The Hope That is in You


Audio Links

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.



“The Hope That is in You”

Steven Crook

Rev 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

The time is at hand that judgment must begin at the house of God. We are gathering today in a hope that we learn more about God and Jesus Christ or at least that is why I am speaking today – to share with you all, what it is I have been given to know about our Father and Jesus Christ.

Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Simply put, there is nothing else that is eternal life, being saved or any combination of the two words or thoughts. Now, I hope and believe that everyone listening has an interest in eternal life. That knowing is so vital to what it is we seek – life.

We know knowledge puffs up, but knowledge is the key to eternal life, so if Christ burns that puffiness up in us that knowledge then becomes HUGE. See, the two are intimately connected.

Today, I hope to share with you how the hope that is in you is one of two things and those two things are vastly different. It is this knowledge that ultimately determines who you are.

The Prophet of the Highest

Luk 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

Luk 1:76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;

Luk 1:77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,

Rev 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

This is the position we find ourselves in if we indeed find ourselves as such. We are kings and priests, but this comes with an immense responsibility of servitude. Let us start this talk with that in remembrance because it is vital to connecting A to Z in this study.

Up until recently for me, I hadn’t really grasped the seriousness of this office, but the Lord works all things after the counsel of His will so that He can give us all those things to perform to His glory while in this office.

What am I saying? Well, let’s see if the scripture says the same thing because scripture is all that matters when we are trying to “reason these things out.”

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

1Co 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;

So, if the Lord is working ALL THINGS and the Lord has given us ALL THINGS, who is it that is being talked about?

The answer is: the Hope that is in you

This Doctrine

We have all heard this verse quoted various ways over the years, and to be honest, I have believed various forms of doctrine based on this verse. After all, it appears to be simple enough to do – give an answer when asked a question. Here is the verse in reference and the title of this talk:

1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

At first glance, again this looks fairly simple to follow. When I was a baptist I used to believe something similar to, “when someone asks me why I am saved, I’ll tell them about not going to hell without getting all worked up when they don’t care”, etc.

Then, I moved along to the not too distant past and used to focus on this verse pointing to me and the church of the Living God, the body of Christ versus those who are among those who are told “come out of her my people”.

Now, however, I have started seeing this all in an additional way, and we’ll get to that in a few moments, but I want to read some verses around this verse to set the tone. Bear with me, and please keep something in mind.

Throughout the ages, mankind has transferred the gospels to the masses in oral ways versus the populace being able to read the bible for themselves. So, I think we can learn a lot by taking a few scriptures and reading them together to paint a word picture. After all, that is exactly what a parable does (wink, wink).

1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

1Pe 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

1Pe 3:17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

Before we read too much, I want to start by pointing at a few key phrases that are vital to keeping in perspective what and who is being addressed with these verses in Peter. Of course, we are told from the start of 1 Peter to whom this is addressed. Let’s read it together:

1Pe 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

1Pe 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

In verse one we see this is addressed to ‘strangers’ and this is the same word translated ‘strangers’ in Hebrew 11.

Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

In verse two, we see this is addressed to the ELECT strangers. Getting back to 1Pe 3 we see that we should have a good conscience when we answer in meekness and fear, and when we are evil spoken of, we are to SUFFER for well- doing THAN for evil doing.

Interesting, this deal of suffering. It is talked about so much in relation to God the Father, Jesus Christ, and His church, but most ministers and Christians would have you believe that suffering is somehow related to your standing with God.

We are about to go on to read about suffering a lot, and what it means, but let me start this off by setting the tone for just what suffering is. Suffering can and does happen to the just and unjust alike. The difference is that some suffering, and 100% of the suffering Christ did was for OTHERS and was a part of the deal of just exactly who He was.

With that said, please do not think that this suffering is related to the sins we commit. Rather, this is something far different and I can make a few points to make this clear.

  1. Christ did not COMMIT a sin, but He suffered a great deal. In the OT a lot was said about one’s relationship with God by how blessed one was. The more blessed, the better the relationship with God was. Everyone knew this, even Christ and the disciples.
  2. I am borrowing this from one of studies recently, but it points this out very clearly in that Christ’s disciples asked Him about a blind man’s sins that caused him to be blind and his response was rather odd.

Joh 9:1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

Joh 9:2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

Joh 9:3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

Joh 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

Joh 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

So, it is clear that sin COMMITED by US is not related to suffering necessarily. If we are then to suffer though, let us see what this is all about once and for all.

1Pe 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

1Pe 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

1Pe 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

1Pe 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

I don’t know how to make it any clearer than how it was just made, but I will attempt to say it another way in common day English. I am going to take the high points of each of these four verses and sum up the point we are being told.

Christ suffered for the sins of the unjust

to bring them to God

being put to death in the flesh and being given life by the spirit

by which he went and preached

in like figure to the disobedient in Noah’s day

which only resulted in 8 souls being saved

BY WATERàthe Word of God

It is the answer of a good conscience toward God that BAPTISM represents, but what is BAPTISM?

There was a time that I thought these things were the foundation which we all stood, so please bear with me if you already feel comfortable on this subject; yet, it is edifying for all to be reminded of these things. For starters, there is this:

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

But there is something more to this thing we call baptism. Baptism is going INTO DEATH so that the NEW ADAM can immerge from that water, from that living fountain of the Word of God. We must be washed in the Word regularly because we DIE DAILY. When we die, we are then able to say with Christ that we are crucified, and He is resurrected.

Doesn’t this baptism sound a whole lot like Gal 2:20?

Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

1Pe 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Gone Into Heaven

Since there aren’t any true page or verse breaks in the original scriptures, I want to start with the last verse in chapter 3 and move to the next verse which is the first verse in chapter 4.

 

1Pe 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

 

1Pe 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

I want to ask you all something very important. If we are dying daily, if Jesus Christ is living in us, if baptism represents this and it is the washing of water by this Word, then wouldn’t this be CEASING FROM SIN? No?

The wages of sin = death.

Rom 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What is our fruit? We known them by their fruit, but more importantly, whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Rom 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Apparently, when we put this together we get a very uncomfortable Truth revealed to us about this suffering deal that Christ went through to save the unjust, show us the example of this, and then tell us that as He is so are we in this world.

Shouldn’t we be focusing on the fact that we are in the world doing the Will of God versus being OF THE WORLD doing the WILL of another father…named satan?

Am I stretching this? Let’s put it together and see.

 

Not of faith = sin = death.

Baptism = washing of water by the Word = the ANSWER of a good conscience…à

… by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If we are DEAD, then why are we concerned with the ways of this WORLD? Shouldn’t we be ambassadors, STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS as we are addressed as being? That is exactly what Peter is about to go on and tell us in the next verses.

1Pe 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

1Pe 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

1Pe 4:4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

1Pe 4:5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

1Pe 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

We are starting to see a theme spring up here in Peter, and I think it is time we address this thought Peter is concerned with. First, I quickly want to bring us up to speed on what we are being told.

In 1Pe 3:21 we see that via baptism we have answered God with a good conscience by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This is in us of course, because the very next verse goes on to say that Jesus has gone into heaven. I am not going to cover that here, but we will address that just a bit later. However, we see Christ is in heaven, and then Peter goes on to tell us and give this little bit of instruction . . .

“Arm yourselves with the same mind.”

Well, what is that mind? We aren’t left to guess because we just read it in verses 2-6. Then we see a startling entry by Peter. In verse 7 and after, here is what we read:

1Pe 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

1Pe 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

1Pe 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

We are being told how to live while we are to be sober and watch unto prayer. Anyone remember why we are to be sober or what that means?

1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

It seems to mean to be right- minded or to be in your right “normal” mind and just as we are told to be sober minded, watching and praying, we are also to MINISTER OUR GIFTS ONE TO ANOTHER.

1Pe 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

We are also told what are few of these gifts are and how to share them.

1Pe 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

If we speak, we speak the oracles of God. If we minister, we do it with the ability God has given to us, so that God is glorified.

Fiery Trial

Before we go any further, I want to bring our focus to a few words we have seen a lot of already, but we may not have put together succinctly yet. We have continually been given the message of grace and glory, grace and glory. It’s almost like the two are connected…

Without going into too many studies from the past, please keep in mind that when we are talking about glory, we are talking about obedience to God/ for God, and grace is chastisement. The son or daughter a father loves he will discipline.

Two examples of this are the two verses we just read. If we insert this spiritually true meaning of these words, then we will see a lot clearer the picture of this wonderful plan of the Lord.

1Pe 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace (chastisement) of God.

1Pe 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified (obeyed) through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Isn’t it true that when we are chastised, we can be confident that we are sons of God, so holding this knowledge requires us to be good stewards of this by both ministering and speaking it where gifted by God to do so, and that goes for the obedience of Christ.

The suffering that Christ endured was for others, us and everyone else. He LEARNED OBEDIENCE through the things He suffered, and this is to be true for His elect as well.

Heb 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

Heb 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Apparently, fearing God the Father is important to being heard when we pray, which is another way of saying we adhere to “thy will be done.” If we believe God is sovereign, we better be praying in this way. Getting back on topic, we can see that being obedient is something we learn THROUGH SUFFERING. Our best example is Jesus Christ.

With all that said, we now are told how to act when this suffering is given to us to learn obedience. Here it is:

1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

1Pe 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

We just read that Christ’s sufferings caused Him to learn obedience, and that when we have a fiery trial, it is “partaking in Christ’s sufferings” and that’s when his glory = obedience shall appear.

Is this a shock to anyone? Is this new news somehow? Christ constantly stated that He came to do the Will of his Father. We will just told in verse 2 to live the rest of our time in the flesh to the Will of God, so is there a connection springing forth here?

Hopefully some of you are seeing it, because happy you are because the spirit of obedience and of God rests upon you.

1Pe 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

Of course, along with this suffering, we have to make sure we are indeed suffering for God and not simply just saying what we are doing is for God. After all, we are told that there are things called our righteousness’s and then there is the Lord’s righteousness.

1Pe 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

1Pe 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

We should not be suffering trials because we hate our brothers, because we are thieves or in others words, we come up some other way than by using the Word of God – the door, or as an evildoer among the gentiles and/ or our body.

We aren’t to give the appearance of evil, etc., and along with all this is being a busybody. Why is that mentioned in this list of bad things? It is because being a busybody stirs up angst and strife in the body, and this is specifically talking about when we are suffering.

However, if we suffer as a Christian, as Christ- like, then we should glorify God – in other words, be obedience by suffering the sins of the unjust just as Christ showed us to do. Why is this so important? Well, we’ve all heard it so much that it could almost be the sub- verse for the title of the IWWB site, and it happens to be the next verse in 1 Peter.

1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

1Pe 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

1Pe 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

There’s that pesky “obey” word again. It keeps popping up beside suffering as if they go hand in hand. When we do these things however, which are only possible THROUGH JESUS CHRIST as we read just a moment ago, then this will be seen as we are living it in well doing…or our good conversation = the way we live our life.

Live, Move and Have Our Being

Suffering

Judgment

Obedience

Righteousness

Does this sound like we are robots? After all, we are actually accused of being self- righteous when we follow the commandments of God and actually LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS as ourselves and tell them to DO THE SAME thing we are doing and living out in our lives.

Where can we see an example of this? There are many spots, but Acts as a very convenient set of verses that sum this up and prepare us for the second part of this study.

Act 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

Act 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

Act 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

God that made the world and all things. Since He is the Lord of heaven and earth, he dwells not in some simple building made of the earth over which He is Lord. He has made His temple, and it is Y O U, if indeed it is.

If that isn’t clear enough, Peter goes on to tell us that God is not worshipped with men’s hands (think spirit and truth, Joh 4:23-24) because He doesn’t need anything from us (think tithes, etc.) because, be C A U S E. . . it is He that gives life and breath and all things.

This is very important, but seems so out of place. Act 17:26 throws in a verse that seemingly is out of place. We are talking about God and a temple not made with hands, then we are talking about one blood, one flesh; this one blood nation of all men who dwell on all the earth.

What’s interesting is that we are told “I am sovereign and you need to deal with it. I have determined THE TIMES before they were put into play and I have set the bounds of your habitation”àmeaning suck it up and accept it.

Does that seem to you like we have some ultimate way to control things, but why is that so matter- of- fact sounding? Why is it this way? We are NOT left to wonder.

Act 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might FEEL after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

Act 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Act 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

We have been led up to this point so that we will seek the Lord, and it’s easy because He is not far from everyone of us considering that in Him we live, move and have our VERY being. Since this is true and we know this, we should not be thinking that God, like not dwelling a house we build, will also tear down the tower made of the earth that we try to build to heaven.

For this ignorance that we have done due to what our king sitting on the throne of our heart has told us to do, we are to REPENT because there is another kingdom at hand, the time is at hand to judge ourselves as we go on to see.

This is all happening too that we can KNOW AND UNDERSTAND how we are living every word out. Here is our part. Paul was speaking to Gentiles who didn’t have a name for our God. They don’t know HIS NAME. He is the UKNOWN God that we are to MAKE KNOWN to the entire world just as Paul was doing.

What we are talking about here was taught by Christ, was taught by Paul and the apostles, and we are exhorted to follow Paul as he followed Christ. Again, Christ came saying REPENT, the kingdom of God is at hand. Christ should know since He knew this was His purpose from the foundation of the world.

Now, I come to you all today and say the same thing, repent – the kingdom of God is at hand. The time is at hand, the last time, the harvest has come, and I will tell you what I have been given to understand about this world we live in but are not of.

Judgment is beginning at the house of God in the world NOW, and that day exists for us all, now or later. It is the very judgment for which that we should be singing and praising hallelujah!

It is the judgment that means we are AWAKENED from DEATH to something, and we are assured of this with the resurrection of the deadàChrist the firstfruit, one for the just and one for the unjust. One for Christ and those that are His, and one for those that aren’t, but how do you know which is which? We shall know them by their fruit. Fruit produces itself, fruit of the same kind.

Act 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Act 17:32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.

I am here claiming to be telling you about the kingdom of God, and yet I am telling you about the resurrection of the dead? Which is it Steven? It is both! How am I tying this all together?

All that is in The World

For a long while now, one of the thoughts at the forefront of my mind, when I heard this phrase, was lust of the eyes, flesh and the pride of life. I have long understood this relationship in the first Adam; henceforth, all of mankind.

I was telling my daughter and son the creation story a few weeks ago, and I was at the point in the story where we read, “…And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept…”

At this very moment, I suddenly thought God put Adam to sleep, and this was the same as being dead unless God awakens him, and that really hit me hard.

Why?

Adam was formed from the dust of the ground. Christ was created.

Adam was put to sleep to bring forth the woman, Eve – the mother of all living.

Christ was slain from the foundation of the world.

Where I was taken was where we are now. If all of these above mentioned things are accurate and true, then that slaying must also produce some life. A kernel of grain must fall to the ground to bring forth life.

 

The answer is that Christ was slain from the foundation of the world so that He could overcome it, and I hope to prove that with scripture. Just what and where is the world?

Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

1Jn 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Rev 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

The human body is made up of a majority of water. Then there is the rest of our matter, but there is a third piece as wellàour heart and mind.

We talk a lot about types and shadows, but I have a really powerful one to share with you now. It is there for us to feast on if only we are given to understand the mystery.

This is your relationship with your savior and Lord and His Father. This is your relationship with your body and head. This is God the Father and His Son whom He sent, this is Jesus Christ and the church, this is the intimate marriage from God of man and woman and their relationship to each other as such.

The physical things we see represent a spiritual truth, so now I want to share with you what this world around us we see represents to us spiritually.

When we talk about scripturally all that is in the world it is easy to discern the three things we mentioned earlier. However, what has been hidden from the foundation of the world is a mysterious relationship at play within this world.

The planet we live on is called earth by us, but everything we know of this planet we collectively call a world also. In this world of ours is an endless amount of things too numerous to talk about, but they all reside in one of three realms physicallyàthe sea, the earth or the heavens.

These three things creatively are also represented in our very bodies by taking into consideration the statement I made a second ago:

The human body is made up of a majority of water. Then there is the rest of our matter, but there is a third piece as wellàour heart and mind.

So, in comparison we see a HUGE similarity, yes? What if we take this a step further and say that this similarity describes all the things we are told are happening as we live out every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God?

Buckle your seat belts.

I have a representation of exactly what and who Jesus Christ is, was and will be in this tabernacle I now live in. Anyone that says Christ is NOT COME in the flesh is anti- Christ.

From the Dust of the Ground

When the first Adam was formed from the dust of the ground, I envision that some water was involved. After all, clay in a potter’s hand is simply dirt/ dust and water mixed together to make a pot.

This pot is fit for one thing and one thing only, and that is be crushed back to power and made again another vessel, one I’d say is fit for the kingdom of God!

Jer 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

But where does this kingdom of God go? Well, it happens to fit right into this scenario since we need the third piece of this physical type to complete the puzzle. We have earth, water and now the heavens.

In these heavens, we can now start to concentrate on what is there. Keeping that thought at the forefront of our minds, lets us see what God has wrought in us, through us and to us.

In Adam, we have a marred vessel. Eve is brought forth as the woman and takes and eats of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We all have learned by now that what caused Eve to do this was ultimately due to this marring in the potter’s hand that we just mentioned.

Now here is where the world comes into play. We have a physical world we live in, but we also have a world that collectively holds everything that makes us who we are. All that we are is summed up in the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, and since Eve is the mother of all living, this is true for all of mankind.

Easy to understand, no?

This is all true and easy to understand once you understand this type and shadow, but let me say it in plain English anyways.

There is a physical world and there is a spiritual world. In both of these worlds we have interactions which make up everything we do, and this is where it gets interesting.

Before I talk anymore, I want to continue by reading a few verses while keeping in mind that when we see ‘glory’, we are talking about obedience to God, and when we see ‘grace’, we are referring to chastisement, etc., because as we are about to read these verses, they will spring to life right on the page and in your hearts and minds.

Let’s start in Ephesians, and let’s think of these verses in the spiritual context of new earth and new heaven versus the old, new man and old man, etc.

Eph 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

When Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, they were doing so outside of Christ and eliminated their hope. They were cut off from the Garden of Eden and cast out. They were blocked from the tree of Life. They were without God in the world.

Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Eph 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

Eph 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

I just got done mentioning that this is being played out both physically and spiritually, and I bet you are asking yourself about now how I am trying to connect Adam and Eve together with what we are reading here in Ephesians. Well, here it is.

Eph 2:16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

Eph 2:17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

Eph 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

This shouldn’t come as a shock now, but the only the Lord knows. Did anyone notice that we were just talking about God making of twain one new man, we just got done talking about Adam and Eve and their and our relation to all that is in the world, a new heaven and new earth and these things were reconciled to God in one body?

What?

What did Christ do? Could these “worlds” we are talking about have been lived in by Christ? Christ is come in the flesh, yet we are reconciled and have access in one body. Could this body literally be collectively known, as we know it, as Jesus THE Christ, a head and body, a mystery?

Eph 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Eph 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

Wait! This is happening so that the body might know the manifold wisdom of God? According to what?

Eph 3:11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

Eph 3:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

Eph 3:13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

Tribulations and glory? Think suffering and obedience, fiery trials and obedience learned.

Eph 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Eph 3:15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

Eph 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

Eph 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

Eph 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

Eph 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Eph 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Unto Him be obedience in the body by Christ Jesus throughout the aions without end. This my brothers and sisters is what we are called to. This is the mystery.

A Partaker of the Glory that Shall be Revealed

Getting back to and wrapping up 1 Peter chapter 3 -5 where we started from, let us see how this all comes around full circle to us. After all, we should be Christian, correct? We should be as He is in this world.

1Jn 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

Joh 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Joh 17:13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

Joh 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Joh 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

Joh 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Joh 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Joh 17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

By first appearance, it appears that as Christ came to the physical world to show us the Will of God, we too, should be going to the world and doing the same. What I am here to tell you is that we are doing exactly that by living our lives to have a good conscience to God when we give an account to Him. How do we accomplish that?

We have been concentrating on all that is in the world, all that we are told to separate from in relationship to all that is in the world, and we are told that this is orchestrated and seen via the way we live our lives – in other words as we are Christian.

How can we be sure we are meeting such a high standard? We can’t and never could and that is the point, but Christ in us, the mystery for which I have hope, can and does and Peter finishes in chapter 5 with just these admonitions.

2Co1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you- ward.

1Pe 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

1Pe 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

1Pe 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

There are those who should be teachers in the body who yet need to be reminded what are the foundational oracles of God. If you consider yourself to be an elder in the church, take note to what is being said to us.

What I am about to cover will most likely offend a lot of folks who are receiving this message, even so Thy Will be done. It is the very way we live our lives that tells others if Christ is living in us. It is this conversation that will be used to create the situation where we are being sent and used to give a reason of the hope that is in us with meekness and fear so that God will be glorified. Take heed.

1Pe 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

1Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

1Pe 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

1Pe 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

1Pe 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

1Pe 5:11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Spiritual Homosexuality

We have invested a lot of time now talking about who we are, how we relate to the world and Christ through the world. We started this day by talking about knowledge and who we are in Christ as a result of having this knowledge. We are kings and priests, and as such we need to act like it, and we also need to be able to discern when this is not the case.

We are ambassadors, and we must conduct ourselves as such, so I will end the study with what happens as a result of us coming to learn all of the things mentioned here and still returning to the beggarly elements of the world. Let us begin in Colossians:

Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

See, we have come to the point in our walk that we have the immense office to share the hope that is in us. This hope is one of two hopes. We have Jesus Christ, or we have another Jesus. It is our calling to know the difference because His sheep know His voice.

Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

If Christ is in me and I know His voice, then that should equally be true that if Christ is in others, I will hear Him there as well. If He isn’t there, then there will be darkness instead. So, what am I getting at?

How can we be baptized into death and have Christ resurrected in us and yet believe that this can’t be taken away from us? In truth, I confess to you today that we need to be on highest alert and praying without ceasing that we are not blinded suddenly and deceived so strongly that we do not know it.

Here is where we can say our confidence lies:

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Do you have to know the truth in order to hold it? Yes. Can Christ be held unrighteously? Yes. We have been talking all day about having Christ in us, and now we are about to come full circle around if He is continuing to abide in us and US IN HIM!

Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

We see these invisible things hidden in the type and shadow of the two worlds we have been talking about this whole time.

Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Rom 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Rom 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Isn’t it easy to look at these verses and place them in an outward context? Holidays typically fall right into this line of thought and are easy to pick on because they are so outward in appearance, are fun to do, and generally seem so harmless.

However, let’s takes these verses and not only apply them within but also address what we are being told.

We know God but don’t obey Him and are not thankful. We become vain in our imaginations, and our once hearts of light become darkened. In all of this we profess that we are wise and continue to show the fools we are to God.

Not only is that not enough, but we take the obedience that we learn through suffering and change that glorious work into the same graven idols of the heart that our beast was given power over?

What do you think could possibly be the result of all of these wonderful things? I speak as a fool, but here is the reply in Romans:

Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did changethe natural useclass=”bibleverse”>into that which is against nature:

Rom 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Spiritually speaking, we have honestly been talking all day about Christ and the church and this relationship. In this relationship there are many different types and shadows, but one which is very clear is that the body of Christ is the church, and the church is Christ’s bride. We all know this.

When we are told that we KNOW God and hold the TRUTH, and then we are told what we do with that knowledge and truth is become disobedient, I think we all should perk up and start paying attention really fast if we believe we know God and Jesus Christ.

Here is what happens when we DO NOT RETAIN God in our knowledge:

Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Rom 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

Rom 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

Rom 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

Rom 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

It would be imperative that we be concerned with retaining God in our knowledge, but how do we do that?

We do that, among other things, by gathering together in His name. Gathering together in His name is a lot harder than it sounds, because His name is much more than saying Lord, Lord. His name is who He is, what He represents, His WORD of Spirit and truth, and He is the Son of God who suffered the sins of the unjust so that they might be saved.

We are to gather under the umbrella of THIS NAME.

Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

However, if you have NO NEED of the WOMAN, no need of the NATURAL USE OF THE BODY, no need of the Christàthe Word of Godß, the mystery in you which has been hidden for all ages, then you are a spiritual homosexual.

Adam and Eve didn’t need the tree of life. It was uncomely. They wanted the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the law, the thing which is lesser but promises to offer the best of both worlds.

An easy to pick on example for me is again holidays, but rather than mention them all, let’s look at one of the most innocent in appearance but one at the core of them all and it is called S E L F or better known as birthdays.

On the surface we have an innocent event to celebrate the day of one’s birth. Loved ones are gathered around to say, “hey, we love you”, etc., “happy birthday”, right?

Well, here is where our answer of a good conversation towards God, and rather than go over the same scriptures that we tend to associate with this topic, let’s take a look at it from another angle.

1Co 10:27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.

1Co 10:28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof:

1Co 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

I offer this thought to all of you. Whether ignorantly or not, we all worship the beast we are. When we celebrate either our birthday or someone else’s, are we really doing this to the glory, to the obedience of God?

Can any of us picture Christ sitting and blowing out candles while WISHING for something He wanted for Himself? After all, He didn’t come to do His own will.

On top of that, Christ would have a cake that literally we would eat as a sacrifice to the idol of His heart – Himself. I am sure He would claim this was all being done to demonstrate His seriousness to do all that he does to the glory of God.

He did turn one day older after all, and I remember something about worshiping the day of one’s birth because it was better than the day of one’s death. Oh, that’s right, scripture actually says:

Ecc 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.

I could go on and on about the very act of birthday keeping, but that could be a whole talk itself. It’s amazing that I am telling you that you need to focus on eternal life, knowing God and Jesus Christ and not yourself, but I am accused of being self- righteous because I point out what God says about our absurd obsession with ourselves.

We as a society literally worship a birth over a death. It seems so much more enjoyable, and it is for the natural man. When we are told we must give these things up, there is a tremendous amount of suffering that is involved in this mindset.

We must do the Will of God which is to suffer for others.

1Jn 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

1Jn 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

1Jn 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

1Jn 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

1Jn 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

1Jn 2:21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

No lie is of the truth no matter what the subject.

Conclusion

We came into this study today wanting to know and learn more about Jesus Christ. We have seen that knowledge is key to knowing Christ. Knowledge of who we are in Christ and who we are becoming to those around us is vital to life eternal.

We are pilgrims and strangers in this world, but we are also sent into the world but not to be of that same world. We cannot be dead in Christ, have Him resurrected and living in us but do something other than the Will of God.

We must judge ourselves in order to determine if we are indeed abiding in the doctrine of Christ which can only be determined when we gather two or three in His name, His way of life. We can only be His elect if we are indeed suffering with Him, as His church, a body jointly fit together into a Holy habitation built by the hand of God.

[ Steve may be reached for comments or questions at swcrook@ gmail. com]

Other related posts