Bible Study

This is a copy of the Sunday School Lessons presented to an adult class each Sunday.

Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States

Retired, Lobbyist in Washington,DC - Management - BS Chemistry and various continuing education courses

Friday, February 23, 2018

Bible Study - Something More (6) - I Am a Light - Ephesians 5:8-14 - February 25, 2018

Bible Study – Something More (6) – I Am a Light – February 25, 2018

This is our sixth and final lesson in this series entitled “Made for Something More.”

Our focus scripture is Ephesians 5:8-14

Shine the light of CHRIST.

The Apostle Paul was writing to the Christians in Ephesus. Ephesus was an important city but it also was a beacon for the pagan culture because the temple of Diana was located there. 

As you may recall, Paul angered the silversmiths in Ephesus because they made and sold statues of Diana and pagans converting to Christianity hurt the silversmiths business.

The worship of Diana appealed to the human flesh and was designed to keep those who worshiped this Greek goddess enslaved to the darkness of evil.

Paul was using a before and after example by comparing darkness to light. He reminded the Christians that they once were enslaved in darkness and walked in the darkness of evil but now because they had given their lives to JESUS, they walked in the light of CHRIST.

Once they received the light of CHRIST, they had the responsibility to let their light of salvation shine forth from their lives into the darkness of evil. Light illumines and dispels darkness. Light reveals what is hidden. Darkness hides truth but the light JESUS provides reveals truth.

Spiritual light illuminates areas in times of Spiritual darkness for both the non-Christian and the Christian. Spiritual light has one source and that source is GOD. When a person places his or her faith in JESUS, the light of JESUS fills his or her life with truth. Christians reflect GOD’S light because GOD is the source of Spiritual light. 

We have studied about Christians being unique Spiritual building blocks in the living structure GOD is building whose cornerstone is JESUS. Christians are gifts from GOD to obediently serve HIM at specific times to be a light of hope, a beacon to those in darkness; Christian or non-Christian. As Christians, we are not to have even a smattering of darkness in us or give the appearance of approving of darkness. As Christians, we are to be examples of the true light, which only can be achieved through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit by our lifestyle.

This is GOD’S message to Christians today. Sadly, Christians are compromising and embracing the ways of the world to be politically correct. 
The truth is being watered down to please those whose lifestyles are counter to Biblical truth. Christians must keep in mind that we are to love the sinner but hate the sin. Also, Christians must keep in mind that we are sinners saved by GOD’S Grace and acknowledge that sin is sin. Sin is darkness. Christians are to confess their sins, repent and walk in the light as JESUS is the light. Let’s explore!

Let’s read Ephesians 4:29-32: (Lead-in for Ephesians 5)
29 No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear.

As you may recall, Christians are priests. Fellow Christians or non-Christians need a message of hope and encouragement from those who walk in the light. As Christians, all of us are subject to going astray from walking in the light and that is when fellow Christians, who are walking in the light, come to minister to us.

30 And don't grieve God's Holy Spirit, who sealed you for the day of redemption.

All Christians are indwelled by the Holy Spirit and is every Christians guarantee they are GOD’S child. They are GOD’S ambassadors in the Kingdom of GOD upon earth. As children of the light, we have a responsibility to reflect the light of CHRIST by our lifestyle and being obedient to GOD, as led by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

31 All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness.
32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

Let’s read Ephesians 5:1-7: (Lead-in continued)

1 Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children.

The word “therefore” connects back to Ephesians Chapter 4. Christians are 
light because they reflect the light of JESUS as they walk in the world of darkness.

2 And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.

How can a Christian “walk in love?” The word for “love” use here is “agape” or self-giving love that does not demand anything in return. How can a Christian do this? Ephesians 4:30 gives us the answer: 30 And don't grieve God's Holy Spirit, who sealed you for the day of redemption.

Walking in agape love is the result of the indwelling Holy Spirit within every Christian.

3 But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints.

Did you know, as a Christian, you are a saint? CHRIST in you makes you a saint because of the process of sanctification. Sanctification is the process of being set aside for the use and purposes of GOD.

I heard Dr. David Jeremiah speak about sanctification. He stated that at the instant of salvation GOD places within every Christian all he or she needs to get to heaven. The process of sanctification is like mining to unearth the precious material already deposited within every Christian. The Holy Spirit guides every Christian to dig within to discover these hidden treasures that meet his or her need. The key is for us, as Christians, to seek and desire the Holy Spirit to guide us to that which we already have within. Doing so builds the right relationship with GOD.

4 And coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks.
5 For know and recognize this: no sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of the Messiah and of God.

A person’s lifestyle reflects his or her true heart toward JESUS and the One True GOD, YAHWEH.

Light versus Darkness
6 Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things God's wrath is coming on the disobedient.

A person can fool others regarding one’s relationship with GOD but he or she will never fool GOD because GOD knows our heart. When we place our faith in JESUS, we not only receive redemption from sin and its consequence, eternal death, but the wrath of GOD is removed. Through the miracle of rebirth, Christians become the Children of GOD, which will never change. Once born into GOD’S family, a Christian is always GOD’S Son or Daughter.

7 Therefore, do not become their partners.

Christians are not to become partners with disobedience. Paul was addressing pagan practices. Why? It is because those who associate with pagan practices will incur the wrath of GOD. Since you, as Christians, have placed your faith in JESUS, you are no longer in Spiritual darkness or under GOD’S wrath but have come into the wonderful light of GOD. That is Good News.

Christians need to access who they partner with as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:14:

14 Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?

This includes business and marriage partnerships. The intent is not necessarily to cut yourself off from social relationships but if social relationships entice you to dabble in darkness then sever them – various addictions e.g. pornography, drugs, sex, gambling and the list goes on.

This also applies to any partner relationship e.g. marriage, business, social, etc. Why? It is because, such relationships can lure you back into the darkness you have escaped. Satan then uses your failure to defeat you and prevent you for seeking the true light you once knew.

Let’s read Ephesians 5:8-10:

8 For you were once darkness, but now [you are] light in the Lord. walk as children of light-

The Apostle Paul challenged his readers to think back to their old life when they were in Spiritual darkness. Did they enjoy wandering around in Spiritual darkness? The anticipated reply for true Christians is a resounding “NO!” Why? They have experienced a new life in CHRIST produced by the light they received ---

9 for the fruit of the light [results] in all goodness, righteousness, and truth-
How does a Christian know that he or she is walking in the light? They are to look at the “fruit of the light” produced in his or her life. It takes light to produce the fruit of the Spirit.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 5:22:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Back to our focus scripture:

10 discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.

Discerning what is pleasing to our LORD and not being led by the desires of our flesh and darkness is the peace that passes all understanding.
What an unspeakable joy Christians have when they obediently serve The 
LORD JESUS and GOD where HE plants them, which may be where they are.

Let’s read Ephesians 5:11-14:

11 Don't participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead, expose them.

Christians are not to waste their time participating in fruitless works of darkness but because they know these works are fruitless. They must be avoided and exposed. Exposed to whom?

As fellow humans, we would warn others of pending danger that may lie ahead. Such as, beware there is a poisonous snake in the path you about to trod. Christians who have walked in darkness but who have received the light of JESUS in their lives are equipped to warn Christians or non-Christians of the dangers ahead if they continue to walk in darkness. There are non-Christians seeking a relationship with a, yet to be identified, higher power. 
The world offers many solutions but GOD offers but one true solution, faith in JESUS.

Some may think, “Well you Christians are narrow minded and don’t know the other religions of the world.” Once a person has seen the light which comes through faith in JESUS, truth reigns supreme. Religion is man-made and reflects man’s efforts to reach GOD. But JESUS is GOD reaching down to mankind with HIS love for all who will place their faith in HIS only Son, JESUS. True Christianity is not a religion. CHRIST in you makes you a Christian not what religious group to which you belong.

Do not partner with darkness as the Apostle Paul continues ---

12 For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret.

The world’s solution offers to those seeking that which appeals to the flesh. The world’s solution offers temporary pleasure which appeals to satisfy the flesh. However, when the things the world offers are exposed to GOD’S light, truth is revealed ----

13 Everything exposed by the light is made clear,

14 for what makes everything clear is light. Therefore it is said: Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you.

What the world offers appears to be a solution until what it offers is tested by the light that only comes from having placed your faith in JESUS, GOD’S only Son. All people without JESUS, the Messiah, are dead in their sins. Those who see JESUS as the promised Messiah and their Savior will see the true light that only comes from the forgiveness of sins and being born into GOD’S family.

2 Corinthians 4:1-7:

The Light of the Gospel
1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not give up.

Once Christians realize the love GOD extends to us through HIS only Son, JESUS, we come face to face with GOD’S mercy. JESUS did what no one else could do, not even us trying to live a perfect life because the very best any person can do is like filthy rags to the mercy and grace of GOD through faith in JESUS.

2 Instead, we have renounced shameful secret things, not walking in deceit or distorting God's message, but in God's sight we commend ourselves to every person's conscience by an open display of the truth.
3 But if, in fact, our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
4 Regarding them: the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
[2 Corinthians 11:14:
14 And no wonder! For Satan himself is disguised as an angel of light. ]
5 For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves because of Jesus.
6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness"-He has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God's glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
Treasure in Clay Jars
7 Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.

Yes, Christians are clay jars and GOD so loved us that HE sent HIS Only Son to give HIS Sinless Life to pay in full the penalty for sin to redeem all who will place their faith in JESUS so they will have eternal life with Them in Heaven. This was accomplished while we were still sinners as recorded in Romans 5:8-9:

8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!
9 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath.

Our six-weeks of study began with GOD’S involvement in human birth upon earth at just the right time and circumstances. GOD knew us before the foundation of the world and HE knew when we would be born as captured in Ephesians 1:3-4:

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, in Christ;
4 for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love

GOD watched as we were being formed in our mother’s womb. We were born physically. (Yes, I believe all conceived who never make it to physical birth are with GOD.)

After we are born physically, the next most important step in our life’s journey is salvation which is redemption from sin and eternal death. When a person places his or her faith in JESUS that person, through the miracle of rebirth, becomes a child of GOD. Once we are born into the family of GOD, there is nothing that can snatch that birth-right away from us.

Our guarantee is the indwelling Holy Spirit!

As children of GOD, HIS desire for each of us is to obediently serve HIM by reflecting HIS light to those in darkness, thus our lessons over the past six-weeks have focused on:
-         I am Wonderfully Made
-         I am a Child of the King
-         I am a minister
-         I am a priest
-         I am just passing through this world because it is not my eternal home
-         I am light

GOD’S desire is for each Christian to yield his or her life to HIM and obediently serve HIM.

Satan often tosses obstacles in our path to prevent us from yielding our lives to HIM, e.g. I may have to go to some foreign country and be a missionary, GOD may call me to be a pastor or some kind of church leader, or ask me to do something I do not want to do and the list goes on. When we are ready to be serious about being obedient to GOD’S call, we will not care what our assignment will be!

How do I know that? It is what I have experienced in my life.

GOD calls us to serve in many different capacities – Pastors, business people, administrators, missionaries, plumbers, welders, various professions, mothers, daddies, teachers, truck drivers, military, law enforcement, government personnel, students, artists and the list goes on. 

Be what GOD desires for you to be. Here I am LORD, warts and all, take my life and use it for YOUR Glory. JESUS will make you and mold you into what HE desires for you to be. 

True happiness is obediently serving JESUS. It is not doing busy activity but serving as led by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Blessings!!!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Bible Study - Something More (5) - I Am Just Passing Through - 1 Peter 2:11-17 - February 18, 2018

Bible Study – Something More (5) – I Am Just Passing Through – February 18, 2018

This is lesson five (5) in our series entitled “Made for Something More.”

Our focus scripture is 1 Peter 2:11-17.

Our lives in this world should reflect our eternal home.

The Apostle Peter was writing to fellow Christians living among those who were critical of Christians. It is much like today. Peter urged Christians to live their lives such that there would be a contrast between their lifestyle against the backdrop of the lifestyle of non-Christians.

Peter began verse 11 with “Dear friends” which is interesting. The original word used is the plural word for “agape” which we know means unselfish love that demands nothing in return. In John 3:16 “for GOD so loved the world” the original word for “loved” is “agape.” Peter began verse 11 with “Dear friends” which expressed Peter’s heartfelt genuine Spiritual love and connection with those to whom he was writing. He considered fellow Christians as “beloved.”
We see this type of love expressed in Matthew 3:16-17 when John the Baptist baptized JESUS “a voice from heaven said:” This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

The word “Beloved” is engraved on the marker of our eldest son’s tomb.  

Let’s read 1 Peter 2:11-12:
A Call to Good Works

11 Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you.

Peter began this part of his letter urging his beloved readers to pay special attention to what he is writing because it was vital for them to face the future. Peter saw the times in which they were living as changing and they would likely face challenges, as Christians, in the near future.

We hear and read about aliens in the news today. Have you ever considered that, as Christians, we are citizens of Heaven but aliens upon earth? Once we become Christians, our citizenship is in GOD’S Kingdom as HIS Sons or Daughters through the miracle of rebirth in our spirit. GOD chose for us to remain upon earth as HIS ambassadors to be HIS representatives or, as in last week’s lesson, priests in HIS Kingdom.

We are temporary residents of GOD’S Kingdom upon earth because, as Christians, our ultimate destination is Heaven. But until that time arrives, we have obedient work to do for our LORD JESUS. Therefore, as ambassadors of the Kingdom of GOD ------

12 Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do evil, they may, by observing your good works, glorify God in a day of visitation.

The statement “Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles” indicates that Peter’s audience was primarily Jews. But whether they were Jews or Gentiles who were Christians, they were to be examples for non-Christians.

As Christians, they were to live such that if non-Christians brought accusations against them their lifestyle would prove them wrong.

Let’s read 1 Peter 2:13-15:

13 Submit to every human institution because of the Lord, whether to the Emperor as the supreme authority,

14 or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.

Christians are to live in such a manner that their lifestyle reflects compliance with human institutions. This is because GOD places leaders into the positions HE chooses for them. Here, we must pause.

This can be very confusing. We know of horrible despots who lead countries. 

We must keep in mind that our original parents, Adam and Eve, chose to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree. It was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; so earth is a mixture of good and evil. The key is that GOD is sovereign and HE makes history according to HIS will and purpose.

We need to keep in mind the words of JESUS as recorded in Mark 12:13-17:
13 Then they sent some of the Pharisees and the Herodians to Him to trap Him by what He said.
14 When they came, they said to Him, "Teacher, we know You are truthful and defer to no one, for You don't show partiality but teach truthfully the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?
15 Should we pay, or should we not pay?" But knowing their hypocrisy, He said to them, "Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at."
16 So they brought one. "Whose image and inscription is this?" He asked them. "Caesar's," they said.
17 Then Jesus told them, "Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at Him.

We read in the Old Testament where GOD appealed to HIS chosen people, the Israelite’s, to live for HIM but they refused. GOD allowed the Babylonians to capture them and take them into exile. By the same token, GOD formed powers to defeat the Babylonians to eventually restore the Israelites to their homeland.

15 For it is God's will that you, by doing good, silence the ignorance of foolish people.

A Christian’s part is to obediently serve GOD by living as GOD desires for him or her to live even in lands that do not honor HIM. Christians are to live obediently ----

Let’s read 1 Peter 2:16-17:

16 As God's slaves, [live] as free people, but don't use your freedom as a way to conceal evil.

Christians are to live as free people but they are not to use their freedom as justification to do evil. The old saying goes “When in Rome do as the Romans do.” But Peter was saying when in Rome remember that you are still GOD’S Son or Daughter. Therefore, when you are in Rome or any place, let the light of CHRIST flow through you to those with whom you come into contact.

17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the Emperor.

Christians do not have to condone what some people do or the lifestyle they live. Christians can respect others because GOD created them and they need the truth of JESUS. Christians are to love sinners but hate their sin. Christians are to live among sinners such that they reflect JESUS in their lifestyle.

Christians are to love one another because they are brothers and sisters in CHRIST. Christians are to “fear” GOD. That is not to be afraid of HIM but to realize that GOD created every person and that connects us with all people. Christians are to reverence GOD and when they do, they see others through the eyes of GOD.

Either a person is a Christian’s brother or sister in CHRIST or he or she is in need of salvation from sin and eternal death by placing his or her faith in JESUS. Christians are to live such that they do not put up barriers between themselves and others but to live to entice others to desire the relationship they have with GOD through faith in JESUS.

JESUS taught that Christians are the salt of the earth. Salt has many properties – healing, preservation, has value, makes food savory, and makes one thirsty and many other attributes. Christians are the light in a world filled with Spiritual darkness. Christians have a huge responsibility which is impossible to fulfill without the empowering, enlightening and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We are living in times where evil seems to be rampant but GOD is sovereign and is in control. It is during these times that Christians are to be examples and reflect their confidence in HIM.

Peter tells us to honor the Emperor. GOD has placed those in authority in the places HE desires for them to be. That is our government leaders, business leaders, church leaders and the list goes on. It is hard for me to comprehend because there are many despots, evil people in authority. GOD allows this to get our attention. GOD’S desire is for Christians to be willing to obediently serve HIM where ever HE places us. It may be tough but as the old saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Facing the issues in life builds faith as we see the hand of GOD work in our lives and the lives of others.

GOD placed each of us in this world at the exact time for a purpose. We are passing through this moment in time to obediently serve HIM. This world is not our final home. All upon earth are weary travelers on a journey to either Heaven or Hell. We who know JESUS as our Savior are traveling to Heaven and those who do not know JESUS as their Savior are traveling toward Hell. Those destined for Hell have the opportunity to change their direction by asking JESUS to forgive them for their sins and for JESUS to come into their lives.

CHRIST in you is what makes you a Christian. The only way to have CHRIST in you is to invite HIM into your life as expressed in Revelation 3:20:

20 Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.

Only you can open the door. When you ask JESUS to come in, HE comes in to dwell with the person who asks. Open your heart to JESUS now, while there is still time. Blessings!!!

Friday, February 09, 2018

Bible Study - Something More (4) - I Am a Priest - 1 Peter 2:4-10 - February 11, 2018

Bible Study – Something More (4) – I Am a Priest – February 11, 2018

This is lesson four (4) in our series entitled “Made for Something More.”

Our focus scripture is 1 Peter 2:4-10.

As servants of CHRIST, we are HIS representatives.

The Apostle Peter was likely writing from Rome to Christians in Asia Minor or what we know today as Turkey. 

Let’s read 1 Peter 1:22-25: (Lead-in)

22 By obedience to the truth, having purified yourselves for sincere love of the brothers, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,
23 since you have been born again-not of perishable seed but of imperishable-through the living and enduring word of God.
24 For All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like a flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower drops off,
25 but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was preached as the gospel to you.

This scripture sets up the reason these baby Christians had to stop acting like baby Christians and grow up. They had tasted the joy of being Christians, evidenced by their love for their fellow brothers and sisters in CHRIST. But they were not acting like mature Christians evidenced by their lifestyle as written in 1 Peter 1 as we read on --- 

Let’s read 1 Peter 2:1-3:

1 So rid yourselves of all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander.

Since they had been born-again into the family of GOD, through faith in JESUS, they needed to grow Spiritually. They needed to drop their old life style and allow the Holy Spirit to be the transforming power within to produce their new life in JESUS. They were acting like Spiritual infants as evidenced by the issues stated in verse 1. They needed to grow up Spiritually and be positive witnesses for JESUS. But in order for them to grow Spiritually, they needed Spiritual nourishment -----

2 Like newborn infants, desire the unadulterated spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it in [your] salvation,

3 since you have tasted that the Lord is good.

These Christians had a relationship with JESUS through faith in HIM because they had experienced HIM in their lives but they were not on a mature Spiritual foundation. They needed to build a mature Spiritual foundation based upon knowing the truth and building the right relationship with GOD. JESUS is the cornerstone of the living, Spiritual structure GOD had established upon earth. 

They were not fitting into GOD’S dynamic structure because of their actions.

They needed to grow up by ingesting GOD’S Word and applying it to their lives. They were Christians but they were remaining babies in CHRIST because they were hanging onto acts of the flesh. Peter knew that they had an encounter with the LORD JESUS. Peter needed to explain to them what their encounter with JESUS meant from GOD’S perspective and HIS plan for them. 

The Apostle Paul also wrote about the subject regarding Spiritual infants as recorded in 1 Corinthians 3:1-4:

1 Brothers, I was not able to speak to you as spiritual people but as people of the flesh, as babies in Christ.
2 I fed you milk, not solid food, because you were not yet able to receive it. In fact, you are still not able,
3 because you are still fleshly. For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not fleshly and living like ordinary people?
4 For whenever someone says, "I'm with Paul," and another, "I'm with Apollos," are you not [typical] men?

Many of us, as Christians, need to grow up Spiritually. This is not hoop-la but allowing the Holy Spirit to enlighten, strengthen and guide. Our part is to be available and willing to respond as HE gives opportunity. We are to study GOD’S Word, pray and be ready to put into action as the Holy Spirit gives opportunity.

Let’s read 1 Peter 2:4-5:

4 Coming to Him, a living stone-rejected by men but chosen and valuable to God-

When they became Christians, they encountered the “living stone,” (JESUS) Who is the cornerstone for the Spiritual building whose foundation is built upon the birth of JESUS as 100% human, yet 100% GOD. JESUS’ birth as 100% human, HIS physical death and HIS physical resurrection to eternally occupy HIS Glorified body proved that JESUS paid the price for sin, in full, and conquered eternal death.

JESUS walked upon earth 40 days after HIS resurrection and then HE ascended into Heaven to take HIS seat at the right hand of GOD. Once this was completed, GOD, as promised, sent the Holy Spirit to indwell every person who placed their faith in JESUS. The indwelling Holy Spirit was and is every Christian’s guarantee of ultimate salvation when we die physically.  

Salvation is a process. Once a person asks JESUS to forgive him or her for his or her sins and asks JESUS to come into his or her life that is the instant of salvation. Based upon these facts, every Christian is saved and continues to be saved as they live life upon earth. When a Christian dies, exits his or her earth suit that is the instant of his or her complete salvation.

Does that mean a Christian is not sure of his or her salvation until they die? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Every Christian’s salvation is sure, secure and guaranteed the instant JESUS comes into a person’s life. This is accomplished through the miracle of rebirth and confirmed by the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16).

All who place their faith in JESUS become a vital, unique part of GOD’S Spiritual building of which JESUS is the cornerstone.

5 you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

So what is the role of Christians in this Spiritual house which GOD is building whose foundation is JESUS? Every Christian functions as a priest. A priest offers sacrifices. These sacrifices are not material or animal sacrifices but that which brings honor to JESUS and GOD. These sacrifices do not earn us salvation but provide the opportunity for us to obediently serve GOD by serving others.

This is not to be confused with the priesthood of the believer. The priesthood of the believer means that the born-again believer can go directly into the presence of GOD without going through another person such as a pastor, priest, and etc. make his or her requests made known to GOD. If the Christian can go before JESUS and GOD directly, what is the role of Christians as priests?   

Why are Christians referred to as priests? I thought JESUS was the High Priest? HE is. In the Jewish system the priest was the mediator between GOD and mankind.  But first the Jewish priest had to offer sacrifices for his sins before he could go into the Holy of Holies and stand before GOD first for himself and then in behalf of others.

Now that JESUS has given HIS life upon the cross, through the shedding of HIS blood, those who place their faith in JESUS are made pure and are cleansed of all sin. As such, every Christian has full authority to stand in the presence of GOD, as a born-again believer in JESUS, and call HIM Daddy. 
Therefore, all Christians are priests and can approach GOD in behalf of themselves and others.

Christians are intercessors for others who believe they are not worthy, Christian or non-Christians, to go before GOD with their requests. Christians can go into the presence of GOD to intercede for another person.

Does a person have to go through a fellow Christian? NO! GOD welcomes all who come to HIM with a broken heart, for those seeking salvation and for those in need.

HIS desire is for NO PERSON to perish or to feel alienated. Even Christians need fellow Christians to come to their aid. Christians may need to confess and repent. Christians can approach GOD themselves but there are times when Satan has convinced them that GOD does not love them any longer because of what they have done or not done.

One such area is a person thinking that he or she has committed the unpardonable sin. Are you sorry for your sins? Great! That is great because it shows that your heart is still tender before GOD. GOD does not turn HIS back on any person who seeks HIM.  

Cast your cares upon JESUS now and ask HIM to forgive you for your sins and for HIM to come into your life! Now, thank HIM for HIS salvation and for the miracle of being born-again into the family of GOD.

Welcome brother or sister into GOD’S family and desire the Spiritual milk for you to grow into the mature Christian GOD desires for you.

The Apostle Peter continued. Let’s think for a few seconds -- This is the same Peter who denied JESUS three times. Peter repented. He wept and JESUS restored him to obedient service. You and I are no different. We have done things that have disappointed JESUS/GOD. That is why we need to confess them and ask JESUS/GOD to forgive us. HE will not only forgive but HE will cleanse, restore and forget what we did.

So what is your excuse for either not becoming a Christian or if you have given your heart to JESUS and strayed for not repenting and returning? Do what you have to do now, for now is the time of salvation and restoration.  

Let’s read 1 Peter 2:6-8:

6 For it stands in Scripture: Look! I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and valuable cornerstone, and the one who believes in Him will never be put to shame!

Zion was the hill upon which Jerusalem was built. Zion can also refer to the entire city of Jerusalem, the temple, to the entire nation of Israel or to the heavenly city which is yet to come. GOD laid the chief cornerstone, JESUS, who established the layout for the Living, Spiritual structure which GOD is building.

The cornerstone of a building is vital in the construction of a building. The cornerstone determines the layout for the walls and structure of the building which is being built.

Does this sound foolish to you? Just know that faith in JESUS never results in you being put to shame! What does JESUS tell us in Matthew 10:33 - 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

The New King James translation of 1 Peter 2:6 reads:

6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame."

JESUS is the chief cornerstone Who is elect and precious, which reflects GOD’S love for JESUS. 

7 So the honor is for you who believe; but for the unbelieving, The stone that the builders rejected- this One has become the cornerstone, and

So those who place their faith in JESUS are given the honor of knowing this precious value and as a result, they will never be put to shame as a child of GOD. Being a child of GOD can only take place through the miracle of rebirth through faith in JESUS.

Salvation through faith in JESUS is so simple that many stumble over the huge rock, JESUS, Who is the very cornerstone of this magnificent, rewarding, Spiritual, living structure.

8 A stone that causes men to stumble, and a rock that trips them up. They stumble by disobeying the message; they were destined for this.

This chosen cornerstone, JESUS, causes those outside looking in to stumble and trip over HIM because they refuse to obey the message of salvation through faith in JESUS. All are destined for salvation but many reject it, even though it is simple. The hardness of hearts causes those who are to receive salvation to reject it. When JESUS is rejected it is an eternal decision.

Our life upon earth is our gateway to eternity. The question is, where will we spend eternity; in the presence of GOD in Heaven or eternally separated from GOD in Hell. Oh, yes there is a Hell and you do not want to go there. Is this an effort to frighten you? NO! It is to educate you.

In today’s society, it is not cool to think that a loving GOD would allow such a place as Hell. Hell is for the Devil and his angels.

If you have not asked JESUS into your heart, then confess it now and ask forgive you and for HIM to come into your heart.

Loving and following the things the world appeals to the flesh and many do not want to give up these fleshly pleasures. But what are the benefits of becoming a child of GOD through faith in JESUS. Let’s read on ----

Let’s read 1 Peter 2:9-10:

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

The Apostle Peter was painting a beautiful picture for Christians, then and now. He was giving them the reasons why they should desire the unadulterated, pure Spiritual milk. Christians consuming good, wholesome, nutritious Spiritual milk results in Christians growing strong in their relationship to JESUS and GOD. They are no longer Christians who are tossed about as recorded in Ephesians 4:14: 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit.

Christians who are built in line with the cornerstone know they are on the firm foundation of the true rock, JESUS, and are being built according to GOD’S design and specifications to minister and to be a priest. A Christian’s part is to be available to obediently serve where GOD chooses for him or her to serve. When you are willing GOD will shoot you like an arrow into the lives of those you can minister.

Some may think, what do you mean? How can I serve as a priest for others? Ask GOD to reveal to you your area of service. There are the gifts of the Holy Spirit that GOD gives to whom HE chooses. Don’t be afraid to use your gift or gifts to serve others as led by the Holy Spirit.

There is much to be done – prayer, serving, encouraging, ministering, helping, teaching, making money and using it for GOD’S work, spiritual and physical healing and the list goes on. As a Christian and a priest, you have a place to serve. Pray for those who hunger for physical and Spiritual food, missionaries around the world, for those in prison, for those planning various evil deeds that their plans will be thwarted, for young Christians getting their Spiritual legs as they learn to walk with JESUS, for those who need self-esteem, for those in bondage to sin and its devastating consequences, for those in physical bondage due to spousal abuse, child abuse from any source, for those who will be at the wrong place at the wrong time, protect from things seen and unseen and known and unknown, the timing of those going through life, for those on probation either at work, school or as the result of breaking the law to resolve to learn from it, those just physically growing up, those being bullied, pray when you listen to the news, transportation folks (truckers, train, planes), inspectors spotting things that need fixing, investigators, finding missing persons, police, firemen, pray for all of our political leaders, leaders and people around the world, fellow priests (Christians), our church leaders, those who are attempting to change GOD’S Word to make it politically correct. 

These are just a few things in the life that come to the attention of priests.

As priests, we are to pray, serve, listen, observe, interact, seek wisdom and help others as led by the Holy Spirit. We take issues to GOD and seek HIS wisdom. We function as the Holy Spirit leads us to intercede in behalf of others. 

The laborers are few but the harvest is great. Christians are called to be priests to serve in the Kingdom of GOD which JESUS established upon earth through HIS passion and resurrection. Blessings!!!