2 Peter: Make every effort: on your journey of faith (Part 3)-11/10/13

November 10, 2013

1 Peter: Stand firm in God’s grace

Sermon Series: 1 Peter: Stand firm in God’s grace

Message: “Make every effort: on your journey of faith (Part 3)  Text: 2 Peter 1:5-11

 

Introduction: A little girl lived near a cemetery, and often had to walk through it after dark. When someone asked her, “Aren’t you ever afraid?” she answered, “Oh, no! My home is just on the other side.” (Clark Tanner)

We sang a new song this morning ‘Where I Belong’. Here, again are the words to the chorus:

All I know is I’m not home yet.

This is not where I belong.

Take this world and give me Jesus.

This is not where I belong.

Can I ask?

  • Was it a joy to let those words fall off your lips in a sweet melody to the Lord?
  • Did your heart well up just a little bit because the words brought a calmness and an overwhelming sense of comfort?
  • Did you sing those words with a confident assurance that your ‘home’ is just on the other side?

I know that this world is not my home, I know that when I die, I will be with Jesus in Heaven…. I know…Do you?

Transition: Open your Bibles to 2 Peter 1:8. For it’s there we conclude our examination of what it means to make every effort on your journey of faith.

  1. 2 Peter 1:8-9 Make every effort…the results

Read: 2 Peter 1:5-7, 8-9

If these qualities are yours…

Peter begins by saying that we need to look, to examine our life, to see if the qualities/attributes and behaviors he mentions in verses 5-7 are evident, present in your life.

If these qualities are yours and increasing…

Healthy, maturing Christians, don’t just possess the qualities / attributes / behaviors he mentioned in verses 5-7, they are growing, increasing. The Greek word means abounding, becoming more evident in how you live your life.

If these qualities are yours and increasing…

You will not be ineffective or unfruitful…

 

 

ILL: A lawyer, a doctor, and a preacher went hunting together. When a prize buck ran past they all fired at the exact same time and the buck dropped. The problem was that there was only one bullet hole and they didn’t know which of them shot it. They decided to take it to the registration center, hoping the agent could figure out who could claim the trophy.

The agent said, “Let me look at the deer. Sometimes I can figure it out.” He asked a few questions, examined the deer carefully, and declared, “The preacher shot this buck!” Amazed, the other two asked how he knew it was the preacher. Stooping down he pointed out the wound, “See here. It went in one ear and out the other.” (Brian Bill)
In order for us to make every effort on our journey of faith, we have to make sure that what we learn about God the Father and His Son Jesus, doesn’t go in one ear and out the other. We need to apply it to our lives…to actually put into practice what we learn.

You know, I don’t know of anyone who after graduating from High Schools says: I’d like to waist my life! In fact I plan to watch TV all day,

get addicted to drugs and alcohol,

  • be so selfish that I ruin all my relationships
  • and spend far more than I earn on things I really don’t need.

No Christian ever plans on being ineffective or unfruitful, yet, far too many end up just like that, ineffective and unfruitful… by choice! How?

  • By not taking advantage of all that God has provided for life and godliness. (v3)
  • By not developing and nurturing the qualities / attributes / behaviors Peter mentions in verses 5-7.

And when we fail to do those things, we become ineffective, unfruitful Christians… I other words we are wasting our lives as Christians! So, to see if that’s us, Peter tells us what signs to look for:

Whoever lacks these qualities is nearsighted…

  • This means we see things as they appear at the moment, with the natural eye, and not from God’s perspective.
  • It means we are not living today with eternity in mind.
  • It means we only want what we can put our hands on right now, rather than trust in what God promises in the future if we will wait on Him.

Whoever lacks these qualities… is blind

  • This means we shut our eyes to what we do not want to see… particularly to the truths and commands of God’s Word.
  • It means we choose to walk in the darkness of sin (like the world) rather than in the light of God’s guidance and presence.

Peter finishes with this:

Whoever lacks these qualities…has forgotten that he was cleansed from all his former sins

  • This means we have, at least temporarily, returned to our own vomit. Sorry, not my words.

Read: 2 Peter 2:22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.

  • It means those who lack the qualities / attributes / behaviors of vs 5-7 disregard all that Jesus has done for them on the cross of Calvary.
  • They intentionally choose not to think about the forgiveness God has provided through faith in Jesus.
  • And they go back to their sinful lifestyle just as if they were never touched by God’s grace and forgiveness.

Transition: And listen…it’s those Christians who have assurance problems, who often wonder whether or not they are truly saved. And that’s a horrible mindset to have.

Christian, God wants you to rejoice and be confident in the assurance of your salvation. That’s what verses 10-11 are all about.

  1. 2 Peter 1:10-11 Make every effort…to know

Read: 2 Peter 1:3, 5-7, 10-11

Therefore…be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election

Be diligent. Peter is using different words to say make every effort. He’s repeating it because it’s vitally important.

Understand something:

  • Peter is NOT saying that you have to make every effort, be diligent, to earn salvation, or to keep your salvation.
  • He is saying that you make every effort, you are to be diligent… because you are saved!

The Apostle James says it a bit differently, but he has the same intent:

Read: James 2:14-26

  • Is your faith, a living faith?
  • Is your faith, an active faith?
  • Is your faith, a growing faith?
  • Is your faith, augmented with the qualities Peter mentions in vs 5-7? And are they increasing?

If your answer is yes, then you can have the assurance that you have confirmed your calling and election as a Christian.

Sidebar: While I don’t think this is a main point here, it is important to note that Peter uses words many Christians really don’t like because they don’t fully understand what they mean…calling and election.

It’s because Peter uses these two words that I know he isn’t talking about working hard to earn or keep your salvation. You see the Biblical words calling and election both are intrinsically tied to God’s sovereignty.

  • It’s God alone who saves.
  • It’s God alone who sustains.

And here’s just one verse that brings all that together.

Read: Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Christian, you can be assured that:

  • It’s God who began the good work in you (salvation.)
  • It’s God who will bring it to completion (sustains.)

OK, Peter is saying Christian, take a look at your life, look hard and close.

  • See if there is evidence of your salvation.
  • See if you are making every effort, being diligent to live in light of eternity and to develop/nurture godliness by the qualities/attributes/behaviors he has mentioned.

Because there’s good news if you can say yes!

Therefore…be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these things you will never fall.

  • Again, Peter is not saying that if you do not practice these things that you will lose your salvation.
  • He’s saying that if you do practice them, it’s a sign, a mark that you are saved and that the promise of eternal life in heaven is yours.

That’s what it means by never fall. Just so you know, never fall does not mean never sin. It means never fall away from faith/salvation. He elaborates on that in the next verse.

For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

ILL: In the 1990’s Northwest Airlines offered some unusual round-trip passages aboard one of their planes. $59 bought a “Mystery Fare” ticket that provided a one-day trip to an unknown American city. Buyers didn’t find out where they were heading until they arrived at the airport the day of the flight. Still, the airline had plenty of takers. In Indianapolis fifteen hundred people crowded the airline counter to buy the Mystery Fare tickets that were sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Not surprisingly, when buyers learned their destination, not all were thrilled. One buyer who was hoping for New Orleans but found he had a ticket for Minneapolis walked through the airport terminal yelling, “I’ve got one ticket to the Mall of America. I’ll trade for anything.”

Mystery Fare tickets may be a fun surprise for a weekend vacation, but normally the last thing you want is a ticket to a mystery destination. And the one time you never want a Mystery ticket is on the day of your death. You don’t want to face eternity uncertain about whether you will go to heaven or hell. (Denis Davidson)

You want to know for sure, you want to be certain that you will be granted entrance into God’s presence in Heaven when you die. But can you really know for sure? God’s Word says YES!

Read: 1 John 5:12-13 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

  • Do you have Jesus, the Son of God as your Lord and Savior?
  • Do you believe that Jesus is God’s Son, that He is in fact God, that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sin, and that He rose from the dead to give you the promise of eternal life in heaven?

Then you are saved! Here’s the question whose answer will give you assurance… do you see the fruit of salvation in your life? What fruit? Peter has already told us… vs 3, 5-7!
Conclusion

Christian, growing in godliness, will have the result of your assurance of salvation.

  • If you have doubts about your salvation, it may be because you don’t possess the qualities/attributes/behaviors Peter mentions here.
  • Or if you do have them, you’re not making every effort, being diligent, to see them increase.

The choice is yours,

  • Make every effort, be diligent, to know God the Father and His Son, Jesus in an ever deepening way.
  • Make every effort, be diligent, in taking advantage of all that God has provided for your life and godliness.
  • Make every effort, be diligent, to develop and nurture the qualities/attributes/behaviors Peter mentions here.

Then, you can be assured that God will richly provide you with entrance into the eternal kingdom of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

And you will be able to sing with full assurance:

All I know is I’m not home yet.

This is not where I belong.

Take this world and give me Jesus.

This is not where I belong.