Ezekiel 47:1-48:35, 1 Peter 2:11-3:7, Psalms 119:49-64, Proverbs 28:12-13
Today is the 24th day of November welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I am Brian it is a wonderful to be here with you today. Here in the United States this is Thanksgiving Day. That’s one of our major holidays. So, happy Thanksgiving to everybody. Actually, everybody. Doesn’t have to be a specific holiday in a specific country for us to have gratitude, right, for us to give thanks? And, so, happy Thanksgiving Day because it’s a holiday but happy Thanksgiving Day because it’s a day that we get to be here, and we get to rejoice and we get to take the next step forward on our journey through the Scriptures. That journey leads us back into the book of Ezekiel. We should be concluding the book of Ezekiel today. We’ve been reading from the Christian Standard Bible this week. That’s what will continue to do while it’s this week. Today, Ezekiel chapters 47 and 48.
Okay. So, in first Peter today, Peter lays out a framework for the posture of a Christian life and he touches every major category of the Christian life while he’s doing it. And one builds upon another. And, so, to get at this, we kinda need to revisit a bit of the text that we just read from first Peter and just kinda go back through it piece by piece really quick understanding that each piece builds on the next piece. And, so, I quote from what we’ve…actually we’re pretty much gonna read everything we read today from first Peter chapter 2. “Dear friends, I urge you, as strangers and exiles to abstain from sinful desires that wage war against the soul”, right? So, we’re being urged to avoid the things that will do war against our souls, the sinful desires. And that can be different for each of us, but we understand what’s being said here. Avoid these things. That’s like a general default position. “Abstain from sinful desires that wage war against the soul. Conduct your cells honorably among the Gentiles, so that when they slander you as evildoers, they will observe your good works and will glorify God on the day He visits.” Okay. So, the posture in the first couple sentences is, “abstain from the things that will wage war against your soul and be honorable”, in this case among the Gentiles because Peter’s speaking to Jewish people. Most of us are Gentiles. And, so, we could say among the nonbelievers to give ourselves a bit of application here, “so that when they slander you as evildoers, they will observe your good works and glorify God on the day he visits.” So, what Peter’s saying is, when they slander you don’t live up to what they’re saying. Be the opposite of that so that their words fall flat. That’s not who you are. And this was not uncommon. Christian people were being marginalized. There was definitely tension among the Hebrew people against Christian believers. There was definitely a marginalization in the Roman Empire toward the Christians. And, so, derogatory things were being set against them. That’s a lot of the time how persecution starts, right? First with the information warfare, stereotyping, a group of people as a bad group of people and then dehumanizing that group of people until a mass is amassed enough to destroy that group of people. We can be of any of the racial slurs that we have heard around the world that are meant to be derogatory toward a people group. This was going on in the first century in certain areas marginalizing Christian believers. Peter’s saying that the way that we will combat this is not be the stereotype. Then he goes on. “Submit to every human authority because of the Lord weather to the Emperor as the supreme authority, or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil, and to praise those who do what is good. For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.” “Silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.” Not silence the ignorance of foolish people by posting nasty things on social media to combat them. Not silence the ignorance of foolish people by dismissing them and re-stereotyping them yourself. And I mean in our church history and our Christian history we have the story of deep terrible marginalization and we also have the story of being deep and terrible marginaliz-ers. Peter says, “we silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good. Submit as free people not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but as God’s slaves. Honor everyone. Love the brothers and sisters. Fear God. Honor the Emperor.” This is what Peter is suggesting our normal lives should look like. This is the posture of life. Then he goes on. “Household slaves, submit to your masters with all reverence” Ad let me just stop here for a second, because, you know, slavery is definitely still in the world today, but sort of legalized slavery is not permissible in most of the world, at least most the people who are here today speaking English listening to the Bible. But most of us have a job and most of us have a boss and we have an environment that we have to do our work in. And, so, while we have freedom to go find a different job if we can find one, if we find ourselves in a bad situation. Most of us have to work for a living, to buy food and gasoline, and shelter etc. etc. So, if we put ourselves in that frame of mind then we can better understand the posture. “Submit to your masters with all reverence not only to the good and gentle ones but also to the cruel, for it brings favor if because of a consciousness of God someone endures grief from suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if when you do wrong and are beaten, you endure it, right?” If you get what you deserve. Why is that…like is that enduring something? You got what you deserve. And Peter goes on, “but when you do what is good and suffer, if you endure it this brings favor with God. And then Peter just simply goes on to say, look, this is the example of Christ. This is how He lived. And, so, therefore this is how we are to live. So, he’s touching are generalized and the temptations of our lives and is telling us to avoid, to abstain from things that will do war against our souls and to not be the stereotype when we are stereotyped to rise up and be who we really are to simply be better than that. People can say a lot of things, but character ultimately shines and brings glory to God. And if we are marginalized and if we do have to suffer injustice in some sort of way how we deal with that actually matters. When we understand that we are enduring something that we may be receiving something that is not just but we are enduring for the sake of Jesus and the sake of the world and the sake of the gospel to stand there and be the light, despite what comes our way we are saying a lot and good is going into the world because of it. And then he moves into the house. “In the same way”, and that’s the important thing here because he’s going to wives and then he’s going to husbands. “In the same way”, so everything we’ve talked about so far. “In the same way wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, so that even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by the way their wives live when they observe your pure, reverent lives.” And he goes on to say, like, you know, making yourself beautiful on the outside, that may be fine and good but that’s not the thing. That's…that’s not who you are. It’s what’s inside your heart. “Develop an imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” And then he moves to husbands. “Husbands, in the same way”, so living this comprehensive posture of faith in this world, “in the same way”, everything that we’ve been talking about, “live with your wives in an understanding way as with the weaker partner showing them honor as co-heirs of the grace of life so that your prayers will not be hindered.” Man, there’s so much there. We could go back through and through and through and apply it to our own lives, but there is a posture here, a way of living that we are to espouse because it is a godly way to live, so that our prayers will not be hindered. Man, that would explain a lot wouldn’t it if we took some time to do inventory in our own lives? Is Peter describing what our lives look like? Because he's…he’s describing a flow of life, a posture that we live within, a way that we look at the world that not only tells us what we’re doing and why, in our own lives, but also the big picture of what is going on. And, so, there’s plenty for us to think about on this Thanksgiving Day as we move through the festivities. And this posture of life that’s being laid out in first Peter may very well be challenged on this very very day, but we’ve been given some advanced words. We can go back to it, maybe read it differently. I mean, you can go back to First Peter two and read it yourself and apply it to yourself this day, but we are being given tools today that can be put into practice today and then should be put into practice tomorrow and all throughout the holiday season into next year and for the rest of our lives. This is the shape of life according to the apostle Peter. And fundamentally, Peter is simply saying what we’ve been being told all along. Imitate Jesus. That’s how you do this. That’s how life is supposed to look. Imitate Jesus.
Father, we invite You into that. We confess that sometimes we do, and we confess that sometimes we don’t. And there are many challenges that come our way and all kinds of things swirling around us and most of the time we’re not paying attention until after we’ve acted. And we’re just asking for Your help. Even this very day, asking for Your help that we take a pause, we take a beat, we re-center ourselves in You understanding that what we do and what we say represents who You are. Holy Spirit, help us to feel the gravity of that as we give thanks. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise:
Coming soon… Happy Thanksgiving!