Social Relationships

Social Relationships

Scripture: 1 Peter 4:8, 1 Peter 2:13-23, 1 Peter 3:1-7
Date: 04/22/2017  Lesson: 4
"Why is it important for Christians to be as good citizens as possible, even in less-than-ideal political situations? What can you do to make your society better, even in a small way?"

Is It a Sin to Be Tempted? (PB) by Joe Crews

Is It a Sin to Be Tempted? (PB) by Joe Crews
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Good morning, friends, welcome to Sabbath school study hour coming to you here from the Granite Bay seventh-day adventist church near Sacramento, California. A very warm welcome to those joining us on the various television networks. Also watching online, our online church members that tune in every week to participate in our study together - a very warm welcome to you. And, of course, a warm welcome to our regular church members here and those who are visiting. We are delighted that you're here and you came early enough to be part of our Sabbath school study this morning.

Well, we do have a free offer that goes along with our lesson. It's entitled alone in the crowd, and for those who are watching, if you'd like to receive a free copy of this book alone in the crowd, just give us a call on our resource phone number. That number is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #714. That number, one more time, is -788-3966 - ask for offer #714. We'll be happy to send this to anybody in North America that calls and asks.

If you're outside of north America and you'd like to read our free offer, just go to the Amazing Facts website - just amazingfacts.org. You can actually just type in the search bar alone in the crowd and you can read the book for free online. Well, before we get to our study, we always like to begin with a moment of singing - raising our voices in song, so I'd like to invite our song leaders to come and join me here on stage. Happy - Happy Sabbath, church family, both far and near. We invite you to sing with us some hymns, and the first one is going to be my faith looks up to thee.

And how wonderful it is that we can have the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and all the promises he has given us in the Bible. This song is a prayer that we may be wholly dedicated to him and never stray from his side. We will sing all three verses. Our next song is also a prayer - father lead me day by day - and I believe that is wholeheartedly the prayer of all of us. The Song says 'keep me safe by thy dear side, let me in thy love abide, then, at last, go home with thee, evermore thy child to be'.

Isn't that the prayer of all of us? We will sing all four verses. Well, before we get to our lesson study, from time to time here at the Granite Bay church, we like to do a mission spotlight - sort of an update on some mission activity that some of our church members are involved in. One of our church members is ostap and he is involved in a ministry traveling around, doing mission work all around the world. I know there are some members right here at the Granite Bay church who are also involved in some of the projects, so we are just delighted, ostap, that you are here. And you're going to kind of give us a little update on some exciting projects you have been working on and some of the things coming along.

Yes, thank you. Good morning church family. It's a blessing to be here with you this morning. I'd like to share on a project that we just came back from, in cambodia, and we had an opportunity to join with volunteers from the United States, from Canada, and other parts of the world to come together for a time of building. We had a building project that was something that was dear and near to our hearts and it was a brand-new school for the children there in cambodia and you'll see on the slide here some pictures that we wanted to share with you.

This is a young group of kids that are studying, for the very first time, in an adventist Christian environment right there in their own village in cambodia. And, what was nice, is that we were able to not only spend time building, but we also had some time to spend with the children - to do a vacation Bible school for them, to organize a program that would allow for them to learn something new, to see something new, to hear new Bible stories, and everybody was so excited, they were coming out with their parents. Most of the folks there are using scooters as transportation and so, you'd see either a father or mother traveling down the road with a whole bunch of kids attached to the back and they're just all holding onto one another. And sometimes you'd see three people on a scooter, sometimes you'd see four or five, and so, each and every one of them was coming out. Here you'll see on the picture some of the building progress - this is the - the skeleton for the school.

We've been working on filling in for the walls as well and getting the roof put on, and so, in August, we're going to have the grand opening for this brand-new school. Now, some of you are maybe wondering, 'well, how is this project going to impact the community?' You see, in that region, this is the first time that the government has allowed for us to build a Christian school and so we believe that the children that are going to be coming and studying and learning at the school will have a really bright future and it'll be a first for them because they're not only studying, they're also learning english, they're also learning from the Bible, and they're sharing that with their family members. They're sharing that with their siblings, and so, we believe it's going to be a great impact for this community in cambodia. There will be another family that's going to be traveling down in may to stay there and to run the school, and so, we're excited that the Lord has given us this opportunity to minister in cambodia. We also have a project that's going to be coming up for the month of April and we're planning on leaving April 9th to hermosillo, Mexico, where we can build another church building there.

There's a congregation there that's meeting right now in a rented facility, and so, we wanted to help them to join with them - and so, you'll see on the screen here some pictures of the building progress. They've been able to purchase the land. They've been able to finish the foundation. And they've started on building the walls. And so, on April 9th, some of the church members here at Granite Bay - also, a few families from Arizona and other parts of the world - are going to be coming together for a week of building.

We're hoping that the Lord's going to lead and to guide along as we all travel in our vehicles down to Mexico - it's about a 15-hour drive - and our goal is to finish the windows, finish the roof on the church, also do the floor inside the church, and get as much work as we can finished, that this community will have their own church building to meet and to worship together. And so, it's our desire to have as many volunteers as possible come with us, to build, to experience this project for themselves, as well, and I wanted to thank the church family. Many of you have been praying with us and praying for us for the efforts there in Mexico. Many of you have been sponsoring our projects as well and we thank you for that. And so, this morning I give you a short - short glimpse - a short update on the projects that are going to be happening and we thank you, again, for your support - for your prayers and we know that the Lord is going to lead and to guide and lead us in this work that we have, you know, encountered with Mexico, and also with the future projects that are coming up.

Thank you. Amen. Thank you, ostap. It's exciting to see the things that are happening. That was a big school that they finished building in cambodia, did you notice that? Usually on these mission projects they're a little steel-frame building, but that was a big school with solid concrete beams.

I was impressed. So, again, keep the whole ministry in your prayers as they move forward with the projects in Mexico. Today our lesson is going to continue in our study of the books of 1 and 2 Peter. Today we find ourselves on lesson #4 entitled social relationships and dr. Derose is going to be bringing us our lesson this morning but, before he comes forward, let's just bow our heads for a word of prayer.

Dear Father, once again we are grateful that we can gather together here in your house on Sabbath to open up Your Word and study these important lessons given so long ago and, yet, are so important and pertinent to the time in which we live. So, bless our time together as we ask this all in Jesus' Name, amen. Thank you, dr. Derose. Well, it's good to be with you this morning.

How're we doing? It's good to be with you this morning and it's good to be continuing our journey in 1 and 2 Peter. We're on lesson #4, as pastor jëan introduced it, dealing with social relationships. And, I don't know, as you look, sometimes, at these lessons, I am so thankful that we're in a church that is preaching through the Bible. If you're finding yourself, as you're tuning in today, at a church that's not preaching through the Bible, I'll tell you, you're missing something. Amen.

Because it is so easy - I can tell you - as a preacher and as a teacher, it's so easy to pick what I want to teach about if I'm given the opportunity to speak at a church. But here at Granite Bay, we're preaching through sequentially, as the adventist world church is, books of the Bible. Now, I tell you that background, because if someone were asking me a topic to preach on, I probably would not choose the one we're about to study. This really - really, this is a difficult passage, at least for me, and I think it should be for all of us because it's challenging us. It's much easier to speak about what Jesus is doing for us - what he's doing in our lives - what he's done - than it is to speak about our personal responsibility.

Have you thought about this? So let's just step back and get the context. I know we've been doing this for three weeks, but we cannot - I do not feel we can do justice to today's lesson just by jumping right in to 1 Peter 2, verse 13. We have to look at where we've been. I don't want to spend too much time doing this, but if we don't do that, we will totally misunderstand where Peter's coming from. Look at the very beginning of 1 Peter.

We're going to give a quick review of the last three lessons that we've been spending together. Peter chapter 1, he begins by addressing, as we've found, the diaspora - the jews who've been scattered. And whether that's metaphorical or whether it's literal, pastor doug gave a nice background on that a few weeks ago. But the point is, Peter is expressly speaking to people who connect themselves with God's Revelation to the Jewish nation. So that's the context.

That's who Peter is writing to. He's writing a general epistle, not just to a specific church, but to Christians who have been scattered abroad in the new testament world, if you will. But what's interesting, as you read the very first two verses in Peter - 1 Peter - as he's giving this introduction, listen to what he says - verse 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:" that single verse, introducing us to the trinity, also introduces us to a great theme in 1 Peter that will continue through our lesson today, and it's an interplay between two things: what Jesus has done for us, and what we are called to be as Christians - what Christ has done for us and, then, how we are to live. Do you see it there in those verses? It's speaking both of the blood of Jesus - his cleansing blood that we - in which we stand today as believers, but it also says we are called to obedience. Do you catch it there? The very first two verses, as this book is introduced.

And then, as you read through the things that we've been studying together the last few weeks, you see - look in verses through 5 - it's speaking - listen to Peter's praise, "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," - rejoicing in what Jesus has done for us - but then what happens right after that? In verses 6 and on we're called to be faithful in the midst of trial. Are you catching this interplay - going back and forth - what Jesus has done for us and then how we are called to live? Let's pick that up - we're going to read from - someone's got a Bible verse for us. We're going to go, in just a moment, to a section in 1 Peter that we've been studying already together and it's going to be 1 Peter chapter 1, verses 18 through 21 but, before we go there, just - just pick up a little bit more of this stream in chapter 1 - so this call to look at what Jesus has done for us - standing in his blood - standing in faith in him and then our call. Now look at verses 10 - in chapter 1 - 10 through 12 - speaking about God's Revelation through the prophets - how angels long to fathom the mysteries of redemption. But then look at verse 13 in chapter 1, "therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober.

.." - Verse 14, "as obedient children..." - Verse 15, "...be holy...for I am holy." Now let's go to our Scripture there in 1 Peter chapter 1, verses 18 through 21. We have a reader here. 1 Peter 1, verses 18 through 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." Heavenly realities were bought with the precious blood of Christ and, very interesting, because this theme is going to come up several times and we're going to pick it up in our section for today. It compares Jesus' sacrifice to the precious gold - the precious - do you see it there? Precious gold and what else? What else do you see there? Precious silver.

Is gold and silver precious? Yes, but that is nothing, really, in comparison to the precious blood of Jesus. Do you catch it there? And so, again, this picture of heavenly realities - and then look at the very next verse - verse 22 - "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," - do you see this interplay? So, as Peter is writing this letter, and - we're going in this lesson today - we have to understand the structure - the context - in which Peter's writing. He's focusing us on these heavenly realities and then he's saying, 'but here's how you're to live' - we're to live obedient lives - we're to live lives of faith. Are you catching that - that sense that as we're reviewing what we've been studying so far? And that continued with what we studied last week. Again, there's this amazing theme that comes up because there's a comparison that's playing out here and it's a comparison between earthly riches - between the riches of earth and the riches of heaven and the calling that we have.

This, to me, is so fascinating because it's coming to us from the words of Peter - and we studied Peter's life earlier in this lesson. What did Peter have a great problem with in his own life? In Matthew 16 we looked at one of Peter's trying moments. He had just - just revealed - he had confessed Jesus' Messiahship and, right after that, Jesus tries to direct the attention of the disciples to the cross. And how did Peter respond to that? Don't talk like that. Don't talk like that.

He rebuked Jesus, right? And Jesus had to rebuke him. So Peter had a problem with the cross, in Matthew 16. In Matthew 26 he had a problem with Jesus' word, remember? Jesus said, 'before the cock crows you will deny me three times' - remember that? How did Peter respond to that? No, not me. No, it's not going to happen. That's right.

He had a problem accepting Jesus' word. So what's happening here in 1 Peter? As we're reading through this, the focus is on the power of the word and on the power of the cross - the two very things that Peter tripped up over. And so, he's laying this background and he's saying, 'in light of this' - in light of the prophetic word - in light of the sacrifice of Jesus - in light of the cross - 'how then are we to live?' And that's the background for these social relationships. And, if we miss that, we actually can take a Gospel of good news and a call to be like our Savior, and we can twist it into a message of legalism. Really, it's a danger that we struggle with in the Christian world today.

Well, with that background, let's launch in to where we need to go. And, maybe before we do, we have to pick up this one other powerful illustration, because if you don't connect all the dots, I don't think we fully see where the Holy Spirit led Peter. Now, some of you might say, 'well, dr. Derose, you're giving us a lot of review. You know, our - our - the clock is ticking.

But, just by way of defense, you do know I am a physician and my specialities are internal medicine and preventive medicine. And so, in those specialities, we have to see the big picture. So, I'm not into giving people rules about how they should take care of their health. Now, I know some people want that, but I find that people are much more motivated by seeing the big picture - are you following along with me? So here's why we do these things. So I'm very interested in the context of health, as a physician.

I'm very interested in physiology - how the body works - how we cooperate with the body. So, as a Bible student, when I come to the Bible, I'm very interested in the structure. What is the - and then - what is the logic of the Bible writer? What is the Holy Spirit inspiring the Bible writer to write? Why does this fit together? And, if we don't see that, I think we miss the power of what's going on. And, in fact, this lesson does that for us. So let's do something because this lesson actually tries to give us some very good context.

I think it actually did a good job. And my mind wants to jump a little bit as we're looking at the context, because the context last week was studying about this call to be priests. Let's just look at that for a moment. Refresh our memory and it really leads us right into the heart of chapter 2. You see, Peter has been calling us to live holy lives and it starts again that way in chapter 2, verse 1, ".

..laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking," - and then, in verse 4 it gives us a glimpse, again, of heaven re - heavenly realities: "coming to him" - to Jesus - "as to a living stone," - we studied this in detail last week as pastor marshall walked us through some of this amazing passage where we're called to be a holy priesthood - a holy priesthood. As we read this interplay, it's an interplay that speaks to us today. And, in Malachi chapter 3 it gives us a wonderful glimpse of what is happening in heaven and heavenly realities and heavenly truth. In Malachi 3 - I'm beginning with verse 16 - Malachi 3, verse , "then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on his name." - Verse 17 - "'they shall be mine,' says the Lord of hosts, 'on the day that I make them my jewels.'" - I make them my special treasure - I make them my precious jewels. Are you picking up on this? This is fascinating because God is saying, 'I am invested in you, personally.

' And Peter is picking up on this great theme throughout the Bible, that we are precious. Today, as you sit here, you are redeemed with the blood of Jesus. Today, as you tune in, you are Jesus' precious child and we can rejoice in that redemption. But it doesn't stop with rejoicing. Just as it was in the old testament, God says, 'you're my redeemed people.

I've saved you. You're precious to me. Now, here's how to live.' And so it is with Peter. And so we find ourselves with that background in 1 Peter chapter 2 beginning with verse 13, which is the focus for our lesson today. Let's look at 1 Peter chapter 2 as we try to understand, what I think are, some - actually difficult counsel, if we're going to be honest.

And I'm being honest, it's difficult counsel for me. Peter chapter 2 beginning with verse 13, "therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the King as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men - as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood.

Fear God. Honor the King." - Or honor the emperor. Who was the emperor? Who were some of the emperors in the days of the early church? Nero. Nero was one of them. The emperors actually killed Christians.

And so, Peter, here, is calling for radical obedience, I would say - radical obedience to the powers that be. He's answering this question, 'how then shall we live as believers in a world that seems under siege, even when government agencies are enacting laws?' Caligula. Caligula, yes. Domitian, yes. I mean, we've got all kinds of these roman emperors that were not model citizens.

Now, I'm glad that the lesson gives us some balance because the apostles themselves gave us balance and, I don't know about you, but in America, the term 'submission' does not usually resonate with most of us. In some cultures there is a greater value placed on submitting than there is in America. America, we seem to value those who are bold, don't we? Or is that just me? I mean, how - the lesson doesn't stop with Peter's words, it also talks about Peter's example. And we are going to jump ahead a bit, as we're trying to get this broad context, because we want to get the historical context as well. And Thursday's lesson, actually, speaks about the historical context in which Peter is writing, unless we misunderstand what Peter is saying, because in acts chapter 4 and 5, Peter is one of the central figures - acts chapter 4 and acts chapter - and that's where I'm going in my Bible.

We're trying to understand this concept of submission to the powers that be and we're going to look at some vignettes in Peter's life and also in the life of Jesus. So, in acts chapter 4, we have this very interesting background because, in acts 3, you might remember, Peter and John have been used by the Holy Spirit to do a miraculous work. If you're following along in the book of acts - in acts chapter , verse 1, Peter and John find themselves at the temple - there is a lame man there who God works through the two apostles to heal this man. This sets off a chain reaction, if you will, on the leaders and, by the time we come to chapter 4, Peter and John find themselves arrested. And it's interesting, as we're listening to the dialogue it says, in verse 13 of acts 4, the religious leaders - the designated religious leaders - the Jewish leaders - they observe something - acts 4, verse 13, it says, "now when they saw the" - what? - "The boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.

And they realized that they had been with Jesus." You know what? As we spend time with Jesus, what happens to us? We change. That's right, we are changed. We are emboldened to speak the truth with love. And that's what they saw in these men. And look what happens in verse 18: the religious leaders - it says in verse 18, "so they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

" Okay, so this is the same Peter, now, who's writing in 1 Peter and he's telling us we need to be subject to the powers that be - those are Paul's words, actually, very similar, there in Romans 13 and other places that the lesson points us to. This is not just Peter, this is the Holy Spirit teaching us to live in harmony with worldly authorities. And now here he is, Peter and John, they're told they cannot speak or teach in the name of Jesus. Now, by the way, had someone else told Peter and John and the disciples and, by extension, all of us, that we should do something with respect to the name of Jesus, are we told that we should have any relation to the name of Jesus? I know sometimes I ask questions that are kind of obtuse. I must have really succeeded because you're all looking quite bewildered at where I'm going with this.

I'm referring to the great commission, among other things. Go and teach. That's right, we're to go and teach everything that the Lord commanded, right? So we were to teach in Jesus' Name. And so Peter and John have a commission from Jesus and now the worldly authorities, who we're supposed to be in subjection to, are saying not to teach in the name of Jesus. So this is what we call a case study.

What is the apostle going to do? Okay? Because he's telling us that we should obey the worldly authorities. But now the worldly authorities are basically saying you should not obey what Jesus asked you to do. And let's look at how they responded. In verse 19 Peter and John answered and said to them - this is, by the way, a very respectful answer - "whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge." Wasn't that respectful? Verse 20, "for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." And so they further threatened them. They let them go, finding no way of punishing them because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.

We've got another Scripture that relates to this. It comes up in acts 5 and it's quoted, actually, in Thursday's lesson. So someone has - that's going to read for us right now from acts 5, verses 27 through 29. Now, by the way, it's the same context - it's Peter and John, this - this really - commotion that has been stirred up in Jerusalem over their healing and there is still this conflict now with the powers that be and Peter and John and let's look at what happens now in acts chapter 5, verses 27 to 29. "And when they had brought them, they set them before the council.

And the high priest asked them, saying, 'did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood on us!' But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: 'we ought to obey God rather than men.'" "We ought to obey God rather than men." Do you see what's playing out here? Peter is calling us, in his letter, to honor the powers that be, but the powers that be cannot usurp the authority of God, himself. So, if God has given us a call, we cannot surrender that calling because of earthly laws, but we're to do all in our power - we're to do all in our power to be in harmony with the powers that be. Now, I know this may sound like a difficult line to walk, and I would be the first to admit it is, and, in fact, if you're wanting to see how my mind works, my mind goes to Wednesday's lesson right now because we've already been alluding to it. This is not a unique call that Peter gave new testament believers. Paul also echoed the need to be subject to the powers that be.

I'm turning in my Bible to Romans chapter 13 - Romans chapter 13 - and this is the language that I've been borrowing as we've been paraphrasing Peter's counsel in Peter chapter 2, okay? Romans chapter 13, beginning with verse 1 - this is now Paul writing, so it's not Peter, it's Paul - "let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God." Now, here's why it's so difficult: first of all, there's this conflict, right? Between 'what is God calling us to do?' And 'what are human organizations' - human governments - human regulations - 'calling us to do?' And why it's so difficult is because it is so easy for us to excuse our own weaknesses under the umbrella of following God. Let me give you a practical example - we'll look at Jesus' own example. I invite you to turn to Matthew chapter 22. I just have to tell you, I love these stories in the Gospels where people are trying to nail Jesus - they're trying to put Jesus in a corner, okay? And what happens every time they try to put Jesus in a corner? That's right, they lose.

You can't - you can't trip Jesus up because he is so consistent and he's so right. Jesus is the truth. So look here - and this is so interesting - in - speaking of Jesus being the truth - Matthew chapter 22 - I'm beginning with verse 15. It says, "then the pharisees" - by the way, the religious leaders went and plotted how they might entangle him - Jesus - in his talk - "and they sent to him their disciples with the herodians, saying, 'teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do you care about anyone, for you do not regard the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what do you think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to caesar, or not?'" And, you know, they thought they had the perfect trap for Jesus, right? Because if he said, 'yeah, pay taxes to caesar, they'd say, 'well, he's, you know, said it.

He's deferring to the roman power, you know?' And if he said, 'no, don't pay taxes,' then they'd say he's inciting sedition against rome. Jesus does just what Peter and Paul call us to do. He honors the secular authorities and he did it, you know, in a very compelling way. It says in verse 18, he perceived their wickedness - their lack of integrity. "'Why do you test me, you hypocrites? Show me the tax money.

' So they brought him a denarius. And he said to them, 'whose image and inscription is this?' They said to him, caesar's.' And he said to them, 'render therefore to caesar the things that are caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.' When they heard these words, they" - did what? Marveled. "They marveled, and left him and went their way." You know, if you're in a situation right now in your own life, where you feel that you're in a corner and maybe there are people that are not friends of Jesus in your neighborhood or in your workplace or, dare I say it, maybe even in your own family, and it seems like they're trying to put you in a corner, let me encourage you because, if you press close to Jesus, he will show you the way out. Now, I don't know what that way out looks like. The way out may be into prison like John the baptist.

Or it may be a way out like Peter when he was in prison when the chains fell off him and the angels led him out of the prison. We don't always know the end of the story, but we know that we can trust Jesus to be faithful, don't we? So here we see Jesus honoring the secular authority of his time. And again, there's another story you may remember it: Peter, mistakenly, said that he and Jesus would pay the temple tax. Do you remember this? And the temple tax was not to be paid by the priests so, basically, Peter's acknowledgment of paying this tax was basically saying that Jesus was not a priest. So Jesus didn't say, 'don't pay the tax'.

He said, 'Peter, go fishing. And when you pull up that fish' what will you find? That's right, in the mouth of that fish you'll find the exact amount you need to pay the tax for the two of us.' So Jesus, again, showing us to live in subjection to the powers that be. But here's the danger, right? Aren't you stewards of Jesus? Yeah, we're stewards. So could we reason, 'well, I'm God's steward of my resources; I should not give any money to the government in taxes because it's God's money.' Could we reason that way? Yes. We could reason that way, but this would not be a biblical way of reasoning.

By the way, it could, also, land you up in some serious problems. I know of someone who actually had this philosophy that he was God's steward; the government didn't have the right to his money, and he wasn't going to pay his taxes. Guess what he ended up having the privilege of doing? Jail time. That's right - prison ministry. (Laughter) that's right.

That's true - this is really true - true story. So it is - God is asking us to be model citizens and I don't know how far I want to go with these illustrations because my wife may start talking with me about the rules of the road. No, I'm serious - I'm serious. Are we exemplary citizens in every way? Are we? I mean, these are sobering things to think about. And so, speaking about social relationships are sobering, but we come to, perhaps, the most sobering of the discussion as we move into talking about masters and slaves and then husbands and wives.

Now, you say, masters and slaves, that sounds pretty far distant to many of us today, but let's go to 1 Peter again as we're trying to pick up this logic of Peter. This is a fascinating example, again, of this counter play between what Jesus has done for us and then how we are to live. So, in 1 Peter chapter 2, beginning with verse 18 it says this: "servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.

" Now look at - we've been talking about, again, this call to holy living, and then look what Peter does right in this context because he, again, gives us this glimpse of heavenly realities, lest we miss the whole focus of Peter's letter. Look at it - verse 21 - "for to this you were called, because" - because Christ the Messiah - "also suffered for us," - he suffered for me - he suffered for you - "leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps: 'who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth'; who, when he was reviled, did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but committed himself to him who Judges righteously; who himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have not returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls." So Peter, going back and forth between these heavenly realities - what Jesus has done for us and then how we should live. Do you see how this is going back and forth? And if we just focus on how to live, exclusive of how Jesus has lived and what he's done for us, we end up with a legalistic focus. And some people throw out God's counsel because they say all you talk about are rules.

But Peter and Paul, when they wrote their letters, wrote them in the context of Jesus' love, his commitment, his sacrifice to us. The lesson is, it's drawing these parallels in Wednesday's lesson - attracted our attention - directed our attention, not only to Romans 13, but also to the book of Ephesians, and I invite you to turn there really quickly because these very same themes are found in Paul's letter to the church of ephesus that would be there in turkey today - one of those seven churches actually mentioned in the book of Revelation. So I'm turning to Ephesians - Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. They're in sequence, these letters that Paul wrote to specific churches. And, as you begin the book of Ephesians, again, I just want you to catch this theme - it's not just Peter, it's Paul - the Holy Spirit impressing the Bible writers as you begin the book of Ephesians.

Now, by the way, Ephesians is written especially to gentile believers. And the theme in Ephesians is you read the early chapters - look at, with me, verse 3 of Ephesians 1, "blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ," - verse 7, "...we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins," - and as you read through this you actually have the very same pattern that Peter shares with us because he gives us these great truths - these heavenly truths of redemption and then calls us how we then should live. Jump with me, if you will - if you will, to chapter 4 in Ephesians, "i, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." He is writing, now, to believers - to gentile believers - saying that 'you are part of God's family, with the Jewish believers.' And he's saying we are to live in unity. And, as you read through this letter, especially appealing to the church, you come to chapter 5 and in chapter 5 what are you going to read about? You're going to read about marriage. You're going to read about children and parents.

You're going to read, in Ephesians 6, verse 5 about bondservants and masters. So the very same counsel that Peter gives is given in a different context by Paul in the book of Ephesians and in Romans and in other places. Now why is this so important? Why it's so important is because we're in danger, again, of missing some of the most powerful counsel. We're going, now, to Tuesday's lesson husbands and wives. Perhaps the most difficult passage in this lesson, and we've waited to hear - to see this structure - because this structure is so important.

God is not just giving rules, but he's going to speak very specifically about Christian lifestyle - Christian lifestyle. Let's look at it very closely because I'm going back to Peter - I could just as well stayed in Ephesians 5, because there it speaks about - well, you know what? Since I haven't turned all the way over, maybe some of you have, but I've got to read to you Ephesians 5, verse 21 - before he gives any of the counsel, Paul, that is, in Ephesians, he gives this principle: "submitting to one another in the fear of God." He's speaking of mutual submission - mutual submission and one other verse in Ephesians 5 - and, by the way, some of you, as we're going to be looking at this next passage, it's going to be speaking about attire. We do have a special offer - we'll mention it again - alone in the crowd by Joe Crews - we'll mention it before we finish, but some of you may also know the founder of amazing facts wrote a book about colorful cosmetics and jewelry that looks at this topic in detail - and he highlights this verse - pastor crews did - Ephesians 5, verse 10 - my version says, "finding out what is acceptable to the Lord." Other translations read things like, 'always seeking to do what best pleases the Lord.' Is that our focus? That's what the call is that Paul is giving - and what Peter is giving. So quickly, now, back to Peter - I'm back in 1 Peter and we're looking at this counsel to husbands and wives. Now, as Peter is writing, he's writing especially about witness to non-believers.

The lesson does point that out, but Paul is especially, in Ephesians, writing to the church and getting along between jews and gentiles in the church. So we have to be careful that we don't minimize the counsel that we're going to look at right now and saying it just applies to women who are married to unbelievers, even though that is the immediate context in 1 Peter. Let's look at it together. I'm in 1 Peter now, chapter 3, verse 1, "wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward - arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel - rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

" Now, we would make a great mistake to say that this is just counsel for women who are married to unbelieving husbands. Contextually, that is what's being talked about, but you know it's not just speaking of that, because look at the example that next follows: "for" - because - "in this manner," - I'm in 1 Peter 3, verse 5, "for in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror." Do you realize the structure that we've been looking at? Did you catch - did you catch Exodus 19 - the context of being called Kings and priests, which is the immediate context of these passages? We are God's jewels - we're his holy people. He does not want us to be arrayed with jewels, he wants us to be his jewels. Many years ago when I was working in hospital medicine, now I just do outpatient work, I was in the intensive care unit and I heard a scream go out from one of the other rooms in the icu. Now, of course, I rushed over there because I wasn't doing something that urgent.

What was going on? And I saw a nurse rushing out of one of the patient's rooms. I learned what had happened: the patient in that room, that the nurse was caring for, was quite ill and he had vomited all over the nurse. The scream was not from the patient but from the nurse. And we didn't see that nurse for the longest time. She just vanished.

And, as I thought about it, I realized something about that nurse. She always had, in her mind, I guess, the perfect make up and jewelry and everything - she just looked so good, she thought, I mean, I'd never been struck by that before, but that was her mindset. And so here she was in a position of ministering to someone who was sick and, instead of comforting the person, what did she do? She added to their misery, right? The person probably felt bad that they vomited on the nurse. Now why do I tell you that story? You know, Seventh-day Adventists, historically, have understood these Bible statements in 1 Peter 3 and in 1 Timothy 2 in the context of this call to be a holy people - a set-apart people that God wants to adorn with his character, not with earthly jewelry and the like. Are you following along with me? Now, by the way, this is not to make anyone feel uneasy and no one deferred this topic to me because they didn't want to preach it.

It just happened by the luck of the draw that I happened to be available when some of the others were traveling, like Pastor Doug. But here's the interesting thing: the interesting thing is we make excuses about why this counsel no longer applies, when we're missing a great truth in Scripture. God is calling for us to be focused on holy surrender to him. And, you know, these things that we sometimes cling to, whether it's our money - not wanting to give it to the government - whether it's our authority, when we're working in a place where we need to be submissive to those who we're working under, whether it's in the home, God is calling for husbands to be submissive to the needs of their wives and wives to be submissive to their husbands and to take off the outward adornings and focus on the inner person of the heart. You want to explore this more? That is the theme of our free offer: alone in the crowd.

You can read it online or you can request it, if you're in North America, by calling -study-more - that's 866-788-3966. Our time has slipped away, but hopefully we've left with a clearer glimpse of how Jesus loves us - how he's given everything for us and he asks us to do the same for him. We'll look forward to studying again together next week as we take on lesson 5 in 1 and 2 Peter - feed my sheep. Join us then. On several occasions scientists have demonstrated that people, and even creatures, can struggle with depression when exposed to continual darkness.

This can be seen every year in the winter months in the arctic regions. The beautiful village of rjukan, norway is situated in a deep valley where mountains block the sun's rays for about six months every year. This, of course, keeps the 3,400 residents in a state of shade and, sometimes, depressing darkness throughout the winter. Then the town leaders got a bright idea to help illuminate their village during the murky months. In October 2013 rjukan installed an array of three gigantic 550-square-foot mirrors on a nearby mountain 1,000 feet above the town.

The computer-controlled and solar-powered mirrors track the sun through the winter months and reflect a giant beam of sunshine down to the town square, brightening their lives. If you visit rjukan in the winter months today, you can often see the people gathered or sitting on benches around the town square, bathing in the reflected sunshine. Like those mirrors on the mountain, the Bible says that Christians are to reflect the light of Jesus, who is the light of the world, into this dark planet. Matthew 5:14 says, "you are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven." So friends, use today to brighten the life of someone else by reflecting Jesus. For life-changing Christian resources, visit afbookstore.com or call 1-800-538-7275.

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