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Bible Pathways - Dec. 18, 2008


December 18

1 Peter 3

Highlights In Today's Reading:

Godly living in the home, the church, (3:1-12), before the world (3:13-17). Example of Jesus' suffering (3:18-4:6). Conduct (3:13-17), commands (4:7-19), and ministering in suffering (5:1-9).

The danger of defecting in the face of suffering can hardly be overlooked since suffering is directly referred to in this letter sixteen times (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, author of 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 compound 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 much suffering, many 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 denyal of our Lord tempts God's people in every age.

This again brings to mind 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 us as to 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:

The faithful witness tells the story as well as lives it. The old hymn says: "I will tell the wondrous story of the Christ who died for me."

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

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Staff: Mike Moore • Country: Slovenia (2 million) in southeastern Europe • Major languages: Slovenian and Serbo-Croatian • Freedom of religion • 81% Roman Catholic; 1% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to reveal what is not pleasing to Him (Ps. 139:23-24).

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:33

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