1 Peter 3:10 NIV
Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.
The Ultimate Calling of Our Lives is to LOVE. The gospel message portrays an awe inspiriting Father who stops at nothing to get His wayward children to turn back. Some have gone as far as becoming His enemy and created other gods. But His love remains great, He overlooks all the hurtful things they've done in his plan of redemption, but they provoke Him to jealousy, igniting a burning fire of wrath within Him due to their shameless deeds (Isaiah 30:27; Jeremiah 7:20; Zephaniah 3:8). Not withstanding their unrighteousness, He withdrew His presence, allowing His children to pursue their own heart's desires of lust and sensual pleasures, thereby defile themselves (1 Thessalonians 4:5; Romans 1:24-26). In selfishness, they ravaged and exploited each another by using lies, false pretenses, deception, and manipulation to satisfy their own lusts (Romans 1:27-32). In defiance of His grace, many still refuse Him so His righteous judgment must avenge such wickedness and abuse so the Lord will repay them with His wrath (Isaiah 59:18; Romans 12:19). Despite this, the Lord is patient and remains steadfast in His love for His children. He is not slack in caring, but rather is rich in tender-loving mercy and kindness, with forbearance leading to repentance (Romans 2:4). He has shown mercy to the godly and the ungodly (Isaiah 26:10; Matthew 5:45) as He has taken their punishment upon Himself. He has chosen those He predestined (Romans 8:29-30;11:5; Ephesians 1:11; John 15:19; Acts 22:14), however He has called all to repentance and He awaits for He does not want any to perish (2 Peter 3:9; Luke 5:32; 24:47; Acts 5:31; 11:18; 20:21; Romans 2:4).
Love One Another. In God's great love for His children, He is patient and kind, He is bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, and enduring all things - waiting for us to return to honoring Him (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Choosing from His own counsel to use us, He gave the great commission to preach the good news equipping us with the power and miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 10:16; 24:14; Acts 1:8). With love in the air as people speak forth the good news, they encounter resistance, but Jesus foretold this by saying a student is no greater than His Master (Matthew 10:24; Luke 6:40); and if they hated Him, they will hate us, because He chose us out of this world (John 15:16, 19). While adding, they will hate you because they know that God send Him into the world and by the works that He did, they are guilty of their sins (John 15:18-24). So our gracious and loving God is hated by people for they love their lustful passions and sins more than they love Him. They will hate us because they hated Him for exposing their sins in the light, as they like the cover of darkness to hide their deeds (John 3:19-20; 7:7; 15:18-19, 23, 25). Even knowing there response and feelings towards us, Jesus still gave the command, 'I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.' (John 13:34-35).
'Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects Me; but whoever rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.' (Luke 10:16).
The Call to Repentance is to All. So now we are equipped to go forth with the gospel message of repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand, while knowing most will reject the calling for it exposes their sins; they will hate us because they hate Him. The call is to go to the ends of the earth and the calling is for everyone (2 Timothy 4:17; John 3:16; Romans 1:8; 5:18-19; 9:17; 10:18; Acts 13:24, 47; 17:30-32; Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10; 16:15; Luke 24:47; Hebrews 9:26; Colossians 1:23, 28; Exodus 9:16; Leviticus 25:10; Psalm 19:4-5; 33:8; 49:1-2; 65:8; 67:7; Isaiah 34:1; 41:9; 45:22; 52:10; Jeremiah 16:19; 25:31); it's not a limited atonement as the reformed faith insists. As Isaiah foretold, A voice of one calling: 'In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God (Isaiah 40:3). How can one call into the wilderness if the hearing is only for a select few? No, the call is for all mankind, throughout the ages, for accountability to receive or reject it. Furthermore, this message didn't just being with John the Baptist (Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4; John 1:23), for Isaiah makes it clear, when he speaks of the righteous one from the east who was, Calling forth the generations from the beginning (Isaiah 41:4b). Jeremiah when he said, 'For I am calling down a sword (the word) on all who live on the earth,' declares the LORD Almighty. (Jeremiah 25:29). And Peter describes some of the more difficult passages to understand, when he says, He (Jesus) went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water (1 Peter 3:19). We know Peter said, He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5a) while Hebrews adds, By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith (Hebrews 11:7). So Noah was the herald, the one 'calling out in the wilderness' to the sinners that judgment is at hand, but they didn't heed the call. The call was still send, just as today, the call is to be sent out. The call is to go out and is for all to hear even if they ignore it, as they did in the days of Noah (1 Peter 3:20; Luke 17:26). We do not know who is chosen or not, but we are still to call all sinners to repentance. If the call was only for the chosen, then we would be lying to the others by saying that God loves and forgave their sins with the death of His Son on the cross, if in fact He only died for the elect. This limited atonement is a shortsighted prideful and false teaching of the reformed faith as many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). So we must go forth calling for all to repent, for Jesus will not come until all have heard. And we go forth like sheep among wolves so we need to be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:26). We are to know they are going to receive the calling in hostility, so we must walk gently with our feet shod with the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15), as part of our armor. It should not be a surprise that they respond with hostility, or make false claims about us. We even should be prepared for them to slaughter us, as the fullness of time will not come until the complete number of gentiles comes to Christ (Romans 11:25), and all those who are to beheaded for the gospel message is fulfilled (Revelation 6:11).
Our Command to Love Our Enemy is Clear. Our Lord and master spoke these precious words to us, 'Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.' (Luke 6:27). He also adds, If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:32-36). And Peter teaches the exact same lesson, Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, on the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, 'Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.' (1 Peter 3:8-12). Love never falls out of, or falls off or falls away from position (1 Corinthians 13:8) and this is exemplified by the Lord's teaching of forgiveness being 70 times seven, implying a perpetual forgiveness. (Matthew 18:22).
The Definitions of Our Expectation. So even though we know they will hate us and even try to kill us in some situations, we are to take the call forth, in peace. And while they curse and abuse us, we are to respond in love. We are to bless them by praying to God to forgive them and accept them as His own - because God loves all.
State of Preparedness. The gospel message is one of action; repeatedly telling us to be sober-minded, alert and ready, advancing the knowledge of the Kingdom of God, while not being surprised by various trials that come against us; cautioning us not to be idle, asleep or settle. The church currently appears to be weakened from division and lack of readiness, while lacking the power and manifest presence of the Holy Spirit. Statistics show most Christians do not read their bibles, many hold false teachings previously identified as heresy by the early church, many seek to be served instead of serving, and many neglect to meet together for they harbor unforgiveness and a root of bitterness in their hearts for prior offenses. The body of Christ is not united in the bonds of love, forgiveness and prayer so it lacks strength to love one another; leaving it weak to achieve our true calling of loving and praying for our enemies. The church is so misguided, it lost sight of the one apostolic mission, Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I (Paul) was eager to do (Galatians 2:10). Instead of keeping this focus, we designate external allocations of budgets drying up the liquidity of money and resources to help the poor and needy within our own walls and surrounding community. In our weakened state, it's difficult to find a church which worships God in Spirit and truth. It seems as if the Charismatic sect understanding worshiping in Spirit, yet lacks truth; while the Reformed faith has truth but lacks worship in the Spirit. In our weakness, we don't stand as a beacon of light in a dark world. Instead the world influencing us rather than us influencing it. The true church should have the power and manifest presence of the Holy Spirit. Instead the false doctrine of substitutionary theology bellows out as a prideful stench that God has forever abandoned His Jewish people because they failed, and He moved to the 'faithful' church because somehow we are much better at pleasing Him; as if faith was ever based on our works. Seeing the arrogance of the church is reminiscent of the defiant days of Israel and Judah as nations, in the days of provocation; we are no different. I've personally tasted the cup of ostracism by church elders for speaking of the manifest presence and power of the Holy Spirit while calling people into alignment with the word of God.
Actually Being Prepared. When it comes to being attacked by the haters and enemies, we are often surprised and bewildered, because we have not prepared our hearts and minds in knowledge of the offense. Instead, we instinctively retreat to a victim mentality. This is why the bible teaches us to be sober minded and alert, expecting to suffering, for our Lord and Master is the Suffering Servant. Even still, we are to rejoice with the joy of praise of our gracious and merciful God, as we willingly pick up our cross, daily, and follow Him. This sobriety of thought would enable us to lean upon the Father in prayer with thanksgiving that by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony that satan has be defeated (Revelation 12:11). We would rejoice that we are coheirs with Christ, sharing in both His suffering and His glorification (Romans 8:17).
The Blessing of Suffering. They make boastful claims and seek to destroy us in an attempt to defy our One true God. Knowing that our gracious and holy Father is watching and has spoken to Jeremiah saying, The Lord said to me, 'You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that My word is fulfilled (Jeremiah 1:12) for we want to find favor in the eyes of the Lord for He blesses His children who suffer for righteousness (1 Peter 3:14). The approved one is the one commended by God (2 Corinthians 10:18). Commended is G4921 sunistemi to establish, stand with; from G4862 syn together with, union and G2476 histemi to stand; so it is to stand united with God. We should guard our hearts and minds from the attacking words and actions of those who serve the enemy, knowing God is standing with us. This should govern our thoughts and actions, as a shield of faith, so we maintain our position of self control with the weapon of our warfare, the word of God spoken in love, instead of returning an attack (Ephesians 6:10-20). With our feet firmly planted in peace and while wearing the helmet of salvation that we know God will vindicate and glorify us, so that we do not allow a root of bitterness to take hold from the seeds of doubt or hatred the enemy plants in our minds. Fully equipped as a warrior of Christ with all the spiritual armor, we can stand, without having raging rivers break forth internally which overflow and spew out deadly poisonous speech from our mouths. If we are ready, with our armor as warriors of Christ Jesus, prepared to be attacked, knowing God is our protector and vindicator, then and only then can we respond in love giving blessings instead of curses to those who hate and attack us - even when the attack comes from a friend.
Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:3).
Returning blessing towards our haters sounds absolutely impossible. How on earth, are we to bless, speak highly, of those who persecute us and treat us wickedly? And we are to ask God to bless them with His favor? There truly is no way to do this from an earthly perspective, which is exactly why the bible tells us to Walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) for we can't do it on our own. This is a great time to recall that at the end of Jesus' earthly ministry, being beaten and broken and bloody upon the cross, Jesus spoke, and it was a prayer, Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34). Jesus did exactly what He is asking us to do. When they beat you down, do not return hate or bitterness or wrath or envy, but rather, return a prayer of blessing to the Lord for Him to forgive them.
But with You there is forgiveness, so that You may be feared (Psalm 103:4).
Standing in the Strength of the Lord. Remembering the words spoken long ago, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,' sayeth the Lord. (Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:19: Hebrews 10:30), while maintaining a right understanding of the power and might of our Lord is the sufficient undergarments to strengthen our spiritual armor as warriors for Christ against the schemes of the enemy. Just as the Levitical priests had to wear linen undergarments to prevent sweat from touching their bodies (Ezekiel 44:18; Exodus 28:42; 39:28), so shall we gird ourselves in knowledge so we don't have to work restricting sweat to touch us by just standing in the presence and power of our Mighty God! Just as Paul instructs us, Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-11a)! What use is a weaken view of God's sovereign or providential power to effectually and victoriously achieve all He has spoken. Is a shield of faith, weakened with an improper understanding of God going to protect you from the onslaught of attack from the enemy? I should say not. The Lord has demonstrated His awesome power and He calls for us to remember them so we don't grow weak. He is the God who parted the Red Sea and defeated many an army by His own strength. We today are most blessed for we have even been given the most miraculous and powerful victory of Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead. Our forefathers in the faith, were told by the Spirit of this divine mystery which was not fully revealed and they eagerly searched the scriptures to learn of it; but despite not even having it, they were full of faith and did mighty things in the name of the Lord of who they didn't even know personally as we do in the name of Jesus (Isaiah 40:5).
Fear of the Lord. Paul tells us the early churches were being built up and had peace, as the people were, Walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31). The gospel spread and people had peace by taking comfort from their God. But we know the Lord told Daniel, 'O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.' (Daniel 10:19). The Lord does not want you to fear Him so as to not draw near Him, for the veil has been torn and He now says come boldly and confidentially to the throne of grace (Matthew 27:51; Hebrews 4:16). Thus, this fear is a grateful reverential awe for our all consuming God of fire (Hebrews 12:28), who has the ability to destroy our very souls. (1 Peter 3:18-19; Matthew 10:28). God is an awesome and amazing God; full of love, grace, mercy, peace, joy and blessings but we must never forget that He is God. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, a mighty warrior, and jealousy is His name for He burns with a fire of wrath - for He loves all of His creatures, even those who have strayed from Him. It's a thorough and complete understanding of our God, which results in submission to one another (Ephesians 5:12). Part of this submission is to never speak ill of another - which is to curse them. But James tells that all too often, blessing and curses come from the same mouth and this should not be, as we are made in the image of God and He loves all of us (James 3:10).
You are being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, so that you might patiently endure everything with joy and might thank the Father, who has enabled us to share in the saint's inheritance in the light. (Colossians 1:11).
God Loves All of Us. He reared them in their youth, but they rebelled when they became satisfied (Ezekiel 16:2-34). He calls for them, but they do not answer. We were once hostile and alienated from God with a hostile attitude, doing evil (Colossians 1:21a). But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Because God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son so that whosoever shall believe upon Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16-17). The bible is the complete love story of what an awesome and amazing God will do to redeem His people, so it only makes sense that His children should take after Him. He has forgiven His enemies and showed the ultimate blessing of taking their punishment upon Himself, so in light of this truth, it should not be that difficult for us who follow Him to bless them ourselves. Should His children reject His redemption, then the wrath remains upon them, but that is a matter between them and their creator.
Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you (Luke 6:28).
Dear heavenly Father, we pray right now that we would turn to Your strength and wisdom in understanding Your marvelous love for all of Your children, we ask that You teach us to love what You love and hate what You hate, give us the strength of faith to speak no evil of anyone, and to accept the portion You decreed for us for all the days of our lives. AMEN
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