We are in week 3 of a walk through of 1 Peter...A Letter to 1st Century Christians who found themselves running to Five Roman Provinces in Asia Minor to escape persecution... Only to find they didn't fit in at their new location any better! Realizing they were aliens and foreigners in a land that didn't like them or their Faith! The persecution quickly began to grow in their new residence as well!
We are doing an Expository Teaching of the entire Book of 1st Peter because this Book is so completely relevant to us exactly where we are in our society today. Written to Jew and Gentile Christians alike just 30 years after Jesus' Death and Resurrection, as many Christians fled Jerusalem and surrounding areas due to the intensifying persecution there—only to be unaccepted and persecuted where ever they traveled to escape.
We are going to do something a bit different for the next couple of weeks. I feel God has had this on my heart for some time now. We are going to do a Study of the entire Book of 1st Peter—probably not as thoroughly as we do on Wednesday Night Bible Studies—but a deep look at the message and context of the Book because I honestly feel there could not be a more perfect Book written for our generation, living in our current culture and predicament, from which to draw knowledge, inspiration and direction. This is my favorite way to study Scriptures—as they were written. So, let's jump in and let God's Word speak to our hearts.
Would you agree that how we view ourselves, our self-identity...Affects every aspect of how we think, act and relate to the world around us? Including with God?! Ok then... Grasp this one powerful FACT... Before we continue!
Our self-view... Our identity...Is ALMOST ALWAYS completely based upon a RELATIONAL PERSPECTIVE...In other words… Believed in relation to outside factors! There are TWO very prominent Cultural Patterns for how most establish their "Self-Identity" and worth today:
ILLUSTRATION: A Highly Trained Seal Team has been dropped deep into enemy territory to extract quite a number of innocent civilian families held hostage in a remote prison. The hostages have been mistreated, tortured and many already killed. They have a limited amount of time to complete the mission before a chopper comes to meet them at an extraction point. When they hit the ground and the mission begins, the Leader of the Team picks up his equipment and signals the men to follow into the night towards the prisons. The other men begin digging in where they are, setting up camp, starting a fire, and they simply begin to wait. When their Leader turns and asks what they are doing, the reply is, "The chopper will be coming right here very soon. We don't want to miss it when it comes back!" The Leader replies, "But this is our mission; it is why we are here!" To which the now solidly encamped soldiers respond, "So you go tell them if they want a ticket out of here, they better come quick. We'll guard the spot!"
Marriage is AWESOME, GROWING, GLORIFYING! In our rapidly shifting "cultural" morals today...
We have watched as marriage has legally…Been completely redefined in this country... (With more changes surely to come!) The number of people getting married today, according to information from an April 2020 U.S. News And World Report...Is at it's lowest level since the Federal Government began recording data in 1867! (1) Experts say the reasoning behind this incredibly low number of marriages in today's culture is due to... (Listen to these!)
We are in Part 3 of our study on Persecution of the Church. In Part 1, we discussed the pattern of persecution in times past, as it sprouted and grew in different cultures and how we are quickly fitting into that pattern here and now. In Part 2, we discussed why people are becoming so "intolerant and resentful" of Christ and Christianity in our culture today, and why persecution gives the real Church a unique opportunity of sifting, growing and witnessing to the world like no other time. Today we will discuss how to prepare for, and endure the growing animosity and resistance towards our faith. As levels of persecution seems to be steadily on the rise in our culture—whether quickly, or over time—we will face increasing persecution in the days ahead.
Last week we began a very important and timely message about "persecution!" Comparing our current situation in America, and even globally...To the pattern of how persecution has sprouted and grown in other times and places of history...
The obvious conclusion is that...Globally... And in our OWN Nation...Hatred, intolerance and persecution of Christians is growing in number and severity! We are the single-most hated group of people on the planet right here in our very lifetimes! And although we have been sheltered from most of the serious persecution in the past...Our society has taken on a completely different atmosphere and attitude in just a few short years...As Christianity has quickly gone from a position of favor and acceptance...To a position of contempt, and political incorrectness... It is becoming an almost common public attitude...To consider Fundamental Christian beliefs as homophobic, misogynistic, bigoted, judgmental and downright evil at times!
Do you see and feel increased animosity and even anger being expressed towards many of your Christian views in entertainment and in the politically correct world in which we live today? Do you sometimes feel intimidated and unwelcomed to express your Biblical belief about certain topics at work or among certain social gatherings? Knowing how they are in stark contrast to the accepted norm of society? Is there a very real and growing push by society for the church to change their stance on many current issues today? Are many of our very own churches caving to the desires of the masses in their beliefs and condemning us for not following suite? Have we crossed a new threshold of literal, physical, hate-filled aggression and intimidation towards unwanted beliefs and opinions in our country? Have you seen legal action taken against people as a direct result of their choice to live by their Biblical beliefs in our culture? Is there a very real trend to distinctly single out of Christian beliefs (over other religions) in our culture as the target for much condemnation and attack? With the current Representatives and Judges we have in place at this very moment, do you feel it is very possible for more restrictive laws to appear in our society towards our beliefs and convictions in the near future? Many Christians are wondering and asking whether we will experience serious discrimination and even outright persecution in our lives. I want to take a moment to give you a solid, evidence-based answer to set your minds at ease once and for all—absolutely, yes! Think that answer is biased? Paranoid? Opinionated? Let's take a few moments to get beyond our personal comforts, opinions and hopes—to see the big picture—from the standpoint of history, current blatant evidence, and Scripture.
With all of the evidence we have discussed in previous sermons... Including the alignment of countries, modern technology, world events and fulfilled prophecies. Which are descriptive of the Last Days...Added to the world changing events of 2020...Including the global pandemic...And the severe, rapid decline in the moral and spiritual attitude of multitudes across the nation and the world...Many Christians are pondering whether we truly are nearing the end of the world as we know it... And are about to see...
Looking for something specific? Use our search bar below