Of all the disciples called by the Lord Jesus in the gospels, probably the one we can most readily identify with is Peter. Simon Barjona as he was known before the Lord changed his name to Peter. In John chapter 1 was as impetuous as he was fervent and often found himself as the target of the Lord Jesus’ reprove.
Recall for example in Matthew chapter 16, Peter’s sympathetic suggestion to the Lord that He should keep Himself from the suffering of death that He knew awaited Him. “get behind Me, Satan” was the Lord’s reply. “You are a stumbling block to Me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men.” How could Peter possibly recovered from such a stinging rebuke?
And of course it was also Peter, who denied the Lord three times during the hour of trial preceding the actual crucifixion. Yet only days later it was this same Peter who stood on the day of Pentecost and usher thousands into the kingdom with his powerful and dynamic speaking.
And not only so, in his two epistles, Peter uses language and phrases so rich and full of high and profound meaning that we can’t help but marvel at the power of God’s full salvation. That this unlearned fisherman could write such thing. Listen to his word in 1 Peter,
1:18 “Knowing that it was not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, that you were redeemed from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers,”
19 “But with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ;”
Welcome to our first life-study of the book of 1 Peter.
1 Thessalonians (Program #19) – Our Heart to be Established Blameless in Holiness and our Body to be Preserved Clean in Sanctification
Proverbs 4:23 says: Keep your heart with all vigilance, For from it are the issues of life.
So, how do you keep your heart? Well, if you are a seeker and lover of the Lord Jesus, and that you want to stay with us for a special life study program from 1 Thessalonians today, entitled “Our Heart to be Established Blameless in Holiness.”
When we look at the kind of human life the Lord Jesus lived on the earth and if we take His teachings as an ethical standard for us to imitate, we will set our Christian life on a direct path that will lead us to utter frustration and failure. And worst yet, it will leave God’s heart’s desire unsatisfied because the real example of the Lord Jesus was not just that He lived the perfect life, but that He all the time practiced to live another life. This might sound strange and contrary to what you’ve known and practiced concerning the Christian life, but it, nonetheless, is the clear teaching of the Bible. We need not live a good life. We need to live Christ.
Colossians 1:13 says, “Who delivered us out of the authority of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love”. This is a marvelous verse that is well beloved by many that love the Lord Jesus especially those whose background is easily described by the phrase “authority of darkness”. If we had a particularly sinful and dark past then likely our appreciation of this transfer is quite keen. To many others that may not have such an evil and wicked past seemingly, so while they may agree doctrinally that such a transfer has taken place, the heartfelt realization may not be quite as strong. But what was the apostle Paul referring to when he wrote these words to the believers in Colossi? The answer to this question will likely surprise you.
Galatians (Program #36) – Sow unto the Spirit for the New Creation
The book of Galatians ends with this marvelous word in Galatians 6:18 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.” If grace is God Himself in Christ through the Spirit to be our daily supply, it’s most helpful to find out how to experience such grace be with your spirit. These are the words that we’ll focus on in today’s life study of the Bible.
The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ brought in a complete change in the way God dealt with men. His desire today is to bring a rich and bountiful supply of His Spirit to all His children. But, how do we receive this supply? Galatians 3:5 says, “He therefore who bountifully supplies to you the Spirit and does works of power among you, does He do it out of the works of law or out of the hearing of faith?” Are we still struggling under the law or are we receiving the Spirit through faith? Stay tuned for today’s life study of the Bible.
Ezekiel (Program #24) – The River Flowing from the House
An outstanding feature that appears again and again throughout the pages of the Bible both in the Old Testament and the New is a river. The river was prominent in Genesis and the river appears in the books of history and the books of the prophets in the Old Testament. This river is still flowing in the gospels especially in the Gospel of John where the river flows out of the pierced side of the Lord Jesus. And it continues to flow right through the final chapters of Revelation where it is seen proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the New Jerusalem. In all of these mentions the river is a very positive factor, very much related to the matter of the divine eternal life. One of the more striking appearances that this river makes is in Ezekiel 47 where it’s seen flowing out of the house of God. In this chapter it becomes a deep river – too deep and too wide to be passed over. The one that we have no choice but to abandon ourselves to and swim in.
Ezekiel (Program #20) – The Temple and Side Chambers
The gospel of John gives us the unforgettable picture of Jesus coming into the temple in Jerusalem. And in the display of the most righteous anger, the sight of God’s house being turned into a place of merchandise and commerce, He cleanses the temple – overturning the tables and chasing the peddlers away. Immediately following this comes a profound exchange between the Lord Jesus and the religionists. In John 2:18-21, “The Jews then answered and said to Him, What sign do you show us, seeing that you do these things? Jesus answered and said to them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then the Jews said, This temple was built in forty-six years, and You will raise it up in three days? But He spoke of the a temple of His body.” What makes this word so meaningful is that John clearly identifies Jesus as the real temple, the real house of God. This means even as we consider the temple in the Old Testament such as in Ezekiel’s great vision in chapters 40 to 48, we must realize that this is a type of the Lord Jesus Himself and of the church, the New Testament, the enlargement of God’s house.
After the revelation of the four living creatures and the great wheel of the move of God in Ezekiel chapter 1, we are presented with the striking description of the spiritual sky above these four living creatures. In 1:22, Ezekiel writes, “And over the heads of the living creature there was the likeness of an expanse, like the sight of awesome crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.” This vivid picture conveys that when God’s people are fully experiencing Him in Christ and are connected to one another in a way that expresses and glorifies Him, then they have a clear sky above them – so clear that they can see without limitation into the very third heavens where our dear Lord Jesus sits so preeminently on the throne. Verse 26, “And above the expanse that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, like the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was One in appearance like a man, above it.”
2 Corinthians (Program #8) – The Ministers of the New Covenant (1)
All believers have their favorite verses, verses that just seem to minister particularly to us in our situation. But one verse that deserves to be on every list is 2 Corinthians 3:18, listen to the apostle Paul in this marvelous verse,
18 “But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.”
Why is this verse so particularly important? Because it brings us face to face with the Lord Jesus in an intimate and personal way. But also in a way where by we are infused, transfused even transformed by Christ Himself as the very life giving Spirit.