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Weekly Observations and Commentary

Long-View Living in a Short-View World

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I was recently treated to a brief video clip of a very animated preacher confronting a man in the pews who was nodding off. Rather than ignore the man's offense and give attention to keeping everyone else awake, the preacher became indignant and publically confronted the man before the congregation, and now via video, before hundreds of thousands of online viewers.

The calloused disregard displayed in the preacher's admonishment was more than enough to arch my eyebrow, but beyond that, I believe what the preacher said in his rebuke was astonishingly arrogant.

"Don't you go to sleep on ME," he shouted, coming out from behind his over-sized pulpit. "I'm somebody! I'm important!"

His narcissistic spewings continued for several minutes, but that's sufficient to give you a gauge of the man's temperament.

Such displays of self-aggrandizement are terribly off-putting, and I believe this man needs to get over himself. I know of no society or culture that views arrogance as a virtue. Recognizing this, there are some who look at statements from the apostle Paul as indicative of an exaggerated self-opinion.

Take, for example . . .

And they were glorifying God in me. - Galatians 1:24, BLB
Is this arrogance in Paul?

Elsewhere we see him make similar remarks. "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1, ESV). He told the church at Philippi, "What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me — practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you" (Philippians 4:9).

Paul's statement that others were glorifying God in him sounds similar to Jesus saying in John 14:9, "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father," and we do not think Jesus presumptuous for saying this. Jesus was the full manifestation of the Father to humanity.

Paul said he had been set apart from his mother's womb, called through grace, and that God "was pleased to reveal His Son in me" (Galatians 1:15-16). Elsewhere, he said, "the truth of Christ is in me" (2 Corinthians 11:10), and he made reference to "Christ who speaks in me" (2 Corinthians 13:3).

Looking back at our target verse, "And they were glorifying God in me," many, if not most translations will translate εν as "because of" to say others were glorifying God because of Paul. Paul was previously a relentless persecutor of the church and was now a staunch advocate of the same. As the theologian Theodoret of Cyrus noted, "the former wolf is now acting the shepherd's part." There is no doubt that the church glorified God because of Paul, but that is not what the verse says when translated literally.

One of the most comforting realities of life in Christ is also one of its greatest mysteries - that is "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). Jesus indwells every believer through his Holy Spirit. Paul told the churches of Galatia that he no longer lives, but now Christ lives in him (Galatians 2:20).

In this reality, that of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, the apostle Paul can say with absolute humility,"they were glorifying God in me."

This is the same man who said, "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2, ESV). This is the same man who taught the church at Corinth "Therefore glorify God in your body" (1 Corinthians 6:20). This is the apostle who spoke condescendingly of himself, saying, "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not" (Romans 7:18, NASB)."

For the apostle Paul, and subsequently, for us, the issue at hand is always the glory of God.

  • "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV).
  • "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen" (Ephesians 3:20-21, ESV).
  • "To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen" (Philippians 4:20, ESV).

The same Holy Spirit who indwelt the apostle Paul indwells every Christ-follower today.

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. - Romans 8:9, NASB

Knowing this to be true, each of us should be equally able to say with Paul, "they glorify God in me," and "follow me, as I follow Jesus." Walk boldly, Christ-follower, with Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Blessings upon you.

Victoriously in Christ!

- damon
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Regular readers of my blog know that I am careful to avoid political postings. As a foreword to this blog posting, I want to assure you that, though it appears to be a violation of that principle at the outset, this blog posting is not a political posting, but one that uses current political activities to illustrate a concept.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been making hay recently with chatter about impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, and she solidified that chatter with the initiation of formal impeachment proceedings on September 24, just eight days ago, resulting in cheers from some and venomous rhetoric from others.

The word "impeach" is tossed about in contemporary society with both ease and regularity, and I suspect a fair amount of ignorance. In conversations with friends and acquaintances, I have found that most do not have a proper understanding of impeachment, believing it to mean that the impeached individual is bounced out of office. Such is not the case.

To impeach an official means to bring a formal accusation of misconduct. In the case of a president, it means charging him or her with high crimes and misdemeanors, and then calling the impeached individual to account. In the history of the United States of America, only two sitting presidents have been impeached before the U.S. House of Representatives; Andrew Johnson, and William Jefferson Clinton.

In a politically-charged climate, it is easy to allow personal ideology to fuel emotion, and emotion can then drive us to words and actions that may later prove grievous. When it comes to dealing with public officials, as Christ-followers, we may disagree with them, but we do not have license to disrespect them.

The apostle Peter wrote of this in his first letter.

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. - 1 Peter 2:17, NKJV

Just prior to saying this, Peter noted that by doing what is right, we can silence the ignorance of foolish men – quite literally, we “muzzle” them. So what does Peter mean when he calls us to "do what is right?"

1. Give Honor to All

There is a construct in the Greek text that indicates a continuous, conscious choice to actively seek ways to give honor to others. The apostle Paul said in Romans 13:7 that we are to give honor to whom honor is due. Peter seems to have expanded on that, teaching us that honor is due everyone, all.

As Christ followers, we do not merely tolerate one another. We certainly do not publicly and intentionally humiliate one another through degrading speech, name-calling, and insults. Such behavior does not show honor to anyone – not to those we are degrading, not to ourselves, and not to God.

I believe it is important to bear in mind always, that every man, woman, and child I encounter is a human being created in the image of God. Thus, for me to disrespect them, to refuse to show them honor, is to disrespect and refuse honor to the image of God - the same God in whose image I am created.

We are in society as representatives of Jesus Christ. Peter says we are "in the world to proclaim the excellencies of the one who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:9). We are advertising God's virtues, and we belie that reality when we publicly denigrate those with whom we disagree.

The apostle Paul told the Christians in the city of Philippi, "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:3-4, NASB).

Even when I stand in opposition to another, I am to address them with respect, and to grant them honor.

2. Love the Brotherhood

I take loving the brotherhood to mean loving the family of faith - other Christ-followers. The apostle Paul told the church in Galatia that as we have opportunity, we do good to everyone, but especially to those who are of the household of faith. Earlier in his letter, Peter said, "Since you have purified your souls in obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, fervently love one another from a pure heart" (1 Peter 1:22).

We do love one another, not because we are being told to do so, but rather because our hearts are pure. With that purity of heart, we continually, habitually love other believers with this congenial affection that goes well beyond the love we have for humanity in general. There is a bond in Christ that is not present in the world, and that is not even understood by the world.

The next time you are in assembly with your faith family, deliberately look around you. Take in the diversity of that gathering. If your church family is like my church family, there are some wildly distinctive people in that gathering, so much so that, outside of that setting, outside of the common bond in Christ, we would not have a relationship. But there is a commonality in Christ that draws us to one another. It makes us one through a love that the world has no capacity to understand.

Love governs our relationships in Christ. We need to understand that, and submit to that love, because people in the body of Christ will let us down. They will disappoint us, and at times they will sin against us. There are times we will sin against others. Peter, in this same letter, calls on love to address that reality, saying, "Above all [meaning if you cannot do anything else, do this] keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8).

It is only through covering the sins of others with our love that we are able to "remember their sins no more," and "keep no account of a wrong suffered" at their hand.

3. Fear God

Fearing God means one thing to a Christ-follower and something entirely different to a non-believer.

As a youth, I was a tinkerer. I was constantly disassembling and reassembling things in order to learn how they functioned. On one occasion, I absent-mindedly picked up a piece of electrical equipment that had the bottom panel removed. As my fingers folded underneath the appliance, they contacted live components and the ensuing jolt sent me about ten feet across the room.

Electricity is an amazing thing. It can be a good servant, but it demands our respect.

I love the line from CS Lewis’s The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe where Mr. Beaver addressed the children's question about Aslan being a "safe" lion. Mr. Beaver responded, "Safe! Safe? Who said anything about safe? Of course he’s not safe. But he’s good!"

God is like that. Even a semi-accurate understanding of God informs us that God is awe-inspiring. As Christ-followers, we are in an intimate relationship with the Lord-Creator of the universe. There is a reverential awe that springs from recognizing that reality.

The prophet Isaiah caught just a glimpse of God and came completely undone. He saw his own utter depravity by comparison. God is wholly other!

Moses had an encounter with the glory of God and his face glowed so brightly that he had to cover it with a veil because it was frightening the people of Israel.

We worship and serve a good, loving God, but he is also a God who inspires awe, an awe that transcends respect and includes a healthy dose of fear.

Proverbs 1:7 tells us that the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge. We gain knowledge and wisdom when we understand that our God is a consuming fire, but also that he holy, just, and righteous. Thus, we fear God in the sense that we reverence him and stand in awe of his magnificence, but we do not fear Him in the sense that we are scared of him, because he is good, he loves us, and he works for what is best in our lives.

4. Honor the King

In the United States, my home, we do not have a grasp of what it means to live under a monarchy with a single, unelected ruler. We are allowed some say in who our leaders are.

At the time Peter wrote this, kings were kings just because they were. There were good kings and horrible kings. Regardless, the apostle Peter says, “Honor the king.”

In the original language, this is second-person, plural, active, imperative, meaning, "Do this! Don’t question it, or try to soften it. Honor the king."

Four verses prior, Peter said, "Submit yourself, for the LORD’s sake to every human institution, whether the king, or a governor..." (1 Peter 2:13-14) Peter did not say I had to like the king or governor. He did not say I had to agree with them or admire them. But I am to submit to them and to grant them honor, and not just when I think they deserve it.

When we consider what Peter is saying in light of our political systems and our reaction to those systems, the disparity is disconcerting. Look at social media. Listen to discussions on talk radio or television programming. I can go to my local church and hear horrible things said about our political leaders. We disgrace the name of the Lord Jesus when we engage in such disrespectful behaviors.

One could object to the corruption pervasive in government, and I will agree with that. It doesn't matter. Consider who was on the throne at the time Peter wrote this directive. Nero!

Nero ascended to the throne with the consent of the Praetorian Guard following the suspicious death of his great-uncle, Claudius. He was last Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. His reign was one of tyranny and opulence.

The Great Fire of Rome, in 64 AD, is reputed to have been instigated by Nero in order to allow for the construction of his palace, the Domus Aurea (Golden House). To deflect attention from himself, Nero spuriously blamed the fire on Christians, and in a move of astounding cruelty, acted on his baseless claim by burning Christians alive.

Further solidifying Nero's reputation for cruelty, five years into his reign he had his mother, Agrippina, murdered. Various plots against Nero's life were uncovered, and as each was revealed, Nero had the instigators (usually from his own inner-circle) executed.

Ultimately, numerous territorial governors revolted against Nero causing him to flee Rome. Nero was tried in absentia and sentenced to death as an enemy of the public. As a result, on June 9, 68 AD, Nero became the first Roman Emperor to die by suicide.

That is who was "president" when Peter said "Honor the king." We have no biblical foundation, none, zero ... for dishonoring our governing officials.

Even with the freedom of speech we enjoy in the United States, Peters teaches us that we are not to use our freedom as a covering for evil, but rather to use it as bondslaves of God. We submit to our political leaders precisely because we are submitted to Christ. In that reality, the last two directives from Peter go hand in hand. "Fear God, and honor the king."

He that fears God, loves his brethren, and embraces all mankind with becoming love, will not fail to render also to kings the honour that is due to them. - John Calvin
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. - 1 Peter 2:1-2, NASB

Blessings upon you.

Victoriously in Christ!

- damon
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Everything we do at Long-View Living ministries is, in some way, tied to or encouraging an eternal perspective - the long view.

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV-1978).

When we discuss matters of eternity, it is important to recognize that there is one future event toward which every Christ-follower looks, and for which we long. That event is the return of Jesus for his own.

While preparing his disciples for his pending arrest, crucifixion, and departure, Jesus told them, "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also" (John 14:1-3, ESV).

Following his resurrection, Jesus met briefly with the disciples, gave them some instructions, and responded to their question about the coming kingdom. Afterward, Jesus was whisked away from them.

And when he had said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." - Acts 1:9-11, NIV-1978

Make no mistake about it. Jesus is coming back, and we would do well to be prepared for his return. Today, we will look at one specific verse that describes Jesus' return - Revelation 1:7.

"Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen." - Revelation 1:7, ESV

There are four truths we need to grasp from this one verse from John's Revelation.

1. Jesus IS Coming.

It is not a matter of "if" but when, and regarding that time, even Jesus does not know. It is not something that has already happened. It is a future event, one that will play out exactly as Jesus said it will, just as it will occur as John prophesied in his Revelation.

In Matthew's gospel, Jesus described his coming in this way:

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats" (Matthew 25:31-32, NIV-1978).

It is in this scene that we all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

To be sure the scoffers and mockers ridicule us for holding firm to the promise of Jesus, but we will be vindicated in the end.

"Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep [died], all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation'" (2 Peter 3:3-4, NASB, insert mine).

2. Jesus Will Come With the Clouds.

This mode of coming with the clouds of heaven, was prophesied by Jesus himself in Matthew's gospel.

"And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30, NASB).

He said something very similar two chapters later.

"In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Might One and coming on the clouds of heaven" (Matthew 26:64b, NIV-1978).

To up the ante a bit, the prophet Daniel also described this scene.

I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
- Daniel 7:13, NASB

3. Jesus' Coming Will Be No Secret.

"Every eye will see him..."

This is a mind-boggling concept, but I accept it as truth. However it happens, every eye on the face of the earth will see Jesus coming, saved and unsaved. Even the dead will rise to witness this magnificent event!

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. - 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, ESV

Encourage, indeed! This is a great day for those who are in Christ. For those outside of Christ ... not so much. And that brings us to truth #4.

4. Jesus' Return - Bad News for Those Who Are Not His.

The reaction of those who do not know Jesus as Christ-followers know him is one of wailing and intense anguish. How horrifying it will be to see Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven and know that, in my case, he does not come as a friend.

The Good News

The good news is that something wonderful is coming. For those in Christ, it is a sure thing that persecutions will cease. Justice will be meted out. We will see Jesus face to face, and what was murky, dim, and difficult to understand will be made perfectly clear.

The curse under which the creation groans will be lifted. Our wretched, aching bodies will be renewed imperishable. We will run weariless, walk and not faint. Tears will be wiped away, and we will sorrow no more. We will exist bathed in light and love.

For those outside of Christ, if you are reading this, it is not too late. This too can be yours. Save yourselves today, this day, this moment. Surrender to God's love.

Blessings upon you.

Victoriously in Christ!

- damon
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I am encouraged, comforted, and emboldened by the many faces of Peter. In Peter, we see impulsive and reckless behavior spawned by his desire to protect Jesus (John 18:10). In Peter, we see a dramatic reversal of his bold assertion that he was ready to die with Jesus (Matthew 26:35), as he sheepishly succumbed to weakness in a thrice denial (Matthew 26:69-75) and a humble restoration by Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75). In Peter we see impressive boldness in the first public proclamation of the gospel message (Acts 2:14-41). In Peter, we see the heart of compassion in his letters as he comforts and reassures a suffering church.

The Apostle of Comfort & Encouragement

With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. - 1 Peter 5:12, NIV-1978
With that statement toward the end of his first letter, the apostle Peter makes it clear that his purpose in writing is to encourage the flock and to testify to the grace of God. To accomplish this task, there are three concepts threaded into this letter. Peter writes of suffering, and of glory, and he speaks of those in relation to encouragement, hope, and grace. When we stand firm in the midst of our suffering, it brings glory to God our savior. It is this reality to which Peter refers when he says above, "this is the true grace of God."

Let's look at what Peter said immediately preceding the verse above.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. - 1 Peter 5:10, ESV
In 1 Peter 1:6 we suffer grief and trial, and in verse 7 it results in praise, glory and honor. In verse 11, we read of the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. In 2:11 we resist the impulses waging war on our souls so that (v. 12) the pagans will glorify God. In 3:14, if we suffer for doing good, we are blessed! In 4:1-2 if we suffer in the body, we are done with sin and live for the will of God.

In 4:12, we are not surprised at the painful trials we suffer, but rather (v. 13) we rejoice at the honor of participating in the sufferings of Christ and will be overwhelmed when his glory is revealed. In 4:14, when we endure insults for Christ, we are blessed because the Spirit of glory rests on us. In verse 16, when we suffer as a Christ-follower, we praise God that we bear the name of Christ.

In 5:1, Peter speaks to the elders among the flock and reminds them that they will "share in the glory to be revealed," and when Jesus appears, they will be given crowns of glory that will not fade away.

It is amazing that a letter like 1 Peter that is dominated by the theme of suffering can be so upbeat and so encouraging that it makes us want to do a fist-pump and shout a thunderous, "YES!"

The Apostle of Hope

Peter has been called the apostle of hope. It is Peter who tells us we have a living hope because we serve a resurrected Lord. It is this hope ... no ... this living hope that enables us to forge ahead regardless of the onslaught thrown against us. We are prepared emotionally and mentally for what is to come.

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:13, NIV-1978

When it comes to our living hope, we are ready at all times to explain it and defend it.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15b, NIV-1978

The Apostle of Grace

We find the grace of God in every chapter of 1 Peter. He greets us with grace (1:3), threads it throughout the entire letter, closes with grace in 5:12, and urges us to "Stand fast in it." God's grace empowers us, sustains us, saves us, strengthens us, and all of it to the glory of God. "To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen" (1 Peter 5:10, NIV-1978).

In this beautiful letter, Peter weaves his tapestry of encouragement, hope, and grace to persuade us that not only can we endure suffering, but we can laugh and rejoice in the midst of it. And hope is not just a "feel-good pill" that causes us to sit back comfortably with a big sigh. No. It is the catalyst, driving us into the hoard, toward the heart of the battle. It drives us forward, oblivious to the obstacles in our path.

Peter has composed a masterpiece of both simplicity and depth. It runs something like this:

  1. If we have grace, we have salvation in Christ, and with that, true life.
  2. If we have salvation in Christ, and life, we have a living hope.
  3. If we have a living hope, we can overcome anything we face in the world.
  4. In us, God will be glorified before the world.

Blessings upon you.

Victoriously in Christ!

- damon
Facebook Author Page
Twitter - @DamonJGray
Bible Gateway Blogger Grid
YouTube Channel


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George Bernard Shaw's most popular play is, without question, Pygmalion, which can be traced back as far as 1871. Shaw's play hit the public stage in 1913. It has since been revised and updated multiple times, been performed on stages around the world, and has most recently been reworked as both musical and film.

The story revolves around the proposed transformation of poverty-stricken Eliza Doolittle, a young woman who eeks out her living by selling flowers on the street. The tension of the play/film rises when phonetics professor, Henry Higgins, strikes a wager with a Colonel Pickering, asserting that he can pass Eliza off as a duchess by teaching her proper speech. From there, the play unfolds with humor as Eliza struggles to fit into a world completely foreign to her.

It is terribly unnerving to try to fit in where one simply does not fit. Whether it is a church family, school groupings, social clubs, even online gatherings - if you don't fit, and try to do so, the end is going to be one of intense discomfort.

Strangers and Aliens

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia...
1 Peter 1:1a, NASB
Peter called them “strangers” παρεπιδημος (parepideimos), or aliens. They were pilgrims or sojourners.

As Christ-followers, we are here, now, in this world, on this planet, but this is not where we belong. We do not fit in, and it is a mistake for us to try to do so.

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. - 1 Peter 2:11, NASB
Again, the use of the descriptors "aliens" and "strangers." Because we do not belong to this world system, there is much the system offers that is harmful to us, so much so that Peter characterizes involvement with that system as war waged on our very souls.

The apostle Paul tells us that our citizenship is in heaven, not here on earth (Philippians 3:20). We were not designed for permanent residency on earth.

Just as it was with Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob, so it is with us.

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. - Hebrews 11:13-16, ESV
Even the Lord Jesus, in his wonderful John 17 prayer, said that we are not "of this world" any more than he is of this world.

Sufferers and Separatists

As we are not of this world, we neither value, nor are driven by what drives and draws those who are of this world. We have an ethics and values system that the world has no capacity to understand. They think us odd, and they heap abuse on us for what we value and how we choose to live.

They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation and they heap abuse on you. 1 Peter 4:4, NIV-1978
Jesus said, "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 10:22, NIV-1978). But he also said that in such suffering and persecution, we will be blessed (Matthew 5:11). The apostles understood that suffering for Christ was to be expected, and they chose not to see it as a bad thing.
They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. - Acts 5:40a-41, NIV-1978

Peter will refer to the suffering of Christ-followers a minimum of fifteen times in 1 Peter, and he will use eight different Greek terms in doing so. As Peter describes the suffering and persecution, he exhorts his readers to understand that such suffering is neither bad, nor unusual. Indeed, it is one way to separate the disciples from the pretenders.

Consider this from Peter:

These [persecutions] have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. - 1 Peter 1:7, NIV-1978
When you suffer for the name of Christ, and you endure that suffering with patience, glorifying God through it all, that proves your faith genuine! The pretenders, when suffering comes - they run. They cave in. They deny. They dive headlong into the dissipation mentioned above.

I do not suggest that we should seek out persecution and trial. To be sure, it will find us easily enough. But neither do I want us to run from it, or to think it a strange thing with it occurs.

But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. - 1 Peter 4:13-14, NIV-1978

Keep the faith, my friends.

Blessings upon you.

Victoriously in Christ!

- damon
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Acts 17:28 - ἐν αὐτῷ γὰρ ζῶμεν καὶ κινούμεθα καὶ ἐσμέν