Saturday, May 11, 2013

Growing in Christ Part 2

Since this is a very rich text I thought it best to tackle it in an exegetical fashion, going through verse by verse, line by line, and word by word, to see what the Lord would teach us through Peter the man known as the rock upon which Christ said He would build His church.

Yes, Jesus could have picked someone more erudite, sophisticated, educated, refined and cultured, but instead He picked Peter, a fisherman who wasn’t always the bravest of souls, and with a temper to boot seeing as he lobbed off a guy’s ear without giving it a second thought.

Imperfect as Peter might have been, plagued by weakness and fear in the early part of his ministry, God worked mightily through him, and gave him a wisdom that transcended his own education, understanding, and intellect.

It is always awesome to see God take someone and in using them, make them capable of greater intellectual feats than reasonably expected of the person in question. That’s when you know God had a hand in it, when you see a person you’ve known all your life, who never struck you as a genius by any stretch of the imagination, yet who simply transcends himself as the power of God begins to work through him.

I’ve known a few such brothers throughout my life – I even consider myself one of those people – and each time it is an amazing thing to witness and behold.

As we begin to read the first few lines of Peter’s second epistle it is obvious he did not pen these words of his own volition, or dependent upon his own intellect. These words are much too glorious, too profound, and too insightful to have been thought up by the minds of men, giving credence to the notion of divine inspiration.

God spoke it, and Peter wrote it. God inspired it, and Peter reiterated the inspired words so we might all benefit from them and grow in Christ together.

2 Peter 2:1, “Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:”

‘Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ.’

I stared at these nine words for the better part of thirty minutes because something had caught my eye, something had clicked, but I didn’t know what it was. I kept going back to Peter’s introduction of himself, trying to make the conscious connection that I’d made subconsciously, and as it finally broke the surface I began to write haphazardly on a piece of paper.

1.      Peter thought of himself as a servant first, then an apostle of Jesus Christ.

2.      It was more important for Peter to speak of his servanthood than his apostleship.  

3.      One cannot be a true apostle of Jesus Christ without first being a servant.

4.      Servanthood is a choice, apostleship is a calling.

5.      Both being a servant and an apostle require obedience and perpetual dependency upon Christ Jesus.

God’s desire is for us to be His servants, but we cannot be if our hearts are not filled with steadfast obedience toward Him. We obey not only when it suits our interests, we obey not only when what we are commanded to do comes easily to us, we obey not only when the sacrifice for our obedience is small, but even when it means losing everything, when it’s the most difficult thing we will ever have to do, and when it goes against what men perceive as our self-interest.
Peter didn’t say he was an ‘occasional servant’ or ‘sometime apostle’ of Christ. He didn’t quantify his position regarding these two things as having been anything other than perpetual.

Peter was a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ.

This is how he identified himself, this is how he defined himself, and this is how he saw himself. Nowadays most preachers and evangelists want to shy away from such titles, and instead be called life coaches, inspirational speakers, or motivators.

When did it become a shameful thing to be associated with Jesus? When did it become an embarrassment to say ‘I am a servant of Christ Jesus?’

It’s obvious that even if we kowtow to the world their intent is still to do away with us altogether, and wipe away the very name of Jesus from the hearts and minds of future generations.

If it’s not obvious to you, then perhaps it’s time to pull your head out of the sand, and sneak a peek at what’s been happening in this nation of late.  

Men who once called me mad to my face for insinuating that persecution against believers might come to the United States are now calling and repenting of their actions because they are seeing now what I admonished them to look out for three and four years ago.

Peter was a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, and he was no longer ashamed of this fact. He did not try to introduce himself as anything other than what he was, no longer concerned with the repercussions or negative effects being associated with the Christ might have.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.


Barbara said...

Being a fisherman is demeaning as is being a servant. Yet in Christ it is very glorious to be that. When you serve in love, it is an honor. When you labor in devotion, it is a passion. It is not any trouble at all.

The reason why ministers don't want to be servants is because they want to be celebrities. They want to create their own glory and personna. They will say, How can I be a blessing to you today, what can I do for you, if you need help let me know. It is all about them being the savior instead of the servant. It is all about them seeking your devotion instead of honoring you with what they have.

Most ministers are very stingy. They make sure that their own needs are met, that their church looks good, and as far as the congregation, whatever struggles they have are their own problem. If they need help, the minister will maybe just pray for you instead of handing over the money he collected.

It is fun to be a servant, but in a worldlly sense it is looked down on. If you try to assist someone, they yell at you to stop as if you are shaming yourself to help them. They take away the joy you could have had in helping.

People who are cold and mean don't know how to accept love and warmth and neither do they give it out. They are a kingdom unto themselves and demand tributes from all who stop by. A child accepts help freely and loves freely. They don't act too good to let someone else help them.

Adults either won't accept help or they will attack you after you helped them as if your contribution counted for nothing. People who graciously accept help are hard to find.

Doug MacCallum said...

Dear Michael, I really appreciate your words and teaching. However, I must take exception to your first paragraph in todays blog. If you check the Greek, you will find two different words used for "rock" and "Peter". The word for "rock" is also used in 1Cor10.4, in reference to Jesus. The word for "Peter" implies a smaller rock or stone. A "chip off the old block" if you will. No disrespect meant. As also noted in David Guzik's Commentary, Peter himself, speaks of the church being built upon Christ, the chief cornerstone 1Pt.2.4-7. The main problem with Peter being the one the church is built on is the inception of the Catholic Church and the rule of the Popes. This misinterpretation is their "cornerstone" for existence.

marshall warren said...

I agree with you Michael. Further more, the persecution is coming from people and organizations that call themselves "Christian." Thankfully the persecution is just verbal and social at this point. But the propensity for violence is just beneath the surface. Some may say, "never in America", but, as you said, "just wait and see."