"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY" The Great Apostasy (4:1-3) by Mark Copeland


The Great Apostasy (4:1-3)


1. Paul's concern in his first epistle to Timothy is proper conduct "in
   the house of God, the church of the living God" - 1Ti 3:15
   a. The church Jesus said He would build - Mt 16:18
   b. The church Paul wrote that Jesus loved - Ep 5:25-27

2. The Lord's intent was that there be one church...
   a. He prayed for the unity of His followers - Jn 17:20-23
   b. Paul later wrote that there is one body (i.e., church) - Ep 4:4-6;
      cf. 1:22-23

3. Yet we see around us so much religious confusion, so many different
   a. How did it happen?  When did it happen?
   b. What can disciples of Christ today do about it?

[Our text (1Ti 4:1-3) is one of several passages in which Paul and
others foretold of an 'apostasy', a falling away...]


   A. BY PAUL...
      1. In warning Timothy
         a. Describing how some will "depart from the faith" - 1Ti 4:
            1) Giving heed to "deceiving spirits and doctrines of
            2) Forbidding to marry, commanding to abstain from meats
         b. Describing how some will 'not endure sound doctrine' - 2 Ti 4:1-4
            1) Getting teachers who will tell them what they want to
            2) Turning from the truth, turning aside to fables
      2. In warning the Ephesian elders - Ac 20:27-31
         a. Of "wolves" coming in from outside the flock
         b. Of men "from among yourselves" drawing disciples away
      3. In warning the church at Thessalonica - 2Th 2:1-3
         a. Of a great "falling away" that must come
         b. Revealing "the man of sin", "the son of perdition"

      1. Peter warned of false teachers to come - 2Pe 2:1-2
         a. Who will bring in destructive heresies
         b. Whom many will follow
      2. Jude warned of false teachers who were present - Jude 3-4
         a. Who had crept in unnoticed
         b. Who were turning the grace of God into lewdness
         c. Who were denying the Lord God and the Lord Jesus Christ
      3. John warned of "antichrists" who had come - 1Jn 2:18-19
         a. Many, in fact, had come!
         b. Indicative of living in "the last hour"

[Even Jesus warned there would be false prophets (Mt 7:15).  Before the
canon of the New Testament was completed, the apostasy was already
underway.  As one examines early church history, there are further
indications of...]


      1. In many cases, it appeared innocent at first
         a. Attempting to deal with errors in and out of the church
         b. Leading to a change in the organization of the church
            1) From autonomous and independent congregations overseen by
               a plurality of elders (also known as bishops and pastors)
               - cf. Ac 14:23; 20:17,28; 1Pe 5:1-2
            2) To a collectivity of churches under one bishop - e.g.,
               writings of Ignatius
         c. Resulting in centralization of power and influence among key
            individuals; just as Paul warned! - cf. Ac 20:30
      2. This subtle change made it much easier for error to spread
         a. When those in power began teaching false doctrine
         b. Before long, the very errors foretold by Paul were being
            taught! - cf. 1Ti 4:1-3
            1) Such as celibacy
            2) Such as abstaining from certain foods
         c. Many other errors were introduced during this time,
            1) Sprinkling instead of immersion for baptism
            2) Mechanical instruments of music instead of a capella
      3. Through slow but gradual changes, the seeds of modern churches
         were sown
         a. Producing what later became known as the Roman Catholic
         b. But also many other "orthodox" churches (Greek, Egyptian,
            Russian, Armenian, etc.)
         c. And eventually the multitude of Protestant denominational
      -- Just as foretold, many departed from the simplicity of the
         Lord's church as revealed in the New Testament

      1. The Lord's church has continued unabated
         a. For not even the gates of Hades could prevail against it - Mt 16:18
         b. It is a kingdom that cannot be destroyed - cf. Dan 2:44; Lk 1:32-33
      2. Faithful disciples would have undoubtedly been treated as
         a. For refusing to follow those in "power"
         b. By those presuming to have "authority" over the Lord's flock
      3. But where there were faithful disciples, though few and
         unknown, the church existed
         a. For the Word of God is an incorruptible seed - cf. 1Pe 1: 22-25
         b. Wherever the gospel was faithfully preached and believed,
            souls were saved and added by the Lord to His church - e.g., Ac 2:38-41,47
      -- History may not record (or may misrepresent) the existence of
         those who remained faithful, but the Lord knows His own! - 2 Ti 2:19


1. Throughout the history of the apostasy, many have come to realize
   what has happened, and efforts made to rectify the problem...
   a. Appeals to reformation have produced many denominations
   b. Appeals to new revelation have produced many cults

2. The only antidote to apostasy is that given by Paul to the Ephesians
   a. First, take heed to yourself and those around you - cf. Ac 20:28
   b. Second, be on the watch and remember what the apostles warned
      about false teachers - cf. Ac 20:29-31
   c. Third, look to God and His Word (not traditions of men); i.e.,
      diligent prayer and careful Bible study - cf. Ac 20:32

With this "antidote" to apostasy, you can have confidence that God in
His grace will "build you up and give you an inheritance among all those
who are sanctified"...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

eXTReMe Tracker 

Hell and the Omnipresence of God by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Hell and the Omnipresence of God

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Since God is omnipresent, does that mean that He will be present in hell?


The Bible certainly indicates that God is all-knowing and ever-present. “[A]ll things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). Through the prophet Jeremiah, God asked: “Am I a God near at hand...and not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?... Do I not fill heaven and earth?” (Jeremiah 23:23-24). Indeed, God does “fill heaven and earth.” Solomon said: “Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You [God]” (1 Kings 8:27). No one can flee from God’s presence (Psalm 139:7). He is omniscient and omnipresent.
The Bible does, however, speak of God’s presence in different senses. God is present on His throne in heaven (Hebrews 8:1; 12:2; Revelation 21:5). Solomon referred to “heaven” as God’s “dwelling place” from which He hears the prayers of His people (1 Kings 8:30). God is present in and among His church (1 Corinthians 3:16). Though God has hidden His face from sinners who have separated themselves spiritually from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), God still fills the Earth with His presence, knowing and seeing everything (Hebrews 4:13; Jeremiah 23:23-24). What’s more, though God is with Christians (Hebrews 13:5), and is ever-present on Earth, God also has made more direct, periodic appearances in spirit or fleshly forms (Genesis 18:1; Acts 9:5,17; Acts 23:11).
The Bible reveals that God is even present in Sheol (“the abode of the dead.... [T]he Hebrew equivalent of the Greek Hades...to which both the righteous and unrighteous go at death”—see “Sheol,” 1986). The psalmist asked, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there;    if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there” (Psalm 139:7-8, NASB, emp. added). Job declared that “Sheol is naked before Him [God], and Destruction has no covering” (Job 26:6; cf. Proverbs 15:11). Whether one enters into the afterlife on the side of Paradise (Luke 23:43; 16:22) or torments (Luke 16:23), God is there in some sense. He knows all and sees all.
In addressing his desire to leave this present life and be with Jesus, Paul wrote: “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather   to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8, emp. added; cf. Philippians 1:23). In one sense, Christ was “with Paul” as a Christian and an apostle (Matthew 28:20; Acts 18:10), in another sense, while here on Earth Paul was “absent from the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6). Once again, Scripture refers to the presence of God in different senses.
In the end, the saved will “meet the Lord in the air” and “always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). We are going to the place that He has prepared for us and be where He says, “I [God] am” (John 14:2-3). But what about the inhabitants of hell and the omnipresence of God? It would appear that, since   God created    hell for the devil, his angels, and all of the wicked (Matthew 25:41), and since the Bible makes clear that prior to the Judgment God has some kind of presence in sheol/hades, even though there is a great gulf separating Paradise and torments (Luke 16:26), God’s presence is in hell in some sense. Though on one hand the wicked will be separated from God forever (Matthew 7:23; 25:41), they will never escape His ever-present and everlasting judgment.


“Sheol” (1996), Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).

Hebrews 6:4-6 and the Unpardonable Sin by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Hebrews 6:4-6 and the Unpardonable Sin

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Forgiveness is one of the most sublime concepts in the Bible. To think that our Creator loves us in spite of grievous sins that we have committed is thrilling. And to know that the blood of Jesus can forgive us when we repent and obey is nothing short of amazing (see Lyons and Butt, 2015). One of the most terrifying ideas, however, is the thought that maybe we have done things that are so wicked and sinful that we are beyond God’s forgiveness. Some believe this due to an incorrect understanding of two concepts in the Bible—the unpardonable sin and a statement in Hebrews 6:4-6.
The idea of an unpardonable sin scares some people, because they believe they may have committed it, even though most of them do not have a proper understanding of what the sin actually is. We read about the unpardonable sin in Matthew 12:31-32, Mark 3:28-30, and Luke 12:10. The sin is the very specific sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. That means the act of speaking evil of the Holy Spirit. It was committed by those who actually saw Jesus perform miracles and attributed His power to Satan. Because no one today can see Jesus perform such miracles, then the sin apparently cannot even be committed today. Some have suggested that the sin is any sin that is unrepented of, or murder, or adultery, or various other behaviors. The text is plain that those sins cannot be the unpardonable sin. It was specifically blasphemy that was the result of seeing Jesus’ miracles (see Butt, 2003).
With the idea of an unpardonable sin in mind, many people then go to Hebrews 6:4-6 and are convinced that they have fallen away from God and that it is now impossible for them to be saved. A closer look at Hebrews 6:4-6 will show the problem with this thinking. The text reads:
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame (Hebrews 6:4-6).
Notice what the text does not say. It does not say it is impossible to forgive a person who has fallen away. This is in contrast to the unpardonable sin. The gospel writers describe that sin as an “eternal” sin, for which there was never any forgiveness. The text in Hebrews says that if people fall away it is impossible to “renew them again to repentance.” The difference between forgiveness and repentance is profound. The message in Hebrews 6 is not that those who fall away have committed sins that God will not forgive, it is that their hearts have become so hard that they will not repent. Thus, if a person is willing to repent, he or she cannot be one of those who have fallen away according to Hebrews 6:4-6. A similar idea is found in 1 Timothy 4:2, where we read about those who have “their own conscience seared with a hot iron.” Again, it is not that God will not forgive these people, it is that they will not repent and come back to God.
An excellent example of the difference between forgiveness and repentance is seen in the lives of Judas and Peter. In a very real sense, both of these apostles betrayed their Lord. Judas sold Him to the Jewish leaders, and Peter denied three times even knowing Him. Their actions after their sins, however, show that Peter was willing to repent and come back to his Savior, but Judas’ heart was so calloused he would not repent. Peter was forgiven and Judas was lost, not because Judas’ sin was so much more grievous than Peter’s, but because Judas had allowed his heart and conscience to be so seared that he would not repent.
In summary, any person who reads Hebrews 6:4-6 and wonders if he or she is a person who is without hope and has fallen away from God can easily answer that question. If that person is willing to repent of sins and obey God, that passage cannot apply to him or her.


Butt, Kyle (2003), “Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit—The ‘Unpardonable Sin,’” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1218.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2015), “Receiving the Gift of Salvation,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/Receiving%20the%20Gift%20of%20Salvation.pdf.

Hearing God in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Hearing God in the Twenty-First Century

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In the Garden of Eden, God spoke directly to Adam, commanding him to refrain from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). Centuries later, “the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision” while he dwelt in the land of Canaan (Genesis 15:1). The patriarch Jacob received a message from Jehovah via the “Angel of God,” Who spoke to him in a dream (Genesis 31:11). The Lord spoke directly to Moses at the burning bush on Mount Horeb (Exodus 3-4). The angel Gabriel brought messages from God to Zacharias, who was dwelling in Jerusalem (Luke 1:11-21), and to Mary, the mother of Jesus, who lived in Nazareth (Luke 1:26-33). Even Saul, who was on his way to Damascus to imprison any Jewish Christians he might find, received a “heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19; cf. Acts 9). A list of God’s appearances and messages to men seems almost endless. No Bible believer can dispute the fact that God has revealed messages to men countless times, either directly or through avenues other than written revelation.
The question often asked today is, “How do we hear God   now?” Does He still communicate to people through dreams and visions like He did in biblical times? Should we expect Him to call upon us directly at any moment to do some great work, like Saul was called to do? Will God send an angel to me to disclose more revelation than what is given in the Bible? Or, similar to how Eli instructed Samuel, should I “go lie down” and wait on Jehovah to reveal some message to me (1 Samuel 3:9-10). In view of the fact that for millennia God communicated to people either directly or through avenues other than written revelation, why do some today claim that God communicates to man   only    via the Bible? Just how is it that we “hear God” today?
According to Hebrews 1:1-2, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,   has in these last days spoken to us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2, emp. added). In another contrast between the prophets of old (namely, Moses and Elijah) and Jesus, God instructed Peter, James, and John, saying, “This [Jesus] is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.   Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:5, emp. added). Jesus informed His listeners on one occasion of the reason we must “listen” to Him: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48, emp. added). For one to be pleasing to God, he must learn and obey the words of Jesus.
But how do we “hear” Jesus? According to the New Testament, people come to know Jesus and His words by way of the of the apostles’ teachings. Consider the following line of reasoning from the Scriptures.
  • The night of Jesus’ betrayal, He prayed to the Father, saying, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me   through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21, emp. added). The “their” of verse 20 refers to those for whom Jesus was praying in the preceding verses (17:6-19)—the apostles. Jesus prayed for the unity of future believers, which He stated would be based upon the   apostles’ “word.”
  • On that same night, Jesus told the apostles: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me” (John 13:20, emp. added). After Jesus’ resurrection, and before His ascension into heaven, Jesus told these same disciples: “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). To receive the apostles’ teachings, then, was to receive Jesus.
But how do we receive the apostles’ doctrine today? Since all of the apostles are dead, via what method do the apostles speak to us in the twenty-first century? Paul answered this question in Ephesians 3:1-5.
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets   (emp. added).
Today, a person can understand “the mystery of Christ” through the written revelation of men like the apostle Paul, who received the Truth “through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12).
Still, some ask: “Haven’t other men who have lived through the centuries, even into the twenty-first century, been inspired by God to reveal His message?” Actually, the Bible indicates that   all Truth necessary for salvation   was revealed during the lifetime of the apostles. The night before Jesus’ crucifixion, He promised His apostles that after His departure from them, the Spirit would come and guide them “into all truth” (John 16:13), teaching them “all things,” and bringing to their remembrance “all things” that Jesus taught them (John 14:26). After His crucifixion and resurrection (but before He ascended into heaven), Jesus then commanded these same disciples to “make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20, emp. added). The “faith…was   once for all   delivered to the saints” in the first century (Jude 3), so that since that time Christians have had “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).
Hearing God’s will in the twenty-first century is as easy as picking up the providentially preserved Bible and reading what Jesus’ “apostles and prophets” recorded for our benefit. God’s revelation thoroughly equips us for every good work (cf. 2 Timothy 3:17), so that no modern-day messages, dreams, or visions are needed. Nearly two thousand years ago, God revealed “all truth” to the apostles and prophets, who recorded it “by inspiration.” This “truth” is the standard by which all people are to live. And anyone teaching a contrary message will suffer eternally (cf. Galatians 1:8-9).

Has Satan Always Existed? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Has Satan Always Existed?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

From a very early age, children learn about the righteousness of God and the wickedness of Satan. We teach children that God is the loving, powerful, and all-knowing Creator and Sustainer of life Who wants them to live right and go to heaven. We also tell them that there is an evil being called Satan who is very influential in the world, and who is doing everything he possibly can to keep them out of heaven. Many Sunday mornings in Bible class, children either sing or study about these two beings. This time of study certainly is worthwhile because children are taught to obey God (John 14:15) and to resist the devil (1 Peter 5:8). In time, however, if young people are not offered additional teaching about the origin of Satan and the eternal nature of God, many inadvertently begin to form a picture in their minds of two opposing “gods” who are at war with each other. Like two heavyweight boxers exchanging punches in the middle of a ring, children begin to think of God and Satan as two equally opposing “forces.”
Although little is suggested in the Bible about Satan’s beginning, we can know that Satan is a created being. Unlike God, the Bible teaches that Satan is not omnipotent (1 John 4:4), omnipresent (cf. Job 1-2; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Luke 4:6; Revelation 20:1-10), or eternal (cf. Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 102:27). Furthermore, in speaking of Jesus, Paul wrote: “For by Him   all things   were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16, emp. added). The apostle John was inspired to write: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.   All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3, emp. added). Who made all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible? Jesus (the Word—John 1:14). Thus, the Bible teaches that Satan is one of God’s created beings. He had a beginning just like you, me, and everything else that exists other than God.
But just because God created Satan, does not mean that He created him as an evil being. Rather, God created him good, and then he chose to become evil. The Bible indicates that Satan was one of the angels who lived in heaven, but he (along with other angels) rebelled against God and was cast out of Heaven. The apostle Peter said that “God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment” (2 Peter 2:4). Another inspired writer wrote: “And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6). Since the Bible also refers to the devil as “the ruler of demons” (Matthew 12:24), and speaks of “the devil and   his   angels” (Matthew 25:41, emp. added), it is very likely that the devil is the leader of a group of rebellious angels that was expelled from heaven to eventually spend eternity in hell.
Thus, unlike the philosophy of dualism (made popular by the Persian—Zoroaster), which teaches that an eternal good being and an eternal evil being exist and oppose one another, the Bible teaches that the Godhead is the only eternal entity. Although Satan is not to be taken lightly, it is a blessing to know that he cannot snatch us from the love of God if we are unwilling to allow him to do so (Romans 8:37-39), nor can he tempt us beyond what we are able to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). God alone is deity, and He alone deserves our praise and adoration.

Would You Allow This? by Greg Gwin


Would You Allow This?

by   Greg Gwin 
Submitted To: garyslist@creature.tn.org
Date: Thursday, June 03, 1999 9:43 PM
  • A husband was away from home for several weeks.  There was no justifiable reason for him to be gone.  One day he just left and never came home.  Numerous inquiries were made, but his absence remained unexplained.  And then one day he wandered back home.  He sat down at the supper table and acted as though nothing had ever happened.  Would you allow this? 
  • A worker walked off this job.  He did not obtain his employer's permission, he just disappeared.  He remained gone for a couple of months.  Other employees had to take up the slack and fill-in for him, covering his work while they tried to do their own.  Then he showed up on a payday.  He offered no explanation, asked for all his back wages and proceeded to take up his former position as if everything was normal.  Would you allow this?
  • A student failed to attend classes for a number of weeks.  School officials attempted to locate him and discover the cause of his absence, but to no avail.  The other students progressed in their studies, leaving the absent student far behind in several important subject areas.  The truant student returned one day.  He had no excuse.  There was evidence that his absence was deliberate and that he had been involved in a good bit of mischief.  Amazingly, he expected to be welcomed without question and even requested that the entire class back-track and cover the subject matters he missed. Would you allow this?
  • A Christian did not attend services for several weeks.  The elders, the preacher, and a number of other church members tried to find out what the problem was, but without success.  Others had to take up the slack caused by his absence.  The congregation proceeded with its program of work and teaching.  Then one day he showed up for services again.  There was no explanation - no confession of wrongdoing.  He wanted to immediately retake to his former status, to be counted as a faithful member, to be called on for prayer and used in the services.  Would you allow this?  Think!!!
Greg Gwin
 Columbia, TN
Greg Gwin

Are You Ready 2 Peter 3 – By Ben Fronczek


Are You Ready

2 Peter 3        
 – By Ben Fronczek                                                                                             
Over the past few months I have been bringing lessons from letters written by the Apostle Peter.
I have to admit, I like Peter. He wasn’t the kind of guy one would imagine being a religious or holy man. When we are first introduced to Peter (called Simon), he was a fisherman. Many fishermen of that time were gruff, unkempt, vile, shabbily dressed, and often used vulgar language.
He would be what we call a man’s man today. These guys were full of vigor and had hot tempers. Perhaps that’s why his friends  and fellow fisherman, James and his brother John were called the Sons of Thunder (Mark 3:17).
Their’s was a rough life since fishing was a very messy and physically demanding job. They must have been somewhat fearless too because some of the storms that came quickly upon the Sea of Galilee were fierce and furious. They often caught the fishermen by surprise and could easily capsize the 20 to 30 foot boats they used.
One day when Jesus showed up on the scene and said, “Follow Me.” We read that Peter and his brother Andrew, simply dropped everything and left their fishing business behind to follow Jesus.
In Gospel accounts we read that Peter was outspoken, impulsive, and was still humble enough and realized that he did not even deserve to be in Jesus’ presence. At one point he told Jesus, “Go away from me Lord for I am a sinful man.” (Luke 5:8)
Being a rugged individual Himself Jesus and Peter seem get along great. Peter along with James and John became what we now call His inner circle and they seemed a little closer than the other apostles. Peter saw almost all the miracles that Jesus performed including Him walking on water when he had an opportunity to do the same (Matthew 14:25-33). He saw the glory of Jesus on the Mt. of transfiguration where Jesus began to glow as bright as the sun (Matt. 17:1-9). He got to listen to all those amazing teachings of Jesus first hand. He saw the death, and then three days later witness Jesus’ empty tomb, and witnessed the resurrected Christ. He heard Jesus final command, to go into all nations and make more disciples, and then baptize them and teach them to obey everything that He commanded (Matt 28:18-20). And then Peter was there to witness Jesus rising through the clouds back to heaven which was followed by the angels promising that one day again He would return the same way that he departed. (Acts 1:9-11)
Serving as the spokesman of the first believers on the day of Pentecost Peter was the first to stand up and preach the good news about Jesus to the Jews telling them about who Jesus was, and why they needed to put their faith in Him as their Lord and Savior. And in the latter part of Acts 2 he encouraged the people to repent and turn away from their sinful ways and be baptized so that their sins would be forgiven. And then we read that 3000 respond to his message and were baptized that very day. (Acts 2:37-41).
Later we also read that Peter would also be the first one to bring the good news about Jesus to the Gentiles when he goes to the home of a Roman Centurion, named Cornelius (in Acts 10).  They likewise baptized his entire household opening up the way of salvation for not just the Jews but for everyone else.
Peter willingly suffered persecution, imprisonment, beatings, and even rejoiced at the fact that he was worthy to suffer disgrace for the Lord‘s sake (Acts 5:17 & 40-41).
After that we do not read too much about Peter other than the fact that he served as an elder in the early Church.
As most of you know Peter was totally dedicated to Jesus even though he had a moment of weakness and denied even knowing Jesus three times the night He was arrested. There are traditional stories that state that before Peter himself was crucified upside down because he did not feel worthy of being crucified like Jesus, he had to watch his wife be crucified. Trying to encourage her he was heard crying out to her, “Remember our Lord, remember our Lord.”
From an arrogant, cocky, man of thunder, he became a humble, willing, obedient servant of the Lord, even to death. He rejoiced in that day of his death, knowing that he would be reunited with his beloved Savior. The lowly fisherman became a mighty fisher of men – and one that changed and shaped the world forever and is still proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ through his writings.
I was surprised to read that many scholars believe that Peter is actually the author behind the Gospel of Mark. They believe that John Mark was simply the scribe recording Peter’s words. And then we have the letters we just studied, I & II Peter.
As we studied these letters we read messages of hope:                             
– Peter says that God has given us everything we need for a life of godliness through our knowledge of him (Jesus). And He has also given us his great and precious promises so that through them we may participate in His own divine nature and escape the corruption in the world cause by evil desires. (1 Pet. 1:3-4)                                                                                  
 – He also lets us know that we have been given a new birth into a living hope and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade- kept for you in heaven                                
– He said that we are precious to God, we are a chosen people a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to Him (1 Pet. 2:2-5 & 9)     
– He said that we should cast our anxiety on God because He cares for us. (1 Pet. 5:7)
– He said that even if you suffer Christ will restore you and make you strong (5:10)
We also saw that he gave us wise instruction:                                            
– That we should prepare our mind for action, be clear minded, be self controlled so we can pray. He wrote, be obedient children and do not conform to the evil desires we had before we were Christians. Rather, to the best of our ability we should be Holy because our heavenly Father is holy (1 Pet. 1:13-16). And we should do our best to love one another. In doing so we actually become a mechanism or a vehicle of God’s grace to others.
– We should do our best to get rid of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.
– He said that we should seek to grow up in our salvation and like new born babes crave pure spiritual milk. And to our faith add goodness and to goodness add knowledge, and to knowledge add self control.. perseverance… godliness… brotherly kindness and love
– Peter said that we should live our lives as strangers here in this world in reverent fear.  And that…
– We should live for God and do good, and humbly submit to those who are over us, and offer hospitality without grumbling
– He said that we should do our best to make sure our calling and election is sure.
But then he also gave us many warnings, such as:                                          
– We need to be careful, alert and self controlled because the our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. He said we need to resist him and stand firm in our faith. (1 Pet.5:8-9)
– He also warns us of the fact that there will be false teachers even from within the church that we have to be careful of. These individuals are dangerous and can deceive weaker members and cause much harm to the church. (2 Pet. 2)
And finally as we close this series we come to one scary final warning and a recommendation in 2 Peter 3.
To begin with, Peter reminds his readers exactly why he wrote these letter. Read 3:1-2
“Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.”
He wrote these things down as reminders, to stimulate (Gk. Wake up, stir up, or arouse)  us to wholesome (or Pure) thinking.
Our generation like theirs has become very lacked in thinking about or acting on spiritual matters. Other things apparently have slipped in and have become more important to many of us. Peter wanted to shake up his readers a bit for their own good. He wanted to remind them of what was written about and spoke about in the past by those OT prophets and what Jesus said.
And just like people mock and scoff at our Christian beliefs today, many doubted then, especially the warning that Jesus will come again. And when  the day of the Lord arrives a cataclysm will come as well.  Read 3:3-9  “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgmentand destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Just like people of old who mocked and probably laughed at Noah and his family, people today sneer at the suggestion that such a disaster or judgment shall befall our planet today.  Peter writes here that God does not look at time like we look at time. He doesn’t have a watch or calendar, rather He is patient not wanting anyone to perish and is waiting for everyone to come to repentance (that is everyone who will).
And then he goes on to talk about the event: Read 3:10    But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”                        
Peter lets us know that this event will come unannounced, like a thief. When is going to happen? We don’t know. Peter doesn’t know, but it’s going to happen.
He said, “The heavens will disappear with a roar and the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.”
Exactly what this means, I don’t know for sure. I don’t think anyone knows.
Is it possible for something like this to happen? Based on scientific evidence our planet could be fried and burnt to a crisp in a moment’s notice. There are powers at work in the universe that few barely understand. Like: – The effect black hole moving close to our solar system. – A gamma ray burst or another  devastating blast of cosmic radiation. – The effect of something called dark energy,  or the questionable effect of the earth passing thru the galactic plane which will happen at the end of this year. This is what the Mayans warned us about that something major is about to happen.  And there may more dangers that we don’t even know about..
To Peter, it really it doesn’t matter how, or even when. What matters to him is  are you going to be ready.  Read 3:11-15  “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[a] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth,where righteousness dwells.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.”
At this point, I believe here at the end his final letter Peter is pouring our his heart out to his readers. It is the last message we receive from him.  It doesn’t matter how or when this event is going to take place, he is more concerned about his readers being ready and living like, and being the kind of people we ought to be.
And if you are living the way you should and are standing right with God you shouldn’t fear that day, rather you can look forward to it. Why, because we are looking forward to a new reality, a new and better existence for faithful men and women, in a new heavenly existence described as a new heaven and earth promised by God Himself. In that realm somehow we will be changed into spiritual beings, glorious beings like Jesus Himself. (1 Cor. 15)
The question is, are we ready? Better yet, are you ready?
Peter says that the Lord is patiently waiting for you to come to Him in faith. This promise does not cost us more than our faith and devotion.
Jesus paid the price and died on the cross for every sin that we have and ever will commit. He’s the one who was willing suffer in your place for those sins as a gift to you because He loves you. All we need to do is accept that gift in faith.
He wants you to confess that faith to others and do your best to turn away from doing evil things. And if you allow yourself to be baptized He said that He would remove those sins from just like a surgeon cuts away a cancer. He lets us know that if you do this you will be like a new born babe in God’s eyes. (Acts 2:37-38, 22:16Colossians 2:9-13 & Romans 6:3-11)
Get ready and prepare because none of us know when that great day will come. For that matter we don’t know how long we are going to live. Peter pleads with us to get ready!
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566




The churches of Christ are not right because we say we are right. We are right because God’s Word confirms we are right. We have the right name, the right faith and the right baptism, and all that continue therein will have the right to eternal life. Give your attendance to the churches of Christ, and know of an assurance you are in the right place, because we are right with God.
Acts 20:7; Rom 16:16; Eph 4:4-6; Eph 1:13; Eph 1:22,23; Col 1:18 1 Cor 12:13,27; Eph 1:2; 1 Tim 6:12; 2 Jn 9; Heb 10:25

Get yourself baptized by Jim McGuiggan


Get yourself baptized

How do you get saved? The very question makes it sound like we save ourselves, and that couldn’t be further from the truth! God alone is the Savior in Jesus Christ. But because God cannot and will not save us against our will, the scriptures call us to respond in free cooperation with the saving Lord. That’s why you hear texts saying, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation" (Acts 2:40). Or 1 Timothy 4:16, which says, "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them. Because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers."
Some people fear such speech because they see a legalist under every bed. They don’t want anyone to get the impression that they can save themselves. This is a legitimate concern but there’s no point in being so "careful" that we don’t call people to do what they’re called by God to do. "What must I do to be saved?" a jailer asked Paul (Acts 16:31). "What must we do [to be forgiven]?" thousands asked Peter (Acts 2:37). "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" a man asked Jesus (Luke 10:25). None of the three acted as though this was a terrible question. No one said to the inquirers, "Ah, now that’s your fundamental mistake because you can’t do anything to be saved." All three told their hearers what to do to be saved.
Responding to the gospel of Jesus Christ in trusting repentance saves you when you get baptized into Jesus Christ. This is what Paul taught the jailer in Acts 16:31-32. This is what Peter taught thousands in Acts 2:37-38 and it’s what Christ told his apostles to teach all nations in Matthew 28:18-19 and Mark 16:15-16. It’s what Ananias told Saul in Acts 22:16 when he wanted the forgiveness of his sins. I’ve stressed in scores of places on this site, and at length, that faith in Jesus Christ is the heart of our response to God’s gospel. That isn’t to be denied. Without a trusting and penitent heart nothing else matters—it’s all in vain for without that trust and repentance which is part of a full-bodied faith there is no true acceptance of Christ. But I need to say plainly that in the New Testament when convicted and now believing people wanted to become Christ’s they were told to be baptized.
It doesn’t matter that some sweet and wise people that we know don’t hold to that. The scriptures are very plain about it. You aren’t required to obey these sweet wise people but you are required to obey the voice of God in scripture. Read the texts on baptism for yourself and if they’re as plain to you and as they are to me, don’t ask anyone’s permission or approval—get yourself baptized and know you are saved.
And it isn’t necessary for you to make judgements on the spiritual condition of everyone you meet. Leave that to God. [Please see Remarks on Baptism (3).] Simply tell them what you’ve read in scripture and what you have done about it and let them make up their minds before God what they’ll do about it. In Acts 22:16 Ananias told a now believing and repentant Saul, "And now, what are you waiting for? Get up, and have yourself baptized and wash your sins away, calling on the name of the Lord." So, if you haven’t done that, "What are you waiting for? Get up, and have yourself baptized and wash your sins away calling on the name of the Lord."