Benediction: Psalm 20:1 “May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. 2 May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. 3 May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. 4 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. 5 May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests. 6 Now this I know: The LORD gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. 8 They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. 9 LORD, give victory to the king! Answer us when we call!”
Many in the church today talk about God’s love, mercy and grace but if you listen closely it is more about themselves than God. Jesus said John 14:15 “If you love me keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.” Just prior to this verse Jesus said, “12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” If we are going to say we have love, mercy and grace, it had better look like the love, mercy and grace God describes which always includes power, which always includes power. 2 Chronicles 20:20 “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” 22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” Paul describes this close relationship between love and power when he prayed for the Ephesians. Ephesians 1:18 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
When we talk about God’s love we must understand that God does not change and his love endures forever. If we fail to understand His enduring love, we will miss the power that is available to all who believe. What you end up with is man’s ideas about love which ends up being a form of godliness that denies the power and just a matter of talk. Yes God is faithful, merciful and a loving God filled with grace. His love is enduring but what about your love? What about your faith? Today you need to know that God’s love is not up for debate. He loves us, period but I believe this verse is where things go awry. 2 Samuel 7:11 “The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’” The problem is most in the church think they can get away with disobedience and not be held to account because God loves them. They have to remember that God’s promise is that there will always be a remnant because of that promise to David. Going your own way and disobeying will always result in defeat. Scripture immediately shows in the life of Solomon the loss that comes to His kingdom because he disobeyed and the loss that comes to Israel when they are vomited from the land because of disobedience. God demands that we love Him by keeping his commandments. In his enduring love Gods says Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. 10 But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him. 11 Therefore, take care to follow the commands, decrees and laws I give you today.” He is faithful and loving true but our failure occurs in understanding that love. As Paul says Galatians 5:6 “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. 7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9 “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty.” If you follow that person you will also pay the penalty. So really this is not a debate but following the word of God; there is nothing to argue about. For too long now the church has set aside God’s word to follow man’s ways, which have led us into desolation and delusion. Unfortunately the race we have been running is in the wrong direction and we have been cut off. There is only one way to win the race and there are no shortcuts. Although people will try to cheat but will not get away with it.
In 2 Chronicles 33:10 “The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11 So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. 12 In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.” Remember that Manasseh was a horrible person. The problem is most do not want to do what it takes to get back on course and repent as Manasseh did. This always requires repentance and failure to do so results in disqualification. I think at some point most have questioned their walk with God but due to those who are really good at persuasion and deception, they continue in the wrong direction instead of saying I need to get off and turn around. God will show them yet they will refuse to listen. What then happens is they stop listening to the Spirit and continue to listen to men and woman lead them into obscurity, all the while listening to songs and messages of cheap grace and watered down teachings that do not describe the love and grace of God. As we have said many times, none of us deserve God’s grace but what makes it worse is so many have turned that grace into something that benefits themselves with no commitment. The love and grace of God is not based on narcissism. As Jesus said in John, Paul makes if very clear that we must love God by keeping His commandments. 1 Corinthians 15:1 “I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. 9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.”
Yet for many they have been and are deceived by a false teaching of grace. Romans 1:28 “Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” There is no fear of God. Just because God is a God of amazing love does not mean we do not fear him and accountable to Him. This lack of understanding cause people not to believe there is a hell or that God would send you there and they cease to fear.
Paul is an amazing example of this amazing love and grace that God has for us. We talked about last week that like many in scripture Saul who became Paul was chosen and set apart by God for a purpose. Romans 1:1 “a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.” Galatians 1:15 “God, set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace.” Paul is an amazing example of God’s love and grace and with that love and grace come power to those who obey. Joshua took the land; Gideon defeated a vast army; Samson defeated Philistines. And Paul was called to defeat the enemy in power. Acts 26:17 “I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” He “preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.” You would think that Paul would be the last person God would choose. A church received an application from a person applying for a position as pastor. One of the board members decided the church was being to picky so he presented them with this letter. The application said, “Gentlemen: Understanding your pulpit is vacant, I should like to apply for the position. I have many qualifications. I've been a preacher with much success and also have had some successes as a writer. I've been a leader most places I've been. In some places, I have left town after my work caused riots and disturbances. I must admit I have been in jail but not because of any real wrongdoing. I've not gotten along well with religious leaders in the towns where I have preached. In fact, some have threatened me, and even attacked me physically. I am not too good at keeping records. I have been known to forget whom I have baptized. However, if you can use me, I promise to do my best for you." The board member looked at the others and asked, "Well, what do you think? Shall we call him?" The others were appalled! They responded; "What? Consider a troublemaking, absent-minded ex-jailbird? Are you crazy? Who signed the application? Who'd have that kind of nerve?" The board member finally smiled and replied. "It's signed, The Apostle Paul."
Paul was an amazing man whom God used to save us Gentiles. Paul was committed in everything he did, yet this was the problem he had great zeal for the wrong thing. Galatians 1:4 “I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.” But here was the problem, this great zeal caused him to persecute the church. Today there are many who are zealous in what they due but are leading those who follow astray but most will not listen and turn around as Paul did. This is a little a bit about Saul. Galatians 1:11 “I want you to know that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus. 18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me.”
Paul took it upon himself to destroy the church. When they stoned Stephen Acts 8:1 “Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.” Later when Paul was defending himself he said, “Acts 22:1 “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.” 2 When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said: 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. 4 I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, 5 as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.”
Paul was so zealous that he tried to destroy the church but then something amazing happened which describes the true love and grace that God has for us, that same grace that allowed Manasseh to humble himself and repent. This also describes the power that is available. This is not a love that allows us to live however we want and a grace that allows us to go our own way. When Paul was breathing out threats God stepped in. I want to read the account of what happened from Acts 9:1-18. He also shared the story several times following. After this conversion he went out to preach the gospel. Acts 9:21 “All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Even Ananias said Acts 9:13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But from Ananias we see obedience to God. He did what he was supposed to do. Later even the disciples were afraid of him. Acts 9:26 “When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. But as always God prepares the way. Acts 9:10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
Just from this one account you can see how the church looks nothing like this. When the power of God’s love returns to us there are going to be people saved and sent who will not fit the mold of what the church thinks they should be. They will be people from all walks of life. They will be people who have had their lives totally changed. They will no longer be the same but transformed into the person God intends for them to be. They will be people empowered by the Holy Spirit just as Paul was, sent out to change the world. God’s amazing love will set them free and they will then be faithful servants of God and yes many will question until they see that God is moving in them and yes some will still question. Acts 22:19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.” Galatians 1:21 “Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me.”
Not only will people be amazed at who God uses and who He forgives, those people forgiven will have to continue to move forward no matter who they were before. Many new Christians will be saved from horrible lives of sin just like Manasseh and Paul. It is interesting that many talk of Paul’s thorn in the flesh and its unknown origin but is it really uncertain. There are going to be many who have had their eyes opened to their sins and they will be filled with remorse. Paul said
2 Corinthians 12:7 “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” They say they really do not know what it was but when you look at the writings of Paul the one thing he mentions over and over again is that he persecuted the church of Jesus Christ.” Paul was shown great and unimaginable things. 4 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.” As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:9 “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. Ephesians 3:8 “Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ,”
Even though Paul was shown inexpressible things, he was to remain humble. I believe that because Paul persecuted the very church he was called to be a servant to, God allowed this to remain in him to keep him humble so that he could be strong. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Because Paul knew who he was and where he came form and how completely changed be was, he knew that it was not in his strength he accomplished so much. The difference between Paul and most leaders is Paul wrote the words of Jesus while leaders of our day write new words and then say they are words from Jesus. A true leader always leads according to God’s word not to words that have been dreamt about and made up. Like in days of old, true leaders will not make new ways but return to old ways which is thee way. For example Josiah and Hezekiah renewed the covenant and purified the temple. They did not make a new way but returned to the way. We are supposed to follow in the word of Jesus not create new ones. If we have moved away from them which we have a true leader will return to the truth. Paul said 1 Corinthians 11:23 “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you.” 1 Thessalonians 1:6 “You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.” 1 Thessalonians 1:13 “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”
Paul then in the power of the Holy Spirit became zealous for the way. Acts 20:18 “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. 22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.”
Paul shows us that we are to obey no matter what. He shows us that when we are called by grace, we follow wholeheartedly. Numbers 14:24 “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” Paul was shown that prison and hardships faced him but he obeyed no matter what. In Acts 10:10 “a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” Acts 9:15 “But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
This great love came with great power. Acts 19:11 “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” The love and grace that God has for us endures forever. This love is powerful and is why the love chapter in Corinthians fits in with the power chapter as they go together. God loved his people and gave them the Promised Land and they took it in power. Joshua was raised up and exalted and they took the land in power. Joshua 1:5 “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.” Genesis 18:18 “Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” Deuteronomy 7:6 “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. 7 The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. 10 But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him. 11 Therefore, take care to follow the commands, decrees and laws I give you today. 12 If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your ancestors. 13 He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers.”
The love God has for us is amazing but should not be taken for granted. We cannot serve other gospels and expect to not face God’s wrath. As we have already read so many times 2 Kings 21:13 “Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.” If we love God, we keep His commands. We cannot expect to change the meaning of grace and love and exclude power and have God bless us. They all go together. Because God loves us we have the power to defeat our enemies but not without the Holy Spirit.
God calls us; we obey; he empowers us and victory is ours. And then we will defeat the darkness as Paul was told Acts 26:18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” You may think that Paul was super human. This power is so unknown in the church today that instead of repenting they say that power ceased to exist. Paul was obedient to His calling to death. Philippians 1:20 “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” When you look at Elijah who was powerful James 5:6 tells us “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” When God calls you , he also empowers us and you will have nothing to fear. Deuteronomy 7:17 “You may say to yourselves, “These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?” 18 But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. 19 You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the Lord your God brought you out. The Lord your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear. 20 Moreover, the Lord your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished. 21 Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. 22 The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. 23 But the Lord your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed. 24 He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven. No one will be able to stand up against you; you will destroy them. 25 The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the Lord your God. 26 Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Regard it as vile and utterly detest it, for it is set apart for destruction.”
Why will God do this? 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”