personally is the balance in contrast between preaching the Gospel, with sound Doctrine, the Word of God yet NOT quarrelling over false teachings and myths.  I think the quickest way to push someone away from Christ is by “debating” over the Word.  There is no value or glory in quarrelling.  However, be bold and confident in Truth, and express it with Love.  We need to handle the Word of God correctly.  (It’s tough though isn’t it…we love the Word so much and we want people to know Truth).

Finally, Paul speaks of the last days.  Are we in the last days? Yes.  Ever since Jesus dies on the Cross we entered the last days, and trust me we are closer today than yesterday. And to be honest with you the news this week was straight out of Ezekiel prophecy. But we are warned of guaranteed persecution. (if you are showing strong Faith that is). and then I hit a familiar scripture but this time it read with a big fate SO THAT in it.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 tim 16

Usually I concentrate on the first half of that scripture (The Sword!) but for some reason it is the second part that got me this read. 

So Paul ends his final words with a confidence that he fought the good fight.  Could you say that??

Hebrews 11-13

Christmas is this week.  How do we know that the baby in the manger was the birth of the Messiah.  By Faith.  The clearest definition of Faith is in Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

When I was an atheist I hung my hat on the fact that we have thousands of years of artifacts of History but not one to prove Christianity.  Where is Noah’s Ark? Where is the 10 Commandments? Where is the Ark of the Covenant (seriously even Indiana Jones is looking for it), Where are the temples? The Scrolls? The gold mice? Moses bones? The Tomb? The Cross?  IF God is so real why wouldn’t he leave things for us to dig up to prove his existence.  On the contrary for that very reason.  We must believe by Faith and Faith alone.  To have proof in our hands would completely break the covenant of Belief.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Janice once told me:  most of us are 18 inches away from Heaven and miss it. (the distance between your head and your heart).  So if God is writing a Bible right now and you are a Character what would it say about you “By Faith, (insert name), ___________________.  If we fix our eyes on Jesus as our personal Lord (not ourselves) we can fill in that blank.

I keep going back to in my heart to Hebrews 4:

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

I challenge you to examine your heart.  If reading the Word has not changed you at all, if fruit is not growing, if foundations are not being laid, if the Word is not personally speaking to you, in other words if your Approach to the Lord, your relationship with the Lord has not changed this year then I wonder if you are a Christian.  There is evidence of Salvation and it comes from His Word.

Hebrews 7-10

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Genesis 14.  Melchizedek.  Where do we first hear of him.  It amazes me that it falls between Genesis 13 and 15, right at 14.  In 13 Abraham, the father to the Jewish Nation separated from Lot (his nephew) the father of the Arab nations (his daughters got him drunk and seduced him and gave birth to Moab (Moabites) and Amon (the Amorites)  so after the separation, through Abraham,  the “others” were then saved, we meet the “King Priest” Melchizedek.  Just AFTER Abraham makes an offer to him, in Chapter 15 God makes his Eternal Covenant of the Messiah to Come to Bless ALL people.

Genesis 14-18-20

After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).

 Then Melchizedek king of Salem  brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High,  and he blessed Abram, saying,
       “Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
       Creator  of heaven and earth.

 And blessed be God Most High,
       who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
      Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Do you understand how much foreshadowing is in just those two verses.  Listen I am not saying if that was Jesus making a carnate appearance before Abraham but I am not saying it isn’t either.  I am sure God has done many cool things without is even realizing it.   Whether it was Jesus or not the Shadow of him is real.  Melchizedek means “King of Righteousness” or “King of Peace” (Salem).  This was 600 years BEFORE the priesthood was dictated through Moses as a Levitical line.  See before sacrifices were organized by God when the nations was being created the head of the household (oldest male) made sacrifices, see since the beginning of time we ALWAYS knew there must a substitutionary death for atonement (to clear our sins)…Always.  These men were both king of their family and priest.  It wasn’t until the Line of the Levites did priests become separate and then the line of David did the Kings become separate.  ANYWAY, (trying not to bore you) the point here is that MELCHIZEDEK who shared with them the bread and wine , who came on behalf of the God Most High(PLEASEEEE think about that foreshadow!!!) was as perfect as a priest could be, and Jesus was higher than the Order of Melchizedek.

Chapter 8 (sorry this is long already).   There are not two Covenants anymore, but just one.  So people have to know that all the promises of before are now obsolete and just the new one is active.  If you are confused the Old Covenants are sacrifices atoned sin, a physical building as a place to worship, limited promises, external standards and rules, LIMITED access to God, legal cleansing, forgiveness earned, repeated yearly, available to a chosen nation. (Although this might sound like many churches today the book of Hebrews confirms that the NEW Covenant, Jesus being the reality of all the foreshadowing now God says we are to self-sacrifice, we are the temple for Christ, internal standards (heart), UNLIMITED access to God, personal cleansing, no more Sacrifice (Jesus paid it all), is available to ALL.

Chapter 9 and 10.  Sweet Marie, if you have read Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Numbers, you see that ALL those months are summarized into this chapter.  The Tabernacle was a Pattern of what was to come.  Jesus.  Look at Chapter 10: “The Law is only a shadow of the good things coming-not the realities themselves.  For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. (I am saddened to think about the people who think going to church or doing something at church does something, it actually takes away from the very fact that our FAITH needs to be grounded in that we DON’T need to do any of that, Jesus did it, and if we truly know that why do some still follow law?

The ending reads with the fact that if the people rejected the Law of Moses they went to Hell, so how much worse will it be for those who don’t know Jesus as “My Lord”.

Hebrews 1-6

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This is not an easy read today.  This part of the reading is about the Deity of Christ. Deity means Holy, Sacred, Divine.  Christ is above all.  Through false teaching or past wives tales and traditions have grown and very much worshipped.  The main argument of this letter is that Christ is the fulfillment of the Law of Moses (Mosaic Law).  He is greater than:

  1. The Angels who the Law was given
  2. Moses the Law giver to the people
  3. The Levitical Priesthood, who the law was administered

Remember this book was written mainly at the time to Jewish converts that were struggling in their Faith.  First, the writer is going to recount in his own words some past scriptures from Psalms and Isaiah.  Angels are very much a part of our history as well as our future but what are they?  Angels are instruments that God uses for His purposes to reach us.  For example an angel can be a messenger  with a Word for us right here on earth (so watch what you say to the stranger next to you…you never know).  Angels are our protectors.  If God is Almighty,  then why do we need Angels to look after us, right?? They are the instruments that God uses to intervene.  Example, I knew a baby that was thrown from her car and not a scratch was on her and people said “an angel protected her”, well yes I believe that but really the Lord just used the angel to protect her…so let’s always look to the top.  We must stay focused on Christ.  Through Jewish history angels played a huge part in the giving of the law (Moses even had lunch with them) so Jews were exalting them wrongly.

Moses, if you know nothing about Jewish Culture know this, Moses is the religious leader of their faith, their Prophet, and the divine author of the first 5 books of the Bible called the Torah.  He was their Leader and Hero! He led them out of slavery and brought them to the cusp of the promise land. Well, technically he was just an instrument God used.

Priest.  Many of you joined us at the NT so let me do a quick recap. 

Jacob was renamed Israel by God.  Jacob/Israel had 12 sons forming the 12 tribes of Israel, one of the Tribes was from the son Levi.  So they are called the Levites and the book LEVIticus is about that very tribe and their role.  To make a long story short, the Levites were the line of the Priests and their Job was to take care of the Tabernacle (like a portable temple), the Ark of the Covenant (where God communed) and eventually the Temples (when one was standing, there were 3 total in history).  Anyway, Moses brother Aaron became the first HIGH PRIEST and then that got past generational. (Until the time of Christ when Romans took the role of appointing who they wanted as high priest.  Anyway, the role of the High Priest was to enter the Temple and make sacrifices for atonement of our sins.  Once a year (the day of Atonement) they would actually go beyond the veil and make a complete atonement for all our sins through a sacrifice.  WELLLLLLL, what is the Shadow here?  Jesus Christ became the ultimate high Priest making the Atonement for ALL.  That is when the veil tore allowing all of us to  be a priesthood (as we read yesterday in 1 Peter). Does that all make sense, as to why Jesus is the High Priest?

Last, the topic of falling away from the Lord, or the Christian Word: Apostasy.  At the end of Chapter 5 the author talks about being more mature in the Word and learning it for yourselves and not being fed by others.  But learning and the Bible and using it to discern wrong from right, in life and teachings from the world or in our church. Then in Chapter 6, (I had to research this a lot because it didn’t ring in my hear the way it is in my heart BUT what it is saying is that just because you have corporately worshipped and done some “Christian Stuff”, if you fall away from the Lord, then you were never really a Christian to begin with.  See the theme of this book is people who tried being a Christian and were thinking of going back to what they had before, wasn’t working for them.  (If there is no fruit….well then no vine) Anyway, I have rambled enough.

Tomorrow something fun…WHO IS MELCHIZEDEK??  It goes all the way back to Genesis 14.  Did Jesus make a Cameo appearance in Genesis.  I wonder how many times Jesus did this  throughout History and we don’t have a clue.

Hebrews Overview

Hebrews.  An EXTREMELY important book.  Just like Romans was a foundational book for the Gentiles, this is the counterpart to the Jews in Jerusalem.  Think about this for a minute, before Christ came all Jewish people were taught to make atonement for their sins through animal sacrifice.  It is an extremely important part of the religion and their way of life.  So Christ comes as the Promised Messiah to fulfil all the ritual acts they were doing, specifically handed down from God himself.  Before the Christ they  lived  a very legal life of order, sacrifice, hierarchy, priests…etc. So now that Jesus did come, and many Jews came to believe, what do you do with all they were taught their whole life. (some of you may be going through this personally as we read this New Testament together).

As long as there is a standing temple, the Jews (even Christian Jews) will feel this human effort desire to make sacrifices to the Lord.  Makes sense, it would be really hard to literally change everything that was taught for 2000 years,  right .  So God breathes this letter through an un-named author,  confirming all the Law was a SHADOW of The Christ.  ALL of it.  The tabernacle, the animal sacrifice, the feasts, the Priests were all a prophecy of the Christ to come.  Shortly after this book is written to the Christian Jews, the Temple in Jerusalem will be destroyed, so God is preparing them for what is to come since only sacrifices and priests are part of a Temple.  God needs to eliminate the temple to focus ourselves on Christ, not on ritual.  See all that we learned in the Old Testament WAS a Shadow of Christ.  To partake in any exercise that we think earns favor with the Lord in Salvation eliminates our Faith in the Messiah.

So if the Temple is about to be destroyed how does one approach God? 

1 Peter

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I feel a little guilty but I did not read it…I listened to it.  Although I have to say some parts I hit rewind and listened twice.  What a GREAT book written to us.   God covers so many lessons to life in these 5 chapters

I would LOVE to know which subsection was the read that God had a Word for you.

Salvation of the Believer

  • Hope for the Future
  • Trials for the Present
  • Anticipation in the Past

Sanctification of the Believer

  • Be Holy
  • Love one Another
  • Desire the Pure Milk of the World
  • Offer us Spiritual Sacrifices
  • Abstain from Fleshly Lusts

The Submission of the Believer

  • Submission to Government
  • Submission in Business
  • Submission in Marriage
  • submission in All of Life

The Suffering of the Believer

  • Conduct in suffering
  • Christ’s example of suffering
  • Commands in Suffering
  • Minister in Suffering
 

1 Peter Overview

This book was written by Peter in  62  A.D.  The last few books we read focused on the internal problems of the Church such as division, false teaching, heresy etc.  Now let’s look at what was going on outside the church for a minute.  Nero was the emperor in Rome and he was a horrible ruler that not only killed members of his own family but also was an extreme persecutor of the Christian sect.  Persecutions were political: worship of local deities or to participate in worshipping  of their statues (Christians would not bow down to this…remember Daniel). So Christianity became illegal as a threat to the safety of the empire.  Persecutions were social: Christianity had great appeal to the lower classes, wich caused the upper class to fear it, especially because Christianity taught we are all equal in Christ.  Christianity was hated for economic reasons because much of the economy was based on selling carved or made images to be worshipped, and Christianity forbids this. (Bite your tongue Trish)

While this book was written, Nero was  trying to make Rome a cultural capital of the world, so he set fire to much of the town to make room for new construction.  The fire burned for a week and the Christians were blamed for it. Evidently they confessed to it,  but under EXTREME torture tactics.  SO upon that omission Christians were persecuted again and it was Peter and Paul that may have died under Nero’s reign here.

I want you to have all that so when you read 1 Peter (maybe for the 100th time you fully understand the setting).  God also has foreknowledge what was to come and in 95 A.D. the Jews (Christians were lumped in) refused to pay an extra tax to support roman gods, under Emperor Domitian, and under this persecution John was boiled in oil and then sent to be exiled on an Island in Greece (do you know what happened there?? stay tuned).

Since then Christianity was under state ban until about 250A.D.  In 112 the roman governor Pliny wrote to the current emperor asking for clarification of “christian policy” and the emperor answered that they were not to seek out Christians BUT if anyone was to point out or allude to someone being a Christian they should be questioned (there was not don’t ask don’t tell policy back then).  They were asked 3 times to confess (I don’t want to imagine what this torture looked like) and if they said Yes finally they were sentenced to death. 

Sooooo now that we have the setting I pray that you read 1 Peter with Fresh eyes, and an open heart.  We as Christians WILL have trials.

If anyone needs a recap on who Peter was please ask me.  I would be happy to write-up a little summary.  Just know that this is the Peter that followed Jesus so closely that he saw all the amazing signs and miracles Jesus performed.  Unfortunately, he was also the disciple that refused to know Jesus during the trial (3 times).  Peter gave the first ever Sermon just after Pentecost.  Peter had originally been Simon but Jesus changed his name to mean Rock.  Peter layed the foundation at that sermon for the church.  Fulfilling the scripture on this Rock I will build my church.  Peter was sentenced to crucifixion and his only request was that he was hung upside down.  He put Jesus in a category of his own and respectfully did not want to die as He did.  So if you ever see an upside down cross (they have them in Church’s in Rome all over, it is in reference to Peter’s death.

Titus

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Many of you have heard of the Titus 2 woman.  Well, it is the description in….Titus 2. Anyway, I have to point out my FAVORITE scripture in this reading.  Here is your testimony, God’s Grace AND your PURPOSE all in one paragraph:

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

OK, the above hit my heart hard.  But how about this one:

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

Titus Overview

Crete: a Greek Island (where it was said Zeus, the greek god was born) (look for island on bottom)

Crete was one of the first places to hear the Gospel preached since some were at the scene of Pentecost and saw the Baptism of the Holy Spirit!  Paul writes to Titus, who was a Gentile,  for the same reasons he writes to Timothy.  However,  the emphasis in this book is good works. 

We have all settled the issue of Salvation as a Gift that Jesus paid for with his life.  Think about that.  That does not make us a slave under bondage, but a bond servant.  What do I mean?  Jesus has paid the price for our life.  He paid the bond to set us free.  So what do we do now?  We have been bought with a price.  Well, what does He ask? We are saved BY Him FOR good works.  Why else are we here?