|“Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” (1 Peter 4:16)
The word “Christian” occurs only three times in Scripture and seems to have changed in its meaning from first to last. In the first instance, “the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). The name merely identified them as followers of Christ with no reproach intended.
The second usage was some years later, by which time the term was evidently well known, even among unbelievers. After Paul had witnessed to him, “Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:28). A more literal translation which renders the sentence “Do you try in such a short time to make a Christian of me?” indicates an air of superiority or incredulity in Agrippa’s voice. It would take more than a short testimony to make a Christian of him.
As the years went by, the church began to be plagued by persecution. Our text indicates that even the name “Christian” was by then regarded with contempt and reproach. But Peter tells us that there is no shame involved in the name “Christian” or in following Christ. Peter, no doubt, recalled the shame he felt for denying the name of Christ, but he also recalled with thankfulness how that even though the Jewish council had “beaten them” and “commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus” (Acts 5:40), he and the other apostles departed “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name” (v. 41).
Furthermore, we can “glorify God on this behalf,” or “in this name.” This implies more than just praising the name. We can glorify God in what we do–in how we live in that name. We can certainly also bring dishonor to the title “Christian” by our actions. A solemn responsibility is then ours, to bring honor and glory to God through our lives.
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October 27, 2009
October 20, 2009
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 | Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. [ESV]
These three verses (16-18) are part of the closing exhortations found in 1 Thess. 5:12-22. These exhortations, along w/many others are found throughout the NT. These various exhortations were given in God’s Word so that Christians would know how to walk daily before a lost world.
Today it is no different than it was nearly 2,000 years ago when Paul wrote those words. Just as most people in Paul’s day were lost w/o a saving knowledge of Christ – so too are most of those we encounter on a daily basis. Therefore, just as the Thessalonians were exhorted to walk before others putting their trust in God’s sovereign ability to preserve them, so are we exhorted from these same words to walk before others giving a testimony that we worry not about what is going on around us because our surety lies w/God no matter the circumstances of life | cf. Romans 8:1, 28-39.
Greek Syntax – (Grammar) – All three of the verbs used here in the text of the original Greek manuscripts translated as: rejoice / pray / give thanks – are of an imperative class of Greek verbs. This type of verb is the strongest type of a Greek syntactical command given in the NT. Here these verbs are also found to be in the 2nd person plural making their subject of these exhortations being a plural “you” or as we say here in the south – “Y’all.”
Vs. 16 – [You] Rejoice always
The phrase translated rejoice always literally reads “at all times be rejoicing” and emphasizes that truly joyful Christians will always have a deep-seated confidence in God’s sovereign love and mighty power on behalf of His own, and in His providential working of all things according to His perfect plan (Matt. 6:33-34; Rom. 8:28-30; 11:33; Phil. 1:12; cf. Gen. 50:20; Ps. 139:1-5). Therefore, no event or circumstance in the Christian’s life, apart from sin, can or should diminish his true joy | [adapted].
Rejoice – Not of your works – but that your names are recorded in heaven – Luke 10:20.
Rejoice – That this is the day that God has made – Psalm 118:24.
Rejoice – In the Lord that you may have the desires of your heart – Psalm 37:4.
. What circumstance do you think can come up in your life that God cannot be there for you to face?
. What sin can you do that He cannot forgive? – So why be sad? / Unhappy? / Depressed? / Troubled? / Afraid?
. As Jesus rejoiced in securing our salvation, let us follow His example and “always” rejoice in Him!
Hebrews 12:1-2 – … Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Vs. 17 – [You] Pray without ceasing
Paul’s exhortation … to pray without ceasing is thus a divine mandate to all believers. … It encompasses all the aspects of prayer: submission, confession, petition, intercession, praise, and thanksgiving. … [It is to be] constant and defines prayer not as some perpetual activity of kneeling and interceding but as a way of life marked by a continual attitude of prayer | [adapted].
Pray – To our Father – in a family relationship – Matthew 6:9-13.
Pray – In Jesus name – we may boldly come in His name – John 14:13-14.
Pray – By the Holy Spirit – He makes intercession for us – Romans 8:26.
. Because God is sovereign – Then in confidence we can call on His name in making our petitions known to Him – with a constant attitude of assurance that He hears and answers us.
Hebrews 4:14-16 – Since then we have a great high priest … Jesus, the Son of God … who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence [boldly – NKJV] draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Vs. 18 – [You] give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
[This] simple, direct statement allows believers no excuses to be ungrateful. In everything … refers to all that occurs in life. No matter what struggles, trials, testings, or vicissitudes [i.e., unfavorable event; misfortunes] occur in the lives of Christians (with the obvious exception of personal sins), they are to give thanks. … It is God’s will that all those who are in Christ Jesus should express constant joy, constant prayer, and constant thanksgiving | [adapted].
Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
. How does a Christian accomplish rejoicing always, praying w/o ceasing, and being thankful for all?
.. He does so by trusting God.
2 Timothy 1:12 – For this reason I also suffer … nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. [NKJV]
. Trusting God – it is committing our way (life) to follow the Lord – Psalm 37:5 | Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
* [MacArthur John, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 1 & 2 Thessalonians, (Chicago, Moody Press, 2002), 183-190.]
ba – October 21, 2009
October 7, 2009
Be open to the fact that it is the Word of God.
Revere the Bible when you discover that it’s God’s Word.
Have a sense of conviction that you are a sinner in the view of this Word.
Know that the Bible meets you with forgiveness because Christ is at the center of the book.
Have hope that you can press on in life because the Bible will give you all the guidance you need.
[BibeStudyMagazine.com (Sept/Oct, 2009), 12]