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A HARD SALVATION

1 PETER 4:18

“AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?” 

Peter seems to quote from Proverbs 11:31 here. He expands on this verse to give us its full meaning, though. It is no easy thing for a righteous person to be saved. Their selfish ambitions, pride, fleshly desires and overall desire for sin are in the way. Only the Holy Spirit can draw them to a point of repentance and confession leading to salvation.

However, the godless man will not turn. They see no desire for change. The Greek for “what will become” is actually better translated “where will they appear.” The godless sinner will not disappear at death. They will appear again at the judgment. There is no escape.

APPLICATION

This is kind of a harsh verse, huh? But it is the truth. Our children need to be nurtured and taught to listen carefully for the call of the Holy Spirit in their lives. He calls us all at different times. Some children hear His call at an early age. Others don’t hear it until they are older. But their ears need to be tuned to Him.

How is that made possible? By filling their hearts and minds with the Word of God. The Spirit speaks through the Word. Did you know that most people come to Christ before the age of fourteen? These are crucial years. These are years where you have the privilege to speak Jesus into their lives every day. Then let the Spirit do His job.

When did you hear His voice? I heard it at sixteen, clear as day. He spoke to me as I was singing a solo in my youth choir practice the day before we left for a choir tour. He told me plain as day that I was lost and need a Savior. I yielded right then to His call and have never looked back since. Praise be to God.

Thank You, Lord, for not ceasing to call me. I thank You that You are still calling people today. Use me as Your mouthpiece.

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GIVING AN ACCOUNT

1 PETER 4:5

“but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”

I saw a poster carried by someone who was marching in a protest that read, “Going to Hell and Proud.” How sad. This person either was mocking the reality of hell or believed in hell and didn’t care. They knew their lifestyle was contrary to God’s Word. They had just chosen to live that way anyway. This individual had no idea what was awaiting then eternally.

Peter is giving us fair warning here. We will give account for our past deeds. Our Heavenly Father will judge everyone one day. We believers have had our sins forgiven because of the payment made by Jesus Christ. There was still a payment made. That’s basically what “give account” means. We just didn’t make it. All others will be making their own payment, which will come up lacking.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever saved up money for something only to come up short? They had scrimped and saved for this special item they wanted. What did you do? Most parents would make up the difference. They would “give account” for the payment their child couldn’t make. What a great opportunity to teach your child God’s Word.

They cannot pay the price to cover their sins. There is nothing they can do. They can’t be good enough. They can’t obey enough. The price to cover their sins is too high. But thanks be to God, Jesus’ death was sufficient to cover it all. Your child needs to know and understand that.

Are you still trying to “give account” for your sins? Do you think if you do just one more thing for God that He will forgive you? God does not forgive us because of anything we have done. He forgives us because of what Christ has done. Will you rest in this promise today? Rest in the fact that Jesus has “given account” for your sins. If you have accepted Him as your Savior, payment has been made. Hallelujah!

I am thankful the price has been paid. I am thankful I do not have to give account for my sins. Praise You, Lord.

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THAT WAS ME?

1 PETER 4:3

“For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.”

So many of us lived lives described here by Peter. Now, you may not have done all these things, but a life without Jesus is a life wasted. A life without Jesus is filled with all sorts of sinful behaviors. You don’t have to be a drunken mess to be considered lost. Just living without Jesus qualifies you for that.

The good news is that can all be in the past. Peter says that. He says “for the time already past is sufficient.” We tend to hold on to the guilt of our previous sinful lives. We use it as an excuse. Our sins are forgiven. They don’t shape our future. We are secure in Christ.

APPLICATION

Your children need to learn this truth, and you are the key to that. How many times have you “reminded” your children of past behaviors? When our children mess up (and they will) and we deal with, let it go. Too many parents continue to pound on their child by constantly bringing up those past failures.

We, as parents, should be a mirror image of God’s forgiveness of us. How many times has God forgiven you? Don’t answer that, lol. But more importantly, how many times has God thrown your past in your face? Let me answer for you. Zero! That’s the image our children need of us and God.

Have you let your past go? Have you forgiven the past sins of a loved one? Remember all the Lord has done for you and reflect that on others. God will be pleased as you do as He does. Is this easy? Of course, not. God will give you the wisdom and discernment to do as He requires.

Father, it is not easy to forgive myself or others. Remind me daily of Your grace and mercy. I love You, Lord.

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GOD’S CHOICE

ACTS 15:7

After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.

I am so grateful that the Lord chose me. Peter stands at the famous Council at Jerusalem to defend Paul and Barnabas’ mission to the Gentiles. Some were arguing that the Gentiles had to be circumcised to be true believers. Peter recalled his own defense of preaching to the Gentiles and their receiving the Gospel. I am thankful for his defense.

Just think. If the Council had agreed with the other side, we may be under so much law again. But we are free in Christ. We don’t need to add anything to the Gospel to be accepted by the Lord. Our salvation rests in the fact that we Admit we are sinners, Believe Jesus died for us and Confess our belief to God. A-B-C. It’s as simple as that.

APPLICATION

Don’t add to your children’s belief requirements. I have written about this too many times. Some parents want to be so sure about their child’s decision to follow Christ that they put off celebrating it. Just like the Gentiles who had no knowledge of God, our children come into this world clueless about the Father. It’s our teaching and training that gives them the knowledge. God, in His perfect time, draws them to Himself.

And when they admit, believe and confess, we should shout it from the highest roof top. We should begin right then the process of disciplemaking that will lead them to be a disciplemaker. Matthew 28:18-20 applies, not only to world missions, but also to our own family.

Aren’t you thankful God’s choice was to offer the Gospel to the Gentiles? I sure am. Are you doing your part to spread the Word? There are so many around us who need to hear it. Find someone today and tell them the good news.

I am so thankful for Your choice to share Jesus with me. I will do my part today to share Him with others.

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST

1 PETER 3:19

“in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison,”

This verse and the next couple of verses are some controversial verses among believers. My first thought is how sad. Our arguments about Scripture give the unbelieving world a reason to disbelief in the very truth of the Word. That being said…

The Spirit of Christ was present as Noah (mentioned in verse 20) preached to the people of his day. These people who died in the flood are “the spirits now in prison.” God has always desired people to come to Him. The flood victims were no exception. Instead, they laughed and made fun of Noah, ignoring the warnings given through him.

APPLICATION

This same Spirit of Christ speaks through us today. As we disciple our children, we must teach them this truth. The very Spirit of Christ lives in and through us. He is still preaching the Gospel today – as we allow Him. That’s the key. Our children need to be discipled to hear the Spirit when He speaks. Remember the story of Samuel as a child?

And here’s the great part. As we are obedient to allow the Spirit to speak through us, perhaps those who hear will respond and avoid the prison of hell. That’s our reward. Seeing others come to Christ is thrilling, is it not?

Will you allow Jesus to speak through you today? Will you be the one used of the Lord to slam those “prison doors” closed to prevent them from spending eternity there? There are so many people you come into contact with daily who are going to join the other inmates of hell unless someone shares Christ with them.

Place others in my path today who need to hear about Jesus. Use me to lead them to You. I want to see them welcomed into Your arms for eternity.

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WALKING AWAY

1 PETER 2:25

“For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”

Sheep get lost by walking away. They don’t run away. They simply stop watching their shepherd and wander away. Before they know it, the shepherd is nowhere in sight. Unless the shepherd comes and finds them, they will most likely stay lost.

We are the same way. We can become hopelessly lost unless we turn our eyes on the Shepherd. Only He can save us from a life spent in the wilderness, away from the watchful gaze of the “Guardian of your souls,” as Peter describe Him. He knows where the green pastures are and will lead us to them.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever gotten lost? They didn’t mean to, but they wandered away from you in a shopping mall or amusement park. Their eyes were fixed on something that intrigued them. Instead of watching you or holding your hand, they were pulled away by their own interests.

We need to remind our children that Satan has a way of luring us away from what we know to be safe and sound. Before we come to Christ, Satan doesn’t usually bother us much. He has us where he wants us. But once we come to Christ, he tries to entice us away from following Him. He can’t unsave us, but he can sure can distract us and make us feel unusable.

Have you strayed away from the safe and gentle embrace of the Shepherd? He desires for you to return to Him. He won’t force you, though. Your return is up to you. If that’s you, repent today and watch how quickly He picks you up. He longs for your embrace as well.

Father, forgive me for wandering. Fix my eyes on You so I can stay near to Your side. I want to spend my days close to You.

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NOT BEING

1 PETER 2:24

“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”

There is an interesting word in this verse. The phrase “we might die” is the Greek word apoginomai. It literally can be translated “from being.” Ginomai means to become, to begin.

This word apoginomai is only used right here in this verse. So, what is Peter trying to tell us about sin?

Christ’s death on the cross and the stripes and wounds He bore rescued us from the penalty of sin. We don’t have to be sinful anymore. We have been moved away from death and into life. We are to live righteously because of His sacrifice on the cross. Hallelujah!

APPLICATION

Children can come up with all sort of excuses for doing wrong. It’s their sibling’s fault. They just couldn’t help themselves. They didn’t know that was wrong. And the truth is, before Christ comes into their life, they don’t know any better. They are sinful creatures.

But if your children have accepted Christ as their Savior, there is no excuse for sin. We must point them towards living righteously. Read them this verse. Show them what Christ has done for us. He bore our sins. He took our punishment upon Himself. Ask your children if anyone has ever taken their punishment for them. Ask them how that would make them feel.

Do you realize, I mean really realize, what Christ has done for you? He has freed you to live righteously. The pain and suffering of sin has been paid for. You are debt free. How would you live if you were debt free financially? You are debt free spiritually, not because of anything you have done, but because of what Christ has done for you. Live like it today.

I am free to live righteously today. I praise You, Lord, for paying the price for my freedom. I will live today to honor You.

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REPENT

Acts 2:37-38

“37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’ 38Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”

I have always believed that at the end of every sermon, you must give the people an opportunity to respond and make a decision for Christ. Why else preach the Gospel? So many people don’t know how to respond. They don’t understand what the next step is. But I have never had a congregation ask me what to do. Peter had the door slung wide open.

And what did Peter do? He didn’t tell them to be good and try hard to please God. He didn’t say to give more to the church. He didn’t say work hard so God will forgive you. No! He said, “Repent!” Simple enough, right? The baptism follows the repentance. It isn’t necessary for the forgiveness. And when you repent, the Holy Spirit is sent your way.

APPLICATION

This is such an important lesson for our children. They need to know that there is nothing they can do to earn forgiveness. The only action required is repentance, to turn from going in one direction and begin to go in another direction. To turn from doing wrong to follow Jesus. Nothing else is required. Repent.

Have your children repented of their sins? Remember, they are going to understand this at their level. They are not going to comprehend all the truths of Scripture yet. I bet you don’t understand them all either, do you? Children repent to the best of their ability, with the limitations of their intellect. The Spirit will do the rest.

Have you repented? Are you a child of the King? If you have repented, then His Spirit lives within you. He is promised to you. You need to follow that up with baptism as a sign of obedience, but your confession of sin in the act of repentance is all that is required. Do you believe that? Then live like it.

I am so thankful You drew me to repentance. I still remember the day You spoke my name and called me to Yourself. Thank You for forgiving me and sending Your Spirit to live within me.

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UNDESERVED GIFTS

1 PETER 2:22

“WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;”

Yesterday was Easter. What a perfect verse we have today to remind us of Christ’s innocence. He didn’t deserve to die. He had done no wrong. But He took on Himself my sin and your sin in order to give to us something we did not deserve – His righteousness. Wow! What a gift!

Have you ever gotten a gift you didn’t deserve? I have had friends bless me with gifts. During my recent illness I had several friends who blessed us financially. They wanted to help ease the burden of traveling back and forth to the hospital and the month and a half stay away from home. We didn’t deserve this, but they gave anyway. Jesus gave His all when we didn’t deserve it.

APPLICATION

Surprise your children with a gift. They may have been terrible yesterday and disobeyed you all day long. Perfect! Give them a gift they are not expecting. When they ask you why you are giving them such a gift, explain to them the gift that Jesus gave you when you didn’t deserve it. Let them know that Jesus loves us that much. He doesn’t wait for us to get better to save us. He saves us just like we are.

Ask your children if they know what innocent means. You may have to explain that to them. Tell them that Jesus had never done anything wrong, even when He was a little boy. Every action He took reflected His Father in heaven. And despite His innocence, He took on the guilt of the world. Why? To give us this undeserved gift of salvation.

Have you thanked the Lord today for your undeserved gift of salvation? Do that right now. I’ll wait…. Now, don’t you feel better? It’s always good to thank someone for the gifts we have been given, especially those undeserved gifts. Do that daily, as He continues to bless you.

Dear Lord, I thank You for blessing me. I only deserve hell, but You have chosen me to be Your child and have given me a gift which I could never repay. I love You, Lord.

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IN THE FAMILY

1 PETER 2:10

“for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.”

This verse in 1 Peter seems to be a reference to three verses in Hosea (1:9, 10; 2:23). Even though Hosea was writing to a Jewish audience and Peter to a Gentile one, the thought behind the verses seem to be related. Peter is telling the Gentiles that although they were once outside of the family of God and His mercy, they are now fully in the family and a recipient of His mercy.

If you have ever been on the outside looking in, you know how great the feeling is when you are finally allowed access. I remember one time waiting in line at our local movie theater. The doors were locked, and no one was allowed entry until it was time. The wait was agonizing for a little boy. But when the doors opened, I felt ten feet tall walking in with my popcorn and coke.

APPLICATION

Try this little exercise with your kids. Prepare some special snacks and treats and put them on the table. Tell your children they can only enjoy these treats if they can answer some questions you have for them. After the groans subside, ask them some easy questions that any child could answer.

Receiving the benefits of salvation depends on accepting Christ as Savior. Anyone can do that. But only those who do can be called His people and receive His mercy. The benefits are tied to the relationship. There is no other way to receive them.

Are you a part of His people? Have you received His mercy? If you have, you know the joy of being in the family of God. Won’t you tell someone else today? Share the joy. Don’t keep it to yourself.

I am thankful that I am part of Your people and that I have received Your mercy. I am not worthy, but You have considered me worthy. I praise You.

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