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Bible Pathway - Dec. 18, 2011


Read 1 Peter 3


A believer's lifestyle should be a testimony of what Jesus is like (I Pet. 3:1-5), so we should treat each other as joint heirs (3:7). Be good stewards of the grace of God (4:1-11). Rejoice that we are partakers of Christ's sufferings (4:12-19). Pray for Church leaders to feed and strengthen the flock (5:1-11).

The danger of falling away as we face suffering can hardly be overlooked since suffering is directly referred to in this letter sixteen times (I Pet. 1:11; 2:19-21,23; 3:14,17-18; 4:1 (twice),13,15-16,19; 5:1,10), as well as in other ways (1:6-7; 4:12-14).

The Apostle Peter, who was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write this letter, could well recall his Lord's loving reminder: When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren (Luke 22:32), and again: Lovest thou Me? . . . Feed My sheep (John 21:15-17).

When thou art converted, indeed! Before Pentecost, Peter was far from being a spiritual rock; he was a shifting mixture of human loyalty to Christ and self-interest. "Not the cross!" had been his advice to his Lord (Matt. 16:22). As Jesus went toward that cross of suffering, in obedience to His Father's will, He did so without Peter's encouragement.

Through the years, Peter experienced suffering and beatings, and faced execution at Herod's court (Acts 12:1-3). He then wrote encouragement to the dear brethren of Asia: If ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy (blessed) are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled. . . . Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin (I Pet. 3:14; 4:1).

Peter knew from experience that witnessing for Christ would bring persecution and the temptation to become secret disciples. This subtle denial of our Lord tempts His people in every age.

We are reminded again of Peter's admonition when he said: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the Name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you (4:12-14).

Jesus warns about whom to fear: Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which (God who) is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:28).

Greatly rejoice . . . That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ (I Pet. 1:6-7).

Thought for Today:

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (II Tim. 3:12).

Cross References:

For I Pet. 3:10-12: See Ps. 34:12-16. I Pet. 5:5: See Prov. 3:34.

Word Studies:

3:11 eschew, turn away from; ensue, earnestly pursue; 3:20 were saved by water, were saved from the water by entering the ark (that illustrates Christ); 4:15 busybody, one who interferes in other people's affairs that do not concern him.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for International Broadcasts in memory of Audrey Hash • Government Official: Rep. Bill Posey (FL) • Country: Kenya (29 million) in eastern Africa • Major languages: English and Swahili • Religious freedom • 46% Protestant; 27% Roman Catholic; 17% belief in mystical powers; 6% Muslim; 3% Eastern Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Call upon the Lord, for He promises to answer you (Zech. 13:9).

Memory Verse for the Week: 1 Corinthians 13:3

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