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Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Reality Check

Leading up to this verse, Peter has been talking about the greatness and the glory that Christians can look forward to.  The problem is when someone get so lost in their dreams of the future glory they forget they are in a battle in the present.  Many are so focused on the Christian's coming glory they forget of the Christian's current struggles.  Eph 6:11,12  So to keep Christians focused on our current battles and still looking forward to the coming glory Peter gives a three point reality check to his readers.

The first reality check is to "prepare your minds for action."  This is a very vivid phrase.  It actually means something like "pull up your sleeves" or how a person will "take off their jacket" when it is time to work.  Peter is telling us that we must be ready to put in mental work.  We must be ready for a very strenuous mental endeavor.  A person who rolls up there sleeves of takes off their jacket to prepare for work does so because they want to work without any type of interference.   Do we prepare our minds like that for our faith?   This is a reality check, how often do you clear your mind just for spiritual things?  Too many of us never clear our minds and fix our eyes on Jesus.  We must "lay aside every encumbrance" to do this!  Heb 12:1-3  How many people can't prepare their minds and focus on the Lord's Supper for a weekly observance?  We must never be content with an unexamined faith.  Do you believe what you believe from your own personal study or because the preacher said so?  If you are of the latter, you are not preparing your mind for work!  You may be drifting away (Heb 2:1) because you are not heeding the Word, paying attention to the Word, or preparing your mind for work.  Reality check, are you preparing your mind for work?  Are you doing all you can to keep your mind free from interference?  Are you taking off the mental jacket?  Are you rolling up the mental sleeves?

The second reality check is to be sober in spirit.  The word sober means to refrain from drunkenness or to be free of the influence of intoxicants.   It metaphorically carries the association of watchfulness.  Peter is giving the reality check of being steadfast and knowing what we believe.  As mentioned earlier, how many people when asked, "Why do you believe this or that" can only reply, "I don't know.  It's what the preacher always says."    To be free of intoxicants is to not be carried away by a new enthusiasm and then be completely under the influence of the latest craze.  Paul tells Timothy the same thing.  2Ti 4:5   This being "sober" is to be in spiritually sound judgment.  It is having a spiritual self restraint that will not allow you to be entangled by the allurements of the world.  Reality check, are you making sound spiritual judgments from a mind that is prepared to work for Jesus Christ?  Many people are so focused on earthly things that all they can think about is getting to the weekend.  Why, Monday is just around the corner?  I am not ignorant to the fact that we have tough and difficult weeks, but there will be many more.  May we focus on Christ from a sober and prepared mind!

The third reality check is fixing your hope on grace.  This hope is in something we haven't seen, but we are eagerly waiting for.  Rom 8:24,25  Grace is often under valued and misunderstood.  Many think grace is ticket to sin and lack repentance.  Jesus said we all must repent in Lk 13:3.  People say, "That was told to the Jews.  There is no call of repentance today because we are covered by grace."  Well, the book of Acts tells us how the early church grew and how the Lord added people to the church.  You do not "join" the church.  In this book you can read where God has called all men to repentance. Acts 17:30,31    You can stand in the corner like the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz saying, "I do believe, I do believe, I do, I do, I do, I do believe" and be immersed in every pool, pond, and waterway in the United States, but without repentance you will perish.  The greatest characteristic of Christianity is that we live in the hope of grace.  It is that hope that gets us through trials of this present time.  It is that hope that carries us through our toil and struggles.  It it because the Christian knows these struggles leads somewhere great and incomparable.  Rom 8:18  The glory that awaits is why athletes train so hard. For Christians, the best is yet to come.  I often say when the struggles feel like they are to much to bear, think about how great the glory will be later!  Reality check, are you living with the gratitude of mercies for all that was in the past, with the fortitude to meet the struggles of the present, and with the hope of grace that for those in Christ, the best is yet to come?   Is that how a friend would describe you?  Do you friends and coworkers even know you are a Christian?  I always say that if those around you do not you are a Christian, God probably don't either!

This is a reality check to make sure our minds are prepared for working for Christ, our judgments are wanting for Christ, and our hopefulbelieve.  He is coming for those who are obedient!  2Th 1:7,8

Today, is a reality check.  If Christ would return today would you be found obedient or disobedient.  You see God loves us so much He sent his son to be a final and perfect sacrifice for our sins.  That is done from His mercy.  He gives us His gift of grace that saves us through faith.  That faith is determined by our obedience to God's Word not by what we claim to believe!  Mt 7:20  In the winter time when you look at mountain it is hard to differentiate between the trees.  Yet, in the summer when you look at the same mountain, it easy to differentiate between the trees because you can see the fruit they are producing.    Reality check, are you producing Christian fruit because that is what differentiates Christians from other people.  Sanctification and holiness are the desire and duties of every Christian!


We must hear the Word of God:  Rom 10:17; Acts 4:4

We must believe or have faith:   Heb 11:6; Acts 16:31

We must repent of our sins:  Lk 13:3; Acts 17:30

We must confess Christ before others:  Mt 10:32; Acts 8:37

We must be immersed into Christ (baptized) Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38

We must be faithful:   Rev 2:10; Acts 14:22     


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