Friday, February 27, 2015

We Worship God as We Long for Our Eternal City

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:21-22
Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.

Insights:  Sunday I went into a brief summary about baptism and how it is a picture of salvation.  There is nothing in the baptismal waters that saves a person.  All that water does is what Peter is describing it here as doing—removing dirt from the flesh.  True spiritual baptism is of the heart and is a picture of our resurrected life in Jesus.  Even though I briefly mentioned this aspect regarding these verses, it was not my main focus.  My emphasis dealt with the last part of the verse in which we are informed about the type of reign Jesus will have in eternity.  It will be perfect and all angels, authorities, and powers will be under His rule.  From this view point heaven is perfect.  It ought to be a place that we long to be because it is our true home and true citizenship.  So, the point I was making was that we ought to worship the Lord as we anxiously await our arrival in His eternal city.  There are so much music that has been driven by this theme that it can literally overwhelm us at times, in a good way.  These songs help us to be mindful of our true destination and it helps us be upward focused on Jesus.  Beloved, take time even today and ponder your eternity.  If you are born again because you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then this ought to be to be very enjoyable exercise for you.  If you do not have such a relationship, then this ought to be a sobering time in which you evaluate your future.  If you come to the realization, because the Holy Spirit is convicting your heart, that you don’t have this saving relationship, then all you have to do is repent and receive Jesus into your heart and you will be saved.  May your future bring you a great deal of confidence as you worship Jesus.

1.  Do you eagerly anticipate the return of Jesus?
2.  What do you think will be the most enjoyable part of spending eternity with Jesus?

Prayer: Father, I say with the New Testament authors, “Come Lord Jesus!”  May His return be soon and may we be found worshipfully serving You.  Amen.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

We Worship God as We Let People Know about Christ

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:19-20
in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.

Insights:  The theological implications regarding these two verses is numerous.  There are those who take these verses to mean that Jesus actually went to Hades after His death on the cross and that He preached to the damned of ages past.  Others think this preaching is actually in reference to the work of Noah and his proclamation before the flood about God’s judgment on the world.  There are even a few other lesser opinions that do not carry much weight, but here is all I desire to say about this aspect of today’s Thoughts by Scott: whatever you believe regarding this subject is okay with me.  I may have an opinion about this passage, but it is not one of those dogmas that must be defended to the bitter end.  There is no reason to divide the church on this particular subject because either position you hold to has a singular impacting point and that is on what I desire to focus the remainder of this blog.  Whether it is Jesus or Noah preaching in this passage the point is that someone was declaring resolutely that salvation was needed.  People were in desperate need for a Savior.  So, if we are going to have confidence in our relationship with Jesus, then we need to learn to worship God as we let people know about His Son.  Evangelism ought to be a very important part of our lives.  We ought to have a list of about five people that we have asked the Lord to lay on our heart and to pray for them to come to a saving relationship with Jesus.  We then need to pray that the Lord would open up opportunities for us to share the love of Jesus with these individuals.  Finally we need to pray for the individual to respond favorably to the gospel.  It is possible there is someone out there reading this blog that does not have a relationship with Jesus.  All you have to do is admit to God that you are a sinner and believe that God rose Jesus from the dead to purchase your salvation from the grave.  Finally you confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior and faithfully follow Him from here on out.  If you have never done that, then I encourage you to do so right now.  May God be glorified as you share Jesus and as many come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.

1.  When was the last time you had an opportunity to share the gospel with a lost individual?
2.  Are you one who does not have a relationship with Jesus, but you know you need to have one?

Prayer: Father, thank You for saving me.  Because of the immense mercy I have received from You, please embolden me to share the gospel with those who do not have a relationship with You.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

We Worship God as We Learn about Conversion

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:18
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

Insights:  The third thing that helps us develop confidence in our relationship with Jesus is our worship as we learn about our salvation.  Think about the very first part of this verse.  Peter wrote, “For Christ also died for sins once for all.”  This part of the verse is powerful in and of itself.  One of the reason we baptist hold to the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, which is more familiarly stated as, once saved always saved is because of verses like this one.  In Hebrews chapter six we find these words, “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame (4-6).”  The point is that if one could actually lose the salvation with which they were purchased and then desired to be reconciled to Christ, it would be the same as putting Jesus on the cross a second time.  Yet our verse today tells us that Jesus died once for all.  His work was sufficient for all sin.  The second thing to notice as we worship the Lord as we learn about our conversion is the personality involved.  In other words, Jesus is the central figure.  He is the One and the only one who is just.  We are the unjust and He had to die for us because we needed a perfect substitute to pay the penalty God’s wrath required for sin.  I am so grateful God is willing to take a substitute because if it were dependent on me and my goodness, then I, like everyone else, would fall terribly short of the mark.  There is a third thing to think about regarding our salvation and that is the spiritual life that is born within us.  When Adam and Eve sinned they died spiritually.  Christ Jesus died for us in the flesh so that we might be raised from our spiritual death to newness of life.  In other words, He did the exact opposite of Adam.  Let me encourage you to worship the Lord as you learn more and more about the beauty of the cross.

1.  Is your relationship with Jesus getting stronger each day?
2.  Do you ever ponder the extensive cost the cross really exacted on our Lord?

Prayer: Father, forgive me when I take the cross for granted.  You paid a price too great for me to comprehend and I all too often do not express my gratitude for such a generous gift.  Thank You, Lord, for my salvation.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

We Worship God as We Let Go of the Corruptible

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:15-17
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.

Insights:  The second part of our ability to live with confidence in Jesus is our submission to His authoritative power.  When I write this sentence I am really describing our ability to worship God as He takes us through the sanctifying process.  In today’s verses Peter starts off with the phrase, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart.”  As we keep reading we see Peter gets more specific with regards to the areas we need to purge and the character traits we need to exhibit.  Now, Beloved, if you are like me, you probably don’t like the sanctifying process very much.  I like my sin and resist the Lord’s rebukes.  I know that His will is best.  I know that He has my best interest at heart.  In fact, when I am truly close to Him and experiencing true intimacy with Him, I also desire to obey Him.  The problem is me and my self-rule.  I do not always wish to be led.  I want to be the leader.  I want to be the boss.  Beloved, let me encourage you to seek the Lord.  Let Him truly purge you.  As I indicated, when I have done this and when I am in a right relationship with my Savior, I fully and completely know His will is best.  In those moments I feel His satisfaction and my life is filled with joy.  So, let us all cast off anything that might hinder us from running with Jesus well; and indeed, be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks us for the reason of our hope.  Jesus is the One who empowers and strengthens us to go through the persecution for being obedient to Him.  It is my prayer that as we cast off all our corruptible iniquity that the Lord’s light might shine in our lives and that many may come to the saving knowledge of Jesus as their Lord.

1.  Is there an area of your life that keeps pulling you down and away from Jesus?
2.  Have you come to realize that will power alone is not going to save you from this particular area?

Prayer: Father, purge my life of its selfish and self-centered desires of temporary pleasures.  Let Your Spirit guide and direct my life to such an extent that I humble myself to Your correcting hand and allow You to cleanse every part of me.  Amen.

Monday, February 23, 2015

We Worship God as We Live Courageously

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:13-14
Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?  But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled,

Insights:  This week we will be examining how our worship gives us confidence in Jesus and the first part of our confidence is found in our courageous lifestyle of worship.  Notice with me in today’s verses how Peter asks a simple question regarding harm.  Is it really possible for someone to harm a Christ-follower?  To answer this question that Peter is posing, let us examine the apostle Paul’s life for just a moment.  If Paul faces prison, what is his response?  He would say, “Prison, I like prison, there are some men there I have been witnessing to and I am needing to follow up with them.”  If Paul is stoned, what is his response?  He would say, “Stoning, I like stoning, the last time I actually died and the Lord rose me again and I walked right back into that town and continue preaching that Christ Jesus is Lord.  You ought to have seen the faces of those men that threw the stones when I walked back into town.”  If Paul is ship wrecked, what is his response?  He would say, “Ship wrecks, I like ship wrecks, it gives me more time with the sailors I have been telling about Jesus.”  If Paul were to be put to death, what would his response have been?  He would say, “You want to kill me, I would like to die, because if I were to die I would be present with Jesus and oh how I long for that day.”  Beloved, do you understand the point I am making with these fictional responses (though based on the Scriptures) of Paul.  He courageously lived life because he knew where His strength was found.  It was found in Christ Jesus who lived inside of him.  Because his focus was heavenward he was not intimidated by the pressures of this world.  He really did understand that he suffered for righteousness sake and was blessed of the Lord.  It is my prayer that we all grow in the grace of the Lord and face the coming persecution well.  The days of Christian oppression are coming and in those days we will all need to be like Peter and Paul.  May the strength of the Lord give us courage to stand for Jesus and bear witness to His name.

1.  Has something happened in your past that has developed a pattern that is less than courageous for the Lord?
2.  What is the Lord currently calling you to that will require courage?

Prayer: Father, in and of myself I am cowardly.  I know, however, in You I am more than a conqueror.  Strengthen me to walk courageously with You.  Amen.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Relevant Worship in the Home is the Most Important Arena of Worship

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:8-12
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. For, “The one who desires life, to love and see good days, Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.  “He must turn away from evil and do good; He must seek peace and pursue it.  “For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, And His ears attend to their prayer, But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Insights:  These final verses pull it all together regarding how worship is relevant in our homes.  Peter gives us a summary statement with a fairly lengthy list of character traits that are true of people who are deeply in love with the Lord and their family.  The reason I can say these traits are worshipful traits is because apart from the Holy Spirit enabling us to live these characteristics out in our lives, we are only going to be successful a very small portion of the time.  Let me take the first characteristic as an example.  In our own power we might be harmonious on occasion, but if we are left to our devises and self,  we will become self-centered and combative for our “rights”.  We soon measure all actions of our spouses and children through the vantage point of what will “I” get out of it.  If “I” can’t get anything out of it, then I will fight for my “rights” and not live at harmony with my family.  Christ in us, however, changes our position and we become one who seeks peace because Jesus is the Prince of Peace.  We seek to build our family members up and not tear them down because we no longer wish to return evil for evil, but rather be a source of blessing for the family.  The reason this blog is titled Relevant Worship in the Home is the Most Important Arena of Worship is because the way we worship the Lord in our love and respect for our spouses has a major impact on our children who are watching us and learning how to treat a future spouse.  What they see will have major impact on whether they actually develop a faith that is their own or just something generic that is not real.  Beloved, give your whole heart to worship the Lord as you love and respect your family and allow this worship to impact your children and grandchildren.

1.  Do you understand that the way you treat your spouse has major impacts on your children and grandchildren?
2.  Have you come to the place your recognize how your attitude in the home reflects your worship of the Lord?

Prayer: Father, help me to be the spouse You have called me to be.  Let my life reflect Your love and impact my children and grandchildren.  Let me honor You in my marriage and family.  Amen.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Husbands Worship God as You Love Your Wives, Part 2

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:7
You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

Insights:  Yesterday we learned that we need to be physically present in our marriages, but that we also need to be intellectually engaged as well.  Remember, the entire purpose of our current sermon series is to understand how REAL worship is relevant to our lives.  Our worship to the Lord is relevant in our marriages because of the major impact it has on our spouses and children.  So, as we are physically present and as we are intellectually engaged in the marriage, we are actually worshipping the Lord if we are focused on His ability at work in us to do these tasks well.  Today, we will focus on the last two areas in which a husband worships the Lord as he loves his wife.  The third area is in our emotional connectedness.  Peter wrote, “…and show her honor….”  She is a princess in the kingdom of God, if she is born again.  If she is not born again, then it is your job to show her how much of a princess she can be, and hopefully, she will receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior.  So, how does one show honor to their spouse?  It is a concept that has gone out of fashion, but is still vital to real worship and that is to be chivalrous.  Go the extra mile to take care of the little details of life that shows your wife that she is the most valuable person to you.  Open her car door and the doors into buildings.  When you are up getting a drink ask her if there is anything you can get her while you are up.  If there is a task you know she just does not like to do, then do it for her.  Look after your princess in the way a princess of the King out to be treated.  The final area in which you worship the Lord as you love you wife is in the spiritual area.  Peter wrote, “… so that your prayers will not be hindered.”  Peter assumes that the husband and wife are praying together.  He assumes the husband is worshipping the Lord as he loves his wife, but he also understands that if the man fails to worship the Lord in this realm, then his intimacy with the Lord is going to be affected.  Therefore, Peter gives his warning about the husbands spiritual life.  Don’t let anything happen to your spiritual power because you have failed to love your wife the way God intended for you to love her.

1.  Husbands, are you emotionally connected with your spouse?
2.  How do you spiritually lead your wife to a deeper and richer relationship with Jesus?

Prayer: Father, help me to not miss the emotional well being of my wife because of my lack of emotional sensitivity.  Let me lead her well into the grace found in Jesus and let me present her to You as a bride unblemished ready for marriage.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Husbands Worship God as You Love Your Wives, Part 1

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:7
You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

Insights:  Sunday I told the congregation of FBC Bowling Green that I did not know if Peter wrote six verses to the ladies and one verse to the men because the ladies had more areas they needed to work on or if it was because the men were just not intellectually capable of receiving more information than one verse.  I will let you be the judge of the reason for such a contrast in volume regarding the material Peter wrote.  With that being said, there are still four things within this singular verse that help us to understand our worship roles as husbands.  Warren Wiersbe really helps us understand these four areas in his commentary.  The first is the physical presence of the man.  Peter wrote, “…live with your wives….”  In other sermons we have discussed the fatherless generation.  This term refers to the number of fathers that have literally abandoned their families.  Men, when you married your wives, you became one flesh and this is not just referring to the sexual act of consummation of the marriage vows.  You need to be present for the duration of the marriage until death do you part.  The second area in which men worship the Lord in marriage is through the intellect.  Peter wrote, “…live with your wives in an understanding way….”  In other words, are you a student of your wife?  What I mean by that is do you study her?  Have you come to realize just how special and unique she is?  You can spend your entire life learning the truths about what makes your wife your wife.  The problem is that most men have stopped pursuing their spouses; and as a result, have begun to take them for granted.  Men, let me give you a clue as to your predominant way of learning about your wife, beyond the mere observational aspect of study.  The clue is to become a great communicator.  In my premarital counseling sessions I tell the couples that if they can get this one aspect figured out, then all of the others really do fall to way side, and that is a fact.  Men, remember, this subject is about worship to our Lord in the realm of our families and specifically in the realm of our wives.  Worship the Lord today as you pursue your spouse! 

1.  Husbands, are you actually physically present in the marriage?
2.  What have you recently learned about your spouse that you did not know until recently?

Prayer: Father, all too often I take my spouse for granted and do not strive to know more about her.  Grow me in Your grace to be the husband who is not only physically present in the relationship, but is also constantly striving to know more about what makes my wife who she is.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wives Worship God as You Respect Your Husbands, Part 2

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:1-6
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.  For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

Insights:  One of the interesting things about women who choose to divorce their husbands is many times they say, “I love him, I just don’t respect him any more.”  There are a lot of reasons the wife might have those feelings or thoughts.  I think it is for this reason that Peter, and Paul in Ephesians chapter five, tell wives to have respect for their spouses.  One of the reasons wives are submissive and have respect for their husbands, especially if they are men who do not have a saving relationship with Jesus, is so that the man may see the good and godly behavior of the wife and repent and come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.  There is another thing this passage discusses that I believe to be very relevant in todays culture and that is personal apparel.  Many women today dress with very little or even no modesty.  They think modesty is an old fashioned idea and not relevant any longer.  If these ladies only knew what their choice in dress did to men, they would never dress this way.  Wives, you are to dress in a manner that honors God and displays that respect we have been talking about for your husbands.  You are his to be cherished and not the worlds.  Do not dress for the pride and vanity that you receive when you are inappropriately dressed, but with worship toward to the Lord, choose modesty.  We have spent two days looking at how women worship God through the respect of their husbands and tomorrow we move to the men.  So, gentlemen, do not skip the next couple of days, but rather come back with eager anticipation as we look at four areas men need to worship the Lord as they love their wives.

1.  Do you respect your husbands?
2.  For whom do you dress, the Lord and your husband or the looks you get from the world?

Prayer: Father, again I pray for the ladies who are born again to live a life that honors and glorifies You as they worship You through respect and adornment that pleases You and their husbands.  Amen.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Wives Worship God as You Respect Your Husbands, Part 1

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:1-6
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.  For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

Insights:  Peter narrows the arena of relevant worship as he moves his audience to focus on marriage.  More than any other area, the worship of the Lord in the home is most crucial, in my opinion.  The reason is because our children must see the relevancy of the Lord in our daily lives in order for the Lord to become preeminent in their lives.  In today’s verses we see the Lord instructing wives to be submissive to their husbands.  The women’s rights movement has declared that to be submissive to a man is a sign of weakness, but the opposite is really true.  It takes a great deal more strength to willingly humble oneself before another.  God is the one who established the hierarchy of leadership and He did so all for the protection and betterment of wives.  In other words, as a wife gives her input to her spouse, he hears and listens to the weight of her arguments.  At the end of the day, he makes the decision and he alone bears the responsibility of the decision.  If it turns out to be a bad decision, then it is all his fault and he is responsible for the correction.  If it turns out well, then it is not for him to brag and boast about his greatness.  There is a lot more I ought to say regarding this subject of submission, but do not have the time or space.  Tomorrow, I will pick up with more topics regarding wives and their worship to God as they respect their husbands.  Until then, ladies, honor the Lord with your worship to Him as your submit to your husbands.  God bless you for your faithfulness as you receive the blessings the Lord gave to Sarah for her obedience to Abraham.

1.  Wives are you submitting to your husbands?
2.  Are you nagging your husbands and stirring them away from Christ?

Prayer: Father, may the ladies of this world who are born again display Christ in their marriages.  May they worship You and impact their spouses for Your glory.  Amen.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Worship God as You Follow His Example

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:21-25
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 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.  For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Insights:  The final point this week is not very long.  The reason being is it has only one primary point and that is this: Jesus is the example!!!  We worship the Lord as we follow His example.  We die daily to ourselves and learn how to walk in wholeness and purity through Him.  Peter tells us how Jesus faced His last days and His example is the goal for those of us who are born again.  Beloved, let us all deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow after Him every day of our lives.  If we will do that, then we are truly worshipping Him and that is worth all of the suffering, work issues, freedoms sacrificed and surrendering we do with the government.  Let us seek Christ Jesus and worship Him in all aspects of our lives.

1.  What lessons can you learn from Jesus example of worship?
2.  Are you being placed in a situation where you can practice Jesus’ model?

Prayer: Father, as I stated yesterday, I don’t worship You well in suffering, but I do desire to have You transform my life to such an extent that worship is my natural outflow of mistreatment.  May my life bring You glory.  Amen.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Worship God as You Suffer Unjustly

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:19-20
For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.  For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

Insights:  The fourth point this week deals with the way we respond to unjust suffering.  Peter expresses the thought that if someone has done wrong and they are treated harshly for it, then there is no real value in the suffering.  In other words, the person is reaping exactly what they have sown and the just rewards of such actions is suffering.  On the other hand, however, if a person is walking respectably and has done nothing to cause offense, but they are still mistreated, then the ill-treated party has a credit to their account for how they react to such hostility.  Beloved, the day in which Christians are treated unfairly is rapidly approaching.  In many segments of society we already are experiencing such persecution and it is only going to get worse.  The key to suffering is learning how to worship in the midst of it.  It is our tendency to react negatively to unjust suffering.  We want our rights to be respected and we want justice for such atrocities which have been brought against us.  If you can not tell by my choice of language, when we are experiencing unjust sufferings we act and think as if it is the end of the world.  We move it into the realm of atrocities, but the reality is, more often than not, that our pride has been bruised.  We then respond with the full wrath of our vengeance as we make our cause known to everyone that will listen to our bemoaning of our grievance.  Where in all of that kind of self-centered egotism does the Lord God receive worship and praise?  The answer is no where.  Let me challenge you to respond as Jesus did and let Him be your defender and righteousness.  Let His defense of your life before His Father be the only concern with which you have because you know you will be found innocent because of Jesus’ work on the cross of Calvary.  Let His opinion of your situation be the only opinion that matters and learn to let your pride and ego go to the wayside, all or His glory.  As you learn this lesson you will be able to worship Him better in the midst of unjust suffering.

1.  Have you recently suffered unjustly for your faith?
2.  In the midst of the unjust treatment have you worshipped the Lord well?

Prayer: Father, in my flesh I desire to rise up and defend myself when I am treated poorly.  Help me to respond as Your Son and worship You in the midst of my suffering.  May my response bring You glory.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Worship God as You Work

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:18
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.

Insights:  Contextually speaking today’s verse is really about slaves and masters.  We, however, in 2015 America do not face the issue of slaves and masters.  We do, on the other hand, have employees and employers.  From this perspective we are able to relate and understand Peter’s words to us regarding worship in our workplace.  As with yesterday’s Thoughts by Scott let me return to Paul to help us understand this point.  Paul wrote in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.”  Paul and Peter are helping us understand that we may receive a paycheck from a specific institution, but our true employer is the Lord God Himself.  At the end of the day we have to worship Him in our jobs and do work to the very best of our ability.  At this point in the sermon I began to meddle a little bit.  I asked the congregation if they were grumblers and complainers at work or if they were encouragers.  It amazes me how we are often capable of giving a child encouragement in sports or school, but we do not share the same courtesy to our coworkers.  We all too often take them for granted and fail to lift them up, but if they make a mistake, we are the first ones to be all over them to make certain they know where they messed up.  At this point, I even went one step further and asked the congregation if they had ever taken a company pen, paperclip, rubber band, etc. home with them on accident.  If they had, I then asked if they returned it once they realized what they had done or did they just brush it off with something like, “My job has plenty of pens, they won’t miss this one.”  If you have done something like this, which I am afraid to say I have done before, then you are a thief and that is not honoring and worshipful to our Lord.  Beloved, remember, the Lord God is your true employer.  Worship Him while you work and bring His name honor and glory as your life reflects an attitude that is different than your lost coworkers.

1.  Are you a complainer or an uplifter at work?
2.  Have you ever accidentally taken something home from work and realized it, but then never returned it (even something as small as a work pen)?

Prayer: Father, I have been guilty of this charge all too often in my life.  Forgive me for not honoring You in my place of employment and help me to bring You glory from this day forward as I worship You in my office-place.  Amen.

Worship God as You Sacrifice Your Freedoms

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:15-17
For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.  Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.  Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

Insights:  This second point this week regards our freedoms in Christ.  To explain this discussion better, let me quote Paul from 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.  Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.”  The context of Paul’s words were in regards to meat that had been sacrificed to idols and then sold in the local meat market.  There were some weaker believers in the faith that for various reasons had a major issue regarding the purchase of this meat.  Paul was explaining that he knew there was nothing wrong with purchasing this cheaply priced meat, but that because of his love for his fellow believers, he would not purchase this meat.  In fact, he would go so far as to not eat meat while in Corinth if it were to cause his brothers and sisters to stumble in their faith.  In some ways, Paul’s attitude was like Maximus’ slave in the movie Gladiator when he said, “Sometimes I do what I want to do and the rest of the time I do what I must.”  Paul, and Peter in today’s passage, are telling us that we often times must sacrifice the freedoms we have in Christ Jesus for the betterment of others.  As a way of example, if a church is trying to reach the millennial generation, also known as the nones because the believe in nothing, then there may be some things they believe are helpful and advantageous to a worship service that the millennials find no value in at all.  Are those saved individuals willing to sacrifice their freedom of choice and preference in order to reach the millennial generation?  If Paul or Peter were faced with that question, they would say, “I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some (1 Corinthians 9:22).”  Beloved, I whole heartedly agree that you have freedom in Christ, but for the greater good of the gospel, we ought to be willing to sacrifice our freedoms as an offering of worship for the glory of God.

1.  What freedoms are you willingly sacrificing in order to worship the Lord?
2.  Are there any lawful things that are affecting your witness for the Lord that ought to be removed from your life?

Prayer: Father, thank You for the freedom You have given me in Christ.  May I not abuse those freedoms at the expense of other people.  May my love for You and them be greater than my freedoms.  Amen.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Worship God as You Obey the Law

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:13-14
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.

Insights:  After having preached this sermon yesterday, I have received more comments regarding this first point than any other from the sermon.  This point must have convicted a lot of people.  The gist of the point is that we are to obey the government as an established authority of the Lord.  As a result we ought to worship Him as we obey the law of the land.  I did not use this first example while I preached, but I did have a conversation or two with a couple of outdoorsmen in my church afterwards.  Here is where I began to truly meddle with some people.  I asked one if he was a poacher and because he has broken the laws regarding hunting seasons and limits before, the only answer he could have given was, yes.  I informed him that he was not worshipping the Lord in his hunting if he poached.  In my sermon I asked how many obeyed the speed limit signs.  This point was the one many came and spoke about with me.  They did not wish to obey the traffic signs and gave me all kinds of reasons for their rebellion against such laws.  These individuals are not worshipping the Lord in their surrender to the governing authority God established.  I went on to explain to them that the only time it was acceptable to rebel against the governing authority of the city, state, or country was when a law was passed that violated God’s laws.  I also informed the congregation of First Baptist Church of Bowling Green that if they violated the law, then they needed to be ready for the consequences of such action and it could mean death one day.  I used Dietrich Bonhoeffer as an example of one who violated government, but paid the price with his life.  He was a man of deep faith and I would encourage every believer to read his book The Cost of Discipleship especially as days approach in which we may have to rebel against the government because of decisions they pass into law that conflict with God’s standard.  Until that day comes, let us use all of the legal means available to us to stand for Jesus and to worship Him as we obey the local laws He allowed to be established.

1.  Are you worshipping God as you obey the laws of the land?
2.  If you are not, what is your excuse for not surrendering to God’s authority which He established in our government?

Prayer: Father, even though I am truly a citizen of heaven, You have established the authority of the local governments in this world.  Help me to surrender to their authority unless they violate Your law.  Then give me the courage to stand boldly for You.  Amen.

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Strangers Perspective Regarding Our Worship

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:11-12
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.  Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Insights:  Our final verses for the week give us a glimpse from our vantage point regarding our divisive worship.  We are aliens and strangers living here in this temporal world.  Our citizenship is with the Lord our God in eternity.  As a result, our conduct and behavior is different than this world.  We no longer fall prey to the fleshly lusts which wages war against our souls.  I do not mean that we do not sin, but we are no longer slaves to the bidding and commands of our flesh.  When we choose rebellion it is not because we did not have the power to resist, but rather we were selfish and self-centered and wanted to please ourselves.  We had the power to resist the temptation, but we surrendered to the urges of our flesh.  The distinction is the lost world did not and does not have access to the Spirit of the living God to resist such impulses.  So, here is how it gets played out.  The lost world hates themselves for their powerless situation, yet they do not want to have an abiding love relationship with the only One that can save them, Jesus Christ.  When they observe us living victorious lives, they despise us and begin to slander us as evildoers.  This attack is their only option for their self-hatred.  The problem for these poor lost souls is that they do recognize the imputed righteousness of our new citizenship.  As a result of their recognition of our holy lives, they must declare on their day of judgment that our deeds, in Christ, were indeed good.  This admittance will validate the sentence of eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire.  So, our worship is divisive in the sense that it is a reminder to a lost world were their eternity is going to be spent and they hate it, but are unwilling to repent.  The hope for us in Christ is that some will see our lives and hear our message and they will repent.  These individuals are the ones for whom we share and live out the gospel.

1.  Are you often slandered for your faith?
2.  If you are not, is it possible nobody knows you are born again because your worship is not distinctive and divisive enough?

Prayer: Father, I am a citizen of Your country; and therefore, am slandered and persecuted here.  Help me to bring You honor as I perform my good deeds in Your power before a world that does not desire You.  May some of them see my example and repent and become Your children.  Amen.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Special People Designed for Worship

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:9-10 
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 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.

Insights:  Today’s verses help us to see how special we are in Christ Jesus.  We, who are born again, are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession.  These names are an amazing list of wonderful attributes and descriptive characteristics of who we are in Christ Jesus.  It is from these lofty positions in Christ that we, who are born again, proclaim the excellencies of God to those who live in darkness.  We, who are born again, dwell in His marvelous light because we are His people who have received His great mercy.  Because we have have been saved from such a great weight of sin, ought we not to be so grateful that we desire to proclaim, to a sin gripped world, His amazing grace?  The answer to this question is a profound yes.  Beloved, let me encourage you to not hide your candle of marvelous light under a basket, but let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.  Let it shine until Jesus comes just like the song says and may many come to have a deep and special relationship with Him in His marvelous light.

1.  Do you understand how special you really are in Christ Jesus?
2.  Are you aware that through your special relationship with the Lord that You are called to be His witness?

Prayer: Father, help me to be your special witness to a world as I proclaim Your great excellencies to those who live in the darkness of their sins.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Sobering Punishment for a Lack of Worship

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:7c-8
This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone,” and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

Insights:  Keep in mind that this week we are discussing the divisiveness of worship.  The past two days we have looked at the choice and precious corner stone, Jesus Christ, and our need to worship Him and Him only.  Our focus ought to not be on any other person or thing, but solely on the Lord.  To those of us who believe this corner stone, Jesus, is choice and precious; but as today’s verses point out, the story is quite different for non-believers.  This choice and precious stone becomes to them a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.  To use the language we have been using throughout this week, the stone becomes divisive between the lost and the saved.  I can understand the lost worlds frustrations with the gospel.  All other religions are works based, but Christianity is not.  Many of these other religions are inclusive and believe whatever path one wants to walk to the Lord is acceptable, but Christianity states that through Jesus is the one and only way to the Father.  It is because of this dogged rigidity that the lost world finds our faith offensive and a stumbling block.  As a result, the Christian community is persecuted and shunned in the media and the political world at large.  Our faith has caused families to divide and agree to disagree regarding this fundamental reality of our beliefs pertaining to Jesus and salvation.  Now, let me also state here that most believers would love to see those with whom division has occurred to become saved and for the relationship to be restored.  It is for this reason Believers pray for those who are in conflict with them.  They want to see these individuals come to the saving grace of our Lord Jesus.  We Believers also recognize the personal choice of each of these individuals and have at times experienced their separation from us.  If you are one that has allowed your view of Christians to push you way from the saving grace of Jesus, let me challenge you to review the facts regarding Him.  Let your search for the truth lead you straight into His arms and avoid the doom referenced in today’s verses because of your rejection of His love.  Don’t let division hinder you from knowing Jesus.

1.  Are you one who is heading toward the doom of eternal judgment from the Lord?
2.  Is this kind of destiny what you truly desire?

Prayer: Father, when I read verses like these I am so grateful You saved me.  I pray that if anyone reads this blog and they do not have a relationship with Your Son, Jesus, that they will stop right now and ask Him to come into their lives and save their souls.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Sacrifice of Praise through Worship, Part 2

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:4-7b
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  For this is contained in Scripture: “Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”  This precious value, then, is for you who believe;

Insights:  I mentioned that yesterday and today would be the only days in which I referred to the division of worship within the church.  Here is what I meant by that statement: all too often in church people condemn others as being too radical or outlandish in their worship to the Lord.  King David’s wife Michal accused him of making a fool of himself in his worship to the Lord.  David replied, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord—and I will celebrate before the Lord.  I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes. But by the female servants of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor (2 Samuel 6:21-22 ESV).”  Or think about the New Testament when the disciples complained about the woman who anointed Jesus with the alabaster perfume.  They ridiculed her and said it was a waste to poor it on Jesus’ feet as she had done.  Yet, who defended this woman for her worship?  The answer was Jesus.  Beloved, the point that I am making is that even within the church people want to do what they can to hinder REAL worship.  As a result, if one will truly give themselves over to the Lord it does create division within the body of Christ because not all want to go where the Lord desires them to be, which is broken and dependent upon a Savior’s love for them.  Let me encourage you today to hold nothing back in your worship.  Let your worship truly be costly and sacrificial to you.  Use all of your gifts and talents to their fullest all for the glory of the Lord.  Worship Him and Him alone without concern for those around you.  When you worship, you have an audience of One, the Lord Himself!  WORSHIP HIM!!!

1.  Do other Christians think you are too extravagant in your worship?
2.  Will their condemnation have an influence on your obedience to the Lord?

Prayer: Father, I desire to be foolish for Your great name.  Let me worship outside of my comfort zone and hold nothing back from giving You my all in all.  You alone are worthy of my praise.  I pray it is pleasing to You.  Amen.

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Sacrifice of Praise through Worship, Part 1

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:4-7b
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  For this is contained in Scripture: “Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”  This precious value, then, is for you who believe;

Insights:  In this weeks Thoughts by Scott we are going to investigate the divisiveness of worship.  Today and tomorrow are the only day in which this divisiveness will be addressed regarding the church.  For the remainder of the week we will be looking at the divisiveness between Christ-followers and the lost world.  Regarding the divisiveness of worship in the midst of the body of Christ, let me point out the picture being presented in today’s verses.  Notice with me the language being used in regards to Jesus.  The verse calls Jesus choice and precious.  In other words, Jesus is the most valuable commodity in the entire universe and beyond.  There is absolutely nothing that compares to His greatness and worth.  It is out of this understanding of the value of Jesus that we begin to praise the Lord.  Tomorrow we are going to go into more depth and specifics regarding the rest of this idea I am about to introduce to you.  Until tomorrow, however, let me briefly point out what we are to be doing in regards to this choice and precious living stone, Jesus.  We are, as holy priests, to be offering up spiritual sacrifices which are acceptable to God.  In other words, because Christ Jesus is so valuable, we are to offer Him our everything.  Our offering ought to hurt, in a good way, as we willing give sacrificially to this great and glorious God who gave His very life for ours.  He gave us absolutely everything and we bring Him the left overs.  We ought to be ashamed of our meager offerings to the Lord especially in light of a passage like this one which calls our offerings sacrificial in nature.  As a side note, I am not necessarily referencing financial givings to the Lord at this point, though that can be a part of our sacrificial offering to the Lord.  I am referencing our everything—time, money, talents, possessions, relationships, etc.  We will look more fully into this tomorrow.  Until then, sacrificially give your praise to the Lord.

1.  Would you classify your worship as being sacrificial in nature?
2.  Specifically, what is your worship costing you?

Prayer: Father, forgive me for my spiritual immaturity.  I fail to consider all that You have done for me and as a result, I bring You the left overs of my worship all too often.  I am sorry Lord, and pray You will draw me closer to You.  Amen.