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God's Promises

July 5, 2020

2 Peter 1:1-9

God's Promises God's Promises
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God's Promises

2 Peter 1:1-9

1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

Intro: Second Peter is the final thoughts of Peter, just as 2 Timothy is the final thoughts of Paul. There are striking similarities between the two books. Both epistles put up a warning of what lie in store for the church. Both Peter and Paul wanted to identify the awful apostasy that was coming for the early church and for the latter church, which is now here. Peter warns of heresy among teachers; Paul warns of heresy among the laity. Both Peter and Paul speak in a joyful manner of their approaching deaths (see 2 Pet. 1:13–14; 2 Tim. 4:6–8). Paul said that he knew that the time of his departure had come. He had finished his course. He had been non-stop since Jesus called him, and now he was finishing his ministry. He had fought a good fight, and he had kept the faith. A crown of righteousness was laid up for him. Peter has the same attitude as he faced his death and departure from this world. Both apostles point us to the Scriptures, and the need to depend upon the Word of God, as the only defense against the coming wave of apostasy. Satan understood the power we find in 2 Peter and did everything he could to keep this letter from becoming part of the canon of Scripture. Second Peter is addressed to those who have obtained a like precious faith as Peter.  He understands how special his relationship to Jesus is and wants to make sure that other believers understand how great the gift of salvation really is.

The emphasis here is "knowledge," Satan is continuingly spreading false doctrine to sidetrack as many people as possible. Faith and knowledge are two different things. Faith makes us into obedient servants, but knowledge only makes us trivia experts. It's as if Jesus is saying, "Hold your questions to the end. Right now, your primary task is loyalty and obedience."
 It is interesting because a lot of what Satan does is to promote religious activity.

We are constantly being confronted with false worship practices that seem religious but have nothing to do with what God intended.  In 1 Peter, Satan is described as a roaring lion, Peter warned of the persecution that was coming. When we get to 2 Peter, we see Satan described as a serpent.  One cannot help but think of the garden of Eden and the serpent confronting Eve.  In 1 Peter Satan is a lion seeking to destroy, but here Satan is a serpent seeking to deceive. False teaching from within the church is far more dangerous than persecution from without (see Acts 20:28-32). Persecution has always cleansed and strengthened the church; false teaching weakens the church and ruins its testimony. The only weapon to fight false teaching and the devil's lies is the Word of God, which is why Peter emphasizes spiritual knowledge. I have discovered that people who are caught up with lies and false teaching refuse to accept the Scriptures as they are written, that is the plain sense of the language interpretation.  What they do is try to apply some spiritual meaning not in the text .  They refuse to accept the plain sense of the language interpretation and try to tie some supernatural explanation to a text that on the surface is clear, just not what they want it to say.  So, they attach some meaning to the text that was never intended by the author (God), but supports their false practice.

I. Knowledge is the Key (1:1-4) 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

1. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God". Romans 10:17. Grace and peace are the result of finding God and we do that by studying the Scriptures. God does not want to confuse us, just the opposite He wants us to know Him and the power of His resurrection.

2. Our salvation is the result of God calling us to Himself and He does it by pastors, or other people sharing the word of God, which tell us our condition, what to do and how to receive this gift of eternal life, all controlled by the Holy Spirit.

3. Jesus made it clear in John 3 that anyone coming to God must be born-again by faith.  It is not enough to have a belief about Christ, there must be a personal experience with Him.

4. When we understand the message and respond by asking God to forgive and make us one of His children, we are born into God's family. We read in John 17:3 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

5. It is not enough simply to know about Christ; we must know Him personally (Phil 3:10). We may know about a certain person, but until we see them face to face, we do not know them personally, we need to come face to face with Jesus.  

6. When we put our faith in Him, He gives us His righteousness (2 Cor 5:21), and He becomes our Savior. It is a personal experience.

7. God has communicated with the world that He has created. Peter emphasizes the Word of God in this letter. God has given us His Word, this "precious faith" and the "precious promises" of God, to enable us to deal with this life and understand about the life to come.

A clergyman took a seat in a dining car on a train traveling along the Hudson River. Opposite him was an atheist who, seeing his clerical collar, started a discussion. "I see you are a clergyman." "Yes," came the reply. "I am a minister of the gospel." "I suppose you believe the Bible." The clergyman, orthodox in his views, responded, "I certainly do believe the Bible to be the Word of God." "But aren't there things in the Bible you can't explain?" With humility the minister answered, "Yes, there are places in the Bible too hard for me to understand." With an air of triumph as though he had cornered the preacher, the atheist asked, "Well, what do you do then?" Unruffled, the clergyman went on eating his dinner, which happened to be Hudson shad, a tasty fish but noted for its bony structure. Looking up, he said, "Sir, I do just the same as when eating this shad. When I come to the bones, I put them to the side of the place and go on enjoying my lunch. I leave the bones for some fool to choke on."

8. God's desire is for us to be like him, to live lives in harmony with God's design. He has given everything we need for this life and the life to come in the Word of God.

9. The Scriptures are clear, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We need help, instructions, and power to change into the people God intended us to be.

10. The world is full of self-help books and instructions of how to live.  The only book that can really help is the Bible.  Commentaries are good, but nothing surpasses the Scriptures for clear instructions and promises of results. He has given us "exceedingly great and precious promises."

The year was 1887, and a humble music professor named A.J. Showalter received some sad news. Two of his former students had just lost their wives. Both of these men were in despair and looked to their old music professor for comfort.

Showalter had always been deeply devoted to his students. He had no comforting words of his own, so he turned to Scripture, where he found this verse from Deuteronomy 33: 27, The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms . . ." Out of this verse, professor Showalter wrote a chorus to send to his students. You might recognize it:

"Leaning, leaning, Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms."

Jesus did not tell his disciples that they would not have problems. In fact, their problems would dwarf most of our problems. What he did promise them was peace of mind. He would send upon them the gift of the Holy Spirit to give them courage and comfort. They would be warriors and not worriers. And that is the same promise Christ offers us today. Perhaps you have come to this house of worship today like Jake

seeking "the assurance from someone that things are going to be okay." I can give you that assurance. God's Holy Spirit is here to give both courage and comfort. Let go and lean on the everlasting arms of God.

11. Peter says that as a believer in Christ I have been given the "divine nature." We started out with a sinful nature, now we have been given the nature of God.

12. The Christian has been born into God's family and has God's nature within. People who try to live "like Christ" on the outside, but lack this divine nature on the inside, are deceived and will be constantly defeated.

13. In 2 Peter 2:20-22, there is a description of false Christians:

  • (1) They have escaped the pollutions of the world, not the corruptions; that  is, they have been washed on the outside, and have not been changed on  the inside.

  • (2) They have a "head knowledge" of Christ and not a heart faith.

  • (3) They are not truly saved, for they go back to the old-life after professing  faith for a while. These false Christians are "dogs" and "pigs" that have  been  washed (reformed), but they have never received the new nature.

II. Knowledge is needed for Results (1:5-11) 5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sin

1. When we get saved and receive the divine nature that is not the end, it is just the beginning. "And beside this" (v. 5) we start out as babies and need to grow in our faith and walk.

2. It is not enough to be born into God's family; we need to grow and mature as a child of God. This demands diligence and earnestness; a lazy, careless Christian

does not grow.

3. Peter identifies the spiritual characteristics that should be a part of your life.

4. We need to identify our condition and understand that it takes a willingness to apply the word of God to our lives to mold us into the new person that will honor the Lord.

5. We add to faith (saving faith) virtue, or praise. We have been saved to show others what God is like by our own lives (1 Peter 2:9).

6. The evidence of our faith is the changed life.

7. We are commanded to study the Scriptures to understand what we are to do.   Peter here says, add to virtue knowledge, or moral discernment. Christians must be able to discern right from wrong.

8. After knowledge comes temperance, or self-control. Self-control leads to patience, or endurance. This is the ability to hang in there when things get tough, when the trials come into our life, we stand firm in the faith.

9. We add to patience godliness; v. 3. This word means "right worship" or a dependence on God that reveals itself in a devoted life.

10.  Brotherly kindness is the next virtue, meaning a love for the people of God. The final virtue Peter names is charity, or love, which "wraps" or brings all the virtues into one.

11. Where there is a lack of spiritual growth, we can find attitudes very different from what Peter is pointing out.

12. You can usually tell when Christians are not growing, for they have these three characteristics:

  • (1) They are barren, or idle; that is, they are not involved in ministry of any  kind.

  • (2) They are unfruitful; that is, their meager knowledge of Christ does not  produce fruit in their lives.

  • (3) They are blind, lacking spiritual insight, spiritually "nearsighted." Behind  this lack of spiritual development is a poor memory, forgetting what God  has done for them through Christ. Peter says, "Be diligent!" Be sure you are  saved! The Christian does not save himself or keep himself saved; but it is  his responsibility to be sure he has the marks of a true believer (1 Thess 1:4- 5).

III. The Ground of Knowledge (1:12-21)

"But how can we be sure that this message is the true Word of God?" Peter answers this question by referring to his experience with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt 17:1-13; Luke 9:27-36). Peter knew that he would not be in the body (his tabernacle) very long; see John 21:18. The word "decease" (v. 15) is actually "exodus"; it is the same word used of Christ's death (Luke 9:31). When Christians die, it is not the end; rather, it is a triumphant exodus from this world into the next.

The Gospel message is not a fable that men devised to deceive others. It is based on the historical truth of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Peter refers to the return of Christ in glory, an event that was foreshadowed in the Transfiguration. On the mountain, Christ revealed His glory, as He will when He returns to earth. Moses and Elijah were there, representing believers who died (Moses) and believers who were caught away at the rapture without dying (Elijah). See 1 Thess 4:13-18. The disciples represent the believing Jews who will see Christ's glory when He returns.

Keep in mind that Peter's ministry had been primarily to Israel (Gal 2:7-8), while Paul's had been to the Gentiles. The question had been raised, "What about God's promises to the Jews of a glorious kingdom on earth?" The Word of prophecy has not been abandoned; instead, it has been made more sure. Peter is saying, "We have Christ's Transfiguration to assure us that the kingdom will come; but we also have the sure Word of prophecy that has been verified by the Transfiguration." Christians are not to "'spiritualize" the OT prophecies and apply them to the church. We must interpret them literally, just as we do the NT Word, because God will fulfill them one day.

Peter compares the prophetic Word to a light shining in a dark place. The world, to him, is a dark and murky dungeon. The Word of God is the only dependable light we have in this world. We must heed this Word and not lean on the ideas of men. One day soon, Christ, the Day Star, will arise and take His people home. To the church, Christ is the Day Star that appears when things are the darkest, just before the dawn. To Israel, Christ is the Sun of Righteousness who comes with judgment and healing (Mal 4).

Verses 20-21 do not teach that it is wrong for Christians to read and interpret the Bible; the Word was given to us to be read, obeyed, and passed on to others. "Private" (v. 20) means "by itself." No passage of Scripture is to be interpreted "by itself," that is, apart from the rest of the Word of God or apart from the Holy Spirit who gave it. Prophecy did not come by the will of men, so it cannot be interpreted by the natural mind. The Spirit gave the Word, and the Spirit must teach us the Word (1 Cor 2:9-16; John 14:26; 16:13-14).

We thank God that our Bible is sure! We can trust it because God gave it to us.

Seven Rules for Self-Discovery

We may be known by the following:

1. What we want most.

2. What we think about most.

3. How we use our money.

4. What we do with our leisure time.

5. The company we enjoy.

6. Whom and what we admire.

7. What we laugh at.     A.W. Tozer



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