1 Peter 2:1Ė10
Peacemaking children of God will free creation from corruption, because
they are living in the heavenly will of the Lord and fulfilling their
calling as true Christians.
Yes, true Christians are peacemakers and they cause no knowing violence to any other living being, either directly or indirectly; for any form of violence is of the world and not of God.
We all need to keep these things in mind as we continue with todayís message.
And, since this is the fifth Sunday in Easter, itís appropriate for us to take a look at John 14:1-14Ö
1. "Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.
There are a lot of evil and ungodly things going on in the world around
us, and some of them might cause our heart to be troubled, such as the
horrible way animals are treated on farms, in slaughterhouses, laboratories,
and in other exploitive situations.
In addition, our heart could be troubled because most people are indifferent to the suffering of animals.
Or our heart could be troubled over the illness or death of a loved one, or over our own health problems.
But Jesus is telling us to look beyond these situations by faith into heaven itself, and He tells us why so that we would have hope.
2. "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it
were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
3. "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
4. "And you know the way where I am going."
This is the assurance that is to give us hope, but there always seems to be a doubting Thomas around who lacks this kind of faith and understanding.
5. Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are
going, how do we know the way?"
6. Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.
7. "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him."
The lack of Christian faith and understanding that many of us see today also existed among the apostles.
8. Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is
enough for us."
9. Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, 'Show us the Father'?
10. "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
The Father abiding in Jesus is the same Holy Spirit that we can have today, if we allow Him to enter into our lives and change us into the loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God who seek to end the horrible corruption, pain, suffering and death that plagues the whole creation including millions of our fellow human beings and billions of animals every year.
11. "Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; otherwise believe on account of the works themselves.
Then comes an extremely important passage that most truly believing Christians fail to take advantage of.
12. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the
works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do;
because I go to the Father.
13. "And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14. "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
The greater works that we can do are through our being a witness to the
world around us of Godís perfect love and heavenly will, and through our
efforts as peacemaking children of God to free creation from its present
And our prayers for these things do seem to get answered.
We can reach many more people than Jesus was able to do during His lifetime on earth with His message of being loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God.
However, we have not seen the same response from the Lord when it comes to actually ending the corruption of the world, and we believe that this is because He made the human race in charge of the welfare of His creation, and as a whole we have failed miserably.
But as our collective voices for peace increase, we will begin to see more and more of our prayers to free the animals from their horrible suffering being answered.
This is why we believe that we need to constantly be outspoken voices and witnesses for Godís heavenly will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, which is our calling as peacemaking children of God.
Most people in leadership may not want to hear our message any more than they wanted to hear Jesus, but there are others who will listen, and itís for them that we need to keep speaking out.
One of those who were among the group of believers was Stephen, and Stephen was a true witness of Godís will and the teachings of Jesus.
But the religious leadership didnít want to hear Stephen speak the truth, and as we look at Acts 7:54-60, we see what happened.
54. Now when they [the religious leadership] heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him [Stephen].
Stephen was telling the truth about Godís heavenly will for our lives,
and it was totally counter to the lifestyles of the religious leadership,
and they knew it, which is the reason they were ďcut to the quick.Ē
The truth was like a knife stabbing them in the heart, but instead of repenting, they resorted to even more evil and violence and turned their anger against Stephen.
55. But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently
into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand
56. and he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
57. But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears, and they rushed upon him with one impulse.
The religious leadership didnít want to hear the truth, any more than the people today who eat animals want to hear the truth about the animalsí horrible suffering, and who say, ďDonít tell me; I donít want to know.Ē
58. And when they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him, and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
This is before Saulís conversion to Paul, but we strongly believe that the witness of Stephen stayed with Saul/Paul all the rest of his life.
59. And they went on stoning Stephen as he called upon the
Lord and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!"
60. And falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" And having said this, he fell asleep.
This may be a hard lesson for some people to understand and follow, but
this is the way that the Lord wants us to be.
We are not to physically fight against evil, because any sign of violence on our part is a bad witness, for it makes us just like the evil people of this world who continue to contribute to the corruption of creation and cause millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.
Like Stephen, we are to remain as the peacemaking children of God that Jesus called us to be, even if we die, and our message of peace will continue to be heard many years after our death, just as Stephenís is.
Letís now take a look at 1 Peter 2:1-10, which picks up on some of the same thoughts.
1. Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and
hypocrisy and envy and all slander,
2. like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
3. if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
This is what Stephen did, and this is what we all need to learn to do,
and not let the evil in the world cause us to lose our communion with the
This is what living as peacemaking children of God in the heavenly will of the Lord is all about.
4. And coming to Him [Jesus] as to a living stone, rejected
by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God,
5. you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Note carefully that these are spiritual sacrifices and not animal sacrifices, for animal sacrifices are part of the world system of corruption, violence and death.
6. For this is contained in Scripture:
"Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone,
And he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed."
7. This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve,
"The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the very corner stone,"
"A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense";
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.
9. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
10. for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Peter is speaking to true believers; those who are the loving,
compassionate, and peacemaking children of God whom Jesus called us to be.
If we are truly like this, which we all should be, then we are also living in the heavenly will of God and have left the darkness of this world and entered the marvelous light of the heavenly realm, even if we still live upon this earth.
For with this spiritual change, we are able to rise above the horrors of this world and be effective witnesses against the evil ways that are causing so much pain and suffering and death.
The world needs to see more of us as a witness against their worldly ways.
And we need to be willing to be these witnesses, just like Jesus and Stephen.
And if we are willing, then we will be able to accomplish even more than Jesus was able to do upon this earth.
We all need to be these peacemaking children of God.
The whole of creation is anxiously waiting for us to free them from their present corruption.
We can do thisÖ
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