Year: 2012

Hosea 11-13: God and Mammon

1.  Read Hosea 11:1-4. It is difficult to come to grips with all the different images of God in Scripture. Even though people can say it is like a painting or a tapestry that can only be expressed in a thousand different strokes or threads, it is a challenge – at least for me. Different characteristics have been prominent in different parts of my life. Maybe it is the same for you. Of course, it i ...[Read More]

Hosea 1:1-3:5

This is the beginning of Advent when we anticipate the coming of Christ – both his birth and His second coming. Because of that, Hosea is a good study for us as he describes conditions not unlike ours – instability, political infighting, chaos, power struggles, dissension, uncertainty, loss of faith in leadership, idolatry, corruption and disillusionment. But, his message is not just one of indict ...[Read More]

2 Peter 3

1.  Peter understands the importance of reminding people. As we said last week, most people don’t need instructing as much as they need reminding. This is the basis of natural law. We assume people are born with a basic sense of right and wrong. Paul even talks in Romans about the Gentiles who do not have the Jewish Law but they do “by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselv ...[Read More]

Guilt-Free Gratitude

Almost every time we come back from a trip to Africa at least one person talks about selling all they have and giving it to the poor. It weighs on them when they compare what they have to what they have seen in the slums of Nairobi and South Africa. They cannot get comfortable with the gap between the rich and the poor. Africa – like the Law for Paul – generates disabling guilt. My daughter, Haley ...[Read More]

2 Peter 2:1-22

1. The way you teach people to recognize a counterfeit bill is to train them in the characteristics of real currency – not to show them counterfeits. There are too many different ways to make counterfeits. In the same way this morning, I would rather focus on what is true instead of what is false for a couple of reasons. First, what is false is constantly changing. Granted, there are some consiste ...[Read More]

2 Peter 1:5-21

1. The tension between participating in the divine nature and living in the corruption caused by evil desires. Desire is a never ending battle, isn’t it? Today is Veterans Day but it was originally called “Armistice Day” to celebrate the end of World War I – “the war to end all wars.” There will never be an Armistice Day in our struggle with desire. We will win some battles but the war will last o ...[Read More]

1 Peter 5:1-14

1. There is some literature we assign to younger people that is good for them to read but impossible for them to understand. I think many of Shakespeare’s plays fit this category as well as the book of Ecclesiastes. I might even put Peter’s letters in that category. His letters to the young church are written from the perspective of an older and wiser man who has experienced a great deal of suffer ...[Read More]

1 Peter 4:1-11

1.  We have a couple more complicated passages again this morning. What does it mean to suffer in the flesh and be done with sin? What does it mean to say the gospel was preached to those who are now dead? Let’s look at the first. “He who suffered in his body is done with sin” has sometimes been read to justify self-imposed suffering or physical pain and deprivation to increase holiness. The Catho ...[Read More]

1 Peter 3:1-12

1. In the final chapter of John, Jesus tells Peter how he is to die – upside down. In a sense he also lived upside down from what he had been as a young man. The Apostle writing these letters is not the impulsive and proud person we meet in the Gospels. Instead, we see a man seasoned by age, circumstances and the Holy Spirit. Time and again, including the passage this morning, he talks about the v ...[Read More]

1 Peter 2:18-25

1.  There are several sub-themes in the passage this morning but they all support the major theme about which Peter is writing the church: the rules of our relationships with people in our lives. This first verse and the final verse serve as book-ends in a way. The term “submit” carries a good deal of baggage and it is oftentimes used to mean “cringe in fear” or be like a broken horse. It is not t ...[Read More]