Tag Archives: Peter
I wrote several articles a while back about a radio station in the Miami area that bills itself as Christian but the content of the DJ discussion could best be labeled as culturally tolerant and traditional Christianity intolerant. As a brief reminder of previous content I have heard from this station over the years, once the morning DJ said he doubted the existence of eternal hell and encouraged a guy who claimed to believe in soul extinguishing (a Buddhist teaching), many times the morning team has staged skits and call-in contests with careless and disrespectful references to Jesus, and several instances where the morning crew totally mislead callers with answers to questions that are much more new age than Christian in content.
Yesterday, I heard the morning guy tell a caller that he did not care for going to church! He said he preferred a more interactive experience where there was no “preacher yelling at me about how bad I am” but where someone would encourage and affirm him. Now I agree that yelling is not necessary but that is as far as I can agree with the morning DJ dude. People who are lost do not need to be affirmed and encouraged to remain lost. Immature Christians need to grow in conforming to the image of Christ and not to be affirmed and encouraged to remain novices. Nothing good can be accomplished with an “Anything goes, dude” mentality. Read 1 Corinthians if you do not believe me.
How immature and self-indulgent can you be?! I only want to hear good things about myself and I want someone blowing smoke into my ear about how great I am… Give me a break! The danger in this immature and culturally tolerant stuff lives in the fact that people on the radio claiming to be Christian carry some credibility. Others listen to the radio assuming they can trust what they hear to be true and beneficial to them. When Emergent garbage is spewed from people who are too immature themselves to be in Christian leadership, the result is confusion and even deception.
Look at the book of Acts. God’s people met together. The total truth about God’s grace through Jesus and why people need it was clearly discussed. When Peter, Paul, and others preached in the open square or in the synagogues, they confronted people about their sin and their need of the Savior. How else can lost people hear? God’s plan is for His people to take His message to the world. God never asked for anyone to encourage and affirm the lost or spiritually immature Christian to remain in their current state.
“Emergent Radio” is another example of what happens when all solid, doctrinal teaching gets removed from life. People become worldly in their thinking. To be Christian is not to simply ” be nice ” within your own self-defined concept of niceness. To be Christian is not to drift around on every wind of false doctrine that replaces truth from the Bible because it is more palatable to the flesh of the worldly.
Every town in America probably does not have an Emergent Radio like this one. However, I can guarantee you that every Christian radio station in America is under pressure to broaden their appeal and gain more monetary support. The pressure comes from without even if it does not come from within. Increasingly, more stations are scuttling teaching programs in favor of continuous music. Also increasing is the extent to which the music being played on Christian radio merges with the current worldly culture. Much music remains solidly appropriate for honoring Christ but too much of it has shifted to a style-driven sound with lyrics that are indecipherable. Does sound alone honor God? Maybe or maybe not. It is above my paygrade to make that determination. Does recording otherwise worldly music and throwing in a casual reference to God or Jesus once in a while honor God? You be the judge based upon what scripture teaches about the glory of God and His Son who sits at His right hand in splendor.
To downgrade or not to downgrade… that is the question facing America. How will she respond?
We pick up with verse 11 after Peter is led out of prison by an angel. Peter gathers his thoughts and runs to the house of Mary the mother of John Mark. This is where a group of Christ’s followers are praying for Peter. Peter knocks on the door and calls to a young girl who answers. No one inside the house believes it is Peter. After persisting in knocking on the outer door, Peter is finally let in and the people are astonished.
The group had been faithfully praying for Peter yet are surprised to see him alive. I can imagine how they felt. Too often we pray yet are surprised when God answers. May God forgive our weakness of faith.
Peter tells them the story of how the angel released him from prison. I’m sure the church was greatly uplifted to hear this account and word quickly spread among the faithful.
Now back in the prison area and inside the local political structure, the news was not so well-received. Verse 18 and following tells of the reception of Herod to this news. The guards were executed for their ‘failure’ to keep their prisoner secure.
Herod’s plan to garner increased favor among the non-Christian Jews had been derailed and he was furious. I would bet he searched for Peter harder than he had ever searched for anything yet Peter was gone. Herod then does the only thing a spoiled brat can do when defeated… he runs away to Caesarea. News didn’t travel as quickly then as today. Maybe he could outrun the news for a while or even get his mind occupied by badgering other people for a change.
Now on to more of Herod’s vain self-absorption. He held the power strings that controlled the food supply to Tyre and Sidon. He was miffed at them for some reason not given to us. A feast was held in honor of Roman Emporer Claudius according to historical writings of Jewish historian Josephus. It was possibly at this feast that the events of verses 21 – 23 took place.
The people of Tyre and Sidon and other locals who were at the event where Herod gives an oration, applauded him wildly. This was perhaps due to the splendid apparel he was wearing and the assumed power he wielded and could also have been at least partially due to their desire to flatter him in order to gain something from him later.
The people cried out, “The voice of a god and not of a man” which was complete foolishness. Herod took the glory upon himself according to Josephus’ account and the Bible doesn’t say exactly but the implication is that he loved the flattery and was puffed up with himself. Verse 23 says that an angel of the Lord struck Herod because he did not give glory to God. Herod later dies of being consumed (internally) by worms.
Verse 24 tells us that the word of God grew and multiplied which is exactly what it does according to God’s will. There is no stopping it. Herod was shown not to be all that he believed himself to be and that the people who flattered him hoped he was. However, God always proves to be exactly who He has told us He is. Praise His name.
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In this final installment of this section of scripture, the focus shifts from Saul/Paul back to Peter. Beginning in verse 32, we see Peter traveling. Traveling was not glamorous back then. It was laborious, dangerous, and time-consuming. Surely there were underlings that could have traveled for Peter. However, we will see that Peter was not above person-to-person ministry.
Depending upon where you live, you may or may not have experienced the mega church concept. 3000 members, 40 pastors, 40-acre campus, 3-ring megaplex… all of these are common place in many American cities these days. Call up and ask to meet with the senior pastor and you will be told that he doesn’t do that. One of the junior pastors will meet directly with the public. The senior pastor focuses on strategy, leadership, growing the church’s brand, building the spiritual empire and so forth.
Peter was the senior pastor. He was there in the beginning when Jesus directly gave him responsibility for the church. No man could be more senior than Peter was in his time. Yet, we see Peter directly involved with individuals.
Verse 34 shows Peter reaching out to Aeneas and healing him in the name of Jesus. Peter was careful never to take credit or even appear to take credit for the miraculous. He made it clear where the power came from. The local people saw the result of the healing of the man they had known since their youth. As a result of God’s power on display, many (turned) came to faith in the Lord. The Greek word used for ‘turned’ in turned to the Lord means a conversion of life direction instead of a simplistic turn of curiosity.
Peter’s celebrity could not have produced this conversion. God was working powerfully in His Church.
Next we see Peter was summoned to go to Joppa where a believing woman had died. Now Peter may have been tired. It may have been the end of a long day. He could have sent an associate or asked for a delay in traveling yet more distance to minster but he did not. He went where he was asked to go. Peter prayed for the woman in private once arriving where the woman lay and God raised her from the dead. The Bible says this event was known all over Joppa and that many believed in the Lord (again, not the casual belief but the life-changing kind).
I am not saying that division of labor or delegation of duties inside the church is wrong. I see the message of this part of scripture as saying that a minister is never larger than his personal ministry. That includes all of us. God has the power and we are to have the availability. None of us are too cool to get our hands dirty, so to speak, with direct ministry. Peter knew this. Paul knew this. They more than any others could have felt they were too senior to get involved but the example they set was one of personal involvement with others when the opportunity presented itself.