The Master‘s Class, LifeChange Church Wichita
A HEALTHY FEAR OF GOD (1 Peter 1:17-18)

A HEALTHY FEAR OF GOD (1 Peter 1:17-18)

March 20, 2016
Do you fear God?

Your answer to this question says a lot about whether or not you truly believe that there is a God, that He is the Creator of all things, including you, and that a day of judgement is coming for you.  It also says what you believe about heaven or hell and how God will determine who joins Him in heaven, and who spends eternity in hell.  

When we have a healthy fear of the things of this world, it is because they have the ability and the authority to deprive us of our life and the lives of our loved ones, our liberty, and our possessions, although I would define liberty as including our wealth and possessions.  For example, I have a healthy fear of the IRS, not because I have ever failed to pay my taxes as required, but because they have an almost unlimited ability to change my life by taking things away from me, and they have a very spotty record of being accurate in their judgments.

It is a sad statement that man has more fear of the institutions created by man, than they do of their own Creator.  Some of this can be attributed to the immediacy and the visibility of the institutions created by man.  We can see them, we know they exist, and the judgment date can be established as a day on the calendar.  But it can also be attributed to the love that man has for sin.

John 3:19-20
19 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.

Man does not live a holy life because he does not want to believe in God.  To believe in God, means that you must acknowledge His sovereign right to declare what is sin and what is not.  Instead, man wants to decide for himself what is sin and what is not, so he denies the existence of God.  

Man does not live a holy life because he does not want to believe that there ever will be a judgment day for that sin.  If man denies the existence of God, then man can deny any type of judgment by God.  Man loves sin more than he fears God.  

In today’s lesson, Peter will tell believers that this is a fallacy that we should know better than to believe.  As our Creator, God has the sovereign right and the ability to deprive us of our life, our liberty, and any of our possessions.  While a believer knows that their eternal destination has already been decided when they made Christ their Lord and Master, they also know that a day of judgment is coming for the determination of how our actions will either be rewarded or lost.  Our salvation is secure, our presence in heaven is secure, but our standing in heaven is yet to be determined.   
HOW OBEDIENCE IS HOLY (1 Peter 1:14-16)

HOW OBEDIENCE IS HOLY (1 Peter 1:14-16)

March 13, 2016
Outside the four walls of the church, would you ever describe your life as holy?  Do you feel comfortable with the word holy when you are speaking to the general public?  Probably not.  I can’t say that I use the word holy very much outside of a church service or in a Bible study setting.

Why not?  The unfortunate reality is that we have allowed the word holy to be hijacked by those who would give it a somewhat pious connotation to it.  This is certainly true in the secular world, but even in the religious world.  Words like holy-roller, holier-than-thou, are phrases that come immediately to mind when someone claims to be holy.  

Why? It is because the world thinks of a religious person as basically a hypocrite because they see so many examples of people who claim to be a Christian, but they live a life that is no different than everyone else around them.  They claim to refrain from drinking for religious reasons, but spread gossip at every opportunity.  They say they go to church on Sunday, and then they join their friends at a bar on Monday.  Statistics would say that a Christian couple is just as likely to commit adultery or have their marriage end in divorce as a non-Christian couple.  If these things are true, then there is no wonder that the first thought that comes to mind of an average person when they hear the word holy, is hypocrite, or religious fraud.  If you doubt this is true, try describing yourself as living a holy life to one of your lost friends and then watch for the look on their face.

So, as a believer, when we say that we are to live a life that is holy, what does that mean to you?

Does it mean to live life one way while you are at church and another way when you go to work on Monday?  How about when you are behind the wheel of your car in traffic, do you live a life that is holy then?  Are your actions as you drive holy, are the gestures that you make to other drivers holy, are your words, both the ones you say out loud and the ones that you think in your mind, holy?  How about when you are watching your child, or grandchild, play in a sporting event, would somebody listening to your words that you yell at the umpire or referee consider them to be holy?

When God talks about living a life that is holy, He means that your life should be one that is distinct from the secular world.  There ought to be a noticeable difference in your life, not a weird difference, but a good difference.  Not a hypocritical difference, but a consistent difference.  I said last week that for many people, the life of a believer is the only Bible that they will ever read.  People should see Christ in your life.  Your life should be holy, just as Christ’s life was holy.  

We cannot be perfect, but we can keep trying to be more like Christ.  We cannot live a holy life by our own will power.  It can only be done by the power of the Holy Spirit having complete control of our lives.  This is the message that Peter has for us today.
THE MAJESTY OF GOD’S WORD (1 Peter 1:12-13)

THE MAJESTY OF GOD’S WORD (1 Peter 1:12-13)

March 6, 2016
These are important times in the history of our country.  The decisions that we make today about who will lead our country will have a tremendous impact on the direction that we go.  Will we move back to the values of God, or rush at an even faster pace toward the values of man?  Will we choose a man or woman who has his own pride of accomplishments, and his own wisdom, to guide him, or will we choose a person who depends on the Word of God to guide his decisions?  The Bible tells us that at the top of the list of things that God hates, is pride, for if a man is full of pride, then he will not turn to God for wisdom.  If we choose a man full of pride, then we will fail as a country.  

As believers, when we have difficult choices to make, we have a tremendous advantage over those who do not have Jesus Christ as their Lord and Master.  The believer, open Bible in hand, has access to truth in more realms of human activity than all of the politicians, philosophers, educators, scientists, and gurus of the world have. 

What politician has available to him a book that can foretell the future of the nations?  It would be nice to have a politician that knew the Bible well enough that he knew the difference between 2 Corinthians and Second Corinthians.  Someone who actually used the Bible to find the will of God for our country and not just as a prop that he held upside down in the picture.

What psychologist has at his fingertips an unerring guide to human behavior and to the law of sin and death, as we do in the Bible? 

What philosopher has access to the mysteries that lie beyond the grave? 

What reformer has access to power that can transform human personality and make drunken men sober, crooked men straight, and horribly sinful people pure? 

When faced with a question, the humblest believer, open Bible in hand, has access to all such knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.  The angels must marvel that so many of us act as though we were drunk rather than sober, that we are content to rely on this world's wisdom and remain in ignorance of God's Word or, knowing it, refuse to act upon it.  The Word of God is to be our focus.  It is to be read, studied, memorized, and applied to our lives.  

The Bible should be the favorite book for every believer to be reading.  It should be more important that watching TV, or looking at social media on the computer.  In fact, you should be able to gauge how important the Bible is to you and your walk with Christ by how much time you spend reading and studying it as compared with the time you spend with other books, computers, or TV.  If the Bible holds the bottom of the ranking, then your life will show that.  Your witness will show that, and your family and friends are watching you.  Your grandkids are watching you, the past saints are watching you, the angels are watching you, and God is watching you.  Do you believe that?  Do you really believe that all of these people, including the saints, the angels, and God are watching you?

In fact, someone once said that to many people of the world, you are the only Bible that they will ever read.  If you are not reading and applying the Bible on a daily basis to your life, then they will not see God’s Word in you at all.  

If you are looking for wisdom in choosing who will lead this country, the answer can be found in the Word of God.  Listen to this podcast to understand the majesty of the Word of God.
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