Acts 5:29

Verse of the Day Devotion: Acts 5:29

“But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” – Acts 5:29

Peter and John were arrested for teaching about Christ as well as the miracle healing of the man lame from birth to the crowds in Solomon’s Portico.  They were eventually released; however, they were ordered by the Jewish leadership not to speak of Christ or the healing of this man anymore.  But they did not heed their demand.  “And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them.  Also, the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.”  Acts 5:14-16.

This did not set well with the High Priest for it went against their firm warning.  “But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail.” Acts 5:17-18.  However, that night an angel of the Lord set them free and said to them, “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.” Acts 5:20. Now, the High Priest ordered the prisoners brought to the council, but the guards could not find them.  Then someone came and reported to the council that the two men they had jailed the previous night were in the temple teaching the people about Christ.

When they arrived and were standing before the council, the High Priest questioned them saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” Acts 5:28.  However, Peter and the apostles answered with our focus verse, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29.

Francis Schaeffer in his book “A Christian Manifesto” stated, “The bottom line is that at a certain point there is not only the right, but the duty, to disobey the state.”  This comes only when what the state commands by way of law is contrary to God’s Law.  It is important that obeying God comes before obeying the government.  I want to clarify something though.  If what the state commands by law does not disobey God, then we are obligated to follow it.  It is only when, for example they legislate that all doctors must perform abortions when desired by the patient, that we must disobey because taking a human life is against God’s laws.

We must be ready, as Peter and John were, to do what is right in the eyes of God through disobedience when necessary.  Again, if it does not go against the laws of God, then we must do what they command.  Christianity is coming under much persecution because people want to do what they want.  They hate and abuse those who openly disagree with them.  They do not want Christian teachings and values in our public schools, but many other religious ideas are praised.  We must be willing to stand up in all areas to any group that demands us to disobey God.  He is our Lord, King and Eternal Father, worthy of complete obedience.  Are we ready to take such a stand for Christ?

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Matthew 16:16.

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Matthew 16:16 

“And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  – Matthew 16:16

After Jesus told His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, He led them to Caesarea. “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Matthew 16:13. Caesarea Philippi lies approximately twenty-five miles north-east of the Sea of Galilee, where the population is mainly Gentile. It was an area associated with idols and rival deities. It was scattered with temples of the ancient Syrian Baal worship. Also, there rose a great hill, in which was a deep cavern; and that cavern was said to be the birthplace of the great god Pan, the god of nature. Also there was a great temple of white marble built to the godhead of Caesar. There He would have been able to teach the Twelve away from the crowds.

Here, Jesus asks them a question. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they gave Him several answers. “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” Matthew 16:14. Some thought Jesus was a herald of national repentance like John the Baptist, or a famous worker of miracles like Elijah. And some believed He was someone who spoke the words of God, like Jeremiah and the prophets. Perhaps in seeing Jesus in these roles, many hoped for a political messiah who would overthrow the corrupt powers oppressing Israel. The disciples, who often mingled with the crowd were in a good position to hear what people were saying about Jesus.

Then He asked His disciples, “He said to them, but who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:15. The disciples were clear in describing what others thought. But Jesus had to ask them, as individuals, what they believed about Him. “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16. Jesus presupposes that his disciples would not have the same beliefs as others had. They would not follow the spirit of the age and shape their views by those of the people of that period. Simon was very clear and concise. This was a most powerful confession of His faith. He is, in essence, declaring Jesus to be more than just a man. He is Christ the Messiah and the Son of God. This emphasizes his divinity for both are joined together as one.

And He responded to this answer given by Simon. “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:17-19. God the Father revealed this truth to Simon. And because this truth was revealed to Simon, Jesus said to Him “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.” He did not call Him Peter because He was the rock upon which His church would be built. He called him Peter because the Father had revealed this to Him, specifically who Jesus was and he declared it openly. This was the rock, It was the words, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” which the Church would be built on. Putting all this together He was saying ‘I will bring my people together as my Church, on a solid foundation which will be a stronghold which cannot be defeated.’

And finally, Jesus tells them that He will give them the keys to the kingdom. Keys can be used to lock doors as well as open them. Part of the gospel message is that faith is necessary. Without faith in Christ, the door to heaven is shut and barred. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18. As the apostles preached the gospel, those who responded in faith and repentance were granted access to the Kingdom of Heaven; yet those who continued to harden their hearts and reject the gospel of God’s saving grace were shut out of the Kingdom

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

2 Peter 1:15

Verse of the Day Devotion.  2 Peter 1:15

“And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you may be able to call these things to mind.” – 2 Peter 1:15 

Our focus verse shows us the concern Peter had for those whom he had taught the truth. Looking back a couple of verses, we see he did all he could to help them remember. “Therefore, I shall always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you may be able to call these things to mind.” 2 Peter 1:12-15. He wanted his followers to stay true to God’s Word, and so he ‘stirs them up’. This phrase has the idea of stirring up this knowledge in their minds. You do not want to stir up dirty water, but you may stir that which is pure and sweet as much as ever you like. And a good fire sometimes becomes a better one by a little stirring up. He knows his death is eminent and the Lord had told Peter how he was to die, which would be by crucifixion. “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself, and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go. Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, Follow Me!” John 21:18-19.  Therefore, he wanted his followers to remain diligent in thinking about what he taught them, so as not to forget.

He then tells them that what he presented to them was absolute truth. “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16. In his teaching he had nothing to retract;  Peter held fast to what he had previously preached because he knew that it was the very truth of God. He was with Jesus along with James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration when he heard a voice from heaven. “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” Matthew 17:5.

Then Peter tells them that they have a prophetic word from God. “And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19. Peter and the other disciples saw the great works of Christ, and this was the first testimony. The second is the prophecies of the Old Testament. The testimony of the prophets is declared to be more sure than that of the Apostles concerning the voice of the Father in heaven and the transfiguration of Christ; for the Jews held high the prophecies of their fathers.

And the reason that prophecies were important is seen in the last two verses. “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” 2 Peter 1:20-21. We can trust the prophets because their words were not derived from men, but from God spoken to men.

It is absolutely essential that we do the same for the people we minister to and with just as Peter did for those he ministered to. We need to encourage all our brothers and sisters in Christ to be diligent regarding their faith in Christ, encouraging themselves to always remind them themselves of what they know. Help them to stir up the truth so that they will always be ready for anything that may come to distract them from the truth. This is so important, for the enemy wants to take us in another direction, therefore it is necessary to help them stay focused in the truth. And also be willing for others to stir us up, to encourage us to remind ourselves what the truth actually is. This is one way we can be there for each other, supporting one another in the faith. We all have times of trials. So let us be there for each other and help one another be firm in our Christian walk. We all need it at times. Let’s be there when anyone needs us.  

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

2 Peter 1:3

Verse of the Day Devotion.  2 Peter 1:3

“Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” – 2 Peter 1:3

This is powerful verse. What Peter is saying is that we, every Christian, has been given the ability through God’s divine power of life and godliness. It is through knowing God that we realize His divine power has given us all things necessary for true life and godliness, for all these things are in Him; and as we know Him, trust Him, love Him, and become like Him, we also come to possess all these precious things in and through Him. As an example I read recently. Suppose we see a dead body in front of a man. It would be absolutely wrong if he were to boast that it was in his power to restore this man back to life! However, it would be even a greater pretense if anyone should say that he could give to himself or to another the divine life, the spiritual life by which a man is made a Christian. We, in and of ourselves do not have the power to raise anyone from the dead. It is the power of God through and within us that we would be able to raise this person. And it is in the same way that Christians are granted, by God, everything pertaining to life and godliness. As it says in our focus verse, ‘through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

Then we read, “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” 2 Peter 1:4. The words ‘Great’ and ‘precious’ are two words that are not often used together. Many things are great that are not precious, such as great rocks, which are of little value. On the other hand, many things are precious that are not great, such as diamonds and other jewels, which cannot be very great if they are very precious. But here we have promises that are so great that they are not less than infinite, and so precious that they are not less than divine. They do indeed exceed all things which they can be compared to. No one has ever promised as God has. Kings have promised even to half their kingdoms; but how does that come close to God’s promise to give His own Son, and even His own self, to His people, Which He has done. Princes draw a line somewhere, but the Lord sets no bounds to the gifts He has promised to His people.

Then in the next three verses, we see the path of growth in our faith. “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7. With all diligence, we are to show through our lives, moral excellence. The phrase ‘for this very reason’ links verses 3-4 to 5-7. Peter exhorted his readers to a godly life because Christ has given them everything they need for a godly life, and they possess magnificent promises of future perfection. It would be a serious mistake, therefore, to dismiss the call to virtue as legalism or moralism. The exhortation to holiness is grounded in God’s work of salvation as it has been accomplished in Jesus Christ. As is typical in the New Testament, grace precedes demand. The priority of grace, however, does not cancel out strenuous moral effort. Believers are to make every effort in carrying out Peter’s commands. A godly character does not emerge from passivity. As Luther says, “They should prove their faith by their good works.”

Then this is followed by, “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.” 2 Peter 1:8-9. These holy things must not only be in us, but abound in us, or we shall be barren. Fruit is the overflow of life, and we must be full before we can overflow. There are many men who have lots of opportunities but never succeeded in doing true good in the conversion of souls. Unfortunately they lacked certain graces that are absolutely essential to fruit-bearing. For real useful graces are better than gifts. As the man is, so is his work. If we would do better, we must be better. Remember, we are a light in this world.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

1 Peter 4:1

Verse of the Day Devotion.  1 Peter 4:1

“Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,” – 1 Peter 4:1

The ‘therefore’ at the beginning of this verse refers back to the end of chapter eight, which is summed up here, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;” 1 Peter 3:18. What our focus verse is alluding to is that since Christ suffered in the flesh for our sins, the readers are now to apply that insight to strengthen their own resolve to maintain the kind of behavior that is pleasing to God, whatever negative reaction may be ignited in their nonbelieving contemporaries. He paid the penalty we could not pay for the sins we committed. It took a sinless, perfect man to pay the penalty for sins. This could not be us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23. But Jesus was perfect and did not deserve what happened, but He did it for us.

Therefore, all of us who are believers should regard ourselves as having been put to death on account of our sin, as though having paid the penalty which Jesus did for us as a substitute. And now, as someone who has been executed is clear of all guilt, so are we. As someone who has been executed should not return to his old life, should he live again, neither should we.

Due to Christ’s sacrifice we have died to sin. “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:11. And now that we live, we live in newness of life, and we live unto God. We have died to sin and passed into a new state and condition by virtue of our union with Jesus Christ our Lord. But while this is true, there is something we need to experience within our own spirits; hence the apostle says, “since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,” As He has died to sin, we are to die to sin also. This takes place, the beginning of it, at the time of conversion. The person who formerly loved sin should begin to hate it and no longer live in sin; “so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.” 1 Peter 4:2-3.

Now, unfortunately we are probably not going to live a perfect life. But still, as far as our heart is concerned, we are done with sin and desire it no more. There is no sin we should willingly do; none that we should wish to hold on to, for any sin we choose to keep and continue in will, if not done away with, cause us to fall away for we will desire it more than a relationship with Christ. Therefore, sweep them all out and live the life He has called us to.

When we give our lives to Christ and accept the loving work He did on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, we must look at our former life as gone, no longer a part of who we are. We must always look forward, knowing that we have an amazing eternal future to look forward to, if we do not look away and go back to that old life. Spend time in prayer, reading and studying His word, and giving Him the praise and adoration He deserves from us. Give yourself totally to Him. There is no better way to live,

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

1 Peter 3:8

Verse of the Day Devotion.  1 Peter 3:8

“To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit.” –  1 Peter 3:8

This verse gives us serious instructions on how we are to treat others, not just our brothers and sisters in Christ, but all people everywhere. Let’s look at the following characteristics that should be consistent in our lives as Christians. First we have harmonious. This has the meaning of being in unity with our brothers and sisters. We should not, in any way, quarrel over things that are meaningless which will cause dissension within the Church. We are to be united as one, with the purpose of glorifying God and not arguing over useless ideas. To live in harmony does not mean to have the same opinion on every subject. God is not advocating a meaningless uniformity for his church. Rather, harmony has to do with oneness of attitude. Harmony is created when the various parts of an organization are properly related to one another in the pursuit of a common goal. Unity is the necessary result of all members of the church living in obedience with the one Spirit who indwells all believers, in contrast to pride.

Next we are to have compassion for others, willing to help bear each other’s burdens. We are to be willing to suffer with another in order to help them through their difficulties. And with this, we are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to have compassion and be tender hearted with them, as well as those who are not yet Christians. And finally, we are to be humble in spirit. This does not just refer to our ideas but also to attitudes, our general mental outlook. Proverbs says the following, “A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.” Proverbs 29:23. Too many times, we find ourselves not loving a brother or sister because they differ with us or will not do what we want them to do.

Then Peter moves on to say we must never repay evil with our own evil. “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:9-11. To do so is to act like the world; it is certainly not the way of Christians. Good for evil is Godlike. It is what God did for us undeserving people. You, who are the children of God, should seek to act as He does: not repaying evil for evil. And this should be practiced to unbelievers also, so that the light of Christ can be reflected by us to a dark world. And this is the only way we can be at peace with all men. “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;” Hebrews 12:14-15. It is essential that we show the love of God, through our exhibition of His love, to a world who desperately needs to see it. This is to the lost, as well as Christians who have not experienced life as Christ desired for us. Too many people have seen too much evil done against them, and it is our job to show them what Christianity is truly about: the acceptance of everyone who have given themselves completely to Christ, and those who have not as of yet with the light of Christ shining upon them.

In closing, Peter ends this idea by showing those who follow the above have God’s favor upon them. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12. There is not a righteous man on earth whom God does not see. They may not be seen by others here, they may be in poverty, they may not be famous. But so long as they are righteous, God delights to look upon them. He looks upon them to take care of them. Therefore, let us live our lives with the righteousness of Christ as much as possible, and be willing to humble ourselves before God, confessing our sins when we falter.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

1 Peter 3:1

Verse of the Day Devotion.  1 Peter 3:1

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,” – 1 Peter 3:1

This particular verse has often been seen as derogatory toward women, but those who believe this have taken this verse out of context. Let us look at our focus verse more closely. First, Peter says, ‘In the same way, you wives’. This tells us what follows is directed not to all women, but to Christian wives specifically. It then goes on to say ‘be submissive to your own husbands’. This is the part that many take out of context. In the culture of the ancient world it was almost unthinkable for a wife to adopt a different religion than her husband. Christian women who came to Jesus before their husbands needed instruction. Often they would ask, ‘Should I leave my husband?’ or ‘Should I change my behavior toward my husband because I am now a follower of Christ?’ The answer to both of these is an emphatic no. And the reason given was so that ‘they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” 1 Peter 3:1b-2.

The above verse shows that the purpose of this ‘submission’ was not so that they would be the slaves of their husband, but that they, by their actions, could convert unbelieving husbands to the Christian faith. And this was Peter’s reason for telling them this. The idea is that what the wife is to do, through their Godly behavior, is to show him the reality of her faith in Christ. And by doing this she will show him her  desire for him to become a Christian as well. And her ways and attitude should be such that he sees an inward reality, and not just outward behavior. Theologian Wayne Grudem put it this way, “The attractiveness of a wife’s submissive behavior even to an unbelieving husband suggests that God has inscribed the rightness and beauty of role distinctions to include male leadership or headship in the family and female acceptance of and responsiveness to that leadership… The unbelieving husband sees this behaviour and deep within perceives the beauty of it. Within his heart there is a witness that this is right, this is how God intended men and women to relate as husband as wife. He concludes, therefore, that the gospel which his wife believes must be true as well.” And I wish to add that this may not happen quickly, but he is more likely to accept this life if He sees her living it consistently from her heart.

Now, Peter was speaking to wives here, but I truly believe husbands have the same responsibility. If a man is saved before his wife does, he must also live according to God’s word, according to what is right and holy such that his wife sees his behavior and chooses to get saved as well. Either side who is a Christians should love their spouse such that they desire them to become one as well. God is no respecter of persons; He desires all to be saved. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.

One other thing, submission in verse one does not mean they are to be submissive to their husbands regarding sinful actions or wrongdoing. If she were to submit to him regarding sin, he would be less likely to accept her beliefs for his own. For instance, if He were to tell her to steal something from their neighbor, she does not have to follow his order, but is obligated to refuse. The purpose for submission is to shine the light of Christ in order for him to see it and accept Christ as Lord himself. The whole reason Peter said this was so that her holy behavior will turn his heart toward God. And sinful behavior will not make this happen.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

1 Peter 2:13

Verse of the Day Devotion.  1 Peter 2:13

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,” –  1 Peter 2:13

One of the main things we need to understand in this verse is the first word, ‘submit’. The idea of this word in the Greek is closer to subordinate then submit or obey. It means to find our proper place in this relationship and then to act accordingly, which is counter to being called upon to obey unquestionably to whatever anyone, including governing authorities, command. While its intention is as much to counter any tendency of Christians to withdraw from contact with secular society and to calm revolutionary desire, it is intended to warn the readers against assuming that as Christians they are free from normal political and moral restraints.

Looking at our focus verse we see, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.” 1 Peter 2:13-15. And as we see here, those go beyond just the king. Civil government is necessary for the well-being of mankind, and those who delight in the law of the Lord are among the last to wish to see its power weakened or its executive despised. We would sooner suffer wrong than see our country the prey of lawless mobs. Look at what we are seeing today. What Peter is saying is that Christians are to subject ourselves to civil authorities. True religion is always the friend of order as well as liberty. The gospel is not a doctrine of anarchy; therefore Christians are no fomenter of strife. And besides, God allowed and instituted it. “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.” Romans 13:1-2.

So, as we see above we are called to obey officials that are over us. For example, speed limits, payment of taxes, etc. But what happens if what they require goes against God’s laws? Peter and the apostles ran into this situation found in the Book of Acts. “But someone came and reported to them, Behold, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people! Then the captain went along with the officers and proceeded to bring them back without violence (for they were afraid of the people, lest they should be stoned). And when they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. But Peter and the apostles answered and said, We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:25-29. Some of the apostles were put in prison by the high priest because of the success of their teachings which were in opposition to the priests. While there an angel came and opened the prison gates letting them out, telling them “Go your way, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.” Acts 5:20. When the priests saw them preaching what they gave strict orders for them not to, Peter said “We must obey God rather than men.” 

God wants us to obey all authorities over us. If we do not then we may suffer the consequences put in place for those who dis-obey. However, if what they require goes against what God says, then we are not to obey it. We should obey those over us, but not when they contradict God. And this may be difficult, but it is what is called for. For God is our ultimate ruler. He has told us to obey our rulers here, however, being our God and supreme ruler, we are called to obey Him over all else.  

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

1 Peter 2:1

Verse of the Day Devotion.  1 Peter 2:1

“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,” –  1 Peter 2:1    

The ‘therefore’ refers back to chapter one where Peter spoke of being born again to a living hope, that being life everlasting with God. As well as His calling on us to live a holy life. He is saying, because of all this, we are to put away all malice and guile, as well as hypocrisy, envy, and slander. As Christians and thus children of God, we must not participate in these things, for in doing so we are not acting in love for our fellow man. Let take a look at each of these.

By definition, malice is the intention or desire to do evil due to enmity against someone in our heart. While in some contexts this term simply means evil, depravity, or vice, the intent here regards ill-will. This refers to something that destroys fellowship which is harmful and could destroy Christian communities. It is often associated with grumbling, bitterness, and envy. This is an internal heart issue that eventually shows up in negative behavior.

Next comes guile, essentially saying one thing but meaning another. The idea here is that the person is speaking or acting with evil ulterior motives, which would in some way cause harm if the person accepted it. Next, comes a similar idea, hypocrisy. This is the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform. This is where people are not so much robbed or injured as deceived.

Next we see envy, a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, luck, etc. This is looking at someone and either wishing you had something they had, or wishing they did not have it. And finally, slander. This is the idea of spreading something false about someone that injures a brother or sister’s reputation.

None of these should be done or promoted in the Christian community. These are the ways of the world, not of believers. As Peter wrote earlier, “Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.”   1 Peter 1:13-16. We are to be holy in our conduct and our thoughts. None of these are holy activities and should not be in us.

We are to be as infants who when hungry go for the mother’s milk. We should desire the word of God in the scriptures and learn how we are to live, and how not to live. We are called to love everyone; God, our brothers, and sisters in Christ, and those who are not saved. If we have malice, envy, and/or deceit in our hearts, or are hypocritical and slanderous, how can we say we love others? Jesus told the disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35. Do not take on these sinful activities, for in no ways are these characteristics of love, and if people see or hear of us doing them, it will cover the light we are to be in the world. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16.  

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

1 Peter 1:6

Verse of the Day Devotion.  1 Peter 1:6

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,” – 1 Peter 1:6     

Peter was encouraging the Christians who were scattered throughout the land. “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.” 1 Peter 1:1-2. Peter then encourages them to remember that because of Jesus’ great mercy, He has provided us the ability to be born again to a living hope through the death and resurrection of Jesus. And this living hope is, “to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:4-5.

And because of this living hope, “you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,” 1 Peter 1:6. We who love the Lord have our joy even in our present adversity. We have heaven here because Jesus is with us and in us, and after we leave here,  we will be with Jesus in the eternal heaven. Though sometimes cast down in our trials, we are glad at heart because a wonderful eternity awaits us. If we were not distressed during our troubles we would not be like Christ Jesus. It is a rule of the kingdom that all the members must be like the Head. They/we are to be like the Head in that day when He shall appear. We will be like him because we will see him just as he is. But we must be like the Head also in His humiliation, or else we cannot be like Him in his glory. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.” 1 John 3:2.

Now in verse 7 we see what proves we have faith. “that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold, which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:7-9. In these verses, Peter gives a fuller explanation of the divine purposes behind the grief which Christians now experience. They may have to experience grief in various trials, so that the genuineness of our faith may result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Think of it this way. You shall go into the woods when you please, but if you are very quiet you will not know whether there is a partridge or a pheasant or a rabbit in it. But when you begin to move about or make a noise, you very soon see the living creatures. They rise or they run. So when affliction comes into the soul and makes a disturbance and breaks our peace, up rise our graces. Faith comes out of its hiding, and love leaps from its secret place.

Peter thus shows grief and joy to be normal in the Christian life. Grief arises because of many difficulties encountered in this fallen world, but faith looks to the unseen reality beyond this present existence and rejoices. Christians are being watched by the world. And during trials and tribulations, if we show our faith by remaining true to Jesus, some will look at us and desire to know how we do it. And this may open the door to share with them the truth, and maybe lead them to salvation through Christ.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.