Friday, 17 February 2017
Coming to Jesus through His word
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(The following is from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE)

(1 Peter 2:1-3) How to respond to the eternal word of God.

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

a. Therefore: Peter has just demonstrated the glory and eternal character of God’s word. Now, therefore, in light of what God’s word is to us, we should receive the word, and receive it with a particular heart.

b. As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word: Desire is a strong word. In the Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, it is used for man’s deepest longing for God: As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God (Psalms 42:1).

i. Babes . . . desire: A healthy new baby has an instinctive yearning for its mother’s milk. When things are right, you don’t have to tell it to want the milk.

c. That you may grow thereby: The word of God is necessary for the growth of the Christian. We should all desire the pure milk of the word, even though Paul rebukes the Corinthians for being able to only receive milk (1 Corinthians 3:1-2), the Christian should never get tired of the simple truths of the gospel simply presented.

i. Who are the newborn babes? In a sense, we all are. “The most advanced among us, in knowledge and attainment, are, in comparison with what they shall be, only as babes.” (Meyer)

ii. “To drink the milk of the Word is to ‘taste’ again and again what he is like, for in the hearing of the Lord’s words believers experience the joy of personal fellowship with the Lord himself.” (Grudem)

d. However, to grow by the word, we must receive it with a certain attitude of heart: laying aside all malice, guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking. This is a humble, honest, heart, willing to do what the word of God says.

i. Evil speaking: This ancient Greek word has more the idea of spicy, hurtful gossip than the idea of profane speech.

e. If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious: If we have received from God, if we have tasted (personally experienced) that the Lord is gracious, then we have all the more reason and responsibility to receive the word in the enthusiastic way that babies receive their milk.

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Posted on 02/17/2017 1:26 PM by LarryG
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Thursday, 16 February 2017
The necessity for love among the saved.
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(Taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE)

(1 Peter 1:22-25)

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

a. Love one another fervently: Holy living is incomplete if it isn’t accompanied by love. To be a Christian means to have a sincere love of the brethren, but we are encouraged to exercise that love fervently.

b. Love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again: Such love is only possible (and only to be expected) of those who have been born again by the eternal word of God.

i. Again, Peter does not use the same wording for born again as is found in John 3:1-36. But he does use the exact same idea.

c. Through the word of God which lives and abides forever: We are born again . . . through the word of God. But it doesn’t only give us new life. It also tells us to love one another. If the word of God is as Isaiah 40:8 says it is - the word of the Lord which endures forever, then we are both obligated by it, and empowered by it, to live out the kind of love and holiness Peter speaks of.

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Posted on 02/16/2017 11:13 AM by LarryG
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Wednesday, 15 February 2017
The motivation for godly living.
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(Taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE)

(1 Peter 1:18-21)

Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

a. Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things: The high call for godly living makes sense in light of the price that was paid for our redemption. We weren’t saved by the precious blood of Jesus to then live as if we were garbage.

b. From your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers: Peter describes a justification by law way of thinking as aimless conduct. It seems to have an aim - gaining merit before God by works - but it is in fact aimless because it cannot succeed.

c. A lamb without blemish and without spot: Peter here speaks to the completely sinless character of Jesus. If He were not without blemish and without spot, He could not have been qualified to be our Redeemer.

d. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world: The work of Jesus was not a plan developed late in the course of redemption. It was foreordained before the foundation of the world, though it was made evident in these last times.

e. For you who through Him believe in God: The entire plan of redemption is for those who believe in God, though even their belief is through Him. Those who believe in God are not disappointed, because their faith and hope has been substantiated by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

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Posted on 02/15/2017 11:08 AM by LarryG
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Tuesday, 14 February 2017
The conduct of the saved
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(Taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE)

(1 Peter 1:13-17) .

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;

a. Therefore gird up the loins of your mind: Living the way God wants us to means that we must gird up the loins of our mind. The idea in this phrase is of preparing for action, much like our phrase “rolling up your sleeves.” Then, we must also be sober, which means the ability to take a serious look at life.

b. Rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ: Peter has told us a lot about God’s grace. He greeted us with grace (1 Peter 1:2). He told us of the grace that came to us in Jesus, predicted by the prophets of old (1 Peter 1:10). Now he goes further, writing of the grace that is to be brought to you when Jesus comes back. The only way we will be able to stand before Jesus on that day is because of the unmerited favor He gives and will give to us.

i. Grace isn’t just for the past, when we first gave our lives to Jesus. It isn’t only for the present, where we live each moment standing in His grace (Romans 5:2). It is also for the future, when grace will be brought to us. God has only just begun to show us the riches of His grace!

ii. “Grace is the unmerited love of God, stooping to save and bless; the source of all those bright and holy gifts which come from his infinite heart.” (Meyer)

c. As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance: Fulfilling God’s call to holiness requires that we, as obedient children, break off with the lifestyle of the world (characterized by lusts and ignorance).

d. But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy”: The main idea behind holiness is not moral purity but it is the idea of “apartness.” The idea is that God is separate, different from His creation, both in His essential nature and in the perfection of His attributes. But instead of building a wall around His apartness, God calls us to come to Him and share His apartness. He says to us, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

i. When we refuse to see God’s apartness, we begin to believe that He is just a “super-man.” Then we don’t see that His love is a holy love, His justice is a holy justice, and so on with all of His attributes. Holiness is not so much something we possess, as it is something that possesses us.

e. And if you call on the Father: If we, as Christians, call on a holy God (presumably for help), we must understand we call on a God who shows no partiality - and will so judge our conduct, making a working, sober, holy walk all the more important.

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Posted on 02/14/2017 11:04 AM by LarryG
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Monday, 13 February 2017
The prior revelation of the salvation experienced by Christians.
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(Following taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE)

(1 Peter 1:10-12)

Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven; things which angels desire to look into.

a. Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully: It is important to Peter - and all the New Testament writers - to demonstrate that their teaching was no novelty, but that it was testified beforehand by the prophets.

i. The predictions of the sufferings of the Messiah begin with the first prophecy of the Messiah, when God told Eve I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel. (Genesis 3:15)

b. Prophesied of the grace that would come to you: The prophets of the Old Testament longed to see exactly the grace of the New Covenant to come. Prophesying by the Spirit of Christ, they knew something of His sufferings and glories, but far less than they longed to know.

i. Can you imagine how excited Isaiah would have been to read the Gospel of John? The Old Testament prophets knew so much, yet much was hidden to them, including the character of the Church (Ephesians 3:4-6) and the very essence of life and immortality (2 Timothy 1:10).

c. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering: The prophets understood that they were ministering to people beyond them, as well as to people in their own day. These things the prophets predicted were reported as fact by the apostles (the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel).

i. Because we know the Who (Jesus) and the when (Jesus’ day) of these Old Testament prophecies, they should be of far more interest to us than they were even in the day of the prophets.

d. Things which angels desire to look into: The unfolding of God’s eternal plan is something that angels desire to look into. Angels observe our conduct (1 Corinthians 4:9), making it necessary that Christians conduct themselves properly (1 Corinthians 11:10).

i. Part of God’s eternal purpose is to show His wisdom to the angelic beings through His work with the church (Ephesians 3:10-11). God wants the angels to look in on what He does in the church.

ii. “The longing must therefore include a holy curiosity to watch and delight in the glories of Christ’s kingdom as they find ever fuller realization in their lives of individual Christians throughout the history of the church.” (Grudem)

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Posted on 02/13/2017 10:54 AM by LarryG
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Sunday, 12 February 2017
The purpose of trials for those who are saved
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(Taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE)

(1 Peter 1:6-9) .

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith; the salvation of your souls.

a. In this you greatly rejoice: We especially rejoice in God’s keeping power when we are grieved by various trials, knowing that He will keep us as our faith is tested by fire.

b. Faith . . . tested by fire: Our faith isn’t tested because God doesn’t know how much or what kind of faith we have. It is tested because we often are ignorant of how much or what kind of faith we have. God’s purpose in testing is to display the enduring quality of our faith.

i. Much more precious than gold that perishes: If gold is fit to be tested and purified by fire, how much more our faith, which is far more precious than gold?

ii. Gold is one of the most durable of all materials. But it too will one day perish, but our faith will not.

c. Receiving the end of your faith: The end of your faith is the return of Jesus and the ultimate salvation of your souls. Testing and trials are inevitable as long as we are on this side of the end of your faith. As long as we do not see the God we serve, we must endure through trials, and face them with faith and joy.

i. Whom having not seen you love: Peter knew that though he had seen Jesus, both before and after the resurrection, most every Christian in the early church had not seen Jesus. Yet they loved Him. Jesus was no less real simply because they had not seen Him.

ii. The word translated joy inexpressible “occurs only here in the New Testament, and describes a joy so profound as to be beyond the power of words to express.” (Grudem)

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Posted on 02/12/2017 10:46 AM by LarryG
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Saturday, 11 February 2017
What it means to be saved and to live saved.
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(Taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE)

(1 Peter 1:3-5) Thanks to the Father for His work of salvation.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

a. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: When Peter considers the salvation of God, all he can do is praise Him. This is especially because the motive for God’s work is found in Him, not in us (according to His abundant mercy).

b. Has begotten us again: The wording of begotten us again is different from born again (John 3:3), but the meaning is the same. Peter’s idea is that when a person is saved, they are made a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

c. To a living hope: We are born again to a living hope, because we have eternal life in a Savior who has conquered death Himself. The hope lives because it is set on an inheritance incorruptible, which can never fade away because it is reserved in heaven. This is a significant contrast to any inheritance on this earth.

d. Incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away: Peter doesn’t really describe our inheritance. All he can tell us is what it is not. What our inheritance actually is, is too great for him to describe.

i. Our inheritance is like the inheritance of Aaron (Numbers 18:20) and the inheritance of the Psalmist (Psalms 16:5-6), which is the gift of God Himself. Since God gives Himself to us now, our inheritance begins here and now.

ii. In speaking with those who don’t know Jesus, we shouldn’t just tell them of the agonies of hell they will experience, but the of the glories of heaven they will miss.

e. Who are kept by the power of God through faith: The promise of our inheritance is certain, because we are kept by the power of God, ensuring that we will endure through faith until the coming of Jesus.

i. We are kept by the power of God, but it is through faith, meaning our faith. The person who is kept is a person abiding in a continuing relationship of faith with God. And we need to be kept! Keeping is not necessary unless there is danger outside and weakness inside.

ii. “To have been told, as in the preceding verse, that our inheritance was reserved in heaven could have yielded us little comfort, unless that assurance had been followed and capped by this, that the heirs also are being kept for its full enjoyment.” (Meyer)

f. We cannot experience this inheritance unless we are born again. It would be like rewarding a blind man by showing him the most beautiful sunset or taking him to an art museum. Unregenerate man does not have the capacity to enjoy this inheritance.

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Posted on 02/11/2017 10:42 AM by LarryG
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Friday, 10 February 2017
Peter’s description of his readers and all Christians.
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(Taken from David Guzik Commentary on the Bible)

(1 Peter 1:2)

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

a. Elect according to the foreknowledge: They are elect. This means simply that they are chosen, chosen by God in a particular and unique sense.

b. Their election is according to the foreknowledge of God. God’s choosing is not random or uninformed, but according to His foreknowledge, which is an aspect of His omniscience. This foreknowledge includes prior knowledge of our response to the gospel, but is not solely dependent on it.

i. Though God’s election is according to . . . foreknowledge, there is more to His foreknowledge than His prior knowledge of my response to Jesus. Election is not election at all if it is only a quid pro quo arrangement between my choosing and God’s.

c. In sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience: An essential result of election is sanctification and obedience. While some would like to think that election has only to do with going to heaven or hell, Peter reminds us that it touches earth also. A claim to be elect is doubtful if there is no evidence of sanctification and obedience.

d. And sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: However, since all the elect fall short of perfect sanctification and obedience, there is cleansing from sin provided for them through the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.

i. There were only three circumstances in the Old Testament where blood was sprinkled on people. First, at the establishment of a covenant (Exodus 24:5-8). Second, at the ordination of Aaron and his sons (Exodus 29:21). Finally, in the purification ceremony for a cleansed leper (Leviticus 14:6-7).

ii. The sprinkling of the blood of Jesus on us accomplishes the same things. First, a covenant is formed, then we are ordained as priests to Him, and finally we are cleansed from our corruption and sin. Each one of these things is ours through the work of Jesus on the cross.

e. God the Father . . . the Spirit . . . Jesus Christ: Peter’s effortless way of combining the work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in our salvation displays the New Testament approach to the Trinity. It is not detailed as a specific doctrine, but woven into the warp and woof of the New Testament.

i. Jesus has a Father, but not in the sense of being higher than He who gave Him existence. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have existed together throughout eternity, and each are equally God. Father and Son are terms used to describe the relationship between these first two members of the Trinity.

f. Grace to you and peace be multiplied: Peter brings a greeting that had become common among the Christians, combining elements from Greek culture (Grace) and Jewish culture (peace).

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Posted on 02/10/2017 10:29 AM by LarryG
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Thursday, 9 February 2017
A greeting from the Apostle Peter
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(Taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE)

(1 Peter 1:1) The writer and the intended readers of this letter.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

Peter was not only an apostle, but there is a sense in which he was the leader of the apostolic group. Peter was an important and an influential man in the early church. This letter would have been received with a sense of importance.

--“The supreme importance of the apostles is suggested by the fact that the phrase of Jesus Christ is attached to no other New Testament office: we do not read of teachers of Jesus Christ or prophets of Jesus Christ or evangelists of Jesus Christ, only of apostles of Jesus Christ.” (Grudem)

To the pilgrims of the Dispersion: Peter is clearly writing to Gentiles (see 1 Peter 1:181 Peter 2:10, and 1 Peter 4:3). Yet he calls them pilgrims of the Dispersion, a name that was applied to the Jews. He calls them this because he sees the Christians of his day as being “sprinkled” throughout the world as the Jewish people were in the Dispersion.

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Posted on 02/09/2017 10:20 AM by LarryG
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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
REPENTANCE IS A REQUIREMENT FOR SALVATION
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“THE DAMNABLE HERESY OF RAY COMFORT” By Ray Comfort

“I was curious as to whether or not repentance is required for salvation along with faith in Jesus Christ? Must we both repent and trust in the Savior, or is only faith required to be saved by Jesus?” Tomas Bilson

The above question is often asked of me because I preach both repentance and faith in Jesus. The contention is that in doing so I adhere to what some call “Lordship salvation.”

One particularly gentleman named David J. Stewart calls me a wolf, a false prophet, and titled his teaching “The Damnable Heresy of Ray Comfort."

In his presentation Mr. Stewart says "John MacArthur is an unsaved heretic" and even misquotes Charles Spurgeon to try and justify his error. I normally ignore things like this, but I will address it at this time because the issue of repentance is a hill upon which to die.
Mr. Stewart maintains that sinners are saved by faith in Jesus alone. Once they are saved, they then are to repent. So to tell sinners to repent or to forsake their sins is “works” salvation, and is therefore heretical.

In a sermon entitled "Faith and Repentance Inseparable"[1] Spurgeon addresses the error of maintaining that only faith is necessary for salvation:

“We must not, I think, undervalue repentance. It is a blessed grace of God the Holy Spirit, and it is absolutely necessary unto salvation."

Spurgeon believed that repentance “is absolutely necessary unto salvation.”

The foundational truth of salvation is that we are saved by grace and grace alone:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We're not are saved “by” faith but rather "through" faith. Faith is the means by which we receive the amazing grace that saves us. Those who wrongly believe that faith saves us call repentance a "work," and at the same time require that a sinner must have faith to be saved...that all he must "do" is believe in Jesus.

Spurgeon added, "Offend or please, as God shall help me, I will preach every truth as I learn it from the Word; and I know if there be anything written in the Bible at all it is written as with a sunbeam, that God in Christ commands men to repent, and believe the gospel."[2]

Jesus said "…repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations..." (Luke 24:47).
* He said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).

* The Bible also speaks of “repentance unto salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

* Acts 11:18 says “Then has God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”

Note the Order
Sinners are to both repent and believe: “Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). The Apostle Paul preached “Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Note the order of repentance in both of these cases BEFORE faith.

In reference to Paul's “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,” Spurgeon said,

“Beloved friends, we cannot at this time do without either of these any more than could the Greeks and Jews. They are essential to salvation. Some things may be, but these must be. Certain things are needful to the well-being of a Christian, but these things are essential to the very being of a Christian. If you have not repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, you have no part nor lot in this matter.”[3]

Spurgeon Called Sinners to Repentance
He said, “Come, poor soul, be encouraged. Clearly, if you have repentance toward God, you are allowed to believe in Jesus...O sinner, you must repent before God, or you do not repent at all…Let each one ask himself, Have I a repentance which leads to faith?”[4]

Peter Told his Sinners to Repent
“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38). Notice the call to repentance before the receiving of the gift. Paul told his unsaved hearers to repent: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent…” (Acts 17:30).

James Called Sinners to Repentance
“Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom” (James 4:8).
The unsaved must to be sorry for their sins because “…godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation…” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Repentance leads to salvation.

God is Waiting for Sinners to Repent
The Scriptures say tell us that God isn’t willing that any perish, but is patiently waiting for all to come to repentance:
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Without repentance sinners will perish. Look at the fate of those who refused to repent:

“But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear, nor walk, and they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:20-21).

The Scriptures say "He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy" (Proverbs 28:13). Mercy comes when we confess and forsake our sins.
General William Booth warned that the time would come when forgiveness would be offered without repentance:

"The chief danger of the 20th century will be...forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and Heaven without Hell."

John Wesley believed that there is no justification without repentance:

"God does undoubtedly command us both to repent, and to bring forth fruits meet for repentance; which if we willingly neglect, we cannot reasonably expect to be justified at all: therefore both repentance, and fruits meet for repentance, are, in some sense, necessary to justification."[5]

Matthew Henry said, "If those who have lived a wicked life repent and forsake their wicked ways, they shall be saved...."

Heaven rejoices when one sinner repents: "...there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:10).

Another argument for not preaching repentance put forward by Mr. Stewart is that the Gospel of John doesn't even mention the word “repentance” once. But neither do any of the three other gospels mention the need to be born again, nor does Mark or John mention the virgin birth.

One catalyst for the teaching that repentance is unnecessary for salvation is the belief that repentance is merely "a change of mind." This erroneous teaching is nothing new. Spurgeon had to deal with it in his day:

"Apparently they interpret repentance to be a somewhat slighter thing than we usually conceive it to be, a mere change of mind, in fact. Now, allow me to suggest to those dear brethren, that the Holy Ghost never preaches repentance as a trifle; and the change of mind or understanding of which the gospel speaks is a very deep and solemn work, and must not on any account be depreciated. Moreover, there is another word which is also used in the original Greek for repentance, not so often I admit, but still is used, which signifies ‘an after-care,’ a word which has in it something more of sorrow and anxiety, than that which signifies changing one's mind. There must be sorrow for sin and hatred of it in true repentance, or else I have read my Bible to little purpose.”[6]

The Scriptures say “Let the wicked FORSAKE HIS WAY, and the unrighteous man his thoughts…” (Isaiah 55:6-7, caps added). Repentance is a turning away from sin:

“Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, IN TURNING AWAY EVERY ONE OF YOU FROM HIS INIQUITIES” (Acts 3:26).

Those in Matthew 7:21-24 whom Jesus said never knew Him were "workers of iniquity." They professed faith in Jesus but continued to serve sin.

Our churches are filled with workers of iniquity (hypocrites) who were told that they merely have to believe in Jesus. For most, there’s never any repentance because they have been given assurance that they are saved without it.

On Judgment Day they will understand the sobering words of Jesus when He said, “...unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3).

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Posted on 02/08/2017 6:00 PM by LarryG
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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
1 Peter --BACKGROUND: PETER AND HIS READERS
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SIMON PETER

SIMON was a common name, the Greek version of the Hebrew name SIMEON (see Acts 15:14).  Simon was born in Bethsaida (see John 1:44), near the north shore of the Sea of Galilee.  His family were Jewish fishermen, like many of their neighbors, although many Samaritans and Greek-speaking Gentiles also lived in Galilee.  Simon probably received the “normal elementary education of a Jewish boy in a small time” –that is, he learned to read a little Hebrew and enough Greek to do business, and he spoke Aramaic and common Greek fluently.  He was not trained in the Jewish Scriptures and law as a rabbi, nor in literary Greek (see Acts 4:13).  Before meeting Jesus, Simon may have followed John the Baptist (see John 1:35-42).

Simon was one of Jesus’ first and closest disciples.  He was always listed first among them (see Matthew 10:2-4; Luke 6:12-16; Acts 1:13), and he may have been their leader (see Luke 22:31-32).  Jesus renamed him CEPHAS (Aramaic), or PETER (Greek), which means a small pebble, a small rock.  This name suggested peter’s future strength, endurance, and foundational position in the church, and his dependence on the church’s true Rock: Jesus (Matthew 16:16-18; Ephesians 2:19-20; 1 Peter 2:4-8).

PETER THE PILLAR

Peter seems to have remained the leader of the apostles after Jesus’ death (See Acts 1:15-26), although he was leader among equals (See Acts 15:13-22).  The first twelve chapters of the book of Acts show Peter leading the disciples’ proclamation of the risen Christ.  Paul called Peter a “pillar” of the Jerusalem church during this period, from about AD 33-47 (see Galatians 2:9).

Paul and Peter agreed at one point that Paul would evangelize Gentiles and Peter would evangelize (see Galatians 2:7).  But Peter did preach to Gentiles in Caesarea (see Acts 10:1-11:18).  We don’t know what Peter did after AD 47, but 1 Peter suggests that he worked in Asia Minor at some point.

MARTRYDOM

Early sources say that Peter spent the last years of his life in Rome.  In AD 64 a fire broke out in Rome, destroying much of the city.  Many people suspected that Emperor Nero had ordered the city burnt, so that he could rebuild it in modern style.  Nerofound scapegoats in an unpopular religious sect—the Christians—who were social outcasts and already suspected of wicked practices.  As the Roman historian Tacitus wrote some fifty years later, “ a huge crowd was convicted not so much of arson as of hatred of the human race.”  They were executed horribly.

Although the disgusting executions made many Romans feel sorry for the Christians, the spectacle encouraged others to harass the sect.  According to early Christian sources, both Peter and Paul were executed within a few years of the fire in Rome.  A third-century Christian, Origen, records that Peter was crucified upside down, feeling unworthy to die as Christ had died.

 

ASIA MINOR

First Peter 1:1 says that the letter was addressed to Christians in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.  These were Roman provinces in what is now called Asia Minor, or Turkey.  Paul had founded churches in Asia and Galatia; we have letters from him to Ephesus, Colossae, and Galatia.  But Peter seems to have known these Christians as well.

By AD 60, the churches in Asia Minor were probably converting many Gentles and few Jews.  There is some disagreement, but many scholars believe that Peter was speaking to all the Christians in the region he addressed, Jews and Gentiles, and especially new converts.  He called his readers by terms that originally Jews had given themselves (see 1 Peter 1:1; 2:5, 9), but he spoke of the Christians’ formerly depraved lives in terms that Jews customarily used for Gentiles.  He seems to have regarded all Christians as pagans at heart before conversion, but all the true Israel after conversion….

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Posted on 02/07/2017 5:19 PM by LarryG
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Sunday, 5 February 2017
STRENGTH IN THE LORD
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Isaiah 40:28-31

28Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

(The following is from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE)

a. He gives power to the weak: After explaining all the greatness and glory of God, now Isaiah explains another benefit we can receive from our God - He gives us His great power!

i. Notice who God gives power to: the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Those who are proud and confident in their own wisdom and strength will receive no strength from God.

b. Even the youths shall faint and be weary: Those who thought themselves strong find themselves weak. God’s strength is reserved for those who know they are weak, and know they have no might.

c. But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength: How do we receive this strength from the LORD? We receive it as we wait on the LORD. The idea behind wait on the LORD is not a passive sitting around until the LORD does something. Yes, God gives us strength; but we don’t expect it to come as if He were pouring it into as you sit passively. He brings it to us as we seek Him, and rely on Him, instead of our own strength. If we are weak, it is because we do not wait on the LORD!

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Posted on 02/05/2017 9:54 AM by LarryG
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Saturday, 4 February 2017
KINGS MAY COME AND KINGS MAY GO
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Isaiah 40:21-24

21 Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; 23who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

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Posted on 02/04/2017 9:27 AM by LarryG
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Friday, 3 February 2017
The Immutability of God
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The Word of God Stands Forever 

Isaiah 40:6-8

6 A voice says, "Cry!" And I said, "What shall I cry?" All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

Time, GOD has established time.  He has also set the established times and places for our existence.  The psalmist also tells us that GOD has numbered each day of our lives.  I was just reading an article that discussed that the energy that causes matter to manifest in space may come from time.  This is interesting.  Consider this final line in the Disciples Prayer:  "For your is the KINGDOM, THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER."

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Posted on 02/03/2017 9:13 AM by LarryG
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