You are a Royal Priesthood #1416

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1 Peter 2:9, NKJV)

Peter has developed the point that Christians are “a holy priesthood” because Christ is the chief cornerstone of the house of God, the church (1 Peter 2:4-6). In this summary passage, he says our priesthood is royal or regal. Because we are citizens of the kingdom of God, we share in the blessings granted by the King (Jesus), who has “made us kings (a kingdom) and priests to His God and Father” (Revelation 1:6). Just as priests serve in a temple, Christians compose the temple of God – the church – and serve God in it (Ephesians 2:19-22). (This shows the importance and value God places on the church.) We are privileged to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God which are acceptable through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5). Therefore, our sacrifices and service to God must agree with His will since we are “priests to our God” (Revelation 5:10). The church does not decide what is acceptable service to God. God has done that, and revealed it to us in His word. It is up to us to offer Him the priestly service He expects and deserves (Romans 12:1-2).

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You are a Chosen Generation #1415

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1 Peter 2:9, NKJV)

Peter describes Christians in vivid contrast to those who, “being disobedient to the word,” stumble upon Christ and His gospel (1 Peter 2:8). These descriptions drive to the heart of who we are as disciples of Christ. First, we are a “chosen generation” (“elect race,” ASV). Just as God chose Jesus Christ to be the “chief cornerstone” in Zion, a generation has been chosen to precious in the sight of God (1 Peter 2:4, 6). With foreknowledge, God elected this generation of “living stones” that compose God’s “spiritual house” (1 Peter 1:1-2; 2:5). Calvinist (Reformed) theology says God unconditionally chose (elected) the individuals who are saved. Millions have adopted and adapted this false teaching. Scripture says God “chose us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world,” not that God unconditionally chose each individual (Ephesians 1:4). God desires all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). Those who meet His conditions are “accepted by Him” (Acts 10:35). These are saved in Christ and are a chosen race of people, “who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13; 3:1-5). All who believe in Jesus Christ have the power to become a child of God, and thus be among this chosen generation (John 1:12).

The Church is not a Business #1414

1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. (1 Corinthians 16:1–2, NKJV)

The church is not a business. Yet, most churches around the world are organized and operated as if they are. Businesses exist to make money. Churches exist to do the God-given work of evangelism, spiritual edification, and to address benevolent needs of the saints (Acts 2:42-46; 5:12-14; 11:27-30). Churches are given one Scriptural way to gather funds to accomplish their work: Voluntary giving on the first day of the week. This is the one passage in the New Testament that teaches the churches when, who, and how to gather funds, and also why to do so this way. When do we give? (The first day of the week.) Who gives? (Each one of you.) How do we give? (According to our prosperity.) Why give this way? (So that the collection is in readiness for use.) There is no business and investment revenue, no board of directors, and no chief financial officer in the Scriptures. May we add our own ways? No. Does this matter? Yes, because the church belongs to Christ, it is the house of God, not our business to arrange and control according to the latest business model. God’s word, not man’s wisdom, must direct the organization and work of the local church.

Heed Your Father’s Instruction #1413

A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. (Proverbs 13:1, NKJV)

Father’s Day is a good time for fathers to remember their God-given work as teachers, guides, and disciplinarians (Ephesians 6:4). Far too many fathers have abandoned their responsibilities as fathers. According to the US Census Bureau (as reported by fatherhoodfactor.com), “23.6% of US children (17.4 million) lived in father absent homes in 2014.” Many factors produce this number, but there is little doubt that a leading reason for fatherless homes is fathers who reject their role in the home. Let us urge and help fathers to fulfill their work that is so vital for successful families. Father’s Day is also a good time for children to honor their fathers by remembering to accept and follow their scriptural, godly, and wise counsel. Fathers want their children to avoid the mistakes they made. Fathers want their children to live with understanding. Godly fathers want their children to be successful in life, and more importantly, in eternity. So, they teach, train and discipline their children. The child who scoffs at his father’s wise and timely teaching shows his own foolishness. Your father’s instruction is for your benefit and progress. Give honor to your father by heeding his instruction.

“Let it not even be named among you” #1412

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints (Ephesians 5:3, NKJV)

The rise in cohabitation without marriage in America over the past 30 years is obvious. Reflective of a society that has cast off moral restraints, it is but one indicator of self-defined morality. The annual Gallup Values and Beliefs Survey (May 1-10, 2018) reports that 69% of those surveyed believe sexual activity before marriage is morally acceptable, while 42% said it is morally acceptable for teenagers to practice it. The morality of having a baby outside of marriage was approved by 65% of those polled, while 67% said gay and lesbian relationships are morally acceptable. In stark contrast, the Holy Spirit inspired apostle drew a red line in the sand that all sexual activity, before and in addition to marriage, is not to be professed among Christians. It is against who we are. We are saints (“holy ones”), called to be sanctified or set apart from such sins. We are not to participate in them or endorse them. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Christians must rise above the world’s definition of what is moral and refuse the allurements of the flesh (1 John 2:15-17).

How Are You Building Your House? #1411

3 Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; 4 By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. (Proverbs 24:3–4, NKJV)

The Bible says, “every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4). What building materials are you using to build your house? Of course, we are talking about building your life and your family, not a brick and mortar house. Some build their lives and families on the sand of humanism and secularism. Everyone is encouraged to “seek their own path to find out who they are,” oblivious of a knowledge of God and its value to guide our path (Psalm 119:105; Jeremiah 10:23). Some build their lives and families on the uncertain foundation of materialism. For them, life is about satisfying the desire for wealth and leisure, unaware of the need to address their immortality as creatures made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Ecclesiastes 12:7). Some build their lives and families with wisdom, understanding and knowledge. By teaching your children to respect God you help instill within them wisdom, knowledge and understanding that will go with them throughout life and into eternity (Proverbs 9:10; 1:7). Build your house on the firm foundation of wisdom and understanding. Fill your house with a knowledge of God. These are the enduring materials that will enrich your life prepare you for eternity.

Perverting Justice is Robbery #1410

22 Do not rob the poor because he is poor, nor oppress the afflicted at the gate; 23 For the Lord will plead their cause, and plunder the soul of those who plunder them. (Proverbs 22:22–23, NKJV)

Perverting justice is a form of robbery. The upright of heart will not steal from anyone at any time (Ephesian 4:28). Yet, some take advantage of the poor because their hearts are given to wicked selfishness and the arrogance of power. “Might makes right” to far too many, and as a result, the poor and disadvantaged suffer at the hands of oppressors. Justice is blind – a truth God spoke long before the blindfolded Lady Justice was ever sculpted. Moses told Israel, “You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s” (Deuteronomy 1:17). God’s law to Israel warned against perverting the just of the poor: “You shall not pervert the judgment of your poor in his dispute” (Exodus 23:6). It also warned against showing partiality to the poor: “You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:15). Poverty is not the rich man’s reason to plunder, nor is poverty a just reason to pervert justice. Divine justice is impartial, and ours must be, too. God will punish injustice and oppression.