How to be Ready for False Teaching in the Last Times

One of the signs that come before the return of Christ is exactly what
Jude is talking about in his letter, deceivers in the church who try
to lead God’s people astray. “For false Christs and false prophets
will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray,
if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). What are we to do in
response to this warning? Peter tells us two things we can do.
“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you
are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your
own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:17–18)

(1) Grow in the grace of Jesus Christ. God’s grace to us, seen most
clearly in his giving of Jesus, is the foundation of our lives. We are
to grow in it, be nourished, and strengthened by the grace that we
don’t deserve but do receive. Growing in the grace of God insures that
we persevere to the end and receive our eternal reward. Thank God for
his gift of grace and continually pray for more.

(2) Grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Earlier, Peter says that
God has, “granted to us all things relating to life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him” (1 Peter 1:3). We have the Bible, which
is what we need to grow in our knowledge of Christ so that we can find
joy, comfort and salvation in his presence. There is great danger in
not growing in the knowledge of Jesus (see 2 Peter 2:20-21). Let us
allow the knowledge of Jesus Christ in his word grow us so that we can
stand firm until the end. “I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have,
so that no one may seize your crown” (Revelation 3:11).

A review of the book of 1 Peter

We just finished going through 1 Peter on Sunday mornings.  Here is the outline of everything we saw from this book.  Peter calls us to stand firm in this…

I. Called to Salvation as Exiles (1:1-2:10)
1:1-9 Born Again Exiles
1:10-16 The Christian’s Privilege (advantage over prophets/angels) & Responsibility (hope/holiness)
1:17-25 The Christian’s Relation to God (fear) & One Another (love)
2:1-8 Spiritual Milk (long for the Word) & Living Stones (live as part of the church)
2:9-10 God’s Priests (how God sees you)
II. Live as Aliens in a Hostile World to Bring God Glory (2:11-4:11)
2:11-12 The World’s Exiles (how the world sees you)
2:13-21a The Christian’s Call: Subjection, Not Revolution
2:21b-25 The Imitation of Christ (example/substitute)
3:1-7 Exemplary Husbands (understand) & Wives (submit)
3:8-12 A Life Well Spent (live in community/deal with evil)
3:13-17 A Christian Apologetic (suffer/defend the faith)
3:18-22 Christ Triumphant Through Suffering (death/proclamation) & Judgment (resurrection/ascension)
4:1-6 Living in the World (suffering, but saved from judgment)
4:7-11 Living in Light of the End (the end is at hand: think rightly to pray, love covers sin, show hospitality, use your gifts)
III. Persevere in Suffering (4:12-5:14)
4:12-19 Expect Suffering
5:1-5 The Church’s Leadership (shepherd/humility) & You (humility)
5:6-14 Living Under the Mighty Hand of God (know your place [humility/dependence], know enemy & deliverer, stand firm)

Cultivating Humility

In 1 Peter 5:5, Peter calls the church to “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  No one in their right mind wishes for God to oppose them, yet, so often we carry pride deep within our hearts.  What are some ways we can cultivate humility?

(1)  Humility understands one’s place under God as a sinner in need of God’s grace (Luke 18:31); God Himself teaches humility (Psa 25:9).  To truly know God is to know humility (Dan 10:12).

(2)  Humility is cultivated by walking with God (Micah 6:8)

(3)  Humility is found in the example of Christ: He didn’t count Himself equal with the Father, but took on the form of a servant (Phil 2:5-7); Jesus did not consider Himself too good for any task (John 13:3-17).

(4)  Humility is cognizant of the fact that Christ suffered humiliation; so should you (John 15:20).

(5)  Humility doesn’t take itself too seriously, but takes God seriously.  A humble person can laugh at himself, for he is not overly concerned with his dignity or ego.

(6)  Humility can be developed by trying things that you are not good at.

(7)  Humility depends upon and needs God’s Word in order to understand his or her place (Heb 4:12).

(8)  Humility is aware of one’s own creaturely-ness before the Creator (Ezek 28:2, Luke 5:8).

(9)  Humility is rewarded: it results in inheriting God’s blessing (Mat 5:5) and exaltation (James 4:10).

Do you see a pattern?  Humility is cultivated when we know God and our place before Him.  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you” (1 Pet 5:6).

How do I share Christ’s sufferings?

“Rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings” (1 Peter 4:13).

What did Christ’s sufferings accomplish and how do I share in them?

What did Christ’s sufferings accomplish?

(1)    To satisfy God’s wrath against sin (Rom 3:25)

(2)    To become a ransom for many (Mark 10:45)

(3)    To give eternal life to all who believe in Him (John 3:16, 1 Pet 1:3)

(4)    To reconcile us to God (Rom 5:10, 1 Pet 3:18)

(5)    An example for how we are to live (1 Pet 2:21)

(6)    That we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet 2:24)

What do my sufferings accomplish?

(1)    Tested faith: and subsequently, or hopefully, sanctification (1 Pet 1:6-7)

(2)    Rejoicing: a chance to be like Christ (1 Pet 1:7, 4:13)

(3)    A realization that I need Christ; I am inadequate to satisfy God’s wrath or make payment for sin (1 Pet 3:18)

(4)    A chance to be a witness (1 Pet 2:12, 3:15)

(5)    My sufferings do not accomplish salvation or make me right with God

How do I share Christ’s sufferings?

(1)    First and foremost, you must be in Christ, trusting in what Christ’s sufferings accomplished (1 Pet 1:3)

(2)    Be holy, as God is (1 Pet 1:15)

(3)    Subject yourself to human institutions that may act unjustly (1 Pet 2:13)

(4)    Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you (1 Pet 3:15)

(5)    Arm yourself with the thinking that you will suffer (1 Pet 4:1, 12)

(6)    Suffer for doing good, just as Christ did (1 Pet 4:17-18)

Three Ways Any Christian Can Practice Hospitality

(1) Invite Church Members To Your Home: In the book Transformational Church, the authors say, “People are not just looking for a ‘friendly church,’ they’re hungry for friends.”  As you depart for Sunday lunch, consider the possibility of continuing your fellowship in a more intimate setting.  A simple practice to begin, is to sit down with the church directory regularly and determine whom you might bless (and be blessed) by spending time together.  This provides a practical way to carry out the command to be hospitable (1 Pet 4:9).  Worship and fellowship corporately with the body is oftentimes made sweeter through the fulfillment of this command.  Its neglect often results in coldness, superficiality, or both.

(2) Invite Neighbors To Share and Show Christ: The second greatest commandment (after loving God) is, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mat 22:39).  To fulfill this, we must show love and hospitality to those God has placed near us.  But like the Pharisee, we may ask, “Who is my neighbor?”  Start by taking the word literally and reach out to those in your neighborhood and anyone God brings to your attention. Your home provides you a venue to not only tell a lost neighbor about the love of Christ, but show him as well.  Christ did not come to earth on the weekend to die for your sins and return immediately to the father, but dwelt among us.  Likewise, he does not save the believer, and take him immediately out of the world, but leaves him as a witness to those whom he dwells near.

(3) Invite Visitors At Church To Lunch: Tim Chester, in his book A Meal with Jesus, says, “In the ministry of Jesus, meals were enacted grace, community, and mission … they embody and enact our mission.  Community and mission are more than meals, but it’s hard to conceive of them without meals.”  The act of sharing a meal with others breaks down barriers, cultivates friendships, and embodies grace.  In Luke, Jesus was often described as either going to a meal, at a meal, or coming from a meal. The universal and timeless truth that everyone needs to eat has not changed over the millennium.  Break bread; share and show Christ.