The Master’s Class, Summit Church
THE QUESTION OF SUBMISSION (1 Peter 2:13b-14)

THE QUESTION OF SUBMISSION (1 Peter 2:13b-14)

May 29, 2016
If I were to ask you to give me a list of so-called Christians or Christian groups that give others a bad impression of Christians, and Christianity as a whole, who would you list?  My list would include churches that protest military funerals, and violent anti-abortion groups and people. Make no mistake about it, God does not support this type of activity, and it does not bring glory to His name.  When one of these groups protest the burial of war veteran, nobody is thinking positive things about the people of God.  When an anti-abortionist walks in and shoots people, nobody is thinking positive things about the people or groups that this person represents or the God they claim to worship. 

If I were to ask you about the top lies the secular world says about Christians, what would you say?  My list would include “They are all a bunch of hypocrites” or “They hate _____people,” fill in the blank with whatever sin you want, be it gay people, drunk people, abortion doctors, or adulterers. While these are certainly lies of the greatest magnitude about true Christians, people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, they are unfortunately true of a large group of people who claim to be Christians.  Once again, make no mistake about it, God does not condone hypocrisy, or hatred of any person, on the part of His true followers.  Some of the most vehement words that Jesus spoke while He was on this earth were directed at the hypocritical Pharisees and Sadducees.  The Bible does not teach it, nor does God command His followers to behave in this way.  In fact, He commands just the opposite.

Mark 12:29-31
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
KJV

You cannot love your neighbor as yourself, and hate them at the same time.  God didn’t say love only the good people, He said to love thy neighbor.  We are to recognize and proclaim sin for what it is, rebellion against God.  We are to recognize those who commit sin as rebels against God.  We are to preach and teach people to obey the commandments of God.  To behave in a way that is in accordance with God’s definition of good and moral, and to abstain from those things that God calls evil and amoral.  

We are to do this with a spirit of love and because we know the eternal consequences of rejecting Jesus Christ and rebelling against God are real and permanent.  Hell is real and it is forever.  God’s judgment is real, and because we love our neighbors as ourselves, we do not want this for anyone.  Our mission is to preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ so that He can change the heart of that person, and provide them with eternal life.  

The world is going to make up enough lies about us as it is.  We are going to be persecuted unjustly.  The only defense we have is that our behavior does not match the lies.  If someone wants to look for the truth in your life, they should find a law abiding citizen who respects the law of man.

Yet, when we, as Christians, violate man’s laws and become labeled as criminals, when we lie, or steal, or fail to pay our taxes, drive a vehicle while we are drunk, when we commit violent acts, or when we violate God’s commandments, we bring dishonor to the God that we serve.  We bring dishonor to the name of those who serve God and we taint the gospel message that we preach.  Our actions have to match our words.  This is what our lesson is about today, behaving in such a way that when the world tells lies about us, our behavior can set the record straight and bring glory to the God we serve.  
OUR MISSION IS TO GLORIFY GOD (1 Peter 2:12-13a)

OUR MISSION IS TO GLORIFY GOD (1 Peter 2:12-13a)

May 22, 2016
Last week we began talking about how the believer is to live a separated life by his behavior.  In other words, people should see a difference in us by our behavior.  They are to see in us a type of behavior that brings glory to God.  

We are a chosen people, we have a special position before God, we are separated by birth because we are the adopted children of God, we are no longer the slaves of Satan, we are separated by our new birth.  

We are a people separated by our belief, our faith is in Christ, our beliefs are unlike any other man-made religion, we believe in our salvation by God’s grace and the precious blood of a risen Savior, not man’s works and efforts.  We are separated by our belief.

We are also a people who should live lives that show a new attitude toward the world around us.  We are to be strangers and pilgrims in this world that is no longer our home.  The world is defined as the society around us, with God left out.  God is deliberately not welcome in the minds and hearts of most people in our society.  Neither are His adopted children, Christians.  

We are strangers in this world.  We are away from our home.  We are in this world, but we are not of this world.  

We are also pilgrims in this world because we are on our path back home.  Our eye is on the goal of completing our mission that God has given us.  The mission of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with a dark world.  

Peter is telling us that our goodness, a goodness that is to be something beautiful to behold, is how we are to behave.  This goodness is to include our obedience of the laws of man.  Christians will be, and have been, accused of horrendous crimes, of hatred, and of violence.  These are lies on a grand scale, and God wants our behavior to prove that these things are false.  Our behavior is to be such that when the world sees a Christian, they are to say that their behavior brings glory to the God that they serve.  In other words, we are God's people in a world of lost people.  Our behavior is to reflect the goodness of God who has sent us here as His personal ambassadors.  This goodness, that is witnessed by others, is to be a result of our separation.

This is the basis for everything Peter teaches in this passage.  We are a chosen people who have been saved, reborn, and given a mission from God.  That mission is to serve God.  It is to be a witness for Him, to lead others to Christ, and to bring glory to God.  That is our mission.  Everything else takes a back seat.  

God has commanded us to live separated lives.  He has given us His definition of the words good, moral, evil, and amoral.  We do not get to change those definitions as the world has done.  Our lives are to meet His standards so that we can represent Him and bring glory to His name.  The world is to know God by what they see in us.  
DOES THE WORLD SEE GOD IN YOU? (1 Peter 2:11)

DOES THE WORLD SEE GOD IN YOU? (1 Peter 2:11)

May 15, 2016
If I were to describe someone as a good person, a moral person, what does that mean to you?  If I were to describe someone as an evil person, an amoral person, what does that mean to you?  Where do the definitions of the words good, moral, evil, and amoral come from? Are these words relative?  Are some people better than others, or more evil than others?

Do those words, good, moral, evil, and amoral, have the same meaning today as they did 10 years ago, 20 years ago, even 40 years ago?  I don’t think so, so why has the world changed the definition of what good and moral behavior means?  Why does the world want a different definition of these words?

As with all words, the meaning depends on the dictionary that you use for it.  For example, if I say the word resurrection as it relates to Christ, I mean the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  I get my definition from the Word of God, the Bible is my dictionary.  Many Christian religions, and some non-Christian religions, believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but they have a different definition for the word resurrection.  They may believe in a spiritual only resurrection, or maybe a symbolic resurrection, but not a physical resurrection.  They say the same words, but they use a different dictionary to define the word, so we have to be careful to know which dictionary we are using when we say the words good, moral, evil, and amoral.  

The answer to the question of why the world has changed the definition of these words is because God’s definition of these words, as He defines them in the Bible, are too restrictive.  They don’t fit in with the new morality.  So over time, man has chosen a different dictionary to define these words, they have moved away from God’s definitions in the Bible, to a definition of their own creation.  The further man moves from the definitions of the Bible, the more evil behavior is called good, and good behavior is called bad.  God warns us of this in His Word.

Isa 5:20
20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
KJV

We live in a society today where homosexuality and lesbianism are called good.  Men can call themselves a woman, have some surgery, and they are called brave, heroes, and good.  It was not long ago that the country had a different name for these types of behavior, but now we are told we must accept evil and amoral behavior as good and moral.  In fact, we must go further than just accepting them, we must agree with the world and call them good and moral, or face persecution.

We live in a society today where God’s definitions of good, moral, evil, amoral, and those who preach, teach, and try to live by these definitions are the ones called evil and hateful.  Jesus tells how we should react to these descriptions.

Luke 6:22
22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
KJV

So, let me ask you, are you feeling blessed these days?

Our lesson today is about why God wants His followers to live their lives by His definition of the words good, moral, evil, and amoral.  We are to be different from the world, not weird different, but a good difference.  A difference that people will notice and be drawn to.  We will never be perfect by God’s standards, but we are to live our lives more like Christ lived His life every day.  God has a purpose in this desire for us.  We are to be a separated people, not isolated, but separated from the world’s definitions.  We are God’s special people, a peculiar people, a chosen people.  We are His ambassadors and our lives should show it.  
OUR RESPONSE TO GOD’S GRACE (1 Peter 2:9b-10)

OUR RESPONSE TO GOD’S GRACE (1 Peter 2:9b-10)

May 8, 2016
Today is Mother’s Day.  It is a special day for everyone, because no matter who you are, you had a Mother.  You may not know who your Mother was.  You may not have had a very good Mother, but if you are like most people, your Mother is very special to you.  Your Mom was there when you fell.  She was there when you cried out in fear of the darkness.  She was there when you hit a home run, or when you struck out for the third time that day, and she was there when you walked across the stage as a graduate.  She loved you no matter what.  She loved you when you didn’t call her, when you didn’t come by to see her, and even when you forgot her on Mother’s Day.  She just loved you.  How do you respond to that kind of love, to that kind of grace?

Do you tell other people how great she was?  Do you tell your children what a great mom you had?  Do you do your best to make her proud of you, of what you have become?  Not everyone’s Mom is still with us.  In fact, in a class with people of our age, some of our mom’s passed away some time ago.  I firmly believe that my Mother is looking down from heaven on me and my sister and brother, and she is checking up on us to make sure we are doing what she taught us to do.  My guess is that she has a conversation with Jesus every once in a while telling Him what she thinks of us.  

How do you respond to that kind of love and grace?

Our lesson today is about several things, we are going to finish up our discussion on our position before God, about the mercy and grace that God has shown us, but we are also going to talk about how we are to respond to our God who has loved us so much, and has shared His grace upon us.

How do you respond to that kind of love and grace?  Pretty amazing isn’t it?  Listen to this podcast to learn how to respond to God’s grace.  
OUR POSITION BEFORE GOD (1 Peter 2:8-9a)

OUR POSITION BEFORE GOD (1 Peter 2:8-9a)

May 1, 2016
If I were to ask you what your position in this world was, what would you say?  What is it that you are identified by?

Are you one of the social elite?  Not many of us would say yes to that, even if we were.  It would not be politically correct to be so crass.  If you are such a person, you just know it, and live it, you don’t have to brag about it, and people just identify you as such.  

Are you a victim of something?  That is the popular position to be in today, because if you are a victim of some type of injustice, then society owes you something.  You have the supposed right to take away something from your victimizer, and declare it as yours, whether you earned it or not.  If you can get the government to do it for you, even better.  You can usually be identified as a victim by the anger in your actions and your words, your intolerance of others, and the chip on your shoulder.  

Are you a proud member of the middle class?  Hard working, providing for your family.  You are a blue collar worker with a strong back and calloused hands to prove it.  You are identified by your work.

Are you a parent?  Which means you are a provider, a cook, a teacher, a caregiver, a protector, among a hundred other things.  This is what you are identified by, the family that you raise.   

Do you have a position in a religion?  Are you a priest, a preacher, a bishop, a cardinal, a deacon, a deaconess, a choir member, a Bible teacher, a back row Baptist, or a member of the amen pew?  Are you identified by the collar you wear, the cross around your neck, the ring on your finger, or the religious book that you carry around with you, be it the Bible, the Quran, the Book of Mormon, or the New Testament that you have in your pocket?  

What is your position in this world?  What are you identified by?  When someone introduces you, how do they describe you?

Our lesson today is about the position that we have before God, both the believer and the non-believer.  

Last week we discussed Christ as the Living Stone, the foundation stone of the church today.  Christ was rejected as not fitting in with the ideas of the Messiah that the Jews had, so He was killed, but God raised Him from the grave, and now He is our Royal High Priest serving in the Holy Tabernacle of Heaven.  He is the rock that our faith is built upon.  

As believers we are members of the family of God, joint-heirs with Christ, and royal priests, in the same manner of Christ.  That is our position before God.  But, what about the person who rejects Christ?  What is their position before the Living Stone that is Christ?
 
Listen to this podcast to learn your position before God.