Living Stones

This passage, 1 Peter 2:4-10, is a really rich one, but it might seem a little confusing at first because of the imagery involved, that of living stones, but as you’ll shortly see, this, too is a simple passage to understand.  To begin with, Peter writes:

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:4-5

Read more at: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/09/11/living-stones-2/

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Paul Takes a Hard line

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Paul continues in this unpleasant business with a metaphor of the unleavened bread of Passover, and another mention of their boasting and arrogance from the last section. They need to have an unleavened loaf, not a loaf that is full of the sins from their past, after all, Jesus has taken sin away, so they need to be a new loaf without the malice and wickedness of the past.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. (5:9-11)

Here Paul moves from the metaphorical into the practical, reminding them that in his previous letter of instruction, he had warned the Corinthians not to associate with people who are sexually immoral. Apparently, they had misunderstood his instruction, thinking that he was referring only to people outside of the church.

Read the rest and follow Don at: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/03/12/paul-takes-a-hard-line/

Peter’s First Address

Acts 2:14-21

Actually Peter’s remarks continue all the way through verse 41, but I want to be respectful of your time, so I’m breaking them into multiple parts for our discussion.

Peter begins by speaking to the silly notion that they are all drunk, reminding the crowd that it was still only nine in the morning. By tradition, the ninth hour was the time for morning prayer after which the first meal of the day would be eaten; silly notion indeed. Then Peter gives an explanation of what was going on that morning, by telling the people that “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. (2:17a). The prophet Joel, who is being quoted here (see Joel 2:28-32) spoke in a time of trial when the people were feeling the weight of their sin during a time of plague, when God had spoken of a future when Messiah would bring about the fulfillment of God’s purpose with His people, pouring out His Spirit upon all people. This was the longed for age of the Messiah for which they had been yearning such a long time now. In addition to Joel, Isaiah, Hosea and Micah had called this time “the last days”, as would New Testaments writers such as Peter himself, John and the author of Hebrews. Those in the crowd that day would have had no difficulty in understanding the reference, since it was a rich part of their heritage.

Joel made it quite clear that these wonders of God would be for all of the people. Notice that he said things like “all people”, “sons and daughters”, and “both men and women” that mark a great contrast with the restricted activity of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. Now, the Holy Spirit was to be “poured out” on all who believed; God was expecting universal acceptance. In 2:19-20 we see a number of apocalyptic elements that add to this the sense that God is doing a work of staggering proportion, and finally in verse 21 we see that what is coming about is a new age of salvation for all of those who will accept it:

And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved

Read more: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/01/13/peters-first-address-3/

Life in the Early Church

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47

Luke abruptly shifts the scene from Pentecost to a summation of the period that followed in which he tells us what they did and how they lived during this early time. What is there for me to add to this picture?

Not much. There is one thing: For me at least, there are two references here that are easy to miss: First, notice that during this period they are said to have enjoyed “the favor of all the people” and finally, the Lord “added to their number daily”. When the love of Christ shines through the Body of believers into the larger community, amazing and wonderful things happen.

That should give us something to ponder…

Comment at: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/01/16/life-in-the-early-church-2/

Your Spiritual Gift is the Gift of the Spirit

https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/sunday-sermon-notes-april-15-2018/

Basics of New Testament Worship (2) – sermon

https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/03/11/sunday-sermon-notes-march-11-2018/

The Wisdom of God Revealed

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—

these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

1 Corinthians 2:6-10

Read Don’s blog: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/the-wisdom-of-god-revealed/