Intro to Second Peter
Intro to Second Peter

Alexander Galvez • July 19, 2019

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

2 Peter 2:1


Unlike First Peter, which specifically calls out the churches of Northern Asia Minor, Second Peter does not contain any explicit reference to its recipients. However, we can infer that because this is Peter’s second letter, the recipients would be the same as those who had received the first letter. And we can be sure that this is Peter’s second letter to the group because he tells us that in the first verse of chapter 3. We also know that the recipients are believers who possess authentic faith (1:1). And while the first letter addressed matters of Christian suffering, the focus of Second Peter is on false teachers and the false teachings they bring. With a change of theme then comes a change in tone. Peter now writes with greater confrontational language as opposed to writing with comforting words like his first letter. Possibly, Peter spoke with more directness and urgency because he foresaw his impending death and quickly wanted to address a major concern that he had for these churches; that of false teachers (1:14-15).


While it is true that Paul rejoiced when those who opposed him proclaimed the Gospel (Phil 1:17-18), Peter is not referencing enemies to himself, but rather enemies of God. These false teachers are promoting doctrines that will only end in the destruction of its hearers, contrary to God’s desire that none perish but that all would come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9). And Peter pulls no punches, in the second chapter we read of these false teachers being described as false prophets and false teachers (2:1), greedy for personal gain and purposed for destruction (2:3), irrational, ignorant, and blasphemous creatures born for destruction (2:13), eyes full of adultery (2:14), dogs who return to their own vomit (2:22)…and so many other things. And yet, these wicked teachers walk about boldly as though they are someone to be admired and followed.


One way that you can think of them are like the huge trees that tower above the other trees in the forest. They seem to be mature, strong, and capable of producing great amounts of lumber, yet those are the trees that loggers will avoid. The reason being is that these huge trees are usually rotten at the core. They are the ones that have the appearance of strength, but, because of their hollowness, they are very weak. This is the true nature of these false teachers. But it also is the essence of the messages they bring. They seem to be worthy and valuable, but really their messages are empty, hollow.


And so Peter writes this letter to urge his readers to hold fast to the faith and to the true words of God, including those writings of Paul, which is Scripture (2 Peter 3:15), as they await the return of our Lord. Likewise, believers today must exercise discernment when in the teachings we hear, read, and watch. There are many teachers who appear to be mature and commendable, but truly they are hypocrites parading as Christian leaders. And although there will be many false teachers in our day, we are still able to joyfully and patiently grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord (2 Peter 3:18) in our waiting for His glorious return (2 Peter 3:11-12). And truly he will return.


Grace and Peace, 

Alex Galvez 


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Week 2: A Hunger For God
Week 2: A Hunger For God

Alexander Galvez • July 17, 2019

Recommended Reading:

Chapters 1-3 (45 pages) 


Key Quotes: 

Chapter 1

"In this world there is an ache inside every Christian that Jesus is not here as fully and intimately and as powerfully and as gloriously as we want him to be. We hunger for so much more. That is why we fast." (40) 


"The new fasting, the Christian fasting, is a hunger for all the fullness of God (Ephesians 4:19), aroused by the aroma of Jesus' love and by the taste if God's goodness in the gospel of Christ (1 Peter 2:2-3)" (43) 


"His gifts leave a hunger for him beyond themselves, and fasting from his gifts puts that hunger to the test." (46) 


Chapter 2 

"What are we slaves to? What are we most hungry for -- food or God? Fasting is God's testing ground-- and healing ground." (57) 


"Therefore the fight of faith and the battle to behold the glory of the Lord day by day is fought not only by feeding the soul on truth, but fasting, to put our appetites to the test, and if necessary to death." (61) 


Chapter 3

"He loves Thee too little who loves anything together with Thee which he loves not for Thy sake- St. Augustine" (64) 


"the motive at stake is not simply whether you want your acts to be known by others, but why you want them to be known - that God be glorified, or that you be admired." (70) 


"And so God subtly and slowly can become a secondary Person in the living of our lives. We may think that he is important to us because all these things that we are doing are the kinds of things he wants us to do. But, in fact, he himself is falling out of the picture as the focus of it all." (72) 


Engagement Questions:

Chapter 1

1. Why, in today's day and age, has fasting become thought of as a secular discipline? 


2. Some argue that Matt 9:14-17 alludes to the time between Good Friday and the resurrection. Their proof text for why fasting is no longer needed in John 16:22-23. What argument can be made to overcome this and how should the text be interpreted? 


Chapter 2

1. What similarities are there between Jesus' temptation and the temptations that the Israelites faced in the wilderness? 


2. For what purpose was the manna provided by God for the nation of Israel in Deuteronomy 8:3? 


Chapter 3

1. In what ways are we not to fast? How are we to fast? 


2. Reflecting on your last fast, do you believe that your fast was oriented towards God or towards self? 


Summary:

Chapter 1

Although the first half of A Hunger for God deals with the inward, this first chapter sets the premise for why Christian fasting is a discipline that is uniquely Christian. This is especially challenging when we consider the fact that many other religions will fast, some will observe a fast to motivate some sort of political recourse, and others do so for dietary purposes. And while the beforementioned items can be considered as fasts, a Christian fast is unique to Christianity. And Christians should fast. Dr. Piper exposites Matthew 9:14-17 to show how Christian fasting ought to be a discipline that is practiced still by Christians. It did not end when Christ came into the earth and it does not take the same form or function that the Jews had when they fasted. Rather, as old fasting was done to mourn sins and to yearn for deliverance, new fasting is the result of the consummation of a kingdom where the people of God will have tasted of Christ and desire and hunger for all the fullness of God. Additionally, Christian fasting is not practiced because we believe that food is to be despised. We are able to appreciate the goodness of food, while at the same time understanding that the food is not what we truly desire; God is. And ultimately, that is why Christian fasting is…Christian. We do it because we hunger for more of Him and are willing to deny ourselves the pleasures of food to grow in our pleasures in Him. 


Chapter 2

With an understanding that fasting is Christian, we begin to examine our own hearts as we prepare to fast. The passage of Scripture that is exposited in this chapter comes from Deuteronomy 8:2-3, quoted by Jesus when tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Matt 4:4). Having been led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Jesus' preparation for ministry starts with a fasting. His triumph over Satan also comes through fasting as he voluntarily identifies with the Israelites but is triumphant and fully able to lead his people into the promised land. Considering the Deuteronomy passage, we see that the people of God were tested in how they received the manna; a means to show them that they were not to depend on the bread, but on God (Deut 8:3). Satan, in his temptation to Jesus, challenges Jesus to transform stones into bread, subtly eisegeting the text to mean that God would provide for His people in their moments of distress, which He regularly did. Jesus quickly responds by showing that though God may provide miracle-bread it is not what we are to seek for satisfaction of our desires, but rather we are simply to trust God, in the midst of distress. As Piper put it, "Don't trust in bread- not even miracle bread- trust in God" (59). This should bring us to pause and reflect on the manner in which we fast, asking of ourselves whether or not we fast for gifts or if we fast because we have a hunger for God. 


Chapter 3

This chapter might sting a little for some. I should also note that while it does mention several ways in which we are not to fast and how we are to fast, this is not a book that is trying to teach us the best technique or method for fasting. It is going much deeper than that in providing us a biblical description of fasting, as opposed to being prescriptive in how we do it. The main text comes from the Sermon on the Mount, specifically Matthew 6:16-18, in showing us what is the ultimate aim in our fasting; God. Jesus states that we are not to fast like the hypocrites, which is very interesting since those who he was describing were actually fasting. Truly, a hypocrite is a person who claims to be one thing but does the complete opposite, so at first glance it is odd for Jesus to call a person who is fasting a hypocrite. But it reveals a greater principle in that fasting is not simply an outward act, but one that is motivated from the heart. We fast, having a heart that is after God. We do not fast to be adored or commended by man, but to receive the approval and reward from God; the primary reward being God's name to be honored in our lives, his kingdom to be consummated, and his will to be done on earth. This does not mean that if someone were to discover that we were fasting that we have somehow done it wrong and should be more secretive the next time, instead it is all about the heart we maintain when we fast. 


Grace and Peace, 

Alex Galvez 


To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

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These articles usually follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 


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Intro to 1 Peter
Intro to 1 Peter

Alexander Galvez • July 15, 2019

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 

1 Peter 4:19 


The letter of 1 Peter was written by Peter in Rome and addressed to the believers who were dispersed throughout northern Asia Minor (1:1). The four Roman provinces are thought to have been the travel route that the letter bearer pass through in what is now modern-day Turkey. If so, then this letter would also have likely passed through many other churches including Galatia, Caesarea in Cappadocia, Iconium, Antioch, Nicea, and Chalcedon, which would have been very convenient for the messenger to hop on a ship to return back to Rome. If so, then this letter is would have been written for all Christians, Gentile and Jewish, who were facing intense persecution. Peter himself was no stranger to persecution and the main purpose for his letter is to exhort his readers to maintain trust and obedience to God in the midst of their suffering. If we were to summarize Peter’s letter in a single verse, it would probably be the 19th verse of the fourth chapter where he calls these Christians “who suffer according to God’s will [to] entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good”. 


Just as Christ suffered and as God is faithful, all believers can hold fast to the hope that is in them and persevere through various forms of persecution. I think David Platt put it very eloquently when he said, “This is God saying, just as you trust in me for salvation, trust in me in the midst of suffering.” We can have faith in God to be our strength, safety, sustenance, and satisfaction through all occasions and difficulties in our lives because we know that God has already triumphed over all things and will soon put everything back to how it ought to be. 


Just as an aside, if you have never attended a Secret Church before I encourage you to attend the next one in 2020. The reason I bring it up is because for the past 4 years that I have attended Secret Church, I have been humbled by the number of Christians in persecuted countries who maintain such a strong faith and joy in God even when their churches are burned down, their homes are invaded, their families are separated, and many of them lose their lives. Even more humbling is how every believer from all of those countries highlighted all ask not for the suffering to cease, but that they will remain faithful to God in the midst of it and that they will not bring shame to His name. They have embraced 1 Peter 2:21 and 4:19 and understand that in various trials, they are to remain faithful and obedient. 


And this is the lesson we can learn as we read 1 Peter. That although each and every believer is guaranteed salvation, it does not mean that we are promised a life free of suffering. Rather, one way, not the only way, in which we can better identify if we are abiding in Him is when we share in His suffering. My prayer is that you will hold fast to the knowledge you are sharing in the suffering of those who have gone before you, and that you will “not be ashamed, but… glorify God” in your life by your obedience to him (4:16-19). And do so with joy, knowing that we have assurance of a future glory in Christ. 


Grace and Peace, 

Alex Galvez 


To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

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A Covenant of Love
A Covenant of Love

Alexander Galvez • July 12, 2019

Jonathan once again swore to David in his love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself. 

1 Samuel 20:17 


The series of events which follow David’s anointing by Samuel as Israel’s next king as not exactly what we would expect. In just the two chapters that follow his anointing in chapter 16, we see David in multiple battles with the Philistines starting with the giant Goliath (1 Sam 17), has a clash with his own brother (1 Sam 17:28), and directly and indirect attempts on his life by Saul a total of seven times; one of those occasions, he evades Saul’s murder attempt by having a dummy is placed in his bed. And even after the many failed attempts we read in chapter 20 that Saul is still seeking to kill David. In contrast to Saul’s envy, disloyalty, and unwillingness to submit to God, Jonathan, Saul’s son, displays humility, loyalty, and covenant faithfulness. 


In this chapter, Jonathan evidently believed that the covenant that Saul had made in 19:6 was still in effect and that his father no longer sought the life of David. This explains his confusion when David questions him as to why his father was trying to kill him. David and Jonathan devise a plan to determine why and if Saul is trying to kill David. A covenant is established between the two that neither would do the other harm which expands on the covenant they had made to one another in the 18th chapter. Jonathan, of course, had great incentive to deceive David as he would be next in line to be king. However, his loyalty to David shows his great love for God and for David; a characteristic that we find lacking in Israel’s first king. 


At the Feast of the New Moon, Jonathan keeps his vow in determining his father’s plans without disclosing where David was hiding over and against Saul’s will. Even after being charged with treachery and nearly being killed by his own dad, Jonathan upholds his part of the covenant and alerts David of Saul’s intentions. Jonathan demonstrates great commitment to keeping his word, despite the costs, and is an example to all of what humility, loyalty, and covenant faithfulness looks like. 


As God’s people, we must also be willing to count the costs as we have also entered into a covenant. Our covenant, however, is not with flesh and blood, but the creator of all things. We must live with integrity and obedience to God. Likewise, we have also covenanted together as the body of Christ and the sort of relationship that Jonathan and David had should be one that is on display in our relationships with one another. As Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Philippi, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:4-5). We must seek the benefit and good of one another. For those who are married, this level of loyalty ought also be present in our vows to one another. If we have acted enviously or betrayed another, let us be quick to repent. If we have ever broken our vows to the Lord, may we run to the feet of the Father who delights in forgiving his children. 


Grace and Peace,

Alex Galvez


To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/)

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These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan


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