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Keep On Following Jesus-2 Peter 1

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Keep on Following Jesus

2 Peter 1:1-21

The story is told of a little old woman who lived in a remote valley in mountains. She went to a great deal of trouble to have electrical power installed in her home. They noticed she didn't use very much electricity at all. In fact, her usage was minuscule. They sent a meter reader out to check on the matter. The man came to the door and said, "We've looked at the amount. Don't you use electricity?" "Oh yes" she said. "We turn it on every night to see how to light our lamps and then we switch it off again."

   This sounds like the way many Christians apply the power of God in their lives.

3  His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

 

Peter writes to the Christians of the early church who experienced so much suffering and persecution and who overcame so many trials.

·         This is a letter of encouragement and affirmation.

·         He encourages them and us to keep on keeping on!

We must resist the evil one and his false teachers and keep on following Jesus.

·         Faithfulness is a high priority in Christian discipleship.

 In fact, faithfulness is one of the fruits of the Spirit shared in Galatians 5:22. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Knowing God Brings Growth

The knowledge of God brings growth and productivity to our spiritual lives. Here’s Paul at prayer again, this time for the Colossians:

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (1:9–10)

Þ    Apple trees bear apples.

Þ    Oranges trees bear oranges.

**** The more you know God, the more you will produce the fruit of His Spirit.

And when you are producing sweet spiritual fruit, other people will get hungry for what you have and get the benefit of it.

Þ{Fruit isn’t designed to feed on itself.}

When you know God, other people want to be like you because they see that what you have is tasty and well worth having.

When was the last time someone looked at your walk with God and decided that you were the kind of person worth following?

Knowing God Brings Peace

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God” wrote the apostle Peter (2 Peter 1:2).

ÞThe more you know God, the more at peace you should be.

Yes, negative circumstances do come, and they can throw you off kilter.

Þ    I mean that if you are not at peace, if you do not experience a growing sense of inner peace, it’s because your knowledge of God is not increasing.

WHEN YOU LACK THE ASSURANCE AND CONFIDENCE THAT COMES FROM KNOWING HIM AND WHO YOU ARE IN HIM, YOU CAN BECOME A SLAVE TO WHAT PEOPLE THINK, TO CIRCUMSTANCES, TO YOUR EMOTIONS, TO OTHER PEOPLE’S RULES AND EXPECTATIONS—TO ALMOST ANYTHING.

ÞWhen you know God, He can make you sleep in troubled waters.

ÞWhen you know God and you have no money, you know it’s not the last word.

ÞWhen you know God and your enemies move against you, you understand that they will not make the final decision.

ÞWhen you know God and people reject you, you can say, “No, never alone.”

The knowledge of God comforts the heart, because He dictates the final circumstances.

 {That’s what the knowledge of God can do.}

You know what a lot of religious people are like?

They are like a lot of people sitting around a railroad station thinking they are on a train. Everybody is talking about travel, and you hear the names of the stations and you have got the tickets, and there is the smell of baggage around you and a great deal of stir, and if you sit there long enough you almost think you are on a train. But you are not. You only start to get converted at that point where you get on the train and get pulled out of the station. And you do get pulled out; you do not walk out.

¨      Sam Shoemaker, in a July l955 speech commemorating the 20th anniversary of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous. Christianity Today

Loss of Assurance

This may be why some people believe you lose your salvation when you backslide.

 In 2 Peter 1:9, the apostle does say you can lose the assurance of your salvation, which would make you feel unsaved.

 But there’s still a huge difference between those two positions.

Second Peter 1:4 makes clear that Peter is writing to Christians…….. In verses 5–7 Peter goes through a list of spiritual traits that must be developed in order for us to grow and experience God’s work and power in our lives. Then he writes:

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. (2 Peter 1:8–9)

Spiritual Amnesia

The Christian who is not growing and experiencing God’s power has forgotten he’s saved.

ÞSome Christians have been in the world so long they have forgotten they are born again.

ÞThey have hung out with the unrighteous for so long they have taken on their lifestyle. So what happens?

They lose the certainty of their calling (v. 10).

ÞThey aren’t sure whether they belong to God.

ÞThey are not sure of their election—that God has selected them. And they live in spiritual defeat.

Lacking the qualities Peter outlines, not growing and maturing, leaves a Christian vulnerable to all kinds of doubts.

They have lost the comfort, the joy, and the peace that go with certainty of the knowledge of salvation.

 The remedy is to get back on track: “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble” (v. 10).

¨      Oswald Chambers, The Place of Help. Christianity Today

 

“Education is a bringing out of what is there and giving it the power of expression, not packing in what does not belong; and spiritual education means learning how to give expression to the Divine life that is in us when we are born from above. “

 

 

Peter is concerned these young Christians will be led astray by false teachers.

Rather than beginning his instruction by warning them against the false teachers, he begins on the offensive by reminding then and us of the basics of authentic Christianity.

Þ    If we continue to live by the divine power which God has given to us, and if we continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, we will be victors.

And Peter gives us the specific steps to follow if we are to be victorious through Jesus Christ.

1.     Be aware that "His divine power has given to us all things" (v.3)

The statement made by Peter is not in the future tense. Peter contend God has already given us His divine power and through that power He has made everything we need available to us which pertains life and godliness.

Peter's teaching sounds like that of Paul when he declared ~'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13).

Again he shared with the Colossian Christians, "For in Him [Jesus] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him who is the head of all principality and power" (Col. 2:9, 10).

In other words, when you have Jesus Christ, you have everything you need

The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear or weakness, but power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Tim. 1:7).

That is how we should live according to Peter. We must remember God has given us His divine power in order for us to follow, obey, and grow up into Him!

 Peter is calling upon us to live by that power which comes to us through the knowledge of Jesus who has "called us by glory and virtue" (1:3).

We need to use that power to the glory of God. This is but one of the wonderful promises our Lord has given us.

2.     Appropriate the 'great and precious promises" God has given to us (v.4).

The promises of God are great and precious.

 The promises of God are precious for at least two reasons:

¨      First, they allow us to "be partakers of the divine nature" (v.4).

What a precious promise that is. Jesus first gave it to His disciples shortly before His crucifixion when He said, "It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you" (John 16:7).

And so, "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Cor. 5:17).

The implications of this promise are incredible for us.

**We have the potential to live by the very power of God.

¨      Second, the promises of God allow us to escape "the corruption that is in the world through lust" (v. 4).

 That is a major concern of Peter for the Christians to whom he is writing-including us. When we walk and live in the power of the Holy Spirit, we are walking in the opposite direction of our natural life.

 Paul stated that truth in Galatians 5:16, 17: "Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another."

3. Give all diligence to our faith (v.5).

They will keep us from being "unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (v.8). Jesus gave instruction to Peter and to all of us concerning the life of bearing fruit when He said, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless

it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me" (John 15:4).

The secret of fruit-bearing is to abide in Christ and to allow Him to abide in us.

If these things are not ours, Peter says we will reap two negative results (v.9).

Again we follow the Biblical principle of reaping what we sow. ….The person who lacks these things faces two dilemmas:

(1)  He will be blind: he cannot see afar off (v.9).

In other words, this is the kind of blindness which prevents us from seeing ahead.

It blinds us and prevents us from seeing things as they really are. Sin leads us astray.

(2)  We "will never stumble" (v. 10).

¨      We do not stumble when we are giving attention to where we are stepping.

¨      We stumble when we become preoccupied with other things and do not pay attention to where we are going.

¨      And so it is with our Christian walk. >>>>>>>When we keep our eyes upon Jesus, following Him and practicing the basics of the faith with all diligence, we need not fear going astray or stumbling.>>>>>>>>>>>>>> We will not fall.

One day a young minister was being escorted through a coal mine. At the entrance of one of the dim passageways, he spied a beautiful white flower growing out of the black earth. "How can it blossom in such purity and radiance in this dirty mine?" the preacher asked. "Throw some coal dust on it and see for yourself," his guide replied. When he did, he was surprised that the fine, sooty particles slid right off the snowy petals, leaving the plant just as lovely and unstained as before. Its surface was so smooth that the grit and grime could not adhere to it.

   Our hearts should have the same characteristic.

 Just as that flower could not control its habitat, so we cannot help it that we have to live in a world filled with evil.

Þ    But God's grace can keep us so clean and unspotted that though we touch every side, it will not cling to us.

   If we want the Lord's full blessing and approval, we must heed the admonition, "...keep thyself pure" (1 Tim 5:22).

Þ    By the cleansing power of His Word and the sanctifying influence of His Holy Spirit, it is possible for the Christian to remain "clean in a dirty place."

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