A Tale of Two Cities
“The whole Bible,” the Scottish preacher Eric Alexander says, “is in a very real sense a tale of two cities.” Babylon first appeared in Genesis 11 with the tower of Babel, and therefore represents those attempting to make a name for themselves apart from God. The two peoples of Babylon and Jerusalem are descendants of Cain and Abel, representing the children of Satan and the children of God.
Harking back to Paige, we either live “meward” or “Godward,” or as the whole Bible puts it, in “Babylon” the city of man where Satan reigns, or with our eyes set above, in “the new Jerusalem,” the city of God where Jesus reigns. As we set our eyes on things above, we crush Satan under our feet, as Jesus did. That’s where we are going with Mike Reeves this week.
We live in Babylon, a meward society where Satan reins, but as we follow Christ in the suffering He experienced here “in Babylon,” we can rejoice, knowing we shall also follow Him into the glory He is experiencing in the “New Jerusalem.”
We will continue in 1 Peter 4:4-12 and a sermon by Mike Reeves. Here is the transcript and the sermon.
Sunday: God Hunt
1. How have you experienced “the risenness of Christ” in your character or life this week? (I know our own Patti has a huge answer!)
Monday: The Texts
2. What did you learn from this week’s opening?
3. Read 1 Peter 4:12-18
A. What can we expect as we live in “Babylon,” according to verse 12?
B. What is a real reason for rejoicing despite suffering according to verses 13-14?
C. What kind of suffering doesn’t count and what does, according to 15-16?
D. What warning is given in 17-18?
E. What should we do when we suffer according to verse 19?
4. How did Peter and the other apostles respond after being flogged for preaching Christ according to Acts 5:41-42?
5. What promise do we have in Genesis 3:15 and what does it mean?
6. How does Paul tell us this relates to us in Romans 16:20?
Tuesday: The War
7. Beginning with the middle of page 2 of Reeve’s sermon, where he says “Peter is no hypocrite,” through the second paragraph on page 3 where he ends with “we crush his head.”
A. What stands out to you from this section and why?
B. What does Reeves say about how Jesus crushing Satan’s head relates to us as believers?
C. If you can give an illustration from your life of a time when you trusted God in suffering and persecution and found you were stronger, then indeed, you are crushing Satan’s head. Tell us about it to encourage us.
D. As we do this, Reeves says, “sin has lost its sweetness.” Are you experiencing this? If so, be specific.
Wednesday: Heading to Glory
8. On page 3, read from “We’re heading to glory” all the way through page 4 to “the great 19th century preacher.”
A. What stands out to you from Reeve’s here and why?
B. In the paragraph beginning “We’re headed to glory” how does Reeves say “we show Satan has been stripped of his power?” Is this true of you?
C. When I think of our active blog members, at least half of you, if not more, are being persecuted by members of your own family. How might they have they seen Christ’s power in you when you suffer, even at their hands, whether they admit or not?
D. Why must judgment begin with us? But how will it be so much worse for the unbeliever?
E. Reeves tells how he has learned so much more from suffering than comfort. Is that true of you? Share two things you have learned from suffering that either through responding to the Lord’s rebuke for sin, or from suffering that was not a direct result of your sin.
F. How is Christianity different from other religions according to Reeves, and what is suffering for a believer proof of?
Thursday: What Gets You Through Suffering
9. I’ve always loved J. B. Phillips’s paraphrase of 2 Corin. 6:10 “We know sorrow, yet our joy is inextinguishable.” How have you experienced that? Be specific.
10. Read from the bottom of page 4 (the great 19th-century preacher” to top page six ending with “that he may help those who are being tempted”
A. What stands out to you from this and why?
B. Comment on the quote from Spurgeon.
C. Reeves says that since suffering (dying t self) helps free us from sin’s power, that actually puts metal in our joy. What does he mean? Can you give an example from your life?
D. What is the comment from Richard Sibbes? What does it mean?
E. Why must we not be silent about our suffering or about the joy within it?
11. Find at least two ways you will apply this week’s lesson. Then pray for your heart here.
12. What is your take-a-way and why?