Can I get a Witness?

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There is power in personal testimony.

Doctrine and theology are extremely important, but people are drawn to the reality of God’s supernatural activity in the world (see 1 Corinthians 2:4-5).

This past Sunday we remembered the Lord’s supper as a testimony, we heard a powerful testimony of healing, and we witnessed someone testifying to their salvation in the waters of baptism.

In 1 Peter, the Apostle is writing to Jewish Christians who have been exiled from Israel. They are strangers in a foreign land but living for Christ.

As we have seen throughout this series, we too are sojourners, exiles in this land. As followers of Jesus, this world is not our home our citizenship is in heaven.

But the greater reality is that we as believers in the world are a holy nation (See 1 Peter 2:9), and this is not our home. But while we are here, we have a responsibility, we are called to testify about Jesus.


These verses are part of the central theme of this letter; submission in the life of the believer. In the Greek, submission is a military term for being placed under the control of another person. To be under authority.

In the remaining verses of the chapter, the Apostle Peter writes about submission to the rulers of the land.  

Submission, is often misunderstood to be a form of slavery, but rather it is simply recognizing God’s authority over our lives and the way that He has ordained leadership to work in the home, the church and in government.

God calls us to exercise the authority the He has given us within our domain. However, before we can exercise authority, we need to be under authority.

When Satan tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he promised them freedom and power, but as a result of their sin, they lost their authority.

Sin in your life will always lead to slavery. You will become a slave to the sin that you entertain in your life.

This is so clear when it comes to addictions, but every sin subjects us to slavery; whether it be gossip, envy, slander, stealing, covetousness, or any sexual activity outside of the marriage covenant between a man and a woman.  Any sin that we entertain in our lives will subject us to slavery.

Spiritual Warfare:

We need to remember that we are in a spiritual battle (see Ephesians 6:12). The Apostle Peter writes in the second part of verse 11, “…abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”

There are sinful desires that wage war against us all the time. Our real battle is not against other people, unsaved or unregenerate people. Your battle is not against that liberal neighbor, or that abusive boss. They are simply acting in the way that unsaved people do, it shouldn’t surprise us. Our real struggle is the battle for our own passions within us.

D.L. Moody said, “I have more trouble with D.L. Moody than with any man I know.”

As we give in to temptation, we become ineffective in our witness. We submit to another authority and our testimony will become weak.

Peter writes in verse 12 that as believers we are constantly on display. Even if you don’t aspire to lead a ministry or speak on stage, the world is watching you.

Satan loves to point to believers and highlight sin in their lives. It comes with being in the middle of a cosmic war. We must always be on our guard. There are a host of people watching us and evaluating the truth of the Gospel through what they see in us.

There should be nothing in our conduct that will give the enemy ammunition to attack the Body of Christ (see Matthew 5:16).

Your Testimony:

Peter wrote in verse 12 “…they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

There are thousands of decisions that we make every day, that can be a witness to our character and lead to a conversation about the Gospel. As we make ourselves available to the Lord, these opportunities will present themselves regularly.

Peter ends verse 12 with this phrase, “…they will glorify God on the day of visitation”.

I believe that Peter is saying, the “day of visitation,” is the day of salvation. The day that God the Holy Spirit, visits them and saves them by His grace. That is the day that they will glorify God for your witness and testimony.

How are you displaying Christ through your life? What would your business associates, your clients, your coworkers, your fellow students or family members say?

We are constantly proclaiming Christ, if we have testified to his saving power in our lives.

Are you aware that your life is a living testimony?  

Do You Know Who You Are?

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Identity is a complex thing. We identify ourselves by many different criteria, none of which fully explains who we are. If you are a Christian, you have an identity that is supremely more important than any other title or identifier. 

As we saw in 1 Peter 2:1-3, these new believers were maturing through suffering. Suffering can produce spiritual maturity which in turn leads to a greater understanding of identity. 

For example, a baby born into the British royal family has no idea of their identity. Everyone around them knows their identity, but as an infant, they don’t. As the child grows and matures, they become aware of the fact that they are royalty, and they begin to understand the privileges and responsibilities that come with that. In the same way, maturing believers grow in the understanding of their identity in Christ. 

Living Stones

In verse 4, Peter begins by stating that Jesus is a living stone who was rejected by men but chosen and precious in the sight of God. 

Jesus is the foundation stone of the church today. Any church that does not have Jesus and his Word as their foundation is simply not the church (see 1 Corinthians 3:11). 

Peter then turns to his readers in verse 5 and says, “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood”, 1 Peter 2:5a.

Every believer is a stone in the Church. The building is not complete; daily it is being added to. The global Church numbers nearly 2.4 billion people, and that number is growing rapidly in the developing world. Jesus continues to build his church. 

Holy Priests

Not only are believers building stones in God’s Church; they are His priests. In the Old Testament, the Israelite priest functioned as a mediator between God and the people of Israel. The priest represented God to the people and the people to God. This was a huge responsibility reserved only for Israelites from the tribe of Levi. 

Now, under the new covenant, Jesus is our High Priest. He is the ultimate mediator between us and God, and he calls us to be his priests on earth representing our community to God and God to our community. We are Christ’s representatives in our circles of influence.

Spiritual Sacrifices

Verse 5 continues that as priests we have the responsibility to, “…offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

What are these sacrifices? The Bible gives us a few examples. We are called to: 

  • Reject sin and present our bodies as a holy living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2)
  • Offer a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15)
  • Give of our finances as a holy sacrifice to God (Philippians 4:18)
  • Practice evangelism as a sacrifice to the glory of God (Romans 15:16)

We must never fall into the trap of thinking that these spiritual sacrifices are a way to earn our salvation. Our salvation has already been obtained for us by Jesus. Offering these spiritual sacrifices is our pleasure and privilege as followers of Jesus because they bring glory to his name and eternal rewards to us. 

Do you believe?

In verse 6, Peter, quoting Isaiah 28:16, writes, “…whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Believing is not simply giving verbal assent to the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is important, but true belief affects every aspect of our lives. Our belief informs our decisions. If you say you believe that Jesus is Lord of your life, then your decision making should reflect this.

We will not be put to shame for our belief in the gospel—that is a promise of God’s Word.

But for those who do not believe, the gospel is a stumbling and offense (see 1 Peter 2:7-8). 

Today, Jesus is still rejected because what he taught is inconvenient.  The things Jesus taught about marriage, finances, forgiveness and so much more are a stumbling block in our culture (see Matthew 5-7). If you stand for the Lord Jesus, you will also be a stumbling block. 

Your True Identity

Verse 9 goes on to say, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 

If you have believed in Jesus as Lord, this is your identity:

  1. You are a chosen race: We are chosen by God to take on a new identity as part of His family (see John 15:16).
  2. You are a royal priesthood: We are called by the King of Kings to be his priests here on the earth. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we have full access to the throne of God, and we have a great high priest, Jesus, interceding for us. 
  3. You are a holy nation: We are a set apart nation—not “we” as Americans, but “we” as followers of Jesus, all 2.4 billion of us around the world. Our citizenship is in heaven (see Philippians 3:20). 
  4. You are a people for his own possession: How much does God value us? Consider what he paid for our freedom: His own son. You are of infinite value to God because He gave His only son for you. Not because He needs you, but because He chose you and bought you with the price of the precious blood of Jesus.

A chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession—that is who you are. That is your identity.

The Joy of Our Identity

In verse 10, Peter tells us why God has done this for us, “that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

This identity comes with great privilege, great responsibility, and even greater joy. Every citizen of heaven is called to display Christ, to be salt and light in a dark world. We do this by living to glorify God with every facet of our lives, not just our Sunday morning church lives. 

Do you know who you are? Are you maturing in your walk with the Lord and becoming more aware of your true identity?

When Life is Unfair.

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If you have lived for any length of time, you have realized by now that life can be unfair. Sometimes we get attacked, violated, and humiliated, even by those we trusted and befriended. 

Psalm 35 is a prayer of David crying out for vindication and relief from his attackers. 

Maybe you can identify with David today; perhaps you are experiencing injustice right now. How do you respond? How do you pray? 

Psalm 35 shows us three things King David asks for that are helpful in our prayers as we endure unjust suffering. 

1: Fight my battle for me.

David, the giant slayer, warrior and general, is asking God to fight for him. 

Psalm 35:1 says, “Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me!”

David is experiencing injustice, and he was tired of trying to fight his own battles. He asks God to take over. David realizes that he is going to die unless the Lord fights for him. 

It seems that David is losing the battle; he is exhausted and in fear of death, so he cries out to God to fight for him. Then he declares, “Say to my soul, “I am your salvation!” (Psalm 35:3b).

There are times when the battle seems to be never ending. The deliverance we are praying for doesn’t seem to come, but what we don’t know is that it may be right around the corner. 

David is asking for some assurance that God will indeed rescue him. Do you know what it is like to be going through intense trials, and you just need God to say, “I am with you, I am fighting for you”? Just that reassurance will enable you to keep going. 

Have you been a victim of injustice and the person who wronged you seems to have gotten away with it? You are angry and risk becoming bitter. But bitterness won’t only affect you; it will affect those around you. 

There is a saying that goes, “If you don’t heal from what hurt you, you’ll bleed on those who didn’t cut you.”

What King David is rightly  calling for—and what we call for—was justice! Just simple justice (see Psalm 35:4-6). David wants to see his enemies ashamed and dishonored and all their plans coming to nothing (see Psalm 35:8). 

In those times when we just want the wrong made right, we must remember that Jesus knows what that is like. Jesus said in John 15:25, “But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.”

Jesus knows our pain, and he is the one who will fight our battles. Romans 12:19 says, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

We can trust the Lord for justice—justice is His! 

2: This is unfair!

It is one thing to be hurt by evil people, sinners who we don’t know, but what about the times when those hurting us are people that we love and respect? Maybe someone you considered a close friend or family member has hurt you (see Psalm 35:11-16). David is being falsely accused by people that he had shown love and care for. 

Being falsely accused should not be unexpected as we walk this life as followers of Jesus. It happened to Jesus and many other followers of Jesus throughout history. Satan will always use the lies of those we trust to hurt us the most. 

As Christians, we expect persecution and lies from people who are not saved. But when it comes from friendly fire, those wounds hurt far more. It is one of Satan’s favorite weapons to discourage us. 

David is simply crying out to God to deal with the unfairness. He is frustrated that the injustice seems to be going unchecked. 

Can you identify with his frustration and his pain today?

3: Make it right so that I may praise you. 

David wants to bring glory and honor to the name of the Lord. David asks God for a powerful testimony, something he can share with others for God’s glory. In Psalm 35:19-27 we see that David takes his hands off the situation and asks God to intervene for him in justice.

Jesus knew that pain throughout his time on the earth; as a result, he can identify with your situation. 

However, we are assured of victory. Evil people can take everything you have, but they will always be unsatisfied, and our Heavenly Father will always see to it that His child gets justice. 

In verses 27 and 28 of the Psalm, we see that David declares the praises of God in spite of his situation. God has heard his prayer and brought him peace, and he is rejoicing in the Lord. 

There is tremendous power in the testimony of God’s children. We need to share those testimonies with those around us and with the church family.  It encourages us and builds up our faith. 

Has God rescued you? Have you told others about it?

Jesus in the Psalm?

Each of these three prayers that David prayed, are very similar to what Jesus must have prayed: 

  • Father, fight my battles for me.
  • Deal with the unfairness that I don’t deserve from the people I love. 
  • Vindicate me that I may bring glory and praise to Your name.

God the Father did that for His son Jesus, and we can be assured that He will do the same for us. 

Jesus did it already in the Gospel. 

  • He fought the Battle that we couldn’t fight over sin and death, and he was victorious. 
  • Jesus took on all the shame and unfairness that Satan could deal out, and he did it for us. 
  • Jesus made the way for us to be made right with God so that we in turn could live for Him and bring glory to His name. 

What is that situation that you need to give to God today for him to fight?