2nd Peter 1:1-11
"Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
"This book was written by the apostle Peter, probably from Rome, shortly before his death in A.D. 67. While the book of 1 Peter was addressed to the Jewish Christians [The Judeo-Christian Diaspora] who were spread throughout Asia Minor, this second epistle was written to Christians everywhere. Peter had a sense that his death was rapidly approaching, and this letter was written more or less as a swan song, as he reminded the believers of the things that were ultimately important. In this respect it is similar to 2 Timothy, which was Paul's final letter...The book is basically summarized in the final two verses, which say, "You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen" (2 Pet. 3:17, 18)" [The Word For Today Bible, New King James Version, Introduction To The Second Epistle Of Peter, by Pastor Chuck Smith, p. 1649, selected parts.]
Things That Are Precious To Peter
"2nd Peter begins like this, "Simon Peter," I was reminded again, as I was looking at commentaries and reading scholars, of the endless arguments and debates over who wrote 2nd Peter, add nauseaum. "Simon Peter," it's amazing to me. He's going to tell us in the end of the first chapter, that he stood on the Mount of the transfiguration, with the Lord. Now there was Moses, and Elijah, and the Lord, and the Father, and James and John and Simon Peter. So I'm going to assume that Simon Peter is none other than Simon Peter, as we begin. Ah, the first letter he wrote, in light of the fact that Nero, the Church was under persecution, he wrote to those in the Diaspora, those who had been scattered, who were facing difficulties from without in many ways. In this second epistle he tells us in chapter 1, that he knows that he must shortly put off this tabernacle, he must shortly put off his physical body. He knows that the end of his physical life on earth is close. And because of that, he writes now to the Church in regards to dangers within, false teaching, those who would mock the 2nd coming of Christ, of the important things of our faith. He uses the word "knowledge" 13 times in these three chapters, and so important, he brings it across in so many ways "that we would know," and not just an exercise of the intellect, but the epicknosis, the experiential reality of Jesus Christ in our lives. And we'll look at that, the necessity of it. And it's a very passionate letter, it's a very passionate letter. He says twice here in chapter 1, and chapter 3, verse 1, that 'he's written so that we put certain things in remembrance.' He's reminding us of certain things that we know. John would say 'I don't write unto you a new commandment, but an old commandment, what you've known from the beginning,' and Peter's saying 'I want to remind you of certain things.' Now he understands the importance of that, because he needed to be reminded of things. I mean, this is a guy who fell from his own stedfastness, and he's going to tell us in the end that he hopes that we don't fall from our stedfastness. He's going to remind us to be stedfast, I mean, here's a guy who was asleep when he should have been praying, he was talking when he should have been quiet, he was moving forward when he should have been still, he's a guy with great motives, but he had to learn self-control, he learned to be solid and sound in what he knew, he learned to bring certain things in his own life to remembrance. Now no doubt, because Jesus had told him 'When you're old, you're going to go forward, you're going to stretch forth your hands, someone else is going to stretch forth your hands,' he knows that crucifixion is ahead of him. And now he's remembering many things, what are the great and excellent things now. And it's interesting, he's going to talk to us about our like-precious faith in the first verse, and then in verse 4, about exceeding great and precious promises, and it's interesting to see what's precious to him, this old, burly fisherman, this man's man, no doubt---who had the energy to hack off somebody's ear. I mean, he was a man's man, remember when he dove in and swam to shore, it says they brought that net full of fish in, and it says it was too many for them to pull it in, Peter went down by himself and pulled it in, a man's man. But now he tells us, 1st Peter chapter 1, verse 7, verse 19, 1st Peter chapter 2, verses 4, 6, and 7 he talks about our precious Saviour, we hear about precious faith, we hear about precious promises, precious blood. He's an interesting guy, over and over and over he uses this word "precious." And for this old burly fisherman, he's decided that certain things are extremely valuable, and extremely precious. And no doubt, the worth of those things was magnified in light of the fact that he knew he was to shortly put off his frame. So he's going to tell us about the things that are very precious, again. We can get up caught in the business of life and we can get distracted. We can grow up in the church, and embrace it as a culture, and sometimes it takes years before we really take hold of Christ for ourselves. And certainly those kinds of things that remind us of our mortality and of our human frailty, and no doubt, some of that was before him, make certain things that the Lord has held in front of us extremely precious. And he's going to write to the Church about those things so that they don't forget. So, Simon Peter here, probably about 3 years after his first epistle, "a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:" (verse 1) Notice what he puts first here, "a servant" first, then "an apostle." You know, if you and I were writing, we might be tempted to put "an apostle and a servant," strictly because that's alphabetical order, of course, not because we, you know. Whose he writing to? Listen, "to them that have obtained like precious faith with us" 'I'm writing to those who have obtained like precious faith with us---the same precious faith, precious, valuable, unimaginable the worth of it.' And it's the same precious faith "with us." Whose he talking about? He says, he's going to say in verse 16, "We were eye-witnesses" he's talking about himself and James and John, the apostles. He says I'm writing to those who have obtained the same precious faith that we have. They may be 2,000 years after this, they may be sitting in Philmont Avenue, you know, 8 o'clock on a Wednesday night in an old meter factory, but the faith they have is no different than the faith that we have. 'Because we walked with him and saw him does not give us an advantage in regards to belief over those who will obtain the same precious faith.' In fact, remember Jesus said to Thomas, 'Blessed are those who believe without seeing,' so yes, they had an advantage, in privilege in a sense, they walked with him and listened to him. John says 'We gazed upon him,' Imagine what that was like, 'this Word who came from eternity, we listened to him, we gazed upon him, we handled him.' But we're going to get to do that, that's ahead of us, it's on the schedule. But for now, there is a blessing for us, blessed are those who believe without seeing, that Peter didn't have, there's a privilege that's ours also. He writes in the first chapter, "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory..." (1st Peter 1:8), 'it's so unspeakable I can't even say it.' So we have this great privilege also. But the basis of it, on both sides, is "the same like precious faith" that the apostles had in the beginning. He says, 'That's who I'm writing to, anyone, anywhere that's embraced the same like precious faith that we have.' [continuing in verse 1] "through the righteousness of God" King James says, "and our Saviour Jesus Christ:", the Greek says, "through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ." he's affirming the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ right in front, in the first sentence of this second letter, that Jesus in fact is God, God our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Grace And Peace Are Multiplied To Us Through The Experiential Knowledge Of Jesus Christ In Our Lives
Writing to us, through the righteousness that's come through him, "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord." (verse 2) Now how many of you have been with us less than, ah, you're just starting here at Calvary Chapel? Anybody, new folks here? Three, four, some of your are so new you don't even trust me to raise your hand, do you? You don't know what's going to happen to you. Do we make everyone stand up and put on a hat and dance in circles here? Then I'll put you in remembrance of this, because he's doing this, for some of us we love to hear this as we go into these epistles, "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you" that is always the order. It is never peace, then grace. You never have peace until you have grace, it's always grace, and then peace. Grow in grace he's going to say, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. It will be the exercise of our entire lives, even in the ages to come we're still going to be learning of his mercy and his grace. Grow in grace, he'll sign off, and of the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Grace he says, and then peace, and no doubt certainly it's peace with God, but it's also the peace of God, that we would experience peace. There are a lot of Christians who have peace with God, because of God's grace, because of the blood of Christ, as far as heaven's concerned they're at peace, the price has been paid, paid in full. But they don't experience the peace of God, because they're tortured by one thing or another. I know that in my own experience. But when we really understand the grace of God, we have peace with God, and we have the peace of God also reigning in our hearts. Grace and peace, not just have some, but "be multiplied unto you". And how does that happen? By means of, "through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ our Lord." Now listen, this is the experiential, this is not an intellectual exercise, this is through the experiential, intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ in your own life. And look, I see kids grow up in the church, I see people that have grown up in the church, and church can become a culture, it can become desensitizing. We can know the songs and just come sing them because we know them. We can get used to the routine. I mean, we have Christian bumper stickers, and Christian concerts, and Christian bookstores, they even have Christian night clubs and dating services! Come on, cut me a break, somebody! But he's saying that grace and peace are multiplied to us through the experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ in our lives. It's not a set of precepts, it's a person that we walk with, that we communicate with, that we hear, that we experience. The most profound theology is a personal relationship with the living Jesus Christ. There is no more profound theology than that. Everything else is measured off of that, the Chief Cornerstone. So he says, he wants grace and peace to be multiplied in their lives, and he says, he says through the experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ and of God. Peter, you know, he's the guy who denied him. He's the guy who pronounced an anathema upon himself, and then he must hear the rooster crow as he writes this, because it was there on resurrection morning that Jesus, and Peter, he appeared unto Peter, he talked to him. And no doubt one of the first things he said to Peter was, as Peter was going 'Aah, aaah,' he said 'Shalom, peace,' showed him his hands, 'Peter, I paid the price, and I told you that your faith wouldn't fail, and it hasn't. And I told you that after you're restored I want you to strengthen your brethren,' and certainly that's what he's doing for us as he writes these things to us. He'll put us in remembrance of things. But he understood, through his personal experience with Jesus Christ, a multitude of grace and peace. Look, we would follow him. You know, Christ is risen, Christ reveals himself to Peter, speaks to him on resurrection morning. And then they go to Galilee to wait for him as he told them to. [Comment: And this would have been after the Last Day of Unleavened Bread, a holy day, which was that Wednesday three days after that Sunday morning when they saw the stone rolled away, when everyone would have been headed back to their homes, and these guys lived in Galilee, so as everyone is headed back to Galilee and their homes, these guys and the 120 are headed north to Galilee within this returning crowd. Nothing looks amiss to the Pharisees, scribes and priesthood who may have been on a lookout for them.] Peter, impetuous, impatient, that's why he's going to be excited about temperance and patience, because he discovered it later on. But impatient, he says 'I'm going fishing, I'm going back to the fishing industry.' And the first crisis in the Church, all the apostles go with him. And the Lord has to come and stand on the shore and call them back again. In the Book of Acts, and he stays at the house of Simon the Tanner, which was a breakthrough for him, he should have remembered what the Lord said to him about putting new wine in old skins, because that's one of the main things he'd see in the house of the tanner. And the next day he's going to hear a voice, as the sheet comes down from heaven, and says "kill and eat." What does he say? "Not so, Lord," those things don't even go together. Three times he has to be told, and God is so patient, and he knows this is the old three-time guy, you had to tell this guy everything three times, you follow through, you know. And the third time, Peter's finally getting it. [And it wasn't that God was telling him to eat unclean food, as we see in Acts 8-10]. And Paul says at Antioch, Peter comes with certain of the brethren from James, and it says he started to trim his sails, uses an interesting phrase there, and it says he wasn't walking orthopedao, straight-footedly, according to the Gospel. And Paul had to rebuke him before his face, in front of the Church, because he was causing a division, causing people that could never keep the law to try to go back under the law [Comment: And that is a misinterpretation of the event. Peter was eating with some Gentiles there, which Jews weren't supposed to do, mixing with Gentiles, but Peter had just been shown God (cf. Acts 8-10) was calling Gentiles too now, and that those in the Church were not to discriminate against Gentiles or separate themselves from them anymore. When James and some of the Jewish brethren showed up, Peter moved away from the Gentiles he was eating with in a discriminatory way, which Paul corrects. It wasn't about any abrogation of the moral law of the Ten Commandments, as misinterpreted by some. You have to look up the event in the Book of Acts and read the account.] So Peter when he writes to us and says "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you" he needed a multitude of it in his own life. That's why he appreciated it. And he says that comes through an experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ and of God.
You Are Not A Christian Because You Perform Certain Things---You Are A Christian Because You Have A New Nature
"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:" not a great percent, not most things, all things, "whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (verses 3-4) Now, grace and peace be multiplied to you... "according as his divine power" he gives it to God, it's by the power of God, that's necessary. Paul talks about those in the last days that would hold a form of religion, and deny the power thereof. It's through his divine power that any of this is real. I remember the night that I got saved, something real happened. Something real happened in my life and it is just as real now when I remember it, as it was then. [Comment: He's talking about the divine calling experience real believers go through, where God reaches down and draws a person to Jesus and the knowledge that all this, God's Word, the Bible is true, and the evolutionary fairy tales of man are false (cf. John 6:44). It takes a divine power to crack through all the deception Satan has deceived all humans minds with. And when this calling and drawing to God's truth takes place, it's a very real event. I remember a very specific time in my life where I started to understand God's truth and was drawn into a direct relationship with God, a period of time where my natural hostility to the things of God and laws of God dropped away (cf. Romans 8:1-9; Psalm 119).] 'Through his divine power,' he says, 'he has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness,' and he says it again, "through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:" To glory, the glory, the outshining of God, and to virtue, both sides of that, there's a balance. He's talking about glory, he's going to talk about virtue in verse 5, the things that should be demonstrated in our lives. And he's going to say, 'but all things have been given to us, that are necessary for life and godliness, (verse 3b) "whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (verse 4) Through God's divine power, through the knowledge of Christ, through like precious faith, this new-birth, the divine nature, that new nature, we have a new nature. A new nature demands a new birth, that's how it came, a new appetite, a new destiny, a divine nature, having escaped the corruption that's in the world through lust. 'He's given us through great and precious promises, that by those we might be partakers of, we believe [in] Christ, we've accepted Christ, accepted the Gospel, that we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that's in the world through lust.' Look, some of you may struggle with assurance, and I'm going to say that, because this verse is very precious to me because of that. Some of you may struggle with assurance, 'How do I know, Lord? How do I know?' It depends on your theology, you may struggle with more, 'How do I know that I'm elect? How do I know I'm predestined? How do I know, Lord, that this is real? How do I know when I see you you're going to say 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant?' You know, because Satan can condemn, and certain believers would just struggle. I remember, early in Calvary Chapel, struggling with assurance in regards to some things, in my own life, studying, and struggling, with my heart before him. And in fact I was studying this passage. And he said to me, and he does this sometimes, 'Joe,' it's no doubt who he was talking to, like Simon Peter here. 'Joe, if my promises were good enough for Peter, for James, for John, Arinais and Chrisostum, for Huss, and Whitfield and Spurgeon, and Moody, and Billy Graham, why do I have to give you something different? Aren't my promises that were good enough for them, good enough for you? There are no other promises.' And it was somehow in this verse in my own life that I really embraced something, and took hold of something, that he was offering to me the very same thing he had offered to Peter, to John, and to James. In the privacy of that place where I sat, reading and studying, in a very real way, he said 'The same precious promises, like faith, that I offered to them, and through those promises they became partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruptions of the world through lust, are the same promises I'm offering to you. They're yours.' Now I had taken hold of them, but somehow in a more full way, in that moment, I had great assurance, I had great assurance. And if you struggle with that this evening, I want you to know that those promises are held out constantly to you also, by the Lord. The same promises that transformed the life of Peter and James and John, and the saints through the centuries, the same promises. You have to step out of the boat onto the water. You have to hear him say, 'Come to me,' the same promises, "whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:" now he loves this word "precious." One author I read said there are 7,474 promises in the Bible. I didn't go back and count them to see if he was telling the truth, by the way. I've heard other people say about 8,000, because they must have read this guy and figured 'I'll round it off, I ain't gonna count them either.' But that's a reservoir of promises. "Yeah though I walk through the Valley of the shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me." [Comment: Eugene Sledge, a US Marine and believer who went through the Battle of Pelelui, where multiple thousands of US Marines died in the battle to secure Pelelui and 10,900 Japanese died in the same battle, constantly recited this Psalm of David throughout the battle. He survived the war to write "With The Old Breed" describing this and the battle for Okinawa. He grabbed hold of this promise, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment, and God didn't let him down.] I watched my dad in his last hours, as he listened to that psalm, and had been in a coma, shake his head, 'Yes,' and affirmed that he was still listening, he was still there, though he was out of touch, he wasn't out of touch with that. 'I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.' 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him,' That's your part, those three things. We all flunk the first one, trust in the Lord with all your heart, that's where we're out of the contest. 'Lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him,' and then the great and precious promise, 'and he will direct your paths.' That's a reservoir of over 7,000 promises in the Bible. And we call them to mind sometimes, don't we. "that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (verse 4b) "through lust," through desire, desire for money, desire for power, desire for sex, desire for anything, that what drives this world is desire, lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, the pride of life. Having escaped all of that, because you have a new nature. You are not a Christian because you perform certain things. You are a Christian because you have a new nature. And some people say, 'That guy goes to Calvary Chapel, but my neighbor, he's a nicer guy than he is.' Maybe he is nicer than you, that's a shame. 'And he's kinder. And you mean to tell me that because, well, he must be a Christian too.' Well, wait a minute, not unless he's a partaker of the divine nature, not unless something eternal and divine has been planted inside of him, that's what makes you a believer, and that's the different between a believer and an unbeliever, is you have a new life-force planted within you, you've been born-again (cf. John 3:1-8; Acts 2:38-42; Romans 8:1-9). Not with corruptible seed, with incorruptible, with the Word of God. And it's a shame when a Christian acts like a scoundrel. We don't get into heaven [the kingdom of heaven] by performance. I'll tell you the shame, some Christians are going to get in with the seat of their robes smoking. [Comment: now this is where differing parts of the Body of Christ disagree somewhat, based on what the apostle Paul said in Galatians 5:19-21, if your lifestyle is so bad, just like the world's, you ain't gonna be there, and that isn't me, it's the apostle Paul saying that. So Calvary Chapel's theology disagrees with mine somewhat, even though I know what he's getting at. None of us will be totally sinless when we die. But we all are supposed to be progressing in the day-to-day sanctification process.] All their works burnt up like hay, wood, and stubble (cf. 1st Corinthians 3:11-15). But I would say this, you don't have an excuse to live carnally because it says 'Let those who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity.' And it says, 'Let a man examine himself, to see if he's in the faith,' if you have had no change in your life, and you're still living in sin, you need to sit alone with Jesus, have an experiential knowledge of him, and take inventory, and make sure that you've taken hold of those great and precious promises. Because there is power, it says there, and that is life-changing power. [And that is power to overcome sin, and John defines sin in 1st John 3:4 as being the transgression of God's law. So if you ain't overcoming sin in your life, you may not be in the faith, is what Pastor Joe is saying. Examine the evidence in your life. We in the Churches of God tend to go through this examining process of 2nd Corinthians 13:5 once a year, around Passover time. It's not a bad practice at all, is what he's saying.] Hold yourself to the same standard you hold me to (cf. 1st Timothy 3:1-13, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/1stTim/1stTimothy3-1-13.htm). I'm sure you don't want a pastor whose money-hungry, because you see enough of those guys on TV. So you don't want to come in here and have me say 'Aye know there's five of you gonna give us a THOUSAND DOLLARS this evening! PRAISE the Lord!' That's why you're here, because you don't want that. You don't want me up here, swerving, drunker than a skunk, you don't want me drunk. You don't want to find out I have a harem somewhere. [laughter] Now wait a minute, you should hold yourself to the same standard that you hold me to. If we've been partakers of the divine nature, there is life-changing power in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I appreciate being free [he means free from sin], and I appreciate being alive, and I appreciate being set free from what my life was. I'm alive, I wake up in the morning, you know, if I'm looking for Colombian or Hawaiian, it's coffee beans. I wake up in the morning, all I need is a cup of Java and my Bible, the sky is blue, I'm in another world. I am free and alive. And I'm not afraid to lift my head and say 'Lord Jesus, come today! Come today.' So, it says here that there should be a new nature that has been planted in us by these exceeding great and precious promises, and that through that new nature, that divine nature, because it's of a different birth than your physical body, and because it's of a different nature, that it has different appetites, and because it has different appetites it's drawn to different things than the world, that hasn't escaped, because of it's own lusts, it's own desires. The appetites of unsaved people are the things of this world, and they're never satisfied. That's why you see millionaires in Betty Ford Clinic. If money made people happy, they wouldn't have to have rehabs for rich people. But you and I have a different destiny now, a hunger for something different, where we can actually say 'Come quickly Lord Jesus,' where we can lift our hearts and our minds above the pains of this world sometime and think, you know, we have a different destiny and a different future, partakers of glory.
'Add To Your Faith, Virtue, Moral Excellence, And Then To Your Virtue Add Knowledge'
Now, he's called us to glory and virtue, he says now in verse 5, there's an exhortation to us in regards to the way we live, he says, "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;" Your translation might say "because of this", it's causative. The sense of it is, 'In light of this, give, giving all diligence,' now it's active [grammatically] an injunction to you and I, "add to your faith" now this is not to be saved, but he's saying 'OK, you are saved, you have this divine nature. Now in cooperation with the Father, be diligent to furnish,' is the word "add" there, 'or supply to your faith, your saving faith, your belief in Christ,' you know it isn't enough to say 'Oh I'm a Christian,' he's saying now there's something to be demonstrated if that divine nature is in there, you don't wait till you get to heaven [into the kingdom of heaven] to be like Jesus, there should be a change now in our lives that's observable. So he says now to us, and look, he changed, slowly, but he changed. "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue;" 'now supply to your faith, or furnish to your faith,' first he says, 'virtue.' It could be translated "praise," the idea is "moral excellence." If you say that you believe, and you're a partaker of the divine nature, you have the like precious faith, there should then be a "moral excellence" about your life. If you're a partaker of a divine nature that no longer has the same lusts that unsaved people have for things in this world, one of the things you should take heed to and pay attention to is there should be moral excellence, there should be virtue that you should add to your faith. And then to your virtue, to your moral excellence, there should be knowledge. Now, not epicknosis now, a practical knowledge, an understanding, he wants us to understand. [That would be a Biblical understanding, doctrines, Bible teachings, etc., knowledge of the Word of God]
'Add To Your Knowledge Temperance, Self-Control, And Then Perseverance'
"and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;" (verse 6) And then he says, "and to knowledge" your understanding of what's going on [spiritually], "temperance;" "self-control" is the idea [not just the abstinence from alcohol as the word has been misapplied]. So here we are as a Christian, I'm saved, now there should be some change in my nature, I'm a partaker of the divine nature, so there should be a "moral excellence" about my life, and I need to understand that, there should be knowledge there [Biblical, doctrinal], knowledge then, attached to that. And because of that understanding, he says, one of the things we should immediately exercise is "self-control." It should be one of the fruits of the Spirit (cf. Galatians 5:22-23), it should be something that is being demonstrated in our lives. "and to temperance" then "patience;" which is "perseverance." "Self-control is in regards to pressure, "patience, perseverance" is under pressure. So there are different kinds of pressure. Ah, self-control to the pressure of temptation. Of things demanding, and then this other kind of patience, it's "as you're in the pressure itself, you're bearing up under it, it has to do with the strength to be in there. "and to patience[,] godliness;" and it's "piety," it's made of two words that mean "well-devout" and it speaks of devotion. To our temperance, to our self-control, and to our perseverance there should be devotion, we should be devout. I hear people talk about devotions in their home, and we should have them, those are good things [what our church denomination calls 'prayer & Bible study', usually done when we get up, but can be done anytime during the day]. But devotions without devotion will never produce anything. In the life of a mother and a father there has to be observable devotion. If children are able to observe devotion individually, in the life of the mother, father towards Christ as Lord, not just Saviour but as Lord, there's devotion, it's infectious. There's too many homes where there's devotions, you know, we have this rule, we do this [our prayer & Bible study time], and I think we should read together, and there's devotions, but they see a lifestyle that contradicts the very thing they're saying, and it has no power. So this word godliness is to be well devout, it speaks of devotion, there's to be devotion in our lives. If Christ is our Lord he died for us, he's paid the price in his own blood, he's offered us these great and precious promises, we should add then to our faith, he says, and to our belief system moral excellence, and understanding that goes with that, and because we're understanding we should be self-controlled, we should endure the pressures of life [perseverance], we should be devout.
'To Godliness, Our Devotion, Add Brotherly Kindness, And Then Agape-love'
"and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (verses 7-8) And we should add to that "brotherly kindness". Tough, huh? You look around this room, you've got a bigger family than you ever wanted. A lot of brothers and sisters here. Of course the Old Testament says he puts the solitary in flocks, you know, he gives us family. Brotherly kindness should be part of what's demonstrated in our lives. I think the Body of Christ is always healthier when there's brotherly kindness. Our culture, here, should defy every cultural expression in the world. There is no excuse, and I don't care what kind of prejudice we were raised with, I don't care what kind of background we have, all of that stops at the door. This is a different culture and a different society here. Our grandparents all got off the boat after the Flood, all of us. When they take the big family picture, we're all in there together. Ok? We should carry that with us into this world, and try to infect this world with that. But when we come here there's none of that stuff out there, that should be alive here. There's a brotherly kindness, and then add to that, the divine, the sacrificial love [God's agape-love, called "charity" in the King James version]. No doubt Peter remembers Christ saying "By this shall all men know you're my disciples, by the love you have one for another. And a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you." Not just that you love one another, but you love one another sacrificially. And no doubt he's filled, though he's putting us in remembrance, that he's filled with remembrance of those things. He says this in verse 8, look, "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." Look, this is a great check-list. I go back through this and think, 'I need to add a little bit more temperance to my life,' you know, this is a great thing to go back, and look, do you feel, are you in a place in your life where feel like, 'You know what? I'm cold, I'm in the desert, I don't sense his presence,' we come up with all of this jargon to try to describe sometimes a luke-warmness that can creep into our lives. He says if these things are in you, first place, you're not just in church because your parents go, because it's a culture, you personally get alone with Jesus Christ, you sense his presence, you hear his voice. You sense his leading, you know the conviction of the Spirit, you have a real relationship with Jesus Christ. And in that you realize that you have this connection with heaven, that he's given you this divine nature. And then go back and add, 'OK, Lord I want to do this knowledgeably, I want self-control, I want temperance, I want a devoted life. I want Lord your love to be shed abroad towards the brethren, and in a sacrificial way to this unsaved world. I want you to find your way through me with all of that.' Because it says, "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." People come to me all the time, 'I want to be in ministry, I want to be in ministry, I want to be in ministry,' and I think what you're saying is you want me to die so you can have the pulpit, I understand, you don't want to help in Sunday school, and you don't want to weed the gardens out front, and you don't want to hand out bulletins, you want me to die so you can have the pulpit. You only think you do. What it says here, 'if these things are in you, you will have the ministry in you,' it isn't being in the ministry, where you have this strange idea. In the Book of Acts the apostles didn't go into the ministry, the ministry went into them. When the Holy Spirit fell, the ministry went into them. And he says 'if these things are alive and active in you, there's no way you can ever be barren or unfruitful.' You want to touch other people's lives? And you want to see the Gospel of Christ spread? Then we should be living Epistles. More people are going to read you than will ever read the Bible. And he says 'If these things are alive, they abound in us, we will never be barren,' barren is idle, the idea is 'we're not gonna be pew-potatoes that don't accomplish anything, we'll never be unfruitful if those kinds of things are cooking in us, they're going to touch the lives of other people.' Even people at work that give you a hard time, I guarantee you, if you are self-controlled, and you're temperate, and you have love, they may hassle you and give you a hard time, and make fun of you because you have a Bible in your desk or whatever, but I guarantee you, the moment they hear their grandma or ma has cancer, they are going to come and find you and say 'Would you do me a favour, would you pray for my mom?' Because you may not think that your witness is going out, but it is, because you are the light of the world. Light is not heard, it's seen. And they watch. You're the salt of the earth. That's tasted, it's not heard. [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/wearesalt.htm] And Peter says 'If these things are in you, you will never be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.'
It's Time To Soar With The Eagles Instead Of Flocking With The Prairie Hens
Look at verse 9, "But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins." He who doesn't have these things cooking in his life, he can't see properly. He's not functioning up to the par of the new nature that he has. Charles Swindol in 2nd Peter, and I think that's where I heard it a long time ago, I just have the note here, but I always have to think 'What in the world did I write that there for?' He tells of an old tradition amongst the Navaho and Hopi Indians and how they tell the story of this eagle, the mother eagle, and one of her eggs fell out of the nest and rolled across the ground and rolled up to this prairie hen. And prairie hens being as smart as prairie hens are, she put it with her eggs, and didn't notice that all her eggs were this big and one was this big, and sat on there, and hatched it with her other eggs. And that this eagle, eaglet, hatched with these prairie hens, and grew up with these little prairie hens, and ran around on the ground with the prairie hens and acted like a prairie hen, and ate what prairie hens eat, and rubbed the feathers on his wings and acted like a prairie hen. And one day they were all there together, and all the prairie hens went 'Ohhhh,' and looked up and there was this eagle just soaring, and he said, 'What is that!?' And they said, 'That's an eagle, man. Look at that thing, that is an eagle. Imagine soaring through the sky instead of running around here with stupid prairie hens on the ground,' and the eagle said, 'I wish I could,' and the other prairie hens said 'Don't even bother, you're a prairie hen, don't even think about it.' And of course, the Hopi Indian tradition is that he went on and lived his life with the prairie hens and died, a prairie hen. It's just a story, it's not [loud laughter] It's a story, you don't have to go 'Aaah,' if you get too sad you won't learn. [laughter] You're supposed to learn from this. This shows that all along he had the potential, he had the capacities, everything he needed to be an eagle was in him. We've been partakers of the divine nature, everything we need, for faith, virtue, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, love, it's all there. It's all there. We don't have to be the kind of Christians that bumble around like prairie hens, 'oh man, look at that, wish I could, look like that,' 'Don't even bother, man.' Don't listen to that. God is not looking for people that are qualified, he's looking for people that are available, if he can find a life that's given over to him, who knows what might happen. 'If those simple things are in you, there's no way you'll ever be barren or unfruitful in regards to the Lord Jesus Christ. But if they're not there, you've forgotten,' he says, 'he that lacketh these things, he's blind, he can't see afar off, he's forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. He's forgotten who he is, his beginnings, he's forgotten where he's come from, and he can't see where he's going, he's lost perspective.' I'll tell you, because if you remember you were purged from your old sins, how can you not be patient and loving with other people? You know, people say to me, 'How you doing?' and I always say 'Better than I deserve.' Now if I do that in a restaurant, I'll hear a waitress say 'Oh Honey, that's not true.' I'll say, 'Oh yea, I'm not going to hell.' [laughter] 'I deserve to, and everything this side of that is gravy.' And then they just, 'What do you want?' [loud laughter] It's a great reminder. Because if you remember the price that was paid for you to be purged of your old sins, how can you not be gracious or kind to someone else? If you remember where you're headed, an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, that fadeth not away, how can you not be gracious and loving to other people? It says somebody who doesn't demonstrate these virtues is giving evidence that they're blind, they can't see afar off, they've lost perspective, they can't see ahead, where they're going anymore, and they've forgotten that they were purged from their old sins, they lost perspective in this whole thing.
'Wherefore, Give Diligence To Make Your Calling And Election Sure'---Are You Worn Out?
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (verses 10-11) They go together, to "make your calling and election sure", certainly if there's, God wouldn't call somebody if he hadn't elected them, Peter's not arguing about anything, he says "make your calling and election sure." You know, it's through his power, his divine nature has been passed to us, great and precious promises, it's the same kind of faith, "make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things," he's asking you to cooperate with the new birth, what the Father's done in your life, if you do these things, not to be saved, but to grow in Christ, to mature, we're saved by grace through faith, but there are good works, foreordained, that we should walk in them. "for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall." Now that's a great and precious promise. Isn't it? If you do these things, you shall never fall. I need a dose of that continually. "For so" he says, "an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (verse 11) What a great promise, he takes us all the way to glory. Now, you know, sometimes we can get worn out, and sometimes we can get tired as believers, sometimes we can get discouraged. [Tell me about it.] And no doubt sometimes that's because God is taking us through something that's a mandatory course, not an elective, and we're going to learn certain things. Paul said, 'I've learned through my weakness strength is made perfect.' I can agree with that, I haven't finished that course yet. I just want to take the correspondence course on some of these things. But I remember a time in my life, just being tired, tired of my own failings, tired of things going on around me, and saying, 'Lord, you said whoever is the least in your kingdom is greater than John [the Baptist].' and I said, 'Today, that's all I want, I will be the least, just I want to go to sleep tonight, and when I open my eyes I want to be in heaven, I don't want to wake up tomorrow. And I don't need any titles, I need nothing special, I'll be the least. You just let me inside the gate, and you give me a kingdom cup, and a kingdom blanket, and I'll just sit against the wall and be the kingdom beggar. Everybody who comes in will walk by me, I'll be the least.' That's how tired I was. [Pastor Joe just described how I feel.] And I'm glad he didn't listen to me. Because he says that for you and I there can be an abundant entrance into the kingdom of God, because this life will go by, snap! like that. And then eternity will be upon us, and it will never end. And you can only lay up those treasures in heaven, while you're here. You'll get a chance [to enjoy them] when you get there. And it says for you and I that there's crowns of righteousness, crowns of glory, crowns of joy, that when we get in the scene around his throne, and the cherubim look up, and they look at him, now because he is infinite, every time, you know that's why Peter in the 1st epistle says that our inheritance is incorruptible, undefiled, and then he says it fadeth not away, it never gets old. This gets old for some people, I watch them, they first come here, they're excited, it's time to hug each other, first it's a little bit strange, but then they're huggy for a while, 'Hey, how you doing, how you doing?' and then they change their seats, 'Don't sit there, he might hug you,' you know. When they first come they're excited, they're singing, they're clapping, and then it's like 'Oh, can't he learn a new song? Do we have to sing this again?' and you know, this can kind of gets old. It shouldn't, that's a shame, because then you see the same person when they're broken or something's gone wrong in their life, and they're singing the same song with tears running down their face, now it's new again. But in heaven it says every time the cherubim look up and see him, and they have four faces, face of a man, face of an eagle, face of an ox, face of a lion, so every time they look up their minds are blown, and they fall down and say [more like shout] 'Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who is, and was and who is to come!' They never say 'Can't we learn a new song? We've been singing this forever.' Because every time they look up they see something they had never seen before, and it says then the saints fall down and cast their crowns. And I decided, you know, he saved me, I was dead in trespasses and sin, and I'm saved by grace and faith, not of myself, not that I could ever boast. But I'm doing what I'm doing because there are good works foreordained that we should walk in them. And you can't beat the program, because he saves us when we don't deserve to be saved, he calls us his sons and daughters when we never deserve to be called his sons and daughters, he gives us a new nature, he calls us to ministries that we can walk in, ways that we can serve, he rewards us for the work that he does through us, when we yield to him, and then when we get to heaven [kingdom of heaven, because it ends up on earth, cf. Revelation 21:1-23] we get to throw our crowns before him because then we will know ultimately they were all his anyway. So I decided when I get there I want have something to throw. I don't want to just be sitting there with my cup saying 'That must be fun, can I throw cups too? You know, I'm the kingdom beggar.' And you don't want to be there with a little beanie hat with a propeller on it...I want to hear him say 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant,' And I was tired at that point in my life. And I thought, you know, 'I'm blowing it, I'm not being a witness, my earthly father would be ashamed of me if he knew the way I was acting right now, I know my heavenly father is ashamed of me,' and because I was young, I thought, 'He's just there tapping his foot, with a stick, with a yard-stick, waiting for me to come and pray, and he's just gonna whack me.' And what he showed me that night was that I had the stick in my hand, and I was just re-beating him. He had paid the price in full. And when he said to me that I was justified, sanctified and glorified, it was by his completed work. And his grace overwhelmed me. It's all part of a growing experience. And I decided, you know what, I don't want to be the kingdom beggar, I want an abundant entrance into the kingdom of God. And it does something very interesting here, too. It says in verse 11, "for so an entrance shall be" see that word "ministered unto you abundantly"? That word "ministered" there is the word "supplied" or "furnished", it's the same word in verse 5, where it says "And beside this, giving all diligence, add", it's the same word there "add", where it tells us that we should "furnish" to our faith, that we should "supply" to our faith, these things. He's given them to us, they're part of our nature now, he says, 'then supply these things, that we should furnish,' and it says, 'if we do this we shall never fall, for so an entrance shall be supplied unto us.' He's saying to us, 'if you supply these things, you're going to be fruitful, and if you do that, I will then supply' same word, 'unto you an abundant entrance into the kingdom of God.' You know, it's interesting, in John chapter 14 it says there, 'Let not your heart be troubled, if you believe in God, also in my Father's house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you, lo I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am you may also be, and if I go to prepare a place for you, I'll come again to receive you unto myself.' He says that he's preparing a place for us, in his Father's house, a mansion. Then over about in verse 26 of John 14, he says, 'If you keep my commandments, if you obey, then my Father and I, we will come and dwell with you.' It's the only other place where that word "mansion" is used, 'We will dwell with you.' He says, 'I'm going to heaven to prepare a place for you,' it took him six days to make heaven and earth, he's been preparing a place for us for 2,000 years. Imagine what that's going to be like. [Comment: Do you want to read about that mansion, at least some of it's size, dimensions and composition? Read Revelation 21:1-23, or log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Revelation%20%2021-22.htm. At the very end of the Millennial Kingdom of God on earth, just after the new heavens and new earth are created, this "mansion" comes down to earth, landing in the approximate location of the Middle East. But first in time sequence comes 1st resurrection to immortality, the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, then the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ with the saints, where he lands on the Mount of Olives, and it splits in two (cf. Zechariah 14:1-15). Then we rule with Jesus over mankind, until the meltdown of planet earth and the universe, and the creation of the new heavens and new earth. That's when our "mansion" comes down from heaven, what amounts to God's throne coming to earth, the new Jerusalem, the heavenly city Abraham was waiting for.] What he asks in return is, 'You keep my commandments, and my Father and I will come, and we'll make you into our mansion,' [i.e. he's talking about God the Father and Jesus Christ dwelling within us through the indwelling Holy Spirit, which is what the entire 14 chapter of John is about, really. See how obedience and the receiving of the Holy Spirit go together, which then enables greater obedience, as we're filled with the divine nature?] Now I get the feeling we get the better end of the deal here. I'm a fixer-upper here, I'm not a mansion. He says if we'll obey his commandments, he'll come and make us his mansion. Same word he uses earlier in the chapter, and the only place you'll find it is in John's Gospel. He's preparing a place for us, a mansion in glory. Here he says, 'If you will furnish, I've supplied, now add to your faith these things. I've supplied them, they're in you, you have a divine nature, they're there, it's your nature now. If you'll supply those things to your faith, what you believe, I will furnish for you, because you'll be fruitful, you'll never fall, an abundant entrance into the Kingdom.'
Do You Really Know Christ?
If you're here tonight, and you don't know Christ as your Saviour, what does all this sound like to you? When you die, what are you expecting to happen? Peter was getting ready to be crucified. He knew that. And he talks about great and precious promises that were keeping him at that time, and will keep us. Do you believe when you're dead, you're dead, and that's all there is and there ain't no more? What's the basis of it? What's your proof? Tell me about the experiment. How many times have you done it? Whose come back to tell you? You don't know anybody who came back to tell you, because you believe when they're dead, there ain't no more. So how can they come back and tell you it's true? 'When you're dead, you're dead, that's all there is and there ain't no more.' So nobody can come back and tell you it's true, because of what you say is true. But Jesus was dead for three days, and he got up from the dead, there's an empty tomb in Jerusalem, and he says to us that if we will come to him and ask forgiveness of sin, if we'll believe that he died in our place, that he took the penalty for our sin, that we then can have eternal life. [And that is the basic Gospel message of Jesus Christ. see, http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm] Christianity is not a religion, it's a relationship. Jesus didn't come to leave us a particular denomination, he came to give us life. And I'm not against denominations. But do you know him this evening, yourself? Are you saved through the experiential knowledge of him? I went to church for years. I sang 'the B.I.B.L.E. that's the book for me,' when it wasn't. I sang 'Jesus loves me, this I know,' when I didn't. I would go to church Christmas Eve when it got real cold, and we were half drunk, because it was a late service and we could get in somewhere warm finally, and I sung all the Christmas hymns. I'll tell you this, when I got saved, I sang those hymns with tears running down my face. Because they exploded with light and with life...[transcript of a connective expository sermon on 1st Peter 1:1-11, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116]
We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. How can we live that way? See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/wearesalt.htm
What is the Gospel? See,
What are the "mansions" we will inherit? See,