Posts Tagged ‘Peter’


women are powerfulIn preaching through 1 Peter, I find myself staring at chapter 3 and wondering how I can possibly make it relevant to 21st Century American women. I know that most women under the age of 40 will hear these verses and inwardly think, “no way…, you don’t know the man I’m married to” or “if I do that I will be taken so taken advantage of.” These verses run so counter to what schools and media portray to girls and young women that I thought it would be best to re-write the Scriptures to reflect how most American women are taught to think. If you think I am wrong, let me know, but I think this is very accurate. The bullet point is the verse restated in 21st Century societal practice.  woman power

1 Peter 3:1-6

(1)  Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,

  • Likewise wives, get along with your husbands, as long as they obey the Word, and do not interfere with your rights,be a woman a man needs

(2)  when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

  • for they must earn your respect and will be treated as they treat you.

(3)  Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—

  • Keep up with all the latest fashions, for you must present a visually successful and attractive image to influence others and keep your husband’s attention.

Woman wth meek and queit spirit(4)  but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

(5)  For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands,

  • And remember this is the 21st century, and women have been empowered to lead and succeed, and no longer have to follow behind men. Your power to succeed is within you.

Sarah called Abraham Lord(6)  as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

    • You no longer have to follow antiquated stereotypes, for you have the power to be your own woman. In marriage as in life, view yourself equal to men

    • So, you think I am being ridiculous? No, the idea of a 21st Century American woman being a “Sarah” and calling her husband “Lord” is ridiculous to 98% of Christian woman. This notion is laughed out of Evangelical churches. Perhaps “Godly Women” give it lip service, but in reality this is a foreign idea in modern America. Woman who follow this are looked down upon with scorn and even derision. So how does a Pastor teach this with authority and application that makes sense in modern America? He can’t without sounding either crazy or chauvinistic. However, I believe there is a way to teach 1 Peter 3 so it makes sense to a modern woman. In order to do so, we must view these verses in light of the “template” that Peter wants us to place over these verses. It is a template that came to frame his whole way of living. Stay tuned…resilient woman

      woman has to fight for it

 

woman or power

  • WE CAN DO IT WOMAN POWER

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Noah what are you building to save your worldOne area that Lydia & I struggled with as parents of six kids, was how do live so that our children will share our faith in God? This was a real concern as our kids got older, started having friends that were not so good. We are still not out of the woods, because now we have grandchildren. It seems that the kids growing up today are even more removed from the reality of God.

Then I get concerned for this country. Our education system is devoid of God. Our politicians seem opposed to God. What can I do to let my children and grandchildren, neighbors know that God is real and wants to be part of their everyday lives?

Do you share my concerns? Do you wonder what you can do? Are you content with the way our country is going? Do you want to know what God says you should do?

I think that God said so much in just one verse that we won’t be able to glean it all. In Hebrews 11:7, we will find so much practical advice on what we must do to reach out to those around us.

As we ask ourselves some questions about this very familiar man, I want you to consider what you can do to reach your family, your friends and your neighbors with the reality of God.

Hebrews 11:7-By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Noah and His World

His Name means “Rest”

Noah reverenced the invisible GodLamech was 182 years old when he fathered a son. And he named him Noah, saying, “This one will bring us relief from the agonizing labor of our hands, caused by the ground the LORD has cursed.” Genesis 5:28-29 [rest= noo’-akh; Noah = no’-akh]

His World

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. Genesis 6:5-8

How Did Noah react to Gods Word1.  How did Noah react to God’s Word?

Reverent fear is actually “fearing.” Literally, it means “having well received,” indicating that the Roman centurion rightly perceived the situation that if Paul were left to the Pharisees and the scribes they would kill him. The meaning, therefore, is to perceive or receive a situation rightly. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” εὐλαβέομαι”.

  • Where did Noah get his Belief and Respect for God?
    • Where did you get your belief & respect for God?
  • What did Noah’s Faith cause him to do?
    • How was Noah different?
    • What resulted from his difference?
  • What did Noah’s Faith cost him?
    • Have there been any times in your life where you heard the instruction of God and obeyed?
  • What was the risk of Noah choosing to disobey or ignore?
How doe your reaction to Gods Word impact your worldDoes the way you react to God’s Word send a positive or negative message about God to your world?
  • Do you have any family members who are risking their life by ignoring God?
  • Does something you have done in faith have an impact on them?

And He spared not the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven other persons, when He brought a flood upon the world of ungodly [people]. 2 Peter 2:5

Noahs response confirmed the truth of Hebrews 11_62.  How did Noah’s response confirm the truth of Hebrews 11:6?

  • When the world around him ignored God, He heard and believed
  • Then he was diligent to finish the job precisely as God instructed, even though it was unpopular and took decades to finish.
  • What was Noah’s reward?
  • Have you experienced any “reward” by seeking God?
  • Have you communicated that reward to anyone. Would you be able to?

3. What was Noahs motivation for building the Ark What was the motivation behind his response?

  • Was it fear? Faith, or saving His family?
  • What is the motivation behind your seeking/obeying God?
  • Is it for selfish reasons, or do you have your heart on your family and friends?

4.  What was the result of his response?

What was the result of Noahs response

  • His family was saved
  • The world was condemned
  • Heir of righteousness by faith
  • Was God just in acting so?
  • How long did it take to see his family get saved?
  • How has your family responded to your faith obedience?

5.  Did Noah’s faith condemn the world?

Did Noah condemn the world

NO – Faith Obedience REVEALS condemnation.

And the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 14:12-14

Though—Noah, Daniel, and Job—The intercession even of the holiest of men shall not avert my judgments. Noah, though a righteous man, could not by his intercession preserve the old world from being drowned. Job, though a righteous man, could not preserve his children from being killed by the fall of their house. Daniel, though a righteous man, could not prevent the captivity of his country[1].

How do most people respond to a call for faith6.  How do most men and women respond to a call for faith?

  • Eventually they ignore it until a tragedy strikes their life.
  • How should we react to tragedy?
  • How should we react to difficult circumstances?

Man’s normal response to God is to ignore Him.

  • Good times-we may thank him, but He is just a good guy in the sky.
  • Bad times-we may cry to Him, but we usually try to muscle through or call on friends.

Man’s normal response to God is to go our own way and throw God occasional kudos,  a prayer at mealtime or bedtime, and maybe even a $10 tip when we go to church.

For the most part men go their own way. That was happening in Noah’s day. Their thoughts were evil continually. We tend to think the world was full of murderers and rapists. But no, God has a simpler definition of what he considers evil.

Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:12-13

My people have committed two evils - Jeremiah 2_13What evil did God’s people (the Jews) do that caused him to destroy their land and give them over to captivity? Two things: they forgot God and went their own way. They paid no attention to God when it came to running their lives and making decisions.

For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:37-39

The people in Noah’s day were going about their normal lives as if they would always have tomorrow. They lived as if they were in complete control of their lives. They ignored God, they ignored His messenger Noah, and were totally unaware that judgment was upon them.

Would you be a Noah to someone in your worldWe risk our lives by choosing our own way. We live oblivious to the God who created us and has ownership demands upon us

How can you become a Noah to your world?

  • Reach the Conclusion that Noah did. You must do something that will cause the world to take notice that there is a God who reigns!
  • What are doing today that requires total faith in the invisible?
  • What has God asked you to do and yet you have ignored Him?
  • Did Jesus say anything about how our lives and what we do should be impacted by God?

Did Jesus Call you to be a Noah?

YES HE DID!

LUKE: On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. Luke 17:31-33

MARK: For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:35-38

Do Everything you can Whenever you can Wherever you can to Help others to Remember God!

For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, Matthew 24:37-38

  • How do you know that a nation, a civilization is forgetting God?
  • How can you tell God is about to judge a nation?
  • There is always an increase in violence in the land!

 “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. (Genesis 6:13)

“Forge a chain! For the land is full of bloody crimes and the city is full of violence. (Ezekiel 7:23)

Understand that hypocrites and pretenders abound. Someone needs to present real worship of the real God to your world. Even the Jews had hypocritical leaders and priests.

And he brought me into the inner court of the house of the LORD. And behold, at the entrance of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men, with their backs to the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east, worshiping the sun toward the east[2]. Then he said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it too light a thing for the house of Judah to commit the abominations that they commit here, that they should fill the land with violence and provoke me still further to anger? Behold, they put the branch to their nose. Ezekiel 8:16-17

What are You Building?

Noah what are you building to save your worldListening to God, Following God and obeying God is a daily commitment. It was a way of life for Noah. He could not escape it. He knew judgment was coming, but he didn’t know when. He kept at because he was committed to God.

You must involve God in your daily activities just like you are building a huge boat. Involve you children, your friends in a faith activity, something that will stretch your faith.

It can be about money, about helping someone when you are not in a position to help. It can be building something to honor God in your home.

What would our Country look like?

If every born again Christian was busy building an Ark to save their immediate world! We would see families coming together to love Jesus Christ. We would see friends following their friends into salvation!


[1]Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Ezekiel 14”.

[2] In “the inner court,” immediately before the door of the temple of Jehovah, between the porch and the altar, where the priests advanced only on extraordinary occasions (Joe 2:17), twenty-five men (the leaders of the twenty-four courses or orders of the priests, 1Ch 24:18, 19, with the high priest, “the princes of the sanctuary,” Isa 43:28), representing the whole priesthood, as the seventy elders represented the people, stood with their backs turned on the temple, and their faces towards the east, making obeisance to the rising sun. Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, David Brown, A Commentary: Critical, Experimental, and Practical on the Old and New Testaments, (Toledo, OH: Jerome B. Names & Co., 1884), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “EZEKIEL”.


The Biblical Process of Discipleship

Peter was no stranger to failure and success in his discipleship journey.  As a result of the lessons he learned, he is able to describe for us the discipleship journey we will encounter.  Disciples become partakers of the divine nature of Christ through the Word (precious promises). Through the power of the Word we escape the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire (the desire for things apart from God). To enjoy this “divine nature” (Paul calls it the ‘fullness of Christ’) we must diligently pursue the seven stages of discipleship that Peter lists. We must diligently seek to “ADD” these things to our life.  He concludes in verse 8, “For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The end result of being a disciple is abounding in Jesus Christ and abounding in the fruit that knowing and abiding in Him brings!

Seven Stages of Discipleship – II Peter 1: 4-8

Step One: Repentance & Faith
John 1; Luke 3
New Life in Christ becomes reality through conversion wrought by Holy Spirit through faith – FAITH
Step Two: Enlightenment & Guidance
John 2-5
Once that change becomes reality, the disciple begins learning how to “put on Jesus Christ” – VIRTUE
Step Three: Growth in Christ
Luke 4-6
 
The disciple grows more and more into the fullness that God has for him in Jesus Christ.  – KNOWLEDGE
Step Four: Ministry Development
Luke 6-9
 
The inward transformation of Christ’s Word begins to become an outward reality of righteousness that results in ministry to others. – SELF-CONTROL
Step Five: Testing
John 6-8 (Understand how God uses ‘death of a vision)
Ministry will always involve “fiery trials” (I Peter 4:12) These build endurance and work to reveal the power and glory of Christ in your life. (Rom 5:2-3) – STEADFASTNESS
Step Six: Ministry in the Power of Christ
Luke 10-19, John 9-12
The disciple ministers with a greater awareness of the power of the Holy Spirit, whether as a leader or a worker. The ministry is of and through Christ, not the disciple’s natural abilities. – GODLINESS
Step Seven: Fruit through the Fullness of Christ
Luke 20-22, Acts 2,10, John 15
 
The Word continues to manifest the fullness of Christ, resulting in greater love for those around him, and a heart for the needs of the world. Other disciple’s are birthed and the Word continues to profit as God pleases. – LOVE

Seven Stages Explained 

A.  Stage One – Repentance and Faith in Christ

Brings new (changed) life through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit

1)   Grief over our sins against God brings repentance unto salvation. 2 Corinthians 7:10

2)   Repentance produces a change which results in turning toward God Acts 26:20

3)    Repentance has two facets.

  • „ From God. The work of ‘regeneration’ which results in our inner man becoming alive to God and our ‘old man’ or nature being put to death. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, Titus 3:5, Eph 2:4-5
  • „ From Man. Our response to the conviction of the Holy Spirit which produces inner change and keeps us growing in Christ.

4)    Those unwilling to change or submit to the Holy Spirit cannot be discipled.

5)    Baptism is a revealer of one’s willingness to repent before the Lord. Acts 2:37-38

B.    Stage Two – Enlightenment & Guidance

Learning of the One who gave me new life. Matthew 11:28-30

1)    The Christian Life is meant to be an “exchanged life.”[1]

What Do We Exchange?

What we give up

What we get in return

Our sin

2 Cor. 5:21

Christ’s Righteousness

Wrath of God

Rom. 5:1

Peace with God

Condemnation (Hell)

Eph. 2:6,19

Father’s House (Heaven)

Death

Gal. 2:20

Life

The Old Man

2 Cor. 5:17

The New Man

Law

Rom. 7:4-6

Grace

Our weakness

1 Cor. 12:9-10

His Strength

Our Impurity

Heb. 10:21-22

His purity

External morality

Eph. 1:4

Holiness of God

Self strength

Is. 40:31

God’s Power

Tribulation

Eph. 2:14

Peace

Defeat

1 Cor. 15:57

Victory

Sorrow

John 15:11

Joy[2]

2)    We are to put on Jesus Christ. Romans 13:14, Galatians 3:27

3)    We are seated with Christ, which is to say we rest upon Christ. Ephesians 2:6

4)    Disciples learn to live every aspect of their lives in the faith of Jesus Christ. Galatians 2:20

5)    Disciples can derail growth in Christ by acting or trying in the flesh. Romans 8:4-8

C.    Step Three: Growth in Christ

Participating with Christ to build His Body

1)    The whole body is built up as we grow in Christ.

Ephesians 4:14-16 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

2)    As you grow in Christ, so will your desire to participate in the ministry to His body-the church.

3)    Jesus was always giving His disciples an opportunity to get involved in ministry to others. (The feeding of the 5,000 & 4,000, the sending forth into the towns to preach the Kingdom of God, his very call in Matthew 4:19)

4)    The Life of Christ in us is not to be a Lake (because it becomes the Dead Sea). It is to be a River, flowing from Christ through us to the thirsty.

John 7:37-38 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ”

5)    Growth in Christ involves Character building, being conformed to Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

D.   Step Four: Ministry Development

The Righteousness of Christ manifests itself outwardly in ministry to those around you.

Philippians 1:9-11 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

The need for the “Exchanged Life” will be apparent as you minister, for regardless of the capacity in which you serve, the work must be of God!

1 Corinthians 3:6-9 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

1)    Who makes a good partner in the ministry of the Gospel?

  • One who follows Christ – Matthew 4:19
  • One who learns of Christ – Matthew 11:28
  • One who knows the power of the Cross in their life – 1 Cor 1:17-18
  • One who in weakness depends totally upon Christ – 1 Cor 1:26-29
  • One who knows intimately Jesus Christ and Him crucified – 1 Cor 2:1-2
  • One who glories in his weakness so that he can know the grace and power of Christ – 2 Cor 12:9
2 Cor 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2)    Who makes a bad partner in the ministry of the Gospel?

  • One who puts his confidence in his flesh (talents, abilities) – Phil 3:3
  • One who sets his mind on fleshly things – Romans 8:7,8
  • One who cannot control his tongue – James 3:5-6
  • One who does not submit to authority – 1 Peter 2:13
  • One who holds a high opinion of himself (pride) – Romans 12:3
  • One who has bitterness – Hebrews 12:15
  • One who has temporal values – 1 John 2:15, 1 Cor 10:7
  • One who has moral impurity – Hebrews 12:16, 1 Cor 10:8
  • One who has broken relationships due to lack of love for others – 1 John 4:19-21

E.    Step Five: Testing

Learning to depend upon Christ

Jesus said “many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt 22:14). The chosen picture those followers who have the favor of God because they have responded to His discipline. Between the calling and chosen status (being favored as a son), there is always discipline. That discipline takes the form of testing and trials. You must expect it, you must endure it if you are to be “chosen.” Even Paul remarked on many who had turned back from the Lord, because their love for this world weakened their resolve to endure.

Hebrews 12:5-7 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons.

1)    Expect your resolve to follow Christ to be tested and tried.

1 Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

2)    Understand trials and tests prove the genuineness of your faith and result in Christ being glorified.

1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

3)    Learn to welcome trials as close friends. (Count it all joy)

James 1:2 When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. (Phillips translation)

4)    Understand that when God is working supernaturally, He works “death of a vision” in our life.

Death of a Vision

This means he will give us a “vision” of what He wants us to do, but due to events, that vision seems to die. This is how God works:

  • „  Abraham – Promised to be a great nation, then spent 25 years waiting for a son, then asked to sacrifice his son.
  • „  Joseph – Dreamed of being great, then 13 years in Egypt as a slave, much of it in jail.
  • „  Moses – Wanted to free his people, then 40 years in hiding
  • „  David – Anointed the future king of Israel, then 10 years on the run from Saul
  • „  Paul – Called to be a messenger to the Gentiles, then spent years in obscurity in Arabia
  • „  The Apostles – believed Jesus was establishing a Kingdom, but that dies with Him on the Cross.

F.    Step Six: Ministry in the Power of Christ

Learning that all ministry is of Him, through Him and for Him

1)    Jesus did not minister in power until He endured testing

Luke 4:1-2 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil… Luke 4:14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee

2)    Ministry must be done in the Power of Christ, and not in the power of the flesh.

1 Thessalonians 1:5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

3)    Faith is never to be in man, but in the Power of God

1 Corinthians 2:3-5 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

4)    Anyone who ministers is only a conduit for the power of God

2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the Excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

G.   Step Seven: Fruit through the Fullness of Christ

Learning that bearing Fruit is His responsibility, not mine

1)    Bearing Fruit is a natural process of abiding on the Vine

John 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

2)    Discipleship is all about Fruit from the Fullness of Christ

Philippians 1:9-11 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

3)    The Purpose of the Gospel within us is FRUIT and GROWTH

Colossians 1:5-6 Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,


[1] the exchanged life is Christ living His life through us, rather than us trying to make life work through our own efforts and resources. It is made possible by the believer’s union with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6-8)


Death with an exclamation point

A 21-year-old University Student wrote to a forum about death: “I am perfectly fine with death myself. But, I love my father very, very much. And I cannot imagine how it would be like for him to be gone, forever, one day. To know he has ceased to exist; that I will never talk with him again. It feels like having a short circuit inside the brain; life seems so vain and entrapping. Whatever I do seems pointless as one day, he will cease to exist and only a memory of him will remain. And the more joyful the memory, the greater the pain. It makes me want to scream, cry, and run away.”[1]

There are deaths that people expect, in fact even welcome. Death for many is a welcome relief from suffering. When my mom died from cancer that spread to her liver and finally brain, it was a relief to see her suffering end. However, some deaths are followed by an exclamation point. When we came home from church and saw my brother Tim sitting on our front steps, we knew something was wrong. When he cried out “Dad’s gone!”, that exclamation point hit me in the stomach and knocked the wind out of me. My dad was only 63. His death was a total shock to all of us, especially Mom.

Nothing shakes our world like the unexpected death of a close friend or loved one. That exclamation point shakes our world. However, one death shook the whole world, indeed, the whole universe. This death was no surprise, for it was planned. This death came with a HUGE exclamation point!!!!

Join me in listening in to Peter as he addresses a huge crowd in the Temple, just 50 days after the crucifixion of Jesus:

Acts 2:23-28 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him(Psalms 16), “ ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

As we celebrate this Easter Sunday, I want us to consider three things that Peter wants us to see, for they are Life Changers!

In this part of Peter’s sermon, we see God’s PLAN, God’s PRESENCE and God’s PROMISE.

  1. The Plan of God gives US power over Death
  2. The Presence of God gives US power over Life
  3. The Promise of God gives US power for Eternity

I. The Plan of God – Power over Death

God NEVER intended for His creation to die. We are made in His image. We were meant to live forever, to enjoy Him forever. He placed the Tree of Life in the middle of the Garden of Eden. After Adam sinned,

He drove out the man, and at the east of the Garden of Eden, he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:24

Sin corrupted God’s design. Sin brought the curse of death and decay to God’s creation. Yet this came as no surprise to God. God loved His creation, and already had a plan to remove the curse of death. His plan was made before time began.

A. The Death of Jesus was no Happenstance

Verse 23 says God delivered up Jesus Christ. His own son!

  • Definite plan
  • Foreknowledge of God

After Peter and John were threatened for preaching about Jesus, they were released and returned to the disciples. They prayed in Acts 4. They started their prayer Sovereign God and they prayed to God saying that Pilate and Herod and the Gentiles and Jews had only done WHAT YOUR HAND AND YOUR PLAN HAD PREDESTINED TO TAKE PLACE.

It may have been Judas who betrayed Jesus, but Judas was doing exactly as God had planned. It may have been the Romans who crucified Jesus, but the Romans were doing exactly as God had planned. It may have been the Jews who screamed, “Crucify Him!”, but the Jews were doing exactly as God planned. Jesus had to suffer this horrible death as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. There was no other way for God to rescue His creation from the curse of sin!

B. The Death of Jesus was Committed at the Hands of Lawless men.

(Even though it was God’s plan, there is no excuse for what these people did).

Jesus had to die because of the truth in Romans 3:

Romans 3:9-19 …For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” …“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Innocent men have been murdered throughout the ages. Cain murdered his brother Abel. The prophets were stoned and ridiculed, even put to death. The 12 apostles were all murdered except John, although tradition says they tried. Every day it seems we hear news of some other psycho who starts murdering innocent people. It seems that lawlessness is getting out of hand.

Yet the truth is each one of us is born lawless. We each fail to live by God’s Law, and even our own internal law. We resist, we rebel, and we have a natural bent away from total obedience to God’s Law.

The truth is that Christ died at our hands. No one can say they would not have consented to Christ’s death on the Cross. We must admit that we put Jesus on the Cross. We drove those spikes into His hands and feet. We mocked at Him as he struggled for each breath. We are the lawless ones for whom Jesus died. We deserve as Romans says, “The wages of sin is death.”

  • We must accept God’s judgment of our sinfulness.
  • There is nothing in us that permits fellowship with Holy God.
  • We are each guilty of lawlessness before God.
  • EACH ONE OF US IS BORN WITH THE SENTENCE OF DEATH UPON OUR HEADS, FOR DEATH IS THE WAGE OF SIN.

As Peter was preaching, the people were cut to their heart, they felt the tremendous pressure of their sins, and they cried out: “What shall we do?”

C. God Had Jesus Crucified to Destroy Death.

Verse 24 says:

  • God delivered up Jesus and RAISED HIM UP!
  • He loosed the pangs of death.

Literal Translation (v 24):  HAVING DESTROYED THE BIRTH PAINS (travail) of DEATH,

Having loosed the pains of death. The word loosed, lusav, is opposed to bind, and is properly applied to a cord, or to anything which is bound. See Matthew 21:2; Mark 1:7. Hence, it means to free, or to liberate, Luke 13:16; 1 Corinthians 7:27.[2]

  • Death could not hold Jesus.

“Because it was not possible for him to be held by it”

We must face that fact that just as a the birth of a child issues from the pangs of a mother’s travail, so does the passing of each one of us follow the travail of the pains of death.

When Jesus cried out from the Cross, “It is finished” He willingly laid down His life and faced the travail and pangs of death. His heart stopped. His breathing stopped. His bodily functions ceased. His brain was lifeless. They took his crucified body and wrapped Him in burial rags and laid Him in a borrowed tomb. Jesus, the Son of God died.

If we could see with spiritual eyes, we could see Satan’s demons in that tomb, wrapping a million cords of rope around Jesus. They were doing everything in their power to hold Jesus down! However, it was no use. Satan could have used a trillion ropes and that would not have been enough to hold Jesus in the grave!

God’s Word says they could not hold Him. They had no strength! Death had no power over Jesus! Jesus raised His body up from that stony grave and those cords melted away. Jesus stood up and kicked those demons out of that tomb.

Jesus had broken the strength of death. It had no power over Him! Jesus loosed the ropes of death stood up and kicked the Devil out of the tomb! Take that you old devil, for I have defeated death forever more. Your power over my children is forever destroyed!

DEATH WAS RENDERED POWERLESS BECAUSE JESUS DESTROYED THE DEVIL:

kratéō; from krátos strength. To take hold of, grasp, hold fast, followed by the gen. of person meaning to have power over, rule over.[3]

1.) Jesus destroyed the one who has power of death

Hebrews 2:14-15 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

2.) Jesus holds the Keys to Death and Hades

Revelation 1:17-18 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” One day he will throw death and Hades into the Lake of Fire!

Next in verses 25-26 Peter quotes Psalms 16, and we see the Presence of God in His Christ’s life

‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope.’

II. The Presence of God – Gives us Power over Life

A. The Lord was always before Him

Isaiah 49:16 Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;

B. God was at His right hand

To have the Lord at one’s right hand signifies protection.

  • Advocates would sit to the right of their clients to defend them in court (R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles [Augsburg], p. 86).
  • Bodyguards would stand on the right side so they could cover the person they were protecting with their shields and still have their right arm free to fight (John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Acts 1-12 [Moody Press], p. 65).[4]
  • The right hand is mentioned because that was the place of dignity and honour. God had the place of honour, the highest place in Jesus’ affections, Psalms 109:31.
  • In our dependence on God, we should exalt him. We should not merely regard him as our help, but should at the same time give him the highest place in our affections.[5]

We Have the Promise from God!

  • TO ISRAEL – Isaiah 43:1-2 “The LORD… who created you, (says): “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
  • TO THE DISCIPLES – Matthew 28:20 “lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”


Understand that God was at the right hand of Jesus every step down the Via Dolorosa. He was there through every lash, through every pounding of the spikes. He was there in the jeering crowd. Yet God forsook His only Son to the cross and to your sin, because it was His plan foreordained before time even began.

Rest assured, Jesus has promised all His children, that He will never leave you nor forsake you, that He, through the Holy Spirit, is always at your side. Does Jesus hold a place of honor in your life? Do you thank Him for His comfort, protection, and love?

God was with Jesus so that:

C. Life Did Not Shake Jesus

Verse 25 – “That I might not be shaken”

God was at the right hand of Jesus, ever before Him, so that He might not be shaken by this life. KJV says, “moved.”

The phrase pictures “to sink into calamities, or to fall into the power of enemies.” Even though Jesus was facing the most horrible catastrophe devised by man, He never lost His confidence in God to take Him through it. As He willingly submitted his back to the cat-o-nine tails, He knew God was with Him! When they hoisted the cross up and he could feel the searing pain, and struggled to breath, He knew God was with Him and would take Him through it. Jesus could rejoice with David in Psalms 62:

“He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Psalms 62:2

Has your life ever been shaken?

When you take your two-year-old boy to the Emergency Room with high fever and an inability to hold his head up, you are worried. When the Doctor says they need to do a spinal tap, you get more worried. When the Doctor comes back and says your son has spinal meningitis, your are literally shaking. My wife and I prayed right there, and we committed our son into God’s hands! We knew that God was not shaken! Praise the Lord, the Doctors were wrong, and our son soon got better!

Even on the Cross:

D.    His Heart was Glad & His Tongue Rejoiced

  • Verse 26 -“therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced”

Jesus could proclaim His joy and gladness because God was near Him in time of calamity. His confidence in God to deliver Him was all He needed to overcome any fear of crucifixion and becoming the lamb slain for the sins of the world. Instead of fear in His heart and woe upon His lips, Jesus said His tongue rejoiced. Tongue in the Hebrew can mean “my glory or my honor.” The tongue is man’s means of expressing honor and glory to the Creator God. As Psalms 30:12, “To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent.[6]

Jesus used His tongue to express His Honor of His Father, for He knew that through Him, there was a “joy set before me.The Greek word actually means to “jump for joy.” Yes, you can honor God as you “jump for joy”!

One of Satan’s most successful lies is that God is a cosmic killjoy who wants everyone to be miserable. People view God as a great sadist in the sky, who gets perverse delight in making His creatures miserable. Nothing could be further from the truth! Jesus wants His joy to be our joy. His joy in the midst of the worst calamities can be our joy in the worst of times!

  • Jesus tells us that His joy is made complete in us (Jn 15:11, Jn 17:13)
  • He told the Disciples when they saw Him alive again, they would rejoice, and no one could take that joy away from them (John 16:20, 22).
  • Having Joy from Jesus does not deny times of sorrow and grief. (Jesus was a man of sorrows)

Nevertheless, it does overcome such times because it rests on the sovereign God and His promises to every believer.

E.  Jesus Dwelt in Hope.

  • Verse 26 – “my flesh also will dwell in hope (CONFIDENCE)”
  • Literally: MY FLESH IS GOING TO PITCH A TENT WITH CONFIDENCE.

Like the expression “You can take that to the Bank” Jesus hung on the cross in confident expectation of the Resurrection. His earthly body was temporary, it was a tent, but Jesus dwelt in that tent in Full Confidence of His Father!

The word Greek word elpís “hope” best expresses confidence rather than hope. The passage means, My body will I commit to the grave, with the firm confidence that I will never see corruption, but arise to the Joy of my Father![7]

Jesus was confident in the power of His Father. He was confident that He was fulfilling His will. He expressed that confidence at the beginning of His ministry:

He expressed that confidence at the end of His earthly ministry: “Father into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46)

III. The Promise of God – Power for Eternity

A. You Will Not Abandon My Soul to Hades (vs 27)

  • NKJV For You will not leave my soul in Hades.

As Death could not hold Jesus, so Hades could not keep Him. The place that Jesus Himself described was the place souls await judgment. Those who trusted in God such as Lazarus, Abraham, and the Old Testament saints, until the resurrection, those who hardened themselves against God until the Great White Throne Judgment. Satan had no hold on Jesus, in fact, Jesus freed those Old Testament Saints who were looking for their Messiah:

Ephesians 4:7-8 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.”

B. You will not let Your Holy One see Corruption

Jesus is the Holy One. Hebrews 4:15 declares, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

Jesus had no part in sin, therefore His body was exempt from the corruption and decay that a dead body experiences. Instead of the stench of decaying flesh, Jesus was a sweet aroma to His heavenly Father!

Destruction in a moral sense. It refers to the change of the present constitution of the body or the change of the moral makeup of a person[8].

Jesus body never decayed because He had defeated Sin and Hell!

C. You Will Make Known the Paths of Life (v 28)

Jesus is declaring that the Cross is the Path of Life! It has Power for all Eternity. The cross towers over the train track of ruin and damnation. The unstoppable locomotive of death and destruction was bearing down on Jesus, but that old Cross stopped that locomotive cold, throwing it off the tracks. For the Cross became a new track, the track that leads to Eternal Life! Jesus is our Path of Life!

This properly means the path to life; as we say, the road to preferment or honour; the path to happiness; the highway to ruin, etc. See Proverbs 7:25, 27. It means, Thou wilt make known to me life itself, i.e. thou wilt restore me to life. The expressions in the Psalm are capable of this interpretation without doing any violence to the text; and if the preceding verses refer to the death and burial of the Messiah, then the natural and proper meaning of this is, that he would be restored to life again.[9]

D.    You Will Make Me Full of Gladness With Your Presence (Countenance).

There is nothing that Satan could throw at Jesus that could steal His joy! Not torture, not crucifixion, not even death!

Jesus knew that God would raise Him from the dead before His body would undergo decay. He knew He would once again enjoy the Presence of His Father.

1.) The Resurrection Assures us that Death will never hold us.
  • Sin is Forgiven
  • NO PAYMENT DUE.
  • NO CONDEMNATION!
  • Our body will experience decay, but our soul will be with God the very millisecond we die. Death will never destroy us, because Jesus conquered Death!
2.) The Resurrection Assures us that Life doesn’t have to Shake us.
  • We have Power over Life through Jesus Christ. We can know Gladness and Joyfulness in the midst of the worst of times.
3.) The Resurrection Assures us we will Spend  Eternity with Christ
  • We can rejoice because we have an unshakeable confidence that because Jesus defeated sin, death and the Devil, even so we will conquer death and sin and the devil because we are in Him by faith!
  • To absent from the body is to be present with the Lord!

However, our bodies await that great moment when “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16-17).

We Have a New Victory Cry!

1 Corinthians 15:51-57. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

We can Jump for Joy!

  • We can cry out “Thanks be to God for the Victory He gives us through our Jesus Christ!”
  • We have a New Exclamation Point for our Life! He is Alive! He is Alive!!!!!!

How is your gladness this morning? Are your rejoicing? WHO IS YOUR TRUST IN? Jesus was rejoicing even on the Cross. His behavior was so unbelievable that a cursing thief had a change of heart and confessed Jesus was a righteous man. A roman soldier declared that truly this was the son of God!

You do not have to settle for a trickle of joy now and then. You do not have to be shaken by what life throws at you. You do not have to fear tomorrow. You do not have to fear death. Give you life to Jesus Christ. Trust Him and Him alone for your salvation.

Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

  • The pangs of childbirth turn into the Joy of parenthood.
  • The pangs of death turn into the Joy of life with our Father forevermore!

Through the Resurrection we have a Legacy

John Newton calls our legacy, “solid joys and lasting treasure.”

What is the Key to Knowing His Joy and Gladness?

  1. Spend time often with God in His Word and in prayer. Even if it is a short time, get up early enough to meet with God before you head out the door. Start keeping an ongoing dialogue with God.
  2. Relate everything, even little events, to God’s Hand. Learn to say thank you God! See everything from His loving hand. Nothing happens by chance. Even the bad things, we thank Him for!
  3. Take time often to enjoy God in His creation. Take time to garden, grow flowers, feed the birds, and take a walk. Turn the TV off, stop watching the news, and make time to see God’s creation! If you cannot sense God’s presence and glory at a time like that, you may not know God!

The key to joy and gladness is to walk and work and play with a constant sense of God’s presence. Then, even if you go through trials, you will keep your joy because it is coming from God and His presence with you.

I Dreamed I Stood at Calvary

I dreamed I stood at Calvary
And saw three crosses there;
On left and right were nailed two thieves,
The cross between was bare.

A soldier took his sword in hand,
Then pointing it at me;
He said, “You there, prepare to die.
That cross is meant for thee.”

I quickly fell upon my knees,
For mercy did I cry;
As strong hands grabbed my hands and feet,
I shouted, “Why, oh why?”

And then a voice both soft and sweet
Was heard above the din;
“Let this one go, take me instead.
I’ll pay his debt of sin.”

With his body torn and bleeding,
And thorn marks ’round his head;
With face bruised where they beat him,
He stepped into my stead.

Then Jesus laid upon the cross,
His life to freely give;
That all my sins be washed away,
And through his death, I’d live.

He stretched his arms out open wide,
No struggle did he make;
As they prepared to nail him there,
His life to gladly take.

They drove the spikes in hands and feet
And slammed the cross in place;
His bones were shaken out of joint,
And blood flowed down his face.

“Forgive them, Father”‘ was his cry,
They know not what they’ve done.
They do not realize that you,
Have sent your only son.”

Deep darkness filled the noonday sky
And trembling shook the ground;
As God, the Father, turned away,
While God, the Son, gazed ’round.

“It’s finished now”, the Saviour said.
“The door stands open wide;
Into thy hand’s my spirit comes.”
And then they pierced his side.

The graves were bursting open,
And dead men walked around;
The temple veil was rent in twain,
And I fell to the ground.

When I awoke, the night had passed
And sunshine flooded in;
I cried, “Dear Lord, forgive me please,
And cleanse me from my sin.

For you sent down your only son,
A ransom for the lost;
And I see you included me,
When counting out the cost.

Take o’er the reins that guide my life,
Remove my wilful pride;
Sweep clean my heart and enter in,
Forever, there abide.”

Yes, I dreamt I stood at Calvary
And saw those crosses three;
Yet no longer do I look with fear
Where Jesus died for me!

Are you living Life with an Exclamation Point! Are you jumping for Joy regardless of the circumstances?

The Death of Jesus was the greatest Exclamation Point this world has ever known, for it was followed by His resurrection! HE IS ALIVE! HE IS ALIVE!

  • Because He Lives We have Power over Death!
  • Because He lives we have Power over Life!
  • Because He lives, we have Power for Eternity – Life with Him!

Is there an Exclamation Point in your Life? Is Jesus in your Life?


[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 885.

[8] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “διαφθορά”


I want to focus on the golden sash across Jesus chest. It is the sash that covers His heart. It is a Kingly sash, wore by one in authority. It is a symbol of strength for action. The material is real gold and gold is only achieved when refined by fire, indicating that He was tested, yet came forth as gold. The purity of gold over His heart represents the purity of His love.

His heart of love is the basis of His authority, His strength and His actions. His love is the foundation for everything He is and does. This is Divine Love, which we understand when we see the Real Jesus. It is a Love this world does not understand.

We need an extreme makeover of our concept of love.

We need to see the Real Jesus to understand the Love that He expects us to have in our Christian Life.

Most of us really only know phileo, brotherly love. It is love (actually friendship) based on common interests and concerns. It is usually based on our interests and concerns.

Jesus expects Christians to have agape love. He expressed what it means in Matthew 5:44 when He told us to “love your enemies”

To love (agapáō) others means to see what their need is and to meet that need, not according to that person’s concept of need, but that of the one who loves. For a believer, we are to see the needs of even our enemies and we must do everything in our power to meet that need. Believers are never told to love their enemies with the word philéō because that would mean to have the same interests as they have[1].

To See This we need to understand God calling us ‘friends’

God calls us his friend (phílos), as He did Abraham (James 2:23), when we adopt His interests as our own, just as Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son even as God did His own.[2]

The Son of Man, the Real Jesus Christ has a message for each of seven churches in Revelation. Each message indicates a facet or characteristic of His Divine Love, and how the church is falling short of His love. The very first church, Ephesus, thinks they love Jesus, but Jesus wants them to understand what Divine Love is really all about.

Revelation 2:1-3

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.

Some clarifications of the words Jesus uses:

Jesus knows (eido). He knows these people intimately, and watches them constantly.

  • “emphasizes better the absolute clearness of mental vision which photographs all the facts of life as they pass” (Swete)[3].

Works (ergon)

  • erga; The whole life and conduct as in John 6:29[4]. “Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29
  • deed, act, action, something done[5]

Toil (kopos)

  • kópos; gen. kópou, from kóptō <G2875>, to strike. Beating, wailing, grief with beating the breast, equal to kopetós <G2870>, lamentation, wailing (Sept.: Jer. 51:3). In the NT, toil, labor, i.e., wearisome effort, generally[6]
  • Originally suffering, weariness; hence exhausting labor[7]

Patient endurance (hupomone)

  • Hupomoné is associated with hope (1 Thess. 1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.[8]

Cannot tolerate evil men (Not able (ou dunēi).bear (bastasai)

  • No power to bear them. They are such a burden, you dismiss them as being a burden and drag to the congregation.
  1. Test and deny false (pseudo) apostles
  2. Patiently endured and born up for the sake of Jesus (bastazo)
  • bastázō; from básis, basis, foot. To bear, carry in the hands or on the shoulders (picturing the duty of a servant, to bear a pitcher of water). Also pictures carrying the cross.
  • Figuratively it means to bear, support, endure, i.e., labors, sufferings[9]

Not fainted or turned back. (kopiáō)

  • kopiáō; contracted kopió, from kópos, labor, fatigue. To be worn out, weary, faint[10]

Ephesus sounds like a great church. They are doing all the right things. Any Pastor would be proud of this church! But they should be a church rich in ‘agape’ Love, for Paul taught them all about it…

Paul Emphasized Love to the Ephesians

Remember Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: It was all about needing, knowing, living a life of Love, God’s Divine Love.

  • 1:5 –  “In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ
  • 2:4 –   “For his great love wherewith he loved us”
  • 3:17 – “that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
  • 3:19 – ” the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ”
  • 4:2 –   “bearing with one another in love”
  • 4:15 – “speaking the truth in love”
  • 4:16 –  “the body…builds itself up in love”
  • 5:2 –   “Walk in love as Christ also loved us”
  • 5:25 – “As Christ loved the church and gave himself for it”
  • 5:25, 28, 33 “Husbands love your wives” – because you picture the love of Jesus Christ.

How could the Church at Ephesus fail the Test of the ‘Golden Sash’?

But I hold this against you, that you do not love as you did at first. Remember then how far you have fallen. Repent and live as you lived at first. Otherwise, if your heart remains unchanged, I shall come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Revelation 2:4-5(Phillips)

~’But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. ~’Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. Revelation 2:4-5(NASB)

But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. Revelation 2:4-5(HCSB)

Jesus sees and knows intimately how hard they labor and toil and try to live a life pleasing to Him. They live good and moral lives for His name’s sake. They endure persecution for His sake.

  • However, Jesus sees that something is missing in their hearts.
  • Something about their service bothers Him.
  • Outwardly, everything is great, but inwardly, something is not right.

He sees that their duty is correct, but their devotion is missing love. They are laboring and enduring from obedience rather than love.

They have moved away, they have forgotten what made them new creations. They have forgotten the love of Jesus Christ. Instead of it being about Him, and their love for Him, it has become about the service, the duty, and the religious observances. They are serving Him simply because they should.

Jesus holds this against them.

Remember their deeds at the first? Acts 19 recounts their sacrificial love for Jesus Christ. They sacrificed everything for the sake of following Jesus!

And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. Acts 19:19-20

They have Fallen

They have (aphēkes), at a particular moment, made a sad but definite departure from their fist love.

  • your first love (tēn agapēn sou tēn prōtēn). The Love you had at the first!

Aphekes pictures a definite moment in time when they left, deserted, or quit loving Jesus with all their heart mind, soul and strength. It is the same word used in Romans 1:27 that describes a man’s decision to leave the natural love of a woman and start loving a man. O yes, homosexuality is a decision, just as leaving your first love is a decision.

Remember Your First Works

The first works define your life, define your heart. The first works move you to crazy love, where you risk everything for the one you love.

  • The work of God resulted in something utterly crazy, giving His only Son to take all the sins of the world. [“This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29]
  • The work of Jesus led Him to become rejected by His Father, so that He might redeem you and me.

Jesus saw their service, but He also saw their hearts, and saw that they were falling into ritual service, ritual devotion, ritual duties. They were faithfully doing their duty. They were being good people doing what good people should. But the basis for their service was no longer their agape love. They had fallen into a phileo love. Their love for Jesus was now based on their own interests and concerns. Gone was that willingness to risk it all for Jesus Christ.

Jesus never meant His followers to religious or good. He meant them to love, the same way He loved. That love was not comfortable, not good, but it risked everything.

The Ephesians needed to repent. You need to ask yourself, do I need to repent?

  1. They had made a definite decision, which weakened their love.
  2. Their decision resulted in a fall from Divine Love, the only Love, which pleases the Lord.
  3. Their decision resulted in duty not devotion.
  4. Their decision resulted in the Lord’s demand for repentance and return.
  • Decision: to love something other than Jesus Christ, or to disobey his commands
  • Fall: Change of focus meant that the throne of God lost its power

Leaving their first love meant that sacrifice and devotion gave way to duty and observances.

The impact of this letter to the Ephesians is seen in answering the following questions from what Jesus said in the Gospels.

How Does Jesus Define Divine Love?

Divine Love is Crazy, with no concern for yourself, your safety, your possessions or even your reputation:

Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect (COMPLETE, FULL), as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Luke 6:27-31 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

What is the Source of Divine Love?

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:9-11

I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:26

You must know and be convinced of the Power of God’s Name if you are to risk everything for the sake of Jesus Christ.

What Causes us to lose our Divine Love?

A. NEGLECT OF THE WORD: Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. John 14:23-24

B. Other or Divided Interests: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:24

C. FRIENDSHIP WITH THE WORLD: You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4

D. CHOSE COMFORT vs. SACRIFICE: READ MATT 19:17-21 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect (complete, full), go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me”.

How important is it that we have Divine Love?

John 5:40-44 “yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

Divine Love is Fullness of life!

Be Full and Complete as the Father is Full! Only when you risk it all do you know true love and fullness! Which would you rather eat-the fruit of the forbidden tree or the fruit of the tree of life! Those that keep their first love will eat of the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life was in the Garden of Eden, where life was complete, full, until sin entered the world. The Tree of Life will be in the New Heavens, when God’s plan is fulfilled, and life on earth is full!

The world teaches that fullness of life is in possessions and money, a prestigious career, the number of friends you have, or even your family.

But Jesus said “whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Mark 8:35-36

Divine Love is Fullness of Life…Fullness of Life comes to those willing to risk it all for His sake!

What are the consequences of fallen love?

In His letter to the church, the danger was the removal of the candlestick, which signifies the removal of the fire of the Holy Spirit. Today Ephesus lies in ruins, and the church is long gone.

  • Worship Devoid of the Spirit

Across the world there are churches that look like churches, act like churches, but the Divine Love of God is not in them. The Holy Spirit is not there. They are functioning out of a mistaken sense of duty. There may be a supposed love for Jesus, but they have fallen from His standards. They are down, serving in their fleshly strength. They are not living in the fullness of Christ of His love, of His word. They are like the Pharisees, content in their religious observances, yet on their way to Hell.

  • Children, teens Abandon the Church

The other consequence is that our children grow up with a concept of religion, but no concept of loving a real Jesus. Therefore, they rebel against religion for the sake of religion, and seek after something else that fills the void in their heart.

  • A Nation that is Outwardly Moral but inwardly Corrupt

How do we return to our first love?

Jesus said we are to do three things:

A.Remember

  1. Remember what He has done for you
  2. Remember what you were willing to do at first.

B.Repent

  1. Change your heart focus,
  2. Get rid of those things that have captured your affections, that have taken the place of Jesus Christ.

C.Return

  1. Do what you did when you first came to Jesus
  2. Live for Him totally.
  3. Risk it all for Him

David Left His First Love

PSALMS 51:7-15 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

David returned to his first love, singing and writing the Psalms, teaching others of the ways of God!

Peter Left His First Love

John 21:15-18 “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep”. He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”

Peter had left his first love, even denying Christ, and returning to the thing he loved most-fishing. Yet, when confronted by Jesus, he could only confess deep emotions for Jesus. He was not quite ready to confess agape love, that love that risks everything, sacrifices everything. Still, Jesus said, feed and care for my sheep. You will one day know that agape love.

Return to the works you did at the first. Return to the time you depended upon me for everything. The agape will return. You will regain your first love. You will sacrifice, you will risk it all!

Peter returned to His agape love, and He teaches us the importance of it in his last letter. Look at what Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:3-11:

2 Peter 1:3-11 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with (phileo) brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with (agape) love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-11

  • You will never fall as I did. You will keep your first love!

Do You See the Real Jesus? Do you see His Golden Sash? Do You Pass the Gold Sash Test.? Do You Love Him with Divine Love?

Have you fallen into comfort and complacency? Are you still doing the first works? Are you still risking everything for Jesus Christ? Perhaps you never did, perhaps you are not a genuine follower of Jesus Christ. Perhaps you never loved Him with agape love. You need to make sure you are a Christian. You need to repent and love Jesus with agape, sacrificing, risking it all kind of love!

Do you really want to Know Divine Love?
Do you want to see the Real Jesus?

Turn with me to Hebrews 13:12

So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. Hebrews 13:12-13

Outside the Camp is Where we Find Agape Love

Jesus Christ died to set apart a people unto God. If we truly love Him, we must go to where He was willing to go – outside the camp.

  • ‘Outside the camp’ is where the lepers were kept.
  • ‘Outside the camp’ is where murderers were sent.
  • ‘Outside the camp’ is where the beggar begged as the apostles walked through the gate.
  • ‘Outside the camp’ was where all who were to be separated from society at large were to be kept.

‘Outside the camp’ is where we were called to ‘go to him’ and ‘bear the reproach he endured’ – death. Death to our comfort, death to our desires, death to our reputation.

Going Outside the Camp is where we discover the Love of the Golden Sash.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him;1 John 3:16-19

  • Divine Love risks it all for the city that is to come.
  • Whatever you lose in this life will be made up 1000 fold in the life to come.
  • We can either retreat and perish in the wilderness
  • We can risk it all for the love of Jesus Christ, who risked it all for us.

In the 1600’s there was a man named Joseph Aline and he wrote a book entitled An Alarm to Unconverted Sinners.Let me close our time with what he said.

“All of Christ is accented by the sincere convert. He loves not only the wages, but the work of Christ. Not only the benefits but the burden of Christ. He’s willing not only to tread out the corn but to draw under the yoke. He takes up the command of Christ, yea, even the cross of Christ. The unsound man closes by halves with Christ. He’s all for the salvation of Christ but he’s not for sanctification. He is for the privileges but appropriates not the person of Christ. He divides the offices and benefits of Christ. This is an error in the foundation. Who so loveth life let him beware here. It is an undoing mistake of which you have beenoften warned and yet none is more common. Jesus is a sweet name but men love not the Lord Jesus in sincerity. They divide what God has joined, the King and the Priest, yea they will not accept the salvation of Christ as He intends it. They divide it, every man’s vote is for salvation from suffering but they desire not to be saved from sinning. They would have their lives saved but with all would have their lusts. Yea, many divide here again, they would be content to have some of their sins destroyed but they cannot leave the lap of Delilah or divorce the beloved Herodias. They cannot be cruel to the right eye or right hand. The Lord must pardon then in this thing. 0 be careful here, your soul depends on it. The sound convert takes a whole Christ, takes Him for all intents and purposes, without exceptions, without limitations, without reserve. He’s willing to have Christ upon any terms. He’s willing to have the dominion of Christ as well as deliverance by Christ and he says with Paul, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?”


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “phileo”.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Archibald Thomas Robertson, A.M., D.D., LL.D., Litt. D., Word Pictures in the New Testament, (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1930), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Revelation 2:2”.

[4] ibid.

[5] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 650.

[6] ibid, 877.

[7] Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Revelation 2:2”.

[8] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “hupomone”.

[9] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 328.

[10] Ibid, under kopiáō.