648 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 3 Part 4 Book 54 - I Peter 2:15 - 3:22 - Part 2

648: I Peter 2:15 – 3:22 – Part 2 – Lesson 3 Part 4 Book 54

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 54

I Peter 2:15 – 3:22 – Part 2

Okay, I Peter chapter 3 and we’re in verse 20. In the last lesson, as we closed, we were talking about Noah’s Flood, and how Christ related to it when He went down into Paradise. And we also covered that the atoning blood had never been shed until Christ died. Before that, animal’s blood could not atone for sin, only cover it up, and so the Old Testament saints could not go into Glory when they died.

Now, of course, some of you have probably been thinking (and I get the question once in a while), what about Enoch and Elijah? Well, you see, Enoch and Elijah, so far as we know, have never died physically, so their day is still coming. How God’s going to do it, I don’t know. The rank and file of believers in the Old Testament were not allowed up to Glory until the atoning blood had been shed. All right now, I guess we’d better read verse 18 to get the flow.

I Peter 3:18-20

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened (or alive) by the Spirit: (so He was in the Spirit) 19. By which also he went and preached unto the (Old Testament believers) spirits in prison; 20. Which sometimes were disobedient, (of course, every human being has been in that position.) when once the long-suffering (and patience) of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, (after the years of preparation for the ark. A hundred and twenty years, remember) eight souls were saved by water.”

Now that throws a curve at some people; they think the water saved them when actually it drowned everybody else. Well, it was the water, you see, that was the judgment of God on unbelieving mankind; but the believers escaped the judgment because of the ark floating in the water. And that’s where the water comes in. All right, let’s go in to verse 21 and we can probably clarify.

I Peter 3:21-22

“The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 22. Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

All right, now then, let’s just take all three of these verses together going back again to verse 20. While Noah was preparing the ark, a hundred and twenty years, every hammer blow, everything that was taking place was a sermon of coming judgment to the people of Noah’s day. They knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that something was about to happen. Now, of course, they didn’t know what because they wouldn’t believe a word God said anyway. Well, you see, there again, we’re in the same situation today. I think the world, in general, out there knows that something is about to happen. If they don’t, they’ve got their head in the sand. And as I’ve been stressing once in while on the program, but especially in my classes in Oklahoma, why are we all of a sudden hearing all of this language of Weapons of Mass Destruction? It’s everywhere. Everybody’s got them. We’re not alone. Iraq isn’t alone. They’ve all got them.

Iris and I were talking about it coming up today. I’ve always said, for the last thirty years at least, that I do not expect any nuclear holocaust to begin until we’re in the Tribulation – or they are – we’re not going to be here. But, once the Tribulation starts, then these Weapons of Mass Destruction will be waiting to fulfill everything that Scripture says is going to happen to this world in God’s wrath. So everything is getting ready. But, I do not see it happening until the Tribulation.

There may be a small event, but I do not look for someone to go and ‘nuke’ some big populated area which, in turn, will trigger the enemy to recriminate back. I don’t look for that because that will just start the chain reaction that will bring about the whole planet’s destruction, which will come in the closing days of the Tribulation. So what the world should realize tonight is that everything is getting ready. The stage is being set. And I don’t set dates. I came close one time a few years ago and I was left with egg on my face – I’ll never do that again. But, we are getting close. Whether it’s three years, five years, seven years – I don’t think it will be much longer than that, but who knows? But the world is getting ready. All these Weapons of Mass Destruction are being accumulated everywhere, and once they start using them on one another, who’s going to stop it? And so the world is getting ripe for judgment.

And at the same time, the moral fabric of the world is rotting so fast it scares us to death. But God’s finally going to say, “Enough!” and then His wrath and judgment will fall. All right, now it was the same way, of course, leading up to the flood – they, too, were such a wicked generation. Violence was filling the earth, Genesis said. And God says, “I’m going to destroy them.” But, He still had that little tiny remnant of believers, so He brings about Noah building the ark so that it can be a place of safety for those few believers that were left.

Now remember when we talk about “few,” there must have been almost four or five billion people on the earth in Noah’s day and they all went except eight. Babies. Women. Children. Nobody was spared. Everything went under the horrors of the flood, except the eight who were in the ark of safety. Now the ark of safety was just that because of (now come back with me to Genesis for a moment) the makeup of the ark. And the ark is always just a box. The other word for ark in the Old Testament is a coffin and a coffin is not shaped like a boat. A coffin is rectangular. It’s a box. Well, so was the ark of Noah’s time. It was a big rectangular box. All right, Genesis chapter 6 verse 13 and 14.

Genesis 6:13a

“And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them;…” My does that ring a bell? I just heard again on the radio coming up, they blew up another bus in Haifa, Israel. Killed another what? Fifteen Israelis. See? It’s everywhere. All around the planet. Violence. The taking of human life one way or another. All right, and so God says:

Genesis 6:13b

“…and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” Now we also know that when God put the rainbow in the sky, it was a promise that He would never again destroy the earth with water. But Peter is going to tell us, here in a few more programs, that He will destroy it the next time with fire. And so that is still coming, but He will never again destroy it with water. But here He did. Now then, verse 14. God’s instruction to Noah was to:

Genesis 6:14

“Make thee an ark (make a box, make a coffin, a huge one) of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, (and now here comes the kicker) and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” Now pitch, of course, was tar, or at least that’s what we would call it. It was a tar-like substance that would seal all of the seams between the boards, or the logs or whatever they used. So, the pitch is what really was the thing that made the ark a place of safety. It couldn’t leak because of that tar sealing. Now it’s interesting that the same word translated ‘pitch’ here in this verse is translated ‘atonement’ in other places. So the pitch in Noah’s ark became then in type, the atonement that guaranteed the safety of those in the ark. That’s the whole picture. The ark was a place of safety going through the waters of judgment.

That’s the whole idea of the flood – to teach us that God is going to bring through that segment of believers because of the pitch that sealed out the water of judgment. And that’s why, back when we teach Genesis, we always teach the ark as a picture also of our salvation. That the blood of Christ is what seals out the wrath and the judgment of God that’ll never touch us, no more than the flood water ever touched Noah and their families.

And so, here is the whole picture, that the ark became a place of salvation for these eight people in the midst of horrendous wrath and judgment on the rest of humanity. All right, now then, maybe this will make a little sense when you come back to I Peter.

I Peter 3:20b

“…eight souls were saved by water.” They were saved by or through the water, because the water destroyed all of the wicked generation, and the ark floating in the water was the salvation of these who escaped.

All right, now then, maybe this will help us a little bit – verse 21. Now remember, this is Peter, this isn’t Paul. Peter is coming out of that Jewish mentality of water, water, water. And it began way back when God told Moses that the Children of Israel would be a kingdom of priests. And then you go into Leviticus chapter 8 and you get the picture. What did the priests have to go through to start his service as a priest? Wash, wash, wash in water. All right, you come all the way up through and you get type after type. Naaman, the Syrian general was plagued with leprosy and he bit his pride enough to go and find old Elisha. But then his pride really got stomped in the mud when Elisha didn’t even go out himself – he sent his servant boy who told Naaman to go dip in the Jordan seven times. Well, what a come down.

And I imagine old Naaman thought, “What’s the matter with that Jew, why didn’t he come out and tell me himself?” Well, he was just putting Naaman down where he belonged. See? And so he sends his servant boy out and tells Naaman, “You go dip in the Jordan seven times.” Well, what was the response of this Syrian general? “That filthy Jordan? You know, it’s just a little creek. I’m supposed to get into that when there’s a beautiful freshwater river flowing through Damascus?” Well, it wasn’t the idea of whether the Jordan would take away his leprosy; it was his faith. And he did what Elisha told him to do. He finally did go and dip seven times in the Jordan and his leprosy was cured.

All right, the water didn’t do it; it was his faith. And so all the way up through the Old Testament you have this washing. So then you come all the way up to Christ’s own baptism. Why did He demand baptism? Not because He had sin to be cleansed of. Not because He needed identification with Israel (that was obvious through His genealogy). But what’s He getting ready for? A priesthood – so as a priest He, too, had to signify it with a washing. And so that, as far as I’m concerned, was the reason for Christ’s demanding baptism by John; to prepare Him for His priesthood as the priest after the order of Melchisedec and so forth. Now, when you bring all that in here, Peter is still of the water mentality. He can’t help it, and I’ll show you why.

Come to II Peter, now I’m going to jump ahead a few weeks but you bear with me. We’re going to hit it again when I get there because I love these two verses like you can’t believe. II Peter 3:15. You’ve heard me use them over and over on the program and here in Oklahoma.

II Peter 3:15a

“And account (or understand) that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;…” That’s the whole purpose of this Book – to bring lost humanity to a place of salvation. All right, so Peter is showing it even here.

II Peter 3:15b

“…that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;…” People read and read and they don’t read it. Somebody just told me the other day, they had read a verse many times and they finally saw it for the first time. Well it’s typical. And so I’m sure the same thing happens here. I can read it and most people don’t get what I’m driving at. But Peter says:

II Peter 3:15c

“…even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;” What is Peter admitting? That Paul has a knowledge that he can’t comprehend. And Paul makes it so plain in Galatians chapter 2, “When we compared our notes, they didn’t add anything to me.” Speaking of the Twelve. But, he said, “I added a whole truckload to them.” Because he had so many more revelations. And they couldn’t comprehend it, Peter still can’t. And this is at almost his dying day. I think Peter was martyred just shortly after he finished this II Peter. So he says: “Even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him (the revelation of the mysteries) hath written unto you;” (I think referring to the book of Hebrews, but now look at verse 16.)

II Peter 3:16a

“As also in all his epistles, (that’s Romans through Philemon) speaking in them of these things;…” What things? Salvation! See that’s why he’s been saying all that. You won’t find the plan of salvation in these little Jewish epistles. Peter says, “You go to Paul”. All right, so you go to Paul’s epistles, where it’s speaking of these things pertaining to salvation. Now here’s the part I like.

II Peter 3:16b

“…in which (Paul’s epistles) are some things hard to be understood,…” Hey, this is at the end of Peter’s life. This is some 28 years after Paul’s conversion, or more, and still Peter doesn’t get it. Well, he wasn’t supposed to. God didn’t expect him to. Peter is still of that Jewish mentality. Peter is still more tied to the Law than he is to Paul’s Gospel of Grace, and so he could never quite get it all straight.

II Peter 3:16c

“…which they that are unlearned and unstable (and I don’t think it necessarily means that they haven’t been to seminary. But they haven’t been enlightened by the Holy Spirit) wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” But they don’t stop with Paul, they twist what? They twist all of them. They twist them all to fit their own doctrines and their own theology. But, what’s going to be their end? “Their own destruction.” The Book says it, I don’t! That’s not a very kind word, I know it isn’t. But that’s what they’re going to get because they have twisted the Scriptures and they have avoided the Truth.

All right, now then let’s go back and hopefully not rile too many people and get them too angry – but here is not what Peter is referring to as our understanding of baptism. But remember that baptism, in its true definition, is placing something “into.” Now again I can use all kinds of references that were not water. When Israel came out of Egypt, they went through the Red Sea. The Scripture tells us that Israel was “baptized into Moses.” They weren’t baptized by the water, they went on dry ground, the dust was around them, not water. And so they were placed into Moses’ leadership and the cloud. They were placed into that.

All right, now then you come along and what’s the next one? Well, Christ Himself was placed, by virtue of that water baptism, into a priesthood. The other one I thought of was Christ at His Passion. As he was approaching Gethsemane, what did He tell the Twelve – or the Eleven – “I have a baptism that you know nothing of.” Can you be baptized with it? And I think Peter glibly said, “Yes we can,” and he didn’t know what he was saying; because Christ was speaking of being placed, inundated, into the sufferings and the Passion, as we call it, of that death of the cross. It was a baptism. No water, but it was a placing “into.” I know the other one I wanted to use, we might as well look at this one, I Corinthians chapter 12.

We have been so programmed (the human race over the last 2,000 years), that baptism automatically means water. No it doesn’t. It merely means when something is placed “into,”whether it was Moses’ leadership, Christ’s priesthood or Christ into His suffering and His Passion. Now we’ll see how Paul uses it as we are placed into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit.

I Corinthians 12:12

“For as the body (the human body) is one, and hath many members, (hands, feet, eyes, ears) and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”

Now I’m going to use an analogy. If you were to drop a heavy object on your big toe, how far does it hurt? All the way to your head. Why? Because the toe is a part of the body and it’s going to affect all of it. Now the Body of Christ is the same way. We’re all brought into the Body of Christ and if one of the members hurts, we all hurt. Christ hurts. Now come back to our text, verse 13.

I Corinthians 12:13a

“For by one Spirit (Holy Spirit) are we all (not just a few, every believer is) baptized into one body,…” How? By a work of the Holy Spirit. No water. Not a drop. But the Holy Spirit places us into the Body of Christ, and it’s called a baptism. And that’s as it should be. We have been placed into the Body of Christ, so that we can function under the headship of Christ.

My, what a position we enjoy! Not the king and His subjects. The Head of the Body and the members of the Body. Okay, so now then, maybe that can qualify that baptism doesn’t automatically mean water. Well, for Peter, of course, the flood and Noah and everything – that included a lot of water – but he’s not putting any salvation on any kind of water baptism; but he’s using it as a figure that even as baptism:

I Peter 3:21

“The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”

Now we won’t take time to go back and look, but when John the Baptist began his ministry, what was his message? “Repent.” That was his message. And how were the Jews of his day to manifest that repentance? With baptism. And the same way all through Christ’s earthly ministry and on into the day of Pentecost – Peter preaches the same thing that John did. And what was it? Repentance and water baptism. Later on, Paul will tell us that John preached a baptism of repentance – totally different than where we are under this Age of Grace. In fact, I just had a conversation and my idea is that, today, repentance is not a prerequisite for salvation; it’s the result of it. It’s the result. Because when we’re saved, we’re going to change directions and that’s what repentance is all about. But see, so many people put the cart out in front of the horse. You’ve got to repent first and then get saved. Hey, that’s the flesh talking. The flesh won’t save anybody. But, when you let the Spirit convict, and you let the Spirit bring us into a place of salvation; then, we’re going to experience a repentance. We’re going to experience a change of lifestyle and all these things. All right, verse 22 and, remember, we ended verse 21 with “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”

Now you want to remember, these Jews of Peter’s day are only shortly removed from the crucifixion. Their Messiah was put to death. And they have to be constantly reminded that He’s no longer dead, He’s alive. He’s up in Glory waiting to return in order to bring these people into the Kingdom. That’s what they were waiting for. The King and the Kingdom. So Peter again reminds them that this One Who was crucified and has gone into Heaven now in verse 22:

I Peter 3:22

“Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.” What does that mean? Even though He had become man, and even though He had died the horrible death of the cross, God raised Him from the dead and His power is just as supreme, if not more so, than ever before. And that’s what the Scripture says, “Therefore God hath highly exalted Him so that His name is above every name.” The world doesn’t like to buy that today, do they? But it’s true.

647 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 3 Part 3 Book 54 - I Peter 2:15 - 3:22

647: I Peter 2:15 – 3:22 – Lesson 3 Part 3 Book 54

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 54

I Peter 2:15 – 3:22

For those of you joining us on television; of course, you realize we’re an informal Bible study and that’s why I’ve never apologized for the coffee cups around. So, if you’re ever coming through Tulsa, come and join us. We make four programs in a row and after each half-hour program we take a coffee break. And we just have a good time all afternoon, fellowshipping together and studying the Word of God. Okay, let’s go right back into I Peter and we were in chapter 3 verse 12.

I Peter 3:12

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” Now so often the question comes, “Does God hear the prayers of evil people?” What do you think? Would you, if you were in God’s position? No. Unless it’s for salvation. We know He’s always bending the ear for salvation. But when evil, wicked people, all of a sudden get the word from their doctor that they’ve got cancer, do you think God hears their prayers? No. He doesn’t hear those prayers.

Now, if they’re asking for salvation, and if they believe Paul’s Gospel for their salvation, then they can come right into the throne room of God with their petitions and thanksgivings, and have every right to. But the obstinate, the rebellious, no. God’s not going to do anything for them. He’s given them opportunity enough on the other side of the coin. So, always remember that God is always aware of the righteous; they’re His! They’re His number one concern, they have become right with Him.

The lost are His concern only because He’s already purchased their redemption. All they have to do is cash in on that because He’s not willing that any should perish. But don’t think for a moment that prayers like, “You bring me through this particular battle, I’ll go home and live for you,” will be answered, when they get home and just forget all about it. Those prayers are never answered whatsoever.

Let’s go back to that verse in Proverbs that I quoted in the last moments of the last program, and that’s Proverbs 14 verse 34. On your way to Proverbs, let me mention that I had a phone call early this morning, and they said, “Les, do you ever see a parallel between God’s dealing with Israel and His dealing with America.

Yes, there’s a parallel, to a degree. Remember, we’re not under the Covenant Promises, but I think God has so blessed America since our founding was on Biblical principles. We have been, for the most part, a God-fearing nation. And I think God has blessed us even as He promised to bless Abraham back in the Old Testament. So I do draw a parallel, and always have, that I think there is that distinctiveness in God’s blessing America like He has blessed no other nation on earth.

I see this great push to throw Christianity completely out of the American social fabric. Remember that’s what Israel did at times. But, even though Israel always had that remnant of believers, they were such a small remnant that the majority kicked God out of their thinking, as our country is trying to do today. They had wicked kings and, consequently, what did God have to do with the Nation of Israel? Took them out. Brought in Nebuchadnezzar. He destroyed the city and they lost probably a million people. And they went into captivity. They went under the heavy boot of the Babylonians because the nation for the most part rebelled against God.

But, what happened to the believers? They went out with them. That’s how Daniel ended up in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, because he was one of the slaves taken out of Israel because of Israel’s wickedness. Well, you see, I think the day is coming when God is going to do the same thing with America. I think Billy Graham said it years ago, and I’ve said it before on the program, that America has been left with so much responsibility. We’ve got churches on every corner, Bibles in every home and we, like no other nation on earth, have been blessed of God – and if we are going to kick Him out, then we can expect, as a nation, His wrath and His judgment to fall.

We hope it won’t but, on the other hand, this verse in Proverbs makes it so plain that that’s the direction that our nation is going. Now the liberal press may not like that. And the gross unbelievers in our society may not like it but they still cannot remove the fact that God is Sovereign, whether they believe it or not. All right, Proverbs 14 verse 34.

Proverbs 14:34

“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Remember what I said a program or two ago? What did Tocqueville realize? America was great because America is good. And America will cease to be great when America ceases to be good. Don’t you forget it. All right, so “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Now, that’s so plain a third-grader can understand it, and if we as a nation don’t understand it we’re in trouble, that’s all there is to it. Of course, we hope the Lord will come and remove the Church in the Rapture, before that should happen. Back to I Peter again.

I Peter 3:13

“And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” Well, it sounds good but what happens? Many times good people are persecuted. In fact, what prompted Nero to turn so viciously on the Christian community? He supposedly trumped up himself the burning of Rome, and then blamed it on the Christian community. He was able to turn on them and the horrors that Nero brought on Christians I don’t even like to repeat in a mixed crowd like this. It’s beyond imagination. So, yes, bad things can happen to even God’s good people.

I Peter 3:14

“But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;” Could we handle abject persecution like is taking place in so many places in the world? You know, I have to tell the Lord almost every day, “I’m spoiled.” We all are. We’ve had it so good. We haven’t had to fear persecution. We haven’t had to fear losing our livelihood. We haven’t had to fear that somebody would come in the middle of the night and shoot us just because we’re Christians. But, if and when it should come, are we ready to handle it?

Well, I always remember an old pastor of mine. A long time ago, when Iris and I were first married, I spoke that fear to him one morning after church and this was his answer. “Les, don’t worry about it. If and when that day comes, the grace of God will be sufficient.” Well, I’m resting on that, and I think that must have been the case back in the Dark Ages. People were burned at the stake and they were put on the racks and my, the martyrs by the millions. And yet, there is never a record that any of them ever complained. So grace must just be sufficient for the hour. But, Peter is admonishing his believers here, and remember now that he’s writing primarily, not exclusively, but primarily to Jews there in the area of present day Turkey, I feel, more than just at the Jewish church in Jerusalem.

I Peter 3:15

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” Now what does that tell you? Well, that’s just pretty plain English. No matter who it is, if they confront you under whatever circumstance, and they say, “Well now, I know you’re different. I know you’ve got a different attitude than most people that I know. Why are you different?” Well, what do you tell them? Because you have been saved by God’s grace, you know that you’re a child of God and, as a result, He has made you different. You have different ideologies, you have different appetites, you have different desires. We’re different. We’re just not like the world. And we’ve got to be ready to tell anybody and everybody that stops and asks us.

I Peter 3:16a

“Having a good conscience;…” Not a hypocrite, who on the one hand does one thing and tries to live something else.

I Peter 3:16

“Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation (or manner of living) in Christ.”Okay, what happens? Well, I’ve already given you an example of Nero. What did Nero do? He falsely accused that Christian community of setting Rome on fire, and he probably did it himself.

Well, you see, that’s just a blatant example of what the world does to believers constantly. They can trump up false accusations. In fact, I remember years ago quoting to someone the words of the Lord Jesus Himself; I hope I can recall them. “Blessed are ye when men say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.” Did you get that? So it’s going to happen. They’re going to accuse you of doing something that’s as false as a three-dollar bill. But, if you know it’s an untruth, then we don’t have to let it bother us, because the Lord Himself told us that that’s part and parcel of our existence in a sin-cursed world, that they will falsely accuse us. And they were doing it here. And so Peter is admonishing them, “Don’t let it throw you a curve. Don’t let it upset you, because this is part and parcel of living a godly life in a wicked world.”

Live your life so completely honest that, even though they make false accusations, it will be proven a lie and then they can be the ones that are embarrassed and ashamed. All right, verse 17.

I Peter 3:17

“For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.” Our prisons are full of people who have done evil and they live to regret it, of course. But my, the letters that we get from prison inmates. Over and over and over and it has prompted me to use the term “bad choices,” because that’s what most of them will tell you. While they were growing up they made bad choices. And you know, you make enough of them, that’s where you’ll end up – behind bars. And that’s where a lot of them are now finding God’s saving grace. I believe there’s almost a revival of sorts amongst our prisoners. And it’s just amazing the response that we get from the TV program as well as the little books. Here they have been guilty of doing evil and they’re paying the price of it – whereas if you suffer for well-doing, hopefully it’ll be for nothing more than some persecution and so forth.

All right, now we come into these verses in Peter that, again, have caused so much controversy. So many questions. And I’m not sure that I’ll be able to answer them to satisfy everybody but we’re going to take a stab at it. Hopefully we can make some sense out of verse 18.

I Peter 3:18

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, (and, of course, that goes back to that agony leading up to the cross) the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” In other words, the Spirit of Christ never died. Don’t ever think, for a moment, that God died when Christ died on the cross. His flesh died, yes. But never His Spirit.

I Peter 3:19

” By which (His Spirit) also he went and preached unto the sprits (small ‘s’, which is the soul and spirit of those who were) in prison:”

Back in our Old Testament economy and before the crucifixion, down in the center of the earth, with a great gulf fixed, was Hades. Hades was the term in the Greek. Sheol was the Hebrew. And Hell is our English. And they all mean the same thing – the place of the departed or the dead.

Now up until Christ’s death, burial and resurrection then, this was where all the departed ones went after death. They went down in the center-most part and I’m going to show you the Scriptures in just a minute. The Old Testament saints all went here, and we’ll go all the way back to Adam and Abraham and all the rest of them – they went at death down into Hell, or Sheol, or Hades; but they went on the Paradise side. There were two sides down there, the Paradise side and torment side.

Now the best way you can explain that is, what did Jesus tell the thief on the cross? Today thou shalt be with me where? In Paradise. And this is exactly what He’s talking about. That from the cross, then, the thief as well as Christ Himself, in the realm of the spirit, went down into the Paradise side in the center of the earth. Today Paradise is in heaven, but at that time, it was in the center of the earth. Now let’s use the Scriptures. Turn with me to Matthew, chapter 12. I didn’t intend to do this; it didn’t even cross my mind until last night, that I was going to do this. But, I think I’m thinking of all the questions that have come in about all this, so we’d better. The setting here is in Jesus’ earthly ministry.

Matthew 12:38-39

“Then certain of the Scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 39. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:” Now what does that tell you? Jonah (Jonas), was a real event. It wasn’t just a legend, as some would try to tell you.

Matthew 12:40

“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” That’s what the Book says. I can’t imagine now, from all the pictures you get from science, the heart of the earth is molten – nothing but molten whatever. Well I have to lay that aside, as the Book says “in the heart of the earth” is this place of the departed dead. All right now, in order to pick up a brief picture of that (and that’s all it is, a little window of information) let’s look in Luke 16, where we have the account of the rich man and Abraham and Lazarus. Now verse 19.

Luke 16:19-28

“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21. And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: (That’s down in Paradise.) the rich man also died, and was buried; 23. And in hell (Sheol. Hades.) he lift up his eyes, being in (what?) torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24. And he (the rich man) cried, and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26. And beside all this, (now here comes the picture) between us and you (between Paradise and Torment) there is a great gulf fixed: (do you see that?) so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28. For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”

Sobering isn’t? But all I want you to get here is this picture of this scenario in the heart of the earth – that down on the one side of this Hades, Sheol and Hell, is Paradise. Then, the great gulf fixed, and on the other side is Torment. Now, when the Apostle’s Creed, I think it is, that says, that they believe that Jesus died, was buried and His soul went down into Hell. My, that has thrown a curve at so many people. You mean Jesus went to Hell? Well, not the flames of torment – that wouldn’t make sense. But He went down into the Paradise side, and that’s why He told the thief, “today thou shalt be with me in Paradise.” Not Torment.

From here, we’ve got to go over to Ephesians chapter 4, and we’ll begin with verse 8. I think Paul kind of puts the frosting on the cake and, hopefully, we can put all this together now.

Ephesians 4:8a

“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive,…” In other words, those souls that couldn’t go into Glory were down there in Paradise like captives. Now that takes a little further explanation. When you look at the whole idea of the redemption process by blood; animal’s blood could not take away sin. All animal’s blood could do was cover it. I’ve used the expression – “swept them under the rug.” So, animal’s blood could not take away the Old Testament believers sin. Consequently, he could not go into God’s holy presence until the atoning blood of Christ Himself was shed.

So it just follows, then, that after His death on the cross and the shedding of His blood, He went down into the Paradise side and He preached to those spirits in prison. So what did He preach? “The atoning blood has been shed!” I can now take you with me into the Glory. Got it?

Ephesians 4:8-10

“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? [see how that fits with Matthew?] 10. He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

So now what happened? When Christ had shed His atoning blood, here on the cross, He could tell the thief, “today thou shalt be with me in Paradise.” They went down for those three days and three nights into the lower parts of the earth, but into the Paradise side; and when Peter says He preached to those spirits in prison, this is what he could preach – “The atoning blood has now been shed. You are now fit to go up into the heavens.”

Now that took care of the Paradise side of hell, but what about these in torment. The Old Testament says that Hell has simply been enlarged, so instead of half of it being Paradise and half Torment, it is now evidently all Torment; and when we speak of Hell, that’s what we normally think of, isn’t it? The place of torment. The place of punishment. But, in the Old Testament economy it was the place of all of the departed dead.

Now come back with me to I Peter, and we’ll again pick up a couple more verses. So in the Spirit, while His body of flesh was laying in the tomb up there in Jerusalem – in the spirit:

I Peter 3:19-20a

“By which also he (Christ) went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20. Which sometime were disobedient, (while still in the old Adam) when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing,…”

How long? A hundred and twenty years to build that ark. A hundred and twenty years God was patient with that wicked people living there at the time of Noah, while Noah and his sons (and probably some hired help) were building the ark.

Okay, now that’s what Peter is talking about, see? These people who had lived before the Flood. They, too, had been sinners, but we know that God has always separated the human race between the lost and the saved. And even though, from Adam until Moses, there was no Law – there was no formal system of worship – yet there were saved and lost people. And so now, when we get to the next verse in our next half-hour, we’re going to see that, through the horrors of the flood, how many people were saved? Eight. And that’s all!

646 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 3 Part 2 Book 54 - Practical Godly Living - Part 2

646: Practical Godly Living – Part 2 – Lesson 3 Part 2 Book 54

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 54

Practical Godly Living – Part 2

I Peter 2:15 – 3:22

All right, we’re going to go right on from where we left off in the last lesson in I Peter. We’re beginning today in chapter 3 verse 1. In the last lesson, we were talking about practical godly living, and what it is to be good under various circumstances – and it’s not always easy to be good, but nevertheless, that’s the admonition.

Now you come into chapter 3 and the first word is, “Likewise.” In other words, in chapter 2, he was probably addressing men more than the women, but lest anybody get the idea that the women weren’t of any count in all this, he says:

I Peter 3:1a

“Likewise, ye wives,…” So these verses are first and foremost for women who are burdened with unsaved husbands. And I don’t envy them. That is not a very comfortable situation. But nevertheless, Iris and I have seen that it works, as we admonish people to listen to what the Scripture says here. Even though it’s Peter writing to Jews, yet, here again, this is so applicable for any period of time.

I Peter 3:1a

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands;…” That’s not politically correct is it? But we don’t pay any attention to political correctness; it’s the Word of God that counts. And here Peter is admonishing these wives to be in subjection to their husbands. Now remember, I’ve always stressed, even when we were back in Ephesians when Paul addresses the marriage relationship, that when he points out that the husband is the head of the wife, that doesn’t mean that she’s his ‘go-for.’

When we first started farming, Iris didn’t know how to drive; and after I taught her how to drive, she found out why I taught her. It’s, “Go get this and go get that!” But I don’t think she has ever been able to accuse me of being a slave master over her. But nevertheless, the husband, according to God’s design, is the head of the home and he’s to treat his wife, not as a slave nor as a servant, but as a co-heir and as one who is intricately involved in his business, whatever it may be. All right, now Peter is going to use the same analogy.

I Peter 3:1b

“…wives be in subjection to your own husbands; (and especially) that, if any obey not the word, (for salvation) they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;” Now that’s the whole concept here in these verses – that if a saved woman has an unsaved husband, she’s never going to win him by preaching at him or by trying to drag him to church every time she goes. But, rather, through her Christian testimony that she can just live godly.

Now, often, it won’t be easy. He’s going to try and take her, no doubt, to places that are totally uncomfortable for her. But I think it behooves the believing wife, if at all possible, to accompany him and be a constant testimony of her faith. Sooner or later (we’ve seen it happen. Sometimes it takes a little longer than others, but), these ungodly men will suddenly realize what a rat they’ve been compared to their godly wives. And that’s exactly what Peter is saying here. If you have an unsaved husband, just live such a Spirit-controlled life before him that, sooner or later, it’s going to convict him and he’s going to find salvation; and the two of them then can go on and have a happy and a successful marriage.Now verse 2, and here he just simply puts the frosting on the cake.

I Peter 3:2

“While they behold your chaste conversation (righteous, Christian living) coupled with fear.” Remember, the word ‘fear’ here, and in many other portions of the New Testament, is not shaking in your boots with fear. Fear, here, is a respect and an awe because, after all, the God that we serve is the Creator of everything and we’re to recognize Him as such.

Well, the same way with the wife’s respect for her husband. It’s not a fear that she’s scared to death that he’s going to browbeat her, but rather that she recognizes his place in God’s economy as the head of the home. Okay, now verse 2 again and verse 3.

I Peter 3:2-3

“While they (these unsaved men) behold your chaste conversation (or your righteous manner of living) coupled with fear (or respect, or reverence) 3. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting (or today we would call it the braiding) the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;” All right, now I always have to stop at this verse because too many groups have taken the approach that this just forbids the woman to do anything to make herself look attractive to the husband. I don’t buy that. I think it is perfectly appropriate for a wife to be appealing to her husband; not to anybody else, but certainly to her husband. And there is nothing that forbids her wearing some jewelry or fixing her hair, whatever the case may be. But, what’s the emphasis? Don’t let that be the means of winning his approval.

You know several years ago there was a book written, and I don’t even like to quote it, it was so awful. But it was written, if I’m not mistaken, by a pastor’s wife who was telling women how to win their husband. I mean it was awful. It was atrocious. It was strictly from Hollywood and I could never go along with that. But what Peter is saying here – let the behavior of the wife be so godly; let it be so reflective of the Christ who has bought us and redeemed us; that this man is going to finally come under conviction; and, like I said, we’ve seen it happen.

I’ll never forget one gentleman, years ago, told me, “Les I was getting ready to go out with the boys and hang one on, and all of a sudden I came under such conviction. How could I live this kind of a life when my wife had become so Godly, and had loved me so much when I didn’t deserve it?” He continued, “I just dropped on my knees right in my office and asked God to save me.” Well the man went on from there and became a real trophy of God’s Grace, all because his wife did what I told her to do six-months earlier. She, at the time, had said, “I don’t know if I can do this.” But she did. And the fruit was born.

All right, so let it not be just an outward physical attraction (that which pleases the flesh), but now verse 4.

I Peter 3:4a

“But let it be the hidden man of the heart,…” Now we’re talking about the personality – that’s what the generic term ‘man’ is. Let these women who have an unsaved husband or maybe unsaved children (it can go all the way down the line), let their testimony be such from within, from the heart:

I Peter 3:4b

“…in that which is not corruptible, (that which is in the realm of the Spirit) even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” Now you see, that’s why I will always admonish women or, if it’s the other way around, a husband with an unsaved wife. You don’t win them by haranguing them and preaching at them and pestering them – you just simply live that quiet peaceable life of God’s Grace and it will do its work. All right, now verse 5.

I Peter 3:5

“For after this manner (This isn’t anything new, it isn’t something psychology has suddenly dreamed up. This goes all the way back to antiquity. Even in this manner) in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:”

We don’t see much about the faith of the women in the Old Testament economy. We know there were a few in Israel’s history like Deborah and Ruth and so forth, but for the most part we do not have a lot of detailed descriptions of the Godliness of these Hebrew women. But they were. Not all of them of course. But, Sarah and Rebecca and some of these were Godly women; and were they bad to look at? How about Sarah and Rebecca? They were so gorgeous that the King of Egypt wanted them in his harem. They weren’t awful-looking women. They didn’t just let their hair grow all scraggly and not care how they looked. No, they were beautiful; the Scripture says they were. But they weren’t just beautiful on the outside, they were beautiful on the inside and that’s what counts.

And this is what Peter is admonishing – that even these women on the Old Testament economy who, we know from Scripture, were beautiful, they were attractive; yet their major attraction was the meek and quiet spirit which was of the heart, incorruptible and in the sight of God a great price.

I Peter 3:5a

“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, …”

So these “holy women.” Now there’s that word ‘holy,’ and I guess I’d better stop and define it. It scares a lot of people to be called holy. Well, I’ve explained it before and I’m going to explain it again. To be holy doesn’t mean that you are so God-minded that you are of no earthly good. That’s not what holy means. Holy simply means you’re set apart. You’re not the same as the crowd. You’re different. And that’s all it means. For example, the utensils in the Temple were called ‘holy.’ Why? Because they were not to be used for the mundane butchering of the meat, and so forth, during the week – they were to be used only for the sacrificial worship. And so they were called holy. They were set apart for God’s purposes. That’s all it means. All right, so don’t let the word ‘holy’ scare you.

I Peter 3:5a

“For after this manner in the old time, the holy women also,…” They’d been set apart. They weren’t like the pagan Canaanites around them, and so forth. And they were in subjection to their own husbands. They knew God’s order because that’s the way God ordained it. Now let’s go back to I Timothy. Often people will accuse Paul of being anti-feminist and that was not the case at all. Paul was strictly inspired of the Spirit, every word he wrote – it all was according to God’s provident design. And it started way back with Adam and Eve. I Timothy 2:12. Now don’t read more into this than what it says.

I Timothy 2:12a

“But I suffer (permit) not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man,…” Now that’s the key part of that phrase. God never intended for women to be in authority over the men.

I Timothy 2:12b

“…but to be in silence.” In other words, they were to know what and where and when to speak. Now here’s the reason in verse 13. Not because Paul had a thing against women, not because I, or anybody else, would have a thing against women, but it’s God’s design. The reason Paul says what he says in verse 12 is:

I Timothy 2:13

“For Adam was first formed, and then Eve.” And that was to be the process from that time forward. See? That Adam was the head of the home and Eve was subjected to his authority. Never forget that. And, again, like I mentioned either in the early part of this program or in the last program, always remember that, as God instituted these things, it was for mankind’s own good. And when it got defiled, it was because man’s Adamic sinful nature spoiled the original. So, now then, back to chapter 3 of I Peter:

I Peter 3:6a

“Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord:…” Now the word ‘lord’ here is just like we would use ‘Sir.’ It has no divinity associated with it whatsoever.

I Peter 3:6b

“…whose daughters (remember he’s still addressing the women) ye are, as along as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” All right now verse 7, he’s going to come right back and hit the men between the eyes with the same concept.

I Peter 3:7a

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, (God’s knowledge) giving honor unto the wife,…” Saying it a little different way than what I said a moment ago – the woman is not just to be walked on, she’s just not to be the husband’s ‘go-for’ – she is to be treated with honor.

I Peter 3:7b

“…as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together…” Now speaking of heirs, this is a good time to look at joint-heirs and heirs. So, come back to Romans chapter 8 and see that this is what makes our Christian faith so glorious – and nobody but Paul teaches this. Peter doesn’t speak of this relationship with Christ as Paul does.

Romans 8:16-17a

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, (that is those of us who are believers) that we are (not hope to be, not may be, but are) the children of God: (we’re the born-ones of God by virtue of the work of the Holy Spirit) 17. And if children, then heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;…” That’s our relationship and one day we’re going to cash in on it! My, we have no idea of the glory that’s awaiting us. The Bible doesn’t tell us much, and I think that’s the reason. My, if the Bible would just give us a real good look at what’s waiting for us, we’d probably all be prone to start starving ourselves to death and get off this planet as soon as possible because that’s how glorious it’s going to be – so He hasn’t told us a lot.So all we know is that God is getting something ready that is beyond human comprehension because we are joint-heirs with Christ.

What a relationship! How few people understand that – that just like the husband and wife are joint-heirs in their physical and material properties; so also, one day, we’re going to be in that position with Christ Himself. All that’s His is going to be ours. That’s what it means to be a joint-heir. And then people are afraid to become a Christian because they’re afraid they’re going to lose out on something? I’ve got news for them – the things of this world are nothing, as Paul says in the next verse.

Romans 8:18

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” So the best is yet to come. Okay, back to I Peter again.

I Peter 3:7a

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life:…” There can be nothing happier on this earth than a Christian home. A father and a mother who love the Lord, and kids who love the Lord; that’s almost Heaven on earth, see? And so the Scripture is admonishing the husband to realize that when he becomes a joint-heir with a believing wife then, together, the two of them can cash in on the Grace of life, even in this material world. And, then, here comes the spiritual promise:

I Peter 3:7b

“…that your prayers be not (what?) hindered.” Now what does that tell you? That when a husband and wife can pray like-minded, they are far more apt to see those prayers answered than if they pray separately. Now, that should also answer a question that comes up so often back in Acts chapter 16. Paul and Silas have been up there in Philippi, and have been put in prison. They’ve been scourged by the authorities and they’re bleeding and they’re hurting and in stocks. But, in spite of all of that, they have been singing praises unto the Lord,even at midnight – and God miraculously sent an earthquake that opened the prison doors and dropped all the shackles. And the keeper of the prison was going to commit suicide thinking he’s lost all his prisoners.

Acts 16:28-30

“But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29. Then he (jailer) called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30. And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” No doubt, he had heard Paul preaching up in Philippi that afternoon before they arrested him and Silas – and I think he must have gotten pretty much the message that Paul had been talking about. How that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again, and to believe that for salvation. And so now he comes under conviction and he says, “What must I do to be saved?”

Acts 16:31

“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” And that throws a curve at people. Yeah, what does that mean? Just because the man was saved, does that mean that automatically his wife and kids are going to be saved? No, not automatically, but what is it? It’s a matter of chances.

If you’ve got a saved husband, the chances of him winning the wife and his children are pretty good. But if you’ve got a saved husband and a saved wife, the chances of winning their kids are very good. Not always 100% but they’re going to have a real good chance of winning most of their kids to the Lord. And that’s the whole concept – that if you have that Christian influence from the father and the mother on the kids, you’re quite likely – I’m not going to guarantee it in every case – to have a Christian family.

And you know, I’ve mentioned on the program before, we get so many phone calls of parents, sometimes fathers, sometimes mothers; almost weeping that their kids are out in the world. Married and they’ve got kids with no spiritual concern whatsoever. And you know my first question? Where were you when you should have been winning those kids to the Lord? Well, too many times, they were lost themselves. They were bar-hopping. They were partying. And they were doing anything but being spiritual parents. So, it just naturally follows that, when parents are believers, they’re going to have a far better chance of winning those kids to the Lord, than if they are not. Okay, now back again to I Peter chapter 3 verse 8.

I Peter 3:8a

“Finally, be ye all of one mind,…” Now Peter is talking to the whole congregation again, the men and the women and the younger people.

I Peter 3:8-9

“Finally be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, (in other words have feelings for everybody else’s needs and hurts and sorrows,) be courteous: 9. Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise (on the other hand) blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” Now what is this? This is just the good life. You know I was thinking the other night as I was mulling all this over in my mind and Iris was laying there sleeping. I go clear back, and we had come down to visit Iris’s mom here in Poteau, Oklahoma (we were farming up in Iowa). I had to have some work done on my car and it was a beautiful Spring day. So I just drove down to the garage, which was only about a mile from her folks, and I left the car and I walked back. And like I said, it was a nice Spring day, so doors and windows were wide open and I walked by this one house; and such screaming, and such profanity, you can’t believe! I could hardly wait until I was out of earshot. When I got home, I told Iris about it.And I have to wonder, how many homes are like that almost all the time?’ The husband was screaming at the wife, and the wife was screaming back at the husband. The kids were bawling and you could just almost, in your mind’s eye, see what was going on in there. Well is that a happy home? Horrors! And yet that’s the case with far too many.

But see the Christian doesn’t have that kind of thing, hopefully. If everything is as it should be (because Peter is saying that if we have this kind of behavior between the wife and the husband and between believers and other believers), then he will love life.

I Peter 3:10a

“For he that will love (what?) life,…” Now we all like the ‘good life’ don’t we? That’s what this is. This is promoting the good life.

I Peter 3:10b

“…and see good days,…” Now there’s nothing wrong with being happy; there’s nothing wrong with being prosperous.

I Peter 3:10c

“…let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:” Well now, did I leave you with the picture of the opposite? Oh, my, it was days before I got the sound of that raucous argument out of my mind; and it stands to reason it cannot promote happiness.

I Peter 3:11-12a

“Let him eschew (or hate) evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 12. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous,…” And with that, I’m thinking of a verse over in the Book of Proverbs –”righteousness exalteth a nation.” Never forget it.

645 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 3 Part 1 Book 54 - Practical Godly Living

645: Practical Godly Living – Lesson 3 Part 1 Book 54

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 54

Practical Godly Living

I Peter 2:15 – 3:22

Turn to I Peter chapter 2, and in the last lesson we finished verse 14. We’ll just jump in at verse 15. Now, the next series of verses there’s not much that I can put a lot on. There’s no reason for comparing a lot of Scripture – it’s just common sense Christian living. And I’ve said over the years, whether you’re in Romans or whether you’re in any other portion of Scripture, there is nothing more practical for this day and age than just solid Biblical Christian living.

We’re not the right wing conspiracy that some would think we are, but we just feel that Biblical Christianity is so practical. Good solid Christian living gives you a happy relationship between a husband and wife. Christian living will give you good relationships between parents and children. A good Christian relationship will give you a good relationship between yourself and the community and with the nation as a whole. So Christian living is practical. The idea, even as Peter is going to lay out in these next few verses, is just common sense goodness.

I was thinking I’d like to write a letter to an editorial writer that someone had sent me a clipping of and I wanted to use Tocqueville – I’m sure many of your have seen that name. Tocqueville wrote a book about America quite a few years ago and he was just amazed at the greatness of America. But in his book, after he got back to France, if I’m not mistaken, this is what he wrote. “America is great because America is good. And when America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Well, I couldn’t add anything to that. That says it all. And so, again, practical Christian living is just exactly that. It’s being honest. It’s living with integrity. It’s living, yes, the Golden Rule – treat the next guy like you would like to be treated. And so, this is really what Peter is bringing out now in these next verses. And again, I’d like to emphasize that these little Jewish epistles are written to believing Jews, as we’ve noted in our previous programs, when Peter writes “to the Twelve Tribes scattered.” And his writings are on the same page, you might say, as Jesus in His earthly ministry. So much is comparable that – what Jesus taught, Peter is bringing out the same things to these Jewish believers.

Now remember, they’re not believers of the Church Age yet. They are simply Jewish believers of that group that came out of Christ’s earthly ministry, composed also of the Jewish Church in Jerusalem at Pentecost. And Peter has been ministering to those kinds of Jews, now, during these years between Pentecost and his martyrdom. He never addresses the Gentile Body of Christ. I want people to realize that. There is nothing of pure Church language in these Jewish epistles. Now, granted, we’re going to have the reference to the crucifixion and the resurrection, which is apropos; but they will not claim that as the basis of salvation, and we’ll see that a little later, if not in this program, in the next one.

So much of what Peter and James and even John, and Jude say, in their little epistles, will be promoting much the same of what Christ and the Twelve taught in those three years, and what Peter carried on after Pentecost. So now let’s get into the text in verse 15 of chapter 2.

I Peter 2:15

“For so is the will of God, that with well doing (see? Doing good. Being good) ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:” We can use this verse for the day and age we live in. My, when you read the recent attacks on our President by the editorial writers of our liberal media – only because of his Christian testimony.

Well, I was just telling somebody before we started that the Muslim talks about Allah every other word. Nobody complains about that, but yet, if our President so much as intimates anything of his faith, they jump all over him. Well, that’s exactly what Peter is saying – these believing Jews were up against the same thing only, instead of being some liberal media, it was the Roman Empire, and they hated everything spiritual because they were steeped in almost the same kind of a mindset that we’re up against. It was anti-God. It was pagan. So Peter is telling these Jewish believers now that, in spite of all of the pressure of persecution, they were to never get discouraged – realizing that within a few years, the King would be returning and the 1,000-year Kingdom reign would come in as we’ve seen in the past few lessons.

Because, as Peter is writing now (probably in the late 50’s AD) in I Peter, The Kingdom prospect was still out in front. Nobody had any idea – not even the Apostle Paul – that this was going to go 2,000 more years. So everything he writes is to Jewish believers under persecution, but the worst is yet to come before the King and the Kingdom could come. All right, so he’s telling them that if these pagan Romans and the unbelieving Jews should bring reproach upon them, don’t let it bother you; but instead let your good lifestyle prove them wrong. And it’s the same thing for us today. So, yes, this is applicable even though it is not Church language, as I said before. Now verse 16.

I Peter 2:16-17a

“As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17. Honour all men….” Even if they hate you. Now that’s not easy is it? But we’re to honor all men.

I Peter 2:17b

“…Love the brotherhood (that is the fellowship of believers.) Fear God. Honour the king.” The Roman Emperors, see? And Paul tells us the same thing in Romans 13 – that we are to have respect for our physical governments, because they’re ordained of God:

Romans 13:1

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. (that is government) For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” And even though they’re a lot less than what we would think they should be, we are still to respect it as government.

All right, now he comes down into the next category of authority and that is, today, what we would call the employer/employee relationship. But you’ve got to remember that back in Peter’s day, and in Biblical days, they still had slaves – but, I think I’d better qualify. I think a lot of people have often wondered, why did God condone something as awful as slavery. Well, you want to remember it’s like everything else. What God instigated in the beginning was pure and good and workable. And it was because of man’s sinful nature that it turned to the wicked direction that it went.

Now all you have to do is just stop and think that, back in antiquity, when all of this began, and even up as near as Christ’s earthly ministry, the rank and file people did not have an education. They did not have the wherewithal to have a business and to be entrepreneurs as we call them today; so what did most people have to do? They had to work for a master.And in God’s original set-up, the master was never to treat a slave like dirt. He was to be treated with some respect, and the master would give him all that he needed for a good lifestyle. Granted, they didn’t have all the luxuries of the wealthy, but who in the world needs that? I don’t. And neither does the common individual. So, under God’s original plan for things, the master and the servant was a good set-up for all concerned.

But men, in their old demonic nature, have destroyed that and it got to the place where their poor servants and slaves were treated worse than animals – but that’s not the way God intended it. But, as we see in Scripture, the servant (or what we would call today the employee) was to have respect for their employer or, in this case, the master. Now that’s all in view of a Biblical perspective on everything. Not taking advantage of the downtrodden and treating them worse than animals, but on the other hand, giving them all that they needed for their life and their comfort and, as even the Scripture says, their pursuit of happiness. And it was up to the masters to see to it because, after all, these people didn’t have an education. They didn’t have what it took to go out and make it on their own, so they had to depend on good masters. So with that as the backdrop:

I Peter 2:18

“Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; (in other words, respect) not only to the good and gentle, (that’s not so hard) but also to the froward (or to the less loveable, see?).” And they were still to recognize the master’s (or employer’s) role. Now verse 19.

I Peter 2:19

“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.” Now there again, that’s not always easy, is it? And nevertheless, this is what God expects us to do as believers – to let Him take care of the vengeance part.

Let’s come back and see how Paul treats that same thing in Romans chapter 12. Paul is now giving the instructions to us as Gentile believers on how we’re to behave in the midst of an ungodly world, and you’ll see how much of this is saying the same thing. Peter is saying it to the Jews who are still pretty much under control of Judaism. Paul is writing this to Gentiles who are under pure Grace.

Romans 12:14a

“Bless them which persecute you;…” It’s not easy is it? That’s just contrary to human nature. But, nevertheless, with God’s help, we’re supposed to be able to do that.

Romans 12:14b-16a

“…bless, and curse not. (now the other one is a lot easier) 15. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, (in other words, you don’t have to be at the top of the totem pole) but condescend to men of low estate,…” Be able to converse and have relationships with the people on the low end of the economic scale just as well as the ones at the top.

Romans 12:16b-17a

“…Be not wise in your own conceits. (now here it comes.) 17. Recompense to no man evil for evil…” Now that’s contrary to the human nature isn’t it? Human nature says, if he hits me, I’m going to hit him back. But Scripture says just the opposite.

Romans 12:17b

“…Provide things honest in the sight of all men.” What did I tell you at the beginning of the program? That’s the Christian lifestyle – honesty, integrity.

Romans 12:18-19

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (now here comes the verse I wanted to really home in on) 19. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: (don’t give in to your feelings, and here’s the reason) for it is written, Vengeance is mine; (God will take care of them in His own time. God says,) I will repay, saith the Lord.”

So we’re supposed to leave the vengeance part up to God – in His own time. Remember, God’s wheels grind slowly, but what? Surely! There’s never anything going to escape Him. Now it may not be in our lifetime. It may be after we’re gone. It may not be in their physical lifetime but. sooner or later, they’re going to come up against the Holy Righteous God. So, don’t sweat it. Okay, so back to I Peter chapter 2 verse 19.

I Peter 2:19-20

“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, (you’ve done a good job, you’ve done everything right and they still jump all over you, then you permit it) and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”

That’s contrary to our human nature. We can all readily take applause for something we’ve done well. We can also take faultfinding when we know we’ve goofed up. But, to have somebody jump on our case when we know we’ve done it right, we know we’ve done it good, that’s pretty hard to take – and yet I know a lot of people in the workplace have to come under that. But that’s where God-given patience comes in. Now verse 21.

I Peter 2:21

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” Now somebody’s going to jump up and say, “I told you, we weren’t supposed to follow Paul, we’re supposed to follow Jesus.” Of course Peter is going to emphasize following Christ because that’s where he had been those three years. And that’s all that Peter really understood was to follow the footsteps of Christ. Paul, now, on the other hand, with the indwelling Holy Spirit not only in himself but in all of us, could admonish us in several Scriptures to follow him as the Apostle of the Gentiles, as he followed Christ.

Now, that’s not a lot of difference and yet it’s some. But, here Peter just brings it right in that now, as these Jewish believers are still tied pretty much to legalism and the Temple worship and so forth, they’re admonished to remember how much Christ suffered in order to pay their sin debt. Now I’ve got to qualify. If these Jews (whether it’s in Christ’s earthly ministry or it’s on Pentecost, or these that Peter and James and John are writing, or if you want to go way back into the Old Testament) had no understanding that the work of the Cross was the basis of their salvation, then why do we have this reference to it in prophecy? Now we’re going to be looking at that in a little later time, where Isaiah 53 is so definitely a prophetic statement concerning Christ’s earthly suffering and so forth. And then, during Christ’s earthly ministry, why did they even mention the fact that Christ died and rose from the dead. Well, you want to remember this. I’ll go all the way back to Adam.

Adam never had a concept of a Roman cross. I have no compunction teaching that whatsoever. Adam had no idea that one day a Person of the Godhead would go to a Roman cross. All he believed was what God told him. And that’s all God expected him to believe. And you can come all the way up through the Old Testament, one after the other of the Patriarchs – for example, Noah. Noah had no idea of the work of the cross. But he did know that God had told him to build the ark. And Hebrews 11 makes that so plain. So what did Noah do? He built the ark. He was obedient! And God reckoned it as his saving faith.

So you come all the way up through the Old Testament; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and then the prophets – they didn’t have a clue about a Roman crucifixion. That was never invented until Rome came on the scene. So, they were saved by their faith in what God told them to believe, but God had to – how shall I put this – reckon with the sins of Adam on the merit of the cross. God reckoned with the sin of Abraham on the merits of the cross, even though he himself knew nothing of it. Now, you come on this side of the cross, it’s the same way. Ever since the cross (for example, believers like Peter and the Eleven), all they had to believe for salvation is Who Jesus was, He was their Messiah, the Son of God, the Christ. And they had no idea that it was the crucifixion, and the death, burial and resurrection that was their salvation. They didn’t know that. But, God, in His righteousness, imputed the merit of that death, burial and resurrection to these people who knew nothing of it. But in this Age of Grace we’re in now, we must believe in our heart that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again for salvation as Paul points out so clearly.

So Peter is going to make reference to Christ’s work of the cross, but not for salvation. And the reason is that these Jews can understand that, even though it wasn’t a prerequisite in their faith, it was on the merit of that work of the cross that God could forgive the sins of everybody from Adam to the last one on the human scene. Everything is based on the work of the cross even though people did not, in themselves, know about it until Paul’s ministry for us in this Church Age.

Now let me give you an example. Come back with me to Luke 18. I think maybe this will explain it as well as anything in the Scriptures. Here we’re at the end of Christ’s earthly ministry. The Twelve have been with Him now almost three years. And we know from Matthew 16, that Peter’s confession of faith was, “Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel.” And that’s all they knew. Now if you doubt that, read with me here in Luke 18. Remember, He’s at the end of the three years. They’re about ready to go up to Jerusalem.

Luke 18:31

“Then he (Jesus) took unto him the twelve, and he said unto them, Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.” In other words, Isaiah 53 and Isaiah 9, and all the way up through the prophets, are now about to come to, at least, a partial fulfillment. All right, verse 32.

Luke 18:32-33

“For he (speaking of Himself) shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, (to the Romans) and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: (and all those things happened between His arrest and His crucifixion. Every one of them) 33. And they shall scourge him, and put Him to death: and the third day He shall rise again.” That covers all the bases. But, now look at the next verse.

Luke 18:34a

“And they (the Twelve, who had been with Him now for three years. The Twelve who had had all the Old Testament probably their whole lifetime) understood (how much?) none of these things;…” Well, if they didn’t understand it, how in the world could they be saved by it? Well they weren’t. They were saved by believing Who Jesus was. But, in God’s fairness and righteousness, He could impute salvation to these people who knew nothing of the cross because of Who He is, and because of what had been accomplished. So, always remember that, even though there may be a reference that seems clear enough to the death, burial and resurrection, until we get to the Apostle Paul and the revelations of the mysteries, it was never understood to be the plan of salvation for the whole human race. That’s all I’m trying to get across.

All right, so come back to I Peter again. Peter can make reference to the death and burial and resurrection, but he does not lay it upon them as a tenet of faith to believe for their salvation. All right, now verse 22. (speaking of Christ in verse 21)

I Peter 2:22

Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:” Well, that’s exactly what Paul says in II Corinthians 5. “He who became sin for us who knew no sin.” Peter says the same thing.

I Peter 2:23

“Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, (and we have no idea of the suffering that he went through leading up to the cross) he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:” In other words, He committed Himself to the power of God the Father.

I Peter 2:24

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” Now there again, that’s as close as Paul can get, isn’t it? And, yet, Peter does not expect these Jewish believers to rest on that for their salvation. Their salvation was believing that Jesus was the Promised Messiah, the Son of the living God. But, this was all done on their behalf in order to complete the work of salvation. All right, now verse 25:

I Peter 2:25a

“For ye were as sheep going astray;…” Now where’s Peter pulling that from? Let’s turn to Isaiah 53, and here’s the exact wording, see? And again, who was Isaiah writing to? Israel. The Jews. So Peter can rightfully quote right from this that was spoken to Israel 600-700 years before Christ. All right, here it is.

Isaiah 53:6

“All we (the Nation of Israel) like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him (this One Who’s coming, but they didn’t know Who it was) the iniquity of us all.”

And so Peter is drawing right from that which was addressed to the Jews for 700 years before it ever happened. And it was still appropriate that they were to understand that their salvation was really based upon the promises made to the prophets, fulfilled when Christ went and finished the work of the cross. But never, does Peter require their believing that for their salvation. Their salvation was believing that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ.

644 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 2 Part 4 Book 54 - I Peter 1:1 - 2:14 - Part 2

644: I Peter 1:1 – 2:14 – Part 2 – Lesson 2 Part 4 Book 54

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 54

I Peter 1:1 – 2:14 – Part 2

Now let’s pick up where we left off in the last lesson, and I think we’re going to start chapter 2. Now this next series of verses here in I Peter are so applicable even for you and I in the Age of Grace. And even though I’ve been stressing that these little Jewish letters here at the back of your Bible are written primarily to Jewish believers of the Kingdom economy, there are so many things in here that overlap. So we in the Church Age can glean some things from these writings, and here are a few.

I Peter 2:1

“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,” Does that apply to us? Well, I don’t see why not. Absolutely it’s appropriate. If we’re going to have a viable group of believers, then you certainly cannot be undercutting one another with gossip and envying and so forth.

I Peter 2:2

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may (what?) grow thereby:” Now, you see, here’s a comparison that fits perfectly with the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians, chapter 3. Let’s move back there a minute. Here, Paul uses the same analogy of milk. Now, of course, scriptural milk is simply the simple things, the elementary. But, God doesn’t want us to stay on the simple. He wants us to go into the deep things of Scripture. And I think that’s where Christendom as a whole has failed. The leaders have never given people anything more than milk.

All right, I Corinthians chapter 3? Verse 1 and this is what Paul writes to this Gentile congregation.

I Corinthians 3:1-3a

“And I brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, (people who have matured) but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. (notice it’s the same language that Peter is using) 2. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, (that is the meat part of Scripture) neither yet now are ye able (to take deep, meat Scripture. Why?) 3. For ye are yet carnal:…” Now the Corinthians were all hung up on going to law and court with one another and arguing over who was the greatest – Apollos or Paul or Peter or Christ. And so they were still very carnal instead of getting into a love for one another and getting into the Word and growing spiritually. So what Paul had to use was the analogy of milk to make them understand.

I Corinthians 3:3

“For (he says) ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” All right now Peter is dealing with the same kind of a situation amongst the Jewish believers. Now come back with me to I Peter chapter 2. So he uses the same analogy that they were to desire the simple things, but for goodness sakes, don’t stay on milk, move on. Even in the physical. What is a sadder dilemma than to have some little infant that never grows beyond the milk?

And you know there is such a thing? We had a couple stop the other day who were asking us for prayer for someone. They’d just had a child and they were worried that it may have had a disease that was generations back on one side or the other. And several generations back these folks had had a little infant and, for 14 years, the child never went beyond infancy. Normal in every respect but remained an infant. Well, that’s awful. Heartbreaking! But, you see, this is most Christians. Most believers never go beyond infancy and God’s heart must just break. How He longs to see the believer grow spiritually, just like we like to see a child grow physically. .

You know, I’ve got grandkids and they’re in that fast growing spurt and boy they come in almost every other week, and say, “Look Grandpa, I’ve grown another half-inch!” Well, you see that’s what you want. But how many believers can do that. They just never get beyond infancy with the Word of God. All right, so Peter is admonishing even these Jewish believers:

I Peter 2:2-4

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (don’t remain an infant) 3. If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious.”

All right, now I’ve got to stop there a minute don’t I? We’re not going to take time to chase down all the Scriptures but I think most of you now know those Scriptures I’m speaking of. For example, you go all the way back to Exodus and when Moses struck the rock, Who was the Rock? Christ! And so He was the Rock that gave out living water. Well, you move on up through the Scriptures and you get to Daniel, and Daniel tells us that through his vision (as he could see all the great empires that were coming upon the earth) there was this huge image of a man. The head of gold was Babylon. The next part of the image, the silver, was the Medes and Persians. And the next part was the brass, the Greeks. And then the legs of iron were the Roman Empire and then the ten toes, iron and clay (which will be the Revived Roman Empire that is getting stronger even as we speak). Then the next verse says what?“He saw a huge stone cut out without hands, crushed all vestige of those empires, until they became dust.” Who was the stone cut out without hands? The returning Christ.

The stone that crushes the empire at His Second Coming. Well then, you have the analogy in the Psalms of “the stone that was set aside of the builders.” Well now, in imagery, it was beautiful. And I’m sure it was just a legend that was brought about, but the legend was speaking of when they were building the Temple at which there was not a sound of a hammer. All the cutting of those stones was done at a distance. And then the quarry men would send the stones as they were needed, as the building was rising. Well, as the story goes, to make a good scriptural application, the quarry men sent the headstone of the corner long before they were ready for it. So what did the builders do? Well, they just kicked it off into the weeds and almost forgot about it. But that very same headstone of the corner then in imagery became the stumbling block of the Jew over which they stumbled because they couldn’t recognize Who He was. So all through Scripture we have over and over the picturing of Christ as “the stone.”

Then, of course, when we get to Paul’s writings in I Corinthians chapter 3, he becomes the headstone of our foundation. He is the “Rock” of our cornerstone, or however you want to put it. He is the foundation of the Church.

I Corinthians 3:11

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” And so all through Scripture we have this analogy of Christ as a Rock or as a Stone. All right, now Peter is coming back to it and he says in verse 6:

I Peter 2:6

“Wherefore also it is contained in the scriptures, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, (speaking of Christ as He presented Himself to the Nation of Israel) elect, precious: (in other words, Christ was the chosen One of God to bring about the salvation of, not just Israel, but, the whole human race) and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” And I think maybe if you were to go in to the translations, a better word would be disappointed rather than confounded. Now read it in that light and I don’t think I’m doing any violence to the text. “That he that believeth on him (Christ as the Stone) shall not be disappointed.”

Have you ever stopped to think how many millions and millions of people are going to go out into eternity and suddenly be disappointed. Oh, they think they’ve done everything that needs to be done. They think they’re going to make it, but when life ends on this earth and they find themselves in the wrong place, what a disappointment. In fact, I just shared with a group while we were at a seminar last week about a book written by a Lutheran theologian on the Flood. And I think his name was Rehwinkel if I remember correctly. But he gave this analogy, and I’ve used it over the years. I think it’s beautiful.

He said that for 120 years, Noah and the three sons were building the ark. But they must have had other people come in to help them with all the work entailed in building that huge ark. And so for 120 years Noah’s friends and neighbors worked with him on the ark. But when the flood came, did they go in? No. They thought he was crazy. Then, this Dr. Rehwinkel made this analogy. He said, “Isn’t that true of the church? How many people are just as busy working in the church as these builders on the ark; they’re singing in the choir, they’re Sunday School teachers, they’re church officers. But when eternity stares them in the face, they’re outside.”

And the reason these people will be left outside is – They have never truly believed in their heart Paul’s Gospel of salvation that Jesus died for their sins and your sins, was buried, and rose again! My how sad that is. But the ones that have will never be disappointed.

I Peter 2:7a

“Unto you therefore which believe…” See, now here Peter is close to Paul again isn’t he? It’s faith. For these Jews who believed Who Jesus was, and indeed the One they crucified, was the Christ. That’s what they were to believe. And then, of course, the benefits of the Cross were imputed unto them. When you go back into the Old Testament economy, and what prompted what I said earlier that I can’t put my thumb on their salvation experience – they didn’t believe that Christ would die on a Roman Cross, and be raised from the dead. They hadn’t even heard of such a thing. But, when they believed what God told them to believe, then all the merits of the Cross were put to their account.

Well, it’ll be the same way in the Tribulation. When these 144,000 Jews go out and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom again (which was basically what we were all talking about, that Jesus was the Christ and He’s coming to set up His Kingdom), they’re not going to believe in a death, burial and resurrection for salvation. They’re going to believe Who Jesus was. But, the merit of the Cross is what will be imputed to their necessity.

So, yes, the Cross is central to everything – even though they didn’t all believe in that per se, as we do in our Gospel of Grace. So always remember that, even though people did not understand that Christ would die on a Roman Cross and be raised from the dead, the merit of that work of the Cross is still put to their account.

I Peter 2:8a

“And a stone of stumbling,…” That’s why I went back to the legend, that when they laid the cornerstone aside, they didn’t know what to do with it. Then, later on, it became a stone of stumbling – that’s exactly what Israel did. He came and they didn’t know what to do with Him. And so they cast Him aside and they crucified Him. But He became then also the Stone of stumbling, reading on.

I Peter 2:8b

“…and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word,…” That’s millions, if not billions, of people who stumble at the Word of God:

I Peter 2:8c

“…being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” In other words, they had every opportunity to understand and believe. Remember, Peter is speaking to these Jews of this day and time, shortly after the crucifixion. Now I’m talking in terms of the crucifixion at 29 AD. Peter is probably writing somewhere between 50 and 60 AD – and so these are Jewish believers who still had that connection to the Jerusalem church of Acts chapter 2. All right, and so he says:

I Peter 2:9a

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;…” Paul doesn’t use those words, but you know what? Come back with me to Exodus 19 and you’ll see, when God is speaking to Moses, they’ll just jump off the page. The same words. Exodus 19. And see this is what makes Bible study so gloriously interesting. The Nation of Israel is gathered around Mount Sinai and he’s up in the mountain. All right, and so God says to Moses:

Exodus 19:5a

“Now therefore, if ye (the Nation of Israel) will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure….” Same word in Peter! Now flip back and forth so you’ll know what I’m talking about. Flip back to Peter again, “ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.” Now the word peculiar doesn’t mean odd. It means of intrinsic value. All right, back to Exodus.

Exodus 19:5b-6a

“…then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: (He’s Sovereign, He can do what He wants) 6. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of(what?) priests,…” Now flip back to Peter. And what does Peter say? “A royal priesthood, A holy nation.” Back to Exodus. See just back and forth. It’s the only way you can compare. Now in Exodus again.

Exodus 19:6

“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation, These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” And Peter is claiming that very same thing now to these Jews. You are now in fulfillment of what God was telling Moses. You’re to be a royal priesthood. You’re to be a holy, set apart, nation. And you’re to be a peculiar people. You are to be of intrinsic value. All right, now back to I Peter and we’ll continue on.

I Peter 2:9b

“…that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” Now I’m going to show you how Jesus used those same words. Now come back to John’s Gospel, chapter 3 and let’s begin with verse 19. And, again, we’ve got Christ dealing with Israel, not with the world in general – Israel. If you remember earlier this afternoon, we were back in chapter 1 and it said, “and this is that Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” But here in John 3, Jesus is directing it only to the Nation of Israel.

John 3:19-21

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21. But he that doeth truth (in other words, again believes Who Jesus really is) cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” Why? Because he’s going to be a different person. His deeds are not going to be evil. Now they’re going to be Godly in their character. All right, so now if you’ll come back to I Peter chapter 2. And so you have all these comparisons of God dealing with the Nation of Israel, previously, and Peter is just simply rehearsing it.

I Peter 2:9a

“But ye (as he speaks to these Jewish believers) are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,…” Because, after all, once they were to get into the Tribulation and into the Kingdom, what were they to become? Priests to all the pagan world around them. That hadn’t yet been changed. That was still part of the Old Testament economy that the Jew would become the evangelists. Now, of course, with the incoming of the Age of Grace and Israel set aside, they’ve lost that opportunity – but at this point in time, when Peter is writing to them, this was still out in front of them, that they could be a holy nation of priests.

I Peter 2:9b-10a

“…an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God:…” Now, I don’t know what point in time Peter was referring to. If you want to go back to before they became a nation in Egypt, that’s all right. Or you can go back to a time when they had almost rebelled completely against God, and the Shekinah Glory had left the Temple. But they had, as a nation of people, not been the people of God but now these groups of believers. Peter is saying as we finish the verse.

I Peter 2:10b

“…which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” In other words, as a result of their faith, they were now part and parcel, again, of being in God’s covenant promises. All right, now verse 11.

I Peter 2:11-12a

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you (I beg you) as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12. Having your conversation (or your manner of living) honest among the Gentiles;…” So what does that tell you? These were Jews that he was writing to and Peter is admonishing, “Don’t let the Gentiles look at you and say, ‘I wouldn’t want to be like that.’” Well, what’s the application today? That’s where we are. That’s how we are to behave. We’re to behave in such a way that the lost world around us will never point the finger and say, “I’d hate to be like that. I’m not crooked in business like they are. I don’t take advantage of the poor like they do.” Remember, the Jews had been pretty guilty of that. The Old Testament prophets condemned them for it – that they ignored their widows and that they took advantage of the disadvantaged. Well, Peter is saying basically the same thing. Maintain a testimony that the world of Gentiles cannot ridicule.

I Peter 12b-14

“…that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (in other words, I think he’s referring to when Christ would return) 13. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man, for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, (that is the Roman king) as supreme: 14. Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”

Come back to Romans 13 and see how Paul addresses the same thing. Godly men – whether it’s of the Jewish persuasion or whether it’s us in the Church Age – that part is not all that different. We are still to behave the same way, as believers, as Peter admonishes those Jews in the midst of all that Roman persecution. Romans 13 – this is Paul’s approach.

Romans 13:1-2

“Let every soul (or every individual) be subject unto the higher powers. (now that’s not God power, that’s government power) For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God, 2. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, (that is of government) resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”God has placed us under our government for the purpose of being obedient to it, and, if you resist the government, you shall receive to yourselves condemnation. Now verse 3.

Romans 13:3

“For rulers (government) are not a terror to good works, (if it is working the way it should be) but (a good government should be a terror) to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:” In other words, if you’re a good citizen and we’ve got good government, they should be able to recognize it. And I think it carries all the way through our daily experience. And you can just read on here and see how it’s suppose to take place.

Romans 13:4a

“For he (government) is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid;…”

Absolutely. Government is to punish if we act evil; but if we are as we should be, we should never have to fear the punishment of government.