We return with a brand new series! After months away, TWTL is back and looking to focus in on an important part of scripture. In his 2nd Epistle, Peter reaches out to his followers to offer them some further development. He thinks of them as great people who had embraced the faith just as he and the other apostles had (2 Peter 1:1). He wanted to strengthen them in their knowledge of Christ and share how they could further develop in God. It is with this mindset and purpose, he provides a formula from God for Christian to further their transformation in Him. Even today, it's one of the best ways for Christians new and established to gauge where they are in their relationship with God. Further, it helps in understanding where we might improve in areas of our development in Christ. Before we get into the actual formula, though, let's look at the promise attached to it:
2 Peter 1:3-4
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
These two verses provide us with a lot of information. We need to break down each section to understand exactly what this promise entails:
According as his divine power
God's divine power is unmatched. It is complete and over all things (Matthew 28:18, John 3:5, Hebrews 2:8, 1 Peter 3:22, Psalm 124:8). This includes humanity, even those who deny and reject Him (John 17:2). That power rests in us when we take on His Name and embark on this journey (2 Corinthians 12:9). So, when Peter invokes God's divine power, he lets us know this promise is coming from an unmatched source.
Hath given unto us all things pertaining to life and godliness
God loves to provide for His people. He won't withhold from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). He gave himself as a sacrifice to us. How much more will he give unto us then? (Romans 8:32). Here, though, Peter gets specific with what God is giving us: all things pertaining to life and godliness.
The word life in 2 Peter 1:3 means to be real and genuine, active and vigorous in our devotion to God. Godliness means to have reverence and respect, or to acknowledge and adhere to God and His plan. God is willing and able to give us the tools necessary to have the realest relationship with Him possible. It's within His power to enliven our walk with Him and to steer us to the proper course of action to make that relationship thrive.
Through the knowledge of him that called us to glory and virtue
God provides this promise through the power of His knowledge. He has called each of us (Romans 9:23-24, Ephesians 4:4, Acts 2:39). He desires that we would live up the standard He has set for us in that calling (1 Thessalonians 2:12). We attain that desired promise of glory and virtue by living a holy and separate life unto Him (1 Thessalonians 4:7). If we invest ourselves in learning about God and His ways, He will reveal to us the things we require to further ourselves in relationship with Him.
Promises have been given...
Through our relationship and separation unto God, we are afforded a number of promises that help us to draw closer to God and further escape the destructive nature of the world. Here are some of those promises:
These and other promises have ensured that we would be partakers (partners) of God’s divine nature, and allow for us to escape the corruption in the world through lust. We have access to the power and nature of God if we submit to His will with all belief and reliability. This will make clearer our path to greater depth in God, making us into a more effective servant of the Most High. Moreover, it will reveal the pitfalls and dangers that the enemy and the world have implemented to ensnare us.
This is God's promise to us through his servant and keeper of the keys of heaven. What will unfold from here is a list of things we can add unto us through this promise. These things will help us to further the transformation to true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24).
Next week, we will begin our examination of God's Transformation Formula. We'll see what things we can add to our lives to come into better relationship and service to Him, and we'll look at how we can ensure those things are added correctly. We can't wait to share our findings with you.
Until then, God Bless and Keep Searching
After some time off, we return to close out the Revelation series. After reading so many things we should look out for, today we look at something (or someone) we should be looking for. What and who is it and how can this help full the Coming of the Lord? To Preach The Gospel
We conclude the Matthew 24 portion of our Revelation Series by looking at our greatest calls to action in these perilous times. We are challenged by Christ to do something internally and externally. What are those things and how can they change our focus as we live in the Last Days. Find out and share
To go along with our Podcast today, here is a devotion with an easy breakdown of the threat to our love for God and His ways. In this breakdown, we examine three churches from the Book of Revelation who either struggle with their love for God or are under direct threat of losing that love. God addresses each of them, the problems they face and the solutions he has to offer. Let's dive in and see what He has to say:
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (Matthew 24:12)
We turn our attention from the Church and back to the world. How will it be operating as the Last Days approach. What will be the reaction of society to atrocities, tragedies and division? How will they respond to the call to righteousness and separation unto God? If you read the above scripture, you've already got an idea. What it means and how we can respond to it is our topic of the day.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. - Matthew 24:10
This week we turn our attention to the next major attack on the Church in the Last Days: offense. We aren't talking about the exciting half of football. We're talking about what happens when the pressure amps up. We're looking at what happens when all the persecution and circumstances come to a head? Will people stand tough, or will they walk away? This week's devotion answers all of these questions and more.
What is Offense?
The term for offense in this scripture can be interpreted to mean "to cause one to begin to distrust and desert what he ought to trust and obey. Basically, it's the the urge to run from what we know is right. Reading the last sentence, it might be difficult to wrap our minds around. What can cause an individual to abandon something they have known is true. They've experienced it, witnessed it, felt it themselves. They know it's real and yet they leave it. However, Christians do it every day and they've done it since the beginning of the Church. Why do they do it, though?
The Reasons For Offense
Paul experienced people leaving their faith near the end of his ministry. In 2 Timothy, he laments to his closest follower that some of his other followers had abandoned him:
This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. - 2 Timothy 1:15
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. - 2 Timothy 4:10
At both ends of this final letter to Timothy, Paul discusses how specific people who once followed him had chosen to leave. What might have caused them to do it?
Phygellus and Hermogenes most likely left Paul when the times got tough. Seeing Paul suffer and struggle for his faith did not appeal to them and so they turned and walked no more (John 6:66). Meanwhile, Demas decided that the cares of this life mattered more to him than the ministry he had been blessed to occupy. Others departed for various reasons and Paul even states that he felt abandoned by everyone(2 Timothy 4:16).
There are a lot of reasons for people to abandon their cause, even though they know it's the right and just one. There is no cause greater than to serve Christ. However, struggle, strife and the lure of the secular world can pull many people away from this divine Truth. Couple that with what we are expected to experience in the Last Days, and it's no wonder Christ said that many would be offended.
Where Offense Leads
Offense doesn't stop at turning away, though. The Devil doesn't just want us to turn away from God. He wants us to come to hate and fight against Christ and those who serve him. Jesus was betrayed by an offended disciple. The hate that must have filled Judas' heart to give up the Messiah must have been great. He had seen the miracles. He had heard the mighty sayings. He could piece the scriptures together. Jesus was the One. Yet, he turned on Christ. He got offended at the things Christ said and the actions Christ took and it caused him to betray his Master and those who followed Him.
The Devil desires to separate us from both God and those who follow him, to get us offended. Once he achieves that, he pushes for us to fight against that which we once followed. He'll put lies in our minds to go with the hate that resides in our hearts. He'll lead us to positions where we can spew our disdain for Jesus and the Church to others. We'll become witnesses for the world centering around how we got hurt.
The Proper Reaction To Offensive Action
All the while, though. Christ is standing and calling to us, "Friend." God cares about us. He doesn't refuse anyone the right to return to his kingdom. He stands at the door and knocks on all who have walked away from their walk (Rev. 3:20). He makes ways of escape for those who have fallen into wickedness (Rev. 2:16, 24). We might get offended and it might lead to acts of betrayal and hate, but Jesus will never let go of His love for us.
That's why when someone rails against the church, we don't rail against them. Paul may have name dropped some dissenters, but he doesn't levy curses or ill wishes against any of them. In fact, he mirrors the martyr Stephen with his response:
I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. (2 Timothy 4:16)
That's our response to when people abandon us and then turn and attack. Love them regardless. Don't justify their actions or excuse them as having not made a mistake. But pray for them that they might escape judgment. What a merciful concept. That's how we must live. If we do, we might see someone redeemed. Even if they aren't, we'll have come that much closer to truly living as Christ. And that's the life we're called to live.
We'll be taking a break from the Podcast this week, but will return next week. Until then, God bless and keep searching.
Our Revelation Podcast is back and this week we are looking at persecution in the modern world. How is persecution being enacted against Christians today and what can we do about it? What can we do when we face persecution, even when it feels "small" in comparison to what others face? Find out these answers and more in this week's Podcast and follow along with our lesson from early this week as you listen. Also, go to our YouTube Channel to subscribe for more timely videos and Podcasts. We already have over 70 uploaded! God Bless and Keep Searching
Over the past 4 weeks, we've looked at events that will occur in the world at-large. Today, we start a turn to how the Last Days will affect the church directly. The church will be a part of the Last Days. How much of the Book of Revelation we will witness is open to debate. However, the idea that everything will be rosy for us in the lead up to the rapture is a false narrative that is exposed when we read the words of Christ. Starting in Matthew 24: 9, we find the path for Christians in the Last Days and the hardships we face. We will be afflicted, killed and hated by all nations. Basically, we'll be persecuted worldwide. We examine what all that means today as we continue our journey to understanding the Last Days and the Church's role in it.
In this week's supersized podcast, we cover real world statistics about war, earthquakes, famine and pestilences We also show how these statistics point to what will happen in the Book of Revelation and what we can expect going forward towards that apocalyptic time period. There's lots of allusions to future lessons in this one as well so hang tight with us through it to get some insights into what's on the horizon for TWTL and our Revelation coverage.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.