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Sunday: Peters’ Present-Truth Message — 11 Comments

  1. Most of us who read these lessons have a perception that the Christian message is relevant to these times. We believe that Jesus is coming soon to gather the redeemed together. We have a whole language to describe these events and when something like the COVID-19 hits the fan we go into overdrive talking to one another, creating Youtube and Vimeo videos, Facebook pages and websites describing in detail how the events fit the end-time description described in the Bible in Christian language.

    Most of the unchurched completely ignore these efforts, or if they do read them are quick to point out inconsistencies. The simple fact of the matter is that to a large extent we make noises that satisfy our ears but make little sense to anyone else.

    There are two aspects to the end-time message that are important:

    1) We need to affirm our own faith and think carefully about what we believe and how it should affect us in the present time.

    2) We have to think carefully about how we present our faith to "all the world".

    Perhaps a little illustration that I have used before is in order:

    When students came to me with a maths/science/computing problem that they were not making any headway with, my tactic was to feign ignorance and ask them to explain the problem to me. Many times they would get halfway through the explanation when they would suddenly exclaim, "Ah, I see it now!"

    Our unchurched friends see the problems with the world and the direction that we are heading, but in our enthusiasm, we like to tell them the "Christian" solution in our language and they simply do not get it. Maybe we should be more enthusiastic about getting them to explain the problem to us. In that way, they may very well help us to see the issue through their eyes and in turn, we can talk to them in a language they understand.

    Relevance and transmission do not necessarily work together transparently.

    • This is so true, Maurice! I've been studying leadership principles for work and this was one of them, getting people to explain the problem in their own words in order to assess their understanding. I've been finding that many or even most of the leadership principles apply to our Christian walk as well. At first it surprised me, but as I've thought about it, I realized we are leaders - we lead people to Jesus.

    • Hello Maurice and Karen -
      I hold the thought that it is the other way around - Jesus demonstrated 'Christian leadership principles' throughout His ministry, these are not secular in their origin; they are spiritually based principles which have a worldly application and are used by secular institutions or organizations without being recognized as such.

      The secular world's leadership's aim is improved production (self-serving) - in the Christian (spiritual) world, the shared 'introspection' from a Seeker of Truth helps transform this person's life when shown that help is available in Jesus - this is self-less guidance!

      Most of life's problems, at their core, are spiritual. How do the 'leaders' in the secular world address spiritually rooted problems - they do not! Christians working in the corporate world face two responsibilities. We, as Karen puts it, help them "assess their understanding", and, if necessary, fill in the missing insights to help move the project forward - that is the secular application.

      The Christian application of this 'leadership'-approach is placed squarely into the hands of the guide after having listened attentively to the 'Seekers' problems. I prefer the word 'guide', because we have encountered them in their awareness of their need for guidance - "no one comes to me(Jesus) unless the Father who sent me draws them to me...." John 6:44.

      From this point forward, we are being guides and engage in helping to provide resources, practical as well as intellectual, which point to the source of all Love and Truth - the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, the Son of God our Father.
      In this instance, 'relevance and transmission do work together transparently'!

    • I love the honesty of this statement: Most of the unchurched simply ignore our efforts...
      Sometimes our witnessing makes us feel good but completely misses the goal.
      And I love the solution: Get them to talk to us about the problem and to describe it.
      I feel so often that people are quick to judge the situation of the unchurched without having any understanding of where they are coming from.

    • Maurice, this is exactly the correct approach. It is human nature to rebuff opinion/instruction. People want to tell you about their view of life rather than being told how to view life. I was a salesman all of my life and I offer two contrasting responses from two prospective surgeons I was trying to engage. The first when I was young, dumb and eager and the second is from late in my career.

      After working for about two years just getting surgeon #1 to know who I was by diligently showing up at 7:30 a.m., leaving my house at 5 a.m to get to Grand Rounds ( usually and education presentation followed by discussions of difficult cases) at the University where he was Chief of Orthopedics, he granted me an audience in his office. I was ushered into his office where he was sitting behind his large desk. After some brief casual introductory banter, I launched into my presentation on a total hip product from a Swiss manufacturer. I asked few if any questions and I spoke non stop for what seemed to be 10 minutes but was likely more like 5. He sat comfortably in his chair and listened without interruption. When I finished my presentation he leaned forward and said, “Why don’t you come back in here sometime when you know hat you are talking about”. I obviously had no response to his position and I walked out sheepishly.

      Some 25 years later, I was invited by one of my salesman to join him at a presentation to a very busy Total Joint surgeon. Our sales rep knew the surgeon and I new who he was but had never met him. As I arrived at his office, our sales rep was called to an emergency and I stayed to make the sales call alone. In contrast to surgeon #1, surgeon #2 sat impatiently behind a small desk leaning forward towards me. A body language expert would say his posture was stating he was wanting to keep this quick and I was not very welcome. Again after some very brief introductory niceties, he asked me, “What are you here to sell me?” My answer was brief and succinct, “Nothing”. Now he immediately sat back and relaxed in his chair as if the weight of the world had just been lifted form his shoulders and asked, “Then why are you here”. I now asked him a simple question, “Please tell me about your Total Joint practice and what one specific problem that you do not have a solution for that you would like to have solved?” The flood gates opened and he gushed for about the next 10 minutes uninterrupted by me, on his practice and the problem of dealing with severe abnormalities in acetabular revisions. Then he asked, “Do you have a solution for this?” He “stepped in it” because we represented an Italian manufacture that was well on their way to solving HIS problem. He went to Italy with me a few months later to visit the company and went into surgery with surgeon developers. We developed a very good working relationship.

      This same characteristic works approaching people about their world view. Let them tell you what they think and they just might “step in it”.

  2. Revelation has many word pictures which convey the message like Jesus used parables based in the everyday life in that time. Maybe He used pictures for end time people because He knew that would be the most influential medium to transmit the message.
    Look at today's illustration, what is the message? Stars are communication and Candlesticks are power and light between Jesus and His people.
    Could we use modern day parables to convey the message? 3 short ideas:

    A website uses a spam filter to block useless or harmful comments, recently it identify my IP as a danger and blacklisted me, on appeal Admin "whitelisted" my address to allow me access. Our sins block us from access to communication with the LORD but Jesus removes our sins to allow us access.

    Danger virus alert! We face two kinds, one that corrupts our computer systems and the other that infects our bodies and can lead to death. Revelation 13 warns of a danger that corrupts either our minds or our hands/actions or both - Revelation 14 tells us how to protect ourselves from these viruses.

    In my country our generators cannot produce enough power for all our needs, so they are rationing it, called load shedding - they cut off power to areas on a rotational basis for 2-4 hours at a time. But sometimes in an emergency there can be a complete blackout for a longer period. This happened to me twice in the last two weeks, 24 hours without power and my whole life came to a standstill, no light, warmth, cooked food, computer for work, charger for phone. We are now putting in a back-up plan for when the power grid goes off-line. I have realized how much I need Jesus' power in my life and how important it is for me to stay connected to him, not just for my day to day life but I need enough backup power for emergencies. (think 10 virgins)

  3. Thank you all for your comments. These help,put our study into practical current focus. You all add to making it come alive and real!

  4. The answer to the question: "What was this "present truth" message that Peter and the disciples proclaimed?" is found in 2Peter1:2-11.
    v.2+3 - "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, (3)according as HIS DIVINE POWER hath given unto us ALL things that pertain unto LIFE and GODLINESS, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue."(Jesus)

    I have always wondered about why, in religious circles, more importance is placed on the dying of Jesus than on His resurrection and the practical application of His Father's message which He left with us and now being formed in us by the work of the Holy Spirit?
    I think that, foremost, the Father's Authority, 'ownership' and His Love where revealed when He sent us His Son to share the message of Salvation with us; His Son's freely given submission to do the Father's will unto the point of death, and His Father's fulfilled promise for His Son's subsequent ascension.
    This speaks clearly and unmistakably to the Truthfulness of the Author, Messenger and the message given by the Father to pass on to everyone who chooses to believe it.

    Hebrew Chapter 10; Heb.10:12-14 - "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."

    Jesus and the Father's Gospel message are proclaimed by all who believe it to be the Father's present Truth; they have been given to us so that we, by believing and practical application, experience the Way of this spiritual Truth leading to true, spiritually empowered Life in the here and now, as well as at the time of the end of this present age.
    Rev.22:11,12 - "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (12)And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work(applied Faith) shall be."

  5. And, behold I come quickly and my reward is with me...Rev 22:12

    Revelation means to reveal. To make known. But why was revelation written in so much prophetic language? Was John message in revelation mainly focus on the people who already knew God or the unchurched people? Or both?

    • LYN Lew I hope they answer you.
      But i think just as Jesus came to make known to the whole world the love and the wonders of God, revelation is for every one. Jesus also used parables in His messages just as revelation uses prophetic language and he explained those parables to those who earnestly wanted to know also in revelation the prophetic language is interpreted to those who are earnestly willing to know. Matt 13:11-15
      My answer is both


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