Nick Poindexter

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Tag: Peter

Stop Speaking About Jesus

So they ordered Peter and John out of the council chamber and conferred among themselves. What should we do with these men?” they asked each other. “We can’t deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again.” So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
-Acts 4:15-20 (NLT)

Stop speaking about Jesus. I’m serious. Stop it. Never again. No more talking to your next-door neighbor about your love for Christ. No more morning chat with your co-workers about what you learned about him while reading your Bible. No more dinner table discussion with your family about your thankfulness of Jesus’ grace. So that’s it. Got it? Please give the Jesus thing a rest.

Quick self-evaluation… If I were serious, would you have any trouble complying?

During the early church’s history in the book of Acts, we find people like Peter and John being told just that — to not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus ever again. And their response shows how absurd of a request it truly was… It was almost as if they were thinking, “Let me get this straight… You want Christians to not talk about Jesus? Ha! Good luck!” They viewed it as an impossibility! Testifying about what they had witnessed was simply something they had to do, no questions asked.

Did you catch that? Christians being told to shut up about Jesus, and Christians responding that they cannot shut up about Jesus. I hate to say it, I’m not sure many in the church today would have much difficultly acquiescing to that request. As silly as it sounds, Christians not speaking of Christ has pretty much become acceptable behavior. And even worse, many believers justify their quietness under the guise of meekness, humility or peacefulness. And while those are certainly good, virtuous qualities to have, they aren’t a license for disobedience!

Let’s just be honest… You can’t make the modern church speak about Jesus. And you couldn’t make the New Testament church stop speaking about Jesus.

Now, to be clear, I’m not suggesting Christians must stand on street corners and blast passersby with scripture and condemnation. That’s just annoying. There’s a big difference between obnoxiousness and obedience.

But what I am suggesting is that one would think the greatest event to ever occur in your life would at least pop up some of the time in normal, day-to-day conversation. That’s it. I don’t think that’s too much to expect. But unfortunately for many Christians, the topic of Jesus is more or less nonexistant.

If that’s the case, then honestly who are you trying to please? Clearly, not speaking about Christ is what the world wants. And it’s definitely what Satan, the ruler of the world, wants. But what about what God wants? In the words of Peter and John, do you think God wants us to obey people rather than him? Submission to God must always supersede all else.

Really, there’s no choice. So share boldly, courageously, and confidently about Jesus. Tell everyone that will listen about what you have seen and what you have heard.

And please, don’t fall for the lie that silence is okay. To Christians, the mere suggestion of that action should be ludicrous.

No matter what, we cannot stop.

You Don’t Pet A Lion

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
-1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV)

The apostle Peter’s audience in the early Christian church had suffered through very difficult times. They had been mocked, criticized, and slandered by their culture. Because of the persecution they were facing, the people were inevitably feeling alone and helpless, especially if they focused solely on their troubles.

So as Peter is writing to them, he compares the devil to a lion, something they certainly would have understood due to their geography. Lions weren’t just observed at a zoo or circus… Lions were literally living in their backyards, and therefore they knew the animal’s habits. Specifically they knew that when a lion is looking for a victim to attack, they seek out the weakest — those who are young, sick or dragging behind.

That’s why its important to know the specifics about the people Peter is writing to. Just like a baby wildebeest on the African plains, these young Christians were vulnerable for attack.

So let me ask this… If I told you there was a lion hiding somewhere outside your doors, crouched and ready to devour you, would that instantly change your actions, decisions and priorities? I would hope so! Suddenly checking the mailbox isn’t as important.

You’d probably even go to extreme lengths to make sure you and those you care about were protected the lion’s attacks… For example, if you found out that giraffe pee was a natural lion repellent, I doubt you’d think twice about carrying a vile of the stuff around with you whenever you stepped outside.

Sure, it sounds excessive. Sure, others won’t get it. Sure, you may get ridiculed. But it’s a whole lot better than getting devoured by a lion, right?!

I firmly believe if we treated Peter’s statement like we really believed it, our lives would look a lot differently. But instead of taking the proper precautions, we snuggle up close to sin and temptation. Despite the obvious dangers, we think we can handle it.

Folks, you don’t pet a lion! Instead you do whatever it takes to safeguard yourself from them, no questions asked.

Once again, we’ve got to take what Peter said seriously… There is a lion on the prowl out there waiting to tear you limb from limb. So be self-controlled, be alert, and resist him by standing firm in the faith.

If not, the next to be devoured might be you.

What Someone Will Pay For It

For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.
-1 Peter 1:18-19 (NLT)

One of my favorite television shows is Pawn Stars, which depicts the day-to-day dealings of a Las Vegas pawn shop. Oftentimes someone will bring in some super-rare historical item, something the pawn shop owners have never seen before, so they’ll have an expert give them an appraisal. Sometimes they will comment that a similar item sold at auction recently for a certain price. But sometimes the expert is dumbfounded. They don’t have a clue where to begin in pricing the item, so you’ll hear them say something to the effect of:

“It’s worth what someone will pay for it.”

What they mean is because of the item’s uniqueness there’s no precedent for what it would sell for. It’s virtually impossible to place a specific value on it. You basically have to just throw it out on the market and see what happens. Because you never know… At auction, two guys could bid against each other back and forth all day, sending the price through the roof.

In Peter’s first letter, the author reminders his readers that they too were purchased at a great price by God. He uses the slavery/hostage term “ransom” to explain this, which is simply a payment that buys someone’s freedom. Just like a slave is controlled by his master, we are slaves to our sin. But, as Peter points out, our freedom was paid for with the blood of Jesus.

So if something’s worth is established by what someone is willing to pay for it, then what does that say about our value to God? Wow! It’s inconceivable!

God sacrificed everything, and that changes everything. It shifts the way we think about ourselves, the way we think about others, and most importantly, the way we think about God. Our Father in Heaven wanted nothing more than to set us free from the entrapment of our sin that he was willing to pay whatever it took to do just that. And we weren’t bought with gold, silver, or buckets of cash. It was the sacrifice of his son, Jesus.

When our lives were thrown out on the the market, the devil put up a fight, but God didn’t hesitate. When he put down the decisive bid of Jesus, it sent a resounding message to all… “They are mine and I don’t care what I have to pay to get them!” And because of that, we are free.

Thank God, he was willing to pay for it.

Sounds Like Jesus

Shortly after that, some bystanders approached Peter. “You’ve got to be one of them. Your accent gives you away.”

Then he got really nervous and swore. “I don’t know the man!”
-Matthew 26:73-74 (MSG)

Here we see Jesus’ prediction from earlier in the evening coming true: Peter indeed denies being associated with Christ three separate times.

The first two accusers pointed out that they had seen Peter with Jesus, and therefore he was one of his followers. But the third group made a different accusation: they said he had the same accent. In other words, he sounded like Jesus.

Now, this is obviously a reference to Peter and Jesus both being from Galilee and the common dialect they both had from living there. I’m certainly not arguing that.

It does however make me wonder… If I were in Peter’s sandals nowadays and someone charged me with being a follower of Jesus Christ, what would their evidence be? Would they say, “Well, he wears a cross necklace… Uh, and he listens to ‘Christian’ music… And um, he’s almost always at church on Sundays…”? Or would they implicate me by simply saying, “I know he is a Christian because he lives a Christ-like life. In everything he does, he sounds like Jesus“?

Incrimination never sounded so beautiful.

490 Strikes And You’re Out

At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.
-Matthew 18:21-22 (MSG)

In Jewish law, rabbis taught that one was to forgive another person up to three times, but not one more. It was pretty much 3 strikes and you’re out. The idea was that after 3 times a pattern had been exposed and nothing more could be done. Alternately, if you have sincerely apologized to someone that you hurt and they have rejected you all 3 times, then you had done all your were obligated to do as well.

So here we have generous Peter asking if 7 times would be the appropriate amount of forgiveness to offer — more than double what the rabbis suggest. But Christ throws him a curveball when he says 70 times 7 (490)!

Does that literally mean I have to wait until number 490 until I can stop forgiving someone? No… But what it does mean is that we are not to limit our forgiveness at all. Jesus was pointing out that by the time you were up to 490 you would have lost count anyhow, so you’d be better off just forgiving them in the first place.

God, help me to extend forgiveness when it is sought out — the first time.

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