1 Peter 1:1-2 ESV
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
“To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:
“May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”
Exiled for Christ
Have you ever been “exiled” (banished, ousted, sent away) from anyone or from any group of people? I have! In many different ways and at various times throughout my life I have been banished. Who ousted me? Church people, mainly, and pastors and elders of churches.
Why did they oust me? Was it because of evil I was doing? Was I walking in disobedience to God? Was I refusing to submit to godly authority? NO! I got ousted because I was obeying God, and because I was following the teachings of Scripture, and because I didn’t fit in with their market-driven church goals and plans.
So, they sent me off to where I would be a “better fit.”
But did I ever find such a place here on earth, face to face, that was that “better fit”? No! Why? Because everywhere I went it was the same scenario. No matter what city or what church fellowship or what church denomination, they were all marketing the church to the world, so they were also diluting the gospel message to appeal to the world.
So, I didn’t fit anywhere because I am still teaching the old time gospel message that Jesus and the New Testament apostles taught and that many saints of old taught before me. And these new market-driven churches which are following man-made gospels and marketing schemes don’t want someone like me among them.
But that’s okay because I am not supposed to fit in with the world. And the modern church of today has compromised with the world in order to attract the world to their gatherings. And God has said for us to come out from among them and to be separate and to touch no unclean thing and he will welcome us and be a father to us and we will be his sons and daughters (2 Co 6:14-18; Rev 18:4-5).
Sanctification of the Spirit
God is in control. Nothing happens to us but what God allows it and he allows it for his purposes. It doesn’t mean he approves of everything that happens to us, because he does allow evil to exist, and he does allow evil people to do evil to us, and he doesn’t approve of evil.
But God is still completely sovereign over all that he has made. And he never promised us that life would be easy. He never said that if we follow Jesus Christ with our lives that everything will go smoothly for us or that everyone will like us, or that we will never have to suffer wrongfully.
In fact, Jesus taught the opposite of that. Jesus taught us that if we follow him with our lives, and if we are becoming like him, that the world will hate us. But who hated Jesus the most? The rulers and spiritual leaders and Bible teachers in the temple of God. We need to get this!
Jesus’ fiercest opponents were not the people out in the world so much as they were the people in the gatherings of the saints of God and their leaders, rulers, and teachers of the Scriptures. Jesus was ousted by the people who called themselves God’s children.
In fact, they had him put to death, they hated him so much. And I can recall a time in my life, too, when two other “Christians” told me they wanted me dead because I was teaching specific truths of Scripture as Paul taught them with no deviations. But what I was teaching didn’t fit with their theology.
But the Scriptures teach us that we will be hated and mistreated as Jesus was, and that God is working all things for the good of us who love (obey) him and who are called according to HIS PURPOSE. And we are taught that suffering is part of the Christian life, but that we are blessed when we are persecuted and hated for righteousness’ sake.
Through all of our sufferings, through all of our trials, God is sanctifying us. He is pruning and purifying us, and he is making us his holy people, separate from the world and unto God. And he is training us to be obedient children who walk in his ways and in his truth. So, we must allow the Lord to change us through our difficult circumstances and not rebel against him.
For Obedience to Jesus Christ
There are many people today who are teaching that Christians do not have to obey the Lord. They are teaching that we don’t have to repent of our sins or submit to Christ as Lord of our lives. They call this works-based salvation, and thus they teach against walks of holiness.
Theirs is a very flesh-driven faith which does not submit to Christ as Lord and thus denies Jesus and his teachings and the teachings of the apostles on submission, repentance, and obedience. They believe God does it all and we do nothing – not even anything in the strength and power of God’s Spirit.
But as followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to be holy, and we are called to obedience to Christ and to his commands (New Covenant). And we are instructed that if we aren’t obeying the Lord, as a matter of practice, but if we are making sin our practice, instead, that we will not inherit eternal life with God (Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 6:1-23).
For to love God is to be obeying him, and if we are not obeying him, as a matter of life course, then we don’t love him and we don’t know him. The Christian life is a life of obedience to Christ (to God), and it is a life of surrender of our lives to Christ to follow him in his ways (Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Tit 2:11-14).
But when you walk in obedience to the Lord, and you follow him and his word in doing what his word teaches, though not necessarily in absolute perfection, just know that the Scriptures teach that you will be hated, you will be persecuted, and you will be ousted by those who are not walking in obedience to the Lord but who are still living fleshly lives.
But God is working all things for good in our lives and he will bring good out of these situations, so we need to trust him with our lives in all things.
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!