Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, God's Will, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST

1 PETER 3:19

“in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison,”

This verse and the next couple of verses are some controversial verses among believers. My first thought is how sad. Our arguments about Scripture give the unbelieving world a reason to disbelief in the very truth of the Word. That being said…

The Spirit of Christ was present as Noah (mentioned in verse 20) preached to the people of his day. These people who died in the flood are “the spirits now in prison.” God has always desired people to come to Him. The flood victims were no exception. Instead, they laughed and made fun of Noah, ignoring the warnings given through him.

APPLICATION

This same Spirit of Christ speaks through us today. As we disciple our children, we must teach them this truth. The very Spirit of Christ lives in and through us. He is still preaching the Gospel today – as we allow Him. That’s the key. Our children need to be discipled to hear the Spirit when He speaks. Remember the story of Samuel as a child?

And here’s the great part. As we are obedient to allow the Spirit to speak through us, perhaps those who hear will respond and avoid the prison of hell. That’s our reward. Seeing others come to Christ is thrilling, is it not?

Will you allow Jesus to speak through you today? Will you be the one used of the Lord to slam those “prison doors” closed to prevent them from spending eternity there? There are so many people you come into contact with daily who are going to join the other inmates of hell unless someone shares Christ with them.

Place others in my path today who need to hear about Jesus. Use me to lead them to You. I want to see them welcomed into Your arms for eternity.

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IN A NUTSHELL

1 PETER 3:18

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;”

This verse IS the Gospel in a nutshell. This verse says it all. Jesus died for all to forgive us of our sins and rose again to give us eternal life. I have heard it said we should have our testimony down to an elevator conversation. Do you know what that means? We should be able to share our faith in about as much time as it takes to ride on an elevator with someone.

That takes practice. You have to cover all the bases. You need to tell where you came from and what God has brought you to. Do you have a story to tell? Well, of course you do. If you are a believer, God has done a miracle in your life. He has rescued you from a sure damnation to a glorious salvation. That’s worth talking about.

APPLICATION

Our children can be taught to do this also, once they come to Christ. Help them write out their salvation. Then start whittling it down to a 12-15 second conversation. What? Yep! That’s about how much time you would have on an elevator. That may be the amount of time they would have with a friend at school between classes.

Help them practice sharing it so it’s second nature. It doesn’t need to be preachy. It needs to be practical and personal. Then help them develop a list of friends to whom they want to share their story. Be prepared to celebrate when their friends come to Christ.

Are you seeking out others with whom to share? Are you ready to share your story? Write it out and practice it, if necessary. But whatever you do, do it. Don’t wait. Don’t procrastinate. Make it a priority. Pray for those friends you know need Christ and prepare to share with them the life-changing story of your life.

Point me in the right direction today to share with someone the love of Jesus. Give me the words to share to get it across clearly and concisely.

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THEY’RE SAVED?!

ACTS 10:44-45

“44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.”

Have you ever run into someone you haven’t seen in years and learned they are a believer now? You knew them in their B.C. (Before Christ) days and are shocked they are saved. I mean, you’re glad and excited, but still you’re shocked. That’s kind of what happened here. The circumcised believers with Peter were shocked that God had saved these Gentiles.

What a great verse to show God desires that everyone be saved. He loved these Gentiles. He had sent a message to Cornelius to have Peter come and share the Gospel with them. They heard and believed. Don’t ever think someone is unreachable. It’s not you who draws them to Christ. It’s the Holy Spirit working through you.

APPLICATION

Teach your children to share the Gospel. I never cease to be amazed at the boldness of children in sharing their faith. They don’t have the fears of rejection we adults have built up over time. Children just want to talk about Jesus. We could learn a lot from them.

So, help them prepare their Gospel message. Help them share what God has done for them. Help them share what God has done for their family. Help them make a list of friends they want to share their faith with. And most importantly, pray with them. Seek the Lord’s guidance, because He is the one who will direct them to the people to share.

Do you have a list of names of people you want to share Christ with? Have you prayed for those people today? If God has placed them on your heart, it’s for a reason. Seek those individuals out today. Ask the Lord to give you the words and the opportunity to share. He will!

Father, thank You for drawing me to You so many years ago. Put people in my path today to whom I can share Your message.

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UNPARTIAL

ACTS 10:34

“Opening his mouth, Peter said: ‘I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,’”

These words of Peter should be music to our ears. God does not show favorites. The phrase “show partiality” is one Greek word that is only used right here in this verse. It means to be a respecter of persons. Think about it. What if God only picked a few people to save because of their skin color or eye color. Unfortunately, that is what we do.

If we are to live like Christ, we must also show no partiality. They say the most segregated time of the week is Sunday mornings. Whites go to their churches. Blacks go to theirs. Hispanics go to theirs and so on. Why? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all worship together? Wouldn’t it be great if we were “color blind” on Sundays?

APPLICATION

Our children must be taught the no partiality thing early in life. In fact, we must teach them that God loves everyone – period. The world will begin to bombard them with prejudices early in life. This not only applies to skin color. It applies to any prejudice you can think of. The kid others make fun of is loved by God, so our children should too.

Let me encourage you, mom and dad, to nip this in the bud (to borrow a Barney Fife phrase). Don’t let prejudice remain in your household. God wants to use us, just like He used Peter, to reach people groups we might not normally be drawn to. You will be amazed at the response, if you will simply be obedient.

Do you battle showing partiality? Most of us do. It’s normal. It’s human. But we are called to live above that. I bet you could think of a dozen reasons God shouldn’t love you, but He does. He takes you just as you are and transforms you into something beautiful. Don’t you want to be a part of that in someone else’s life?

Father, show me my prejudices. I want to confess those to You as sin. And put those people in my life You want me to have relationships with, regardless of who they are.

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GOOD CONSCIENCE

1 PETER 3:16

“and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.”

What does it mean to “keep a good conscience”? Let’s break this down a bit. Actually, the Greek word translated as “keep” in this verse means to have or possess. The word “conscience” has the idea of the God-given capacity to know right from wrong. So, Peter is saying that no matter what others may say about us, as long as we know what we are doing is right, don’t worry about it. They are the ones who will be shamed.

Have you ever had someone put you down for something you have done? I have. I prayed about and had a perfect peace that what I was doing was God’s will. But because it went against or interfered in what someone else wanted, they ridiculed or at the very least questioned my intentions. All you can do at that point is trust the Lord and go on.

APPLICATION

Children face this all the time from their peers. It gets worse in the middle school and high school years. Whenever your child stands up for what God tells them, they are sure to be made fun of by others. It’s just the day in which we live. Living a life of integrity and purity is almost looked down on by those who choose to live another way.

As parents we hate to see them come home in tears or sullen. Our job is to encourage them with verses like this one today. Remind them that in the end those who have given them a hard time will be shamed. In the meantime, they are to continue to live for Jesus and trust Him to guard their hearts. Is it easy? By no means. But the end result is the key. He will reward the faithful.

How is your conscience? Are you remaining true to Him? Stay faithful, my friend. Allow the Lord to show you the big picture. Ask Him to give you a glimpse into the possibilities before you. He will as you surrender. He doesn’t want to keep secrets from you. He wants you in on His plans. Follow Him.

O God, I will trust You in the difficult circumstances. I will allow You to guard my heart as others attack. I will count it a privilege to suffer for You.

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WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO SAY?

ACTS 10:33

“‘So I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.’”

I have to think Peter was thinking of this account with Cornelius when he wrote 1 Peter 3:15 “…always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you…” Peter had no idea what to expect when he arrived at the home of Cornelius. He had to be ready.

Cornelius had no idea what to expect from Peter. He only knew God had told him to send for Peter. He was willing to hear whatever Peter had to say regarding his faith in Jesus Christ. What an opportunity lay before Peter. God had thrown it wide open for him.

APPLICATION

What will your child do if they are asked as Peter was asked by Cornelius to share what they know? Our children do not have to have all the answers. They just need to be able to share what Christ has done for them to their friends who ask. You can help them prepare for this by rehearsing it with them.

Role playing with your child is a great way for them to learn to be comfortable with sharing their faith. Pretend to be their friend asking about Jesus. Let them talk about Jesus in their own words. After the role play give them some tips if needed but praise them for the way they shared.

Pray someone may send for you. Pray the Lord will use you to share Christ to someone who is seeking. God may just send a Cornelius to ask you to tell all that you have been commanded by the Lord. Wouldn’t that be great?

I want to be used by You, Lord. Open ears that I may speak to them the wonderful things You have done in my life.

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ALWAYS READY

1 PETER 3:15

“but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”

Are you ready? Peter is asking you that in this verse. We need to be ready at all times to defend our faith. The word “ready” in this verse implies that all the preparations have been made. Think about that for minute. What kind of events do you prepare for? Social events, family vacations and celebrations of all sorts are prepared for by all of us. We don’t think twice about spending inordinate amounts of time preparing for events that are temporal.

But when it comes to preparing ourselves for things which could affect someone’s eternity, we don’t bother. That’s the preacher’s job. That’s the church’s responsibility. No!!!!! Every believer has the responsibility to prepare themselves to “give an account for the hope that is in” them.

APPLICATION

Listen Mom and Dad. You have to spend time preparing your child to defend their faith. They will be challenged. They will be ridiculed. They will be made fun of. You can bet on that. You arm them with truth. You prepare them for battle. Only the Word of God can be used in this battle. So, they have to believe in its truths.

When I see a child who is able to explain why they believe, it warms my heart. I know an adult has spent time with that child explaining the “whys” to them. It was probably mom or dad, but it could have been a Sunday School teacher or Awana leader. Whomever does it doesn’t matter as much as that it is done. Don’t send your child into the world spiritually unarmed. They must be ready.

Too many believers do not arm themselves for the onslaughts of the devil. Oh, he’s real. And he loves to attack those who are unprepared. Take some time and learn how to address those who question your faith. Tell them what God has done in your life. Give them some real life examples of God’s Word in action. That will give them something to think about.

Lord, I know I cannot take on the schemes of the devil without You. But with You I can storm the gates of hell with a water pistol because You are with me.

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