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Bible Pathways 12/18/2001

December 18

Read 1 Peter 3 -- 5

There is just one source of spiritual knowledge and strength. The Holy Spirit led the Apostle to write: If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles (the very words) of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:11). In contrast to the Word of God are the opinions, insights, culture, or traditions of man. We must not minimize, modify, or ignore the only Guide to Life that our Creator has given to mankind to conform with the opinions of men regardless of how popular they may be.

The second responsibility Peter gives for true Christians is: Let him do it as of the ability that God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever (1 Peter 4:11). We are to teach with the consciousness of our dependence upon the Lord who gave us the ability to help reach and teach the world His Word. Of all the high, earthly honors, nothing can compare with the privilege of sharing His spiritual truths.

The last recorded words that Jesus spoke personally to Peter were on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, when Jesus said three times: Do you love me? . . . Feed My lambs . . . Feed My sheep . . . Feed My sheep (John 21:15-17). Peter was fulfilling that commission by passing the Word along to all of us. Caring, defending, guiding, and numerous other duties are needed; but feed My sheep means to teach them all His Word, from Genesis to Revelation. This is the responsibility of every man . . . as a good steward of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:10).

To church leaders, Peter stresses what is of greatest importance, the commission he received from Christ, saying: Feed the flock of God . . . not by constraint, but willingly, not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind (5:2). The flock may be small in number, but the eternal destiny of one soul is more precious than . . . gold (1:7) -- even of all the gold on earth. This would be reason enough for Peter to add that a leader in His Church should not be motivated by personal gain; but by a sincere love and desire to serve the Lord, with no consideration of personal benefits or sacrifice. Having such motivation should be of utmost concern (see 5:2-3). The underlying principle of most worldly endeavors is: "How much is in it for me?" This spirit of greed, pride, and power has so permeated everything in our age that even the Church is not free from the danger of self-serving ambition. The Apostle Paul said: The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts they shall heap to themselves teachers (chosen to satisfy their own liking) . . . and they shall turn away their ears from the Truth (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

The reward for faithfulness in ministering for Christ is not earthly compensation or appreciation from our friends, but we look forward to the day: When the Chief Shepherd shall appear, (when we) will receive a crown of glory that will never fade away (1 Peter 5:4).

Cross References:

For 1 Peter 3:10-12: See Psalms 34:12-16. 1 Peter 5:5: See Proverbs 3:34.

Prayer Needs:

BPM Staff: Ken Sharp · Pray for Coleman O'Neal and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WXDX-AM, Hamlet NC · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast in honor of Dr. John A. Hash and Family sponsored by a subscriber · Country: Liberia (3 million) in West Africa · Major languages: English and more than 20 local languages of the Niger-Congo language group · Religious freedom · 41% ancestor worship and witchcraft; 21% Muslim; 13% Protestant; 2% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Humble yourself, pray, and seek the will of God as you read His Word (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Memory Verse for the Week: James 5:7-8

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