Text: 2 Peter 1:1 through 2 Peter 1:11 (NASB)
The divine nature within can keep us on the path of victory until we get to our eternal home.
I. Christian Victory is Granted by the Promise of Salvation
1Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.4For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
A. Everything pertaining to life
*Thinking of the fullness and duration of this wonderful life, W. B. Hinson, a great preacher of a past generation, spoke from his own experience just before he died. He said, "I remember a year ago when a doctor told me, 'You have an illness from which you won't recover.' I walked out to where I live 5 miles from Portland, Oregon, and I looked across at that mountain that I love. I looked at the river in which I rejoice, and I looked at the stately trees that are always God's own poetry to my soul. Then in the evening I looked up into the great sky where God was lighting His lamps, and I said, ' I may not see you many more times, but Mountain, I shall be alive when you are gone; and River, I shall be alive when you cease running toward the sea; and Stars, I shall be alive when you have fallen from your sockets in the great downpulling of the material universe!' "
B. Everything pertaining to godliness
* "Putting on Christ" ... is not one among many jobs a Christian has to do; and it is not a sort of special exercise for the top class. It is the whole of Christianity.
-- C.S. Lewis, Christian Reader, Vol. 33, no. 2.
* The real accent in the New Testament is not on how human I am, but on how Christian I can be.
-- Paul Rees, Leadership, Vol. 3, no. 1.
* For religion all men are equal, as all pennies are equal, because the only value in any of them is that they bear the image of the king.
-- G.K. Chesterton in Charles Dickens, quoted in As I Was Saying. Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 2.
C. Escape from corruption
*In his book I Surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church's integrity problem is in the misconception "that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior." He goes on to say, "It is revival without reformation, without repentance."
--quoted in John The Baptizer, Bible Study Guide by C. Swindoll, p. 16
*I wish there were some wonderful place
called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all of our past mistakes and heartaches,
And all of our poor selfish grief,
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
And never be put on again.
--Louisa Tarkington quoted in Putting Your Past Behind
You, E. Lutzer, Here's Life, 1990, p.13
D. A Promise
*Our Daily Bread, January 1, 1985
You can't break God's promises by leaning on them!
II. Christian Victory is Given by the Practice of Cooperation
5Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
A. A diligent application (synergism)
---It is not easy. It takes diligence. We have to keep at it day by day.
*A gray-haired old lady, long a member of her community and church, shook hands with the minister after the service one Sunday morning. "That was a wonderful sermon," she told him, "-- just wonderful. Everything you said applies to someone I know." Bits and Pieces, November, 1989, p. 19
B. A cooperative effort
A choral symphony (The Greek word for "add" or "supply") The word add, in the imperative, translates epichoreôgeôsate, from which come the English words “chorus,” “choreograph,” and “choreography.” In ancient Greece the state established a chorus but the director, the choreôgys,
paid the expenses for training the chorus. Then the word came to be used of one
who provides for or supports others or supplies something for them in abundance.
A believer is to “furnish, supply, or support” his life with these virtues.
*Many years ago an accomplished organist was giving a concert.
(In those days someone had to pump large bellows backstage to
provide air for the pipes.) After each selection, the musician
received the thunderous applause of a delighted audience.
Before his final number, he stood up and said, "I shall now
play," and he announced the title. Sitting down at the console,
he adjusted his music and checked the stops. With feet poised
over the pedals and hands over the keys, he began with a mighty
chord. But the organ remained silent. Just then a voice was
heard from backstage, "Say 'We'!"
* Many years ago when the children were small, we went for a little drive in the lovely English countryside, and there was some fresh snow. I saw a lovely field with not a single blemish on the virgin snow. I stopped the car, and I vaulted over the gate, and I ran around in a great big circle striding as wide as I could. Then I came back to the kids, and I said, "Now, children, I want you to follow in my footsteps. So I want you to run around that circle in the snow, and I want you to put your feet where your father put his feet."
Well, David tried and couldn't quite make it. Judy, our overachiever, was certain she would make it; she couldn't make it. Pete, the little kid, took a great run at it, put his foot in my first footprint and then strode out as far as he could and fell on his face. His mother picked him up as he cried.
She said to me, "What are you trying to do?"
I said, "I'm trying to get a sermon illustration."
I said, "Pete, come here." I picked up little Peter and put his left foot on my foot, and I put his right foot on my foot. I said, "Okay, Pete, let's go." I began to stride one big stride at a time with my hands under his armpits and his feet lightly on mine.
Well, who was doing it? In a sense, he was doing it because I was doing it. In a sense there was a commitment of the little boy to the big dad, and some of the properties of the big dad were working through the little boy.
In exactly the same way, in our powerlessness we can't stride as wide as we should. We don't walk the way we should. We don't hit the target the way we ought. It isn't that at every point we are as bad as we could be. It's just that at no point are we as good as we should be. Something's got to be done.
-- Stuart Briscoe, "Why Christ Had to Die," Preaching Today, Tape No. 163.
See: Isa 41:10; Ro 7:18; 2 Co 3:5.
C. All qualities are essential and cannot be left out to be in accord with the divine nature.
III. Christian Victory is Gained by the Produce of Application
8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
-- There is no standing still
* Gifts are not necessarily mature at the time of discovery ... they are developed through practice.
-- Doris Freese, Leadership, Vol. 1, no. 3.
* From time to time, lobsters have to leave their shells in order to grow. They need the shell to protect them from being torn apart, yet when they grow, the old shell must be abandoned. If they did not abandon it, the old shell would soon become their prison--and finally their casket.
The tricky part for the lobster is the brief period of time between when the old shell is discarded and the new one is formed. During that terribly vulnerable period, the transition must be scary to the lobster. Currents gleefully cartwheel them from coral to kelp. Hungry schools of fish are ready to make them a part of their food chain. For awhile at least, that old shell must look pretty good.
We are not so different from lobsters. To change and grow, we must sometimes shed our shells--a structure, a framework--we've depended on. Discipleship means being so committed to Christ that when he bids us to follow, we will change, risk, grow, and leave our "shells" behind.
-- Brent Mitchell in Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership.
* God's Holy Spirit orchestrates our lives to touch others--strangers, friends, work-related people, service-industry workers and more--if we would just open up and be ourselves. How? Be free to be in love with Jesus in front of people. Be an ambassador through whom he can introduce himself. There is a world out there, hungry and searching for Jesus and his love. Don't keep him to yourself.
-- Becky Tirabassi, From Wild Things Happen When I Pray. Copyright 1993 by Becky Tirabassi. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Marriage Partnership, Vol. 11, no. 2.
* Nobody can be indwelt by the Spirit of God and keep that Spirit to himself. Where the Spirit is, he flows forth. And where there is no flowing forth, he is not there.
-- William Temple, in his Readings in John's Gospel, quoted by John R. W. Stott, "Keeping the Right Company," Preaching Today, Tape No. 46.
D. A cure for shortsightedness
*The true knowledge of Christ (the divine nature within) gives us vision.
About 350 years ago a shipload of travelers landed on the northeast coast of America. The first year they established a town site. The next year they elected a town government. The third year the town government planned to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness.
In the fourth year the people tried to impeach their town government because they thought it was a waste of public funds to build a road five miles westward into a wilderness. Who needed to go there anyway?
Here were people who had the vision to see three thousand miles across an ocean and overcome great hardships to get there. But in just a few years they were not able to see even five miles out of town. They had lost their pioneering vision. With a clear vision of what we can become in Christ, no ocean of difficulty is too great. Without it, we rarely move beyond our current boundaries. -Lynn Anderson
IV. Christian Victory is Guided by Practical Considerations.
10Therefore, 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; 11for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
A. To cure stumbling
* TOPIC: Carnality Slain
SUBTOPIC: Prevents Recurring Symptoms
TITLE: The Spider Killed -- No More Cobwebs
A Hallelujah lass, in White-Chapel Road, gave her experience in thefollowing parable: "After I was saved I found some things in my heart not right. There seemed to be cobwebs in the corners. I used to sweep them out by watchfulness and prayer; but they would come again. For some time I kept on sweeping out the cobwebs, only to find them soon appear. But one day the Lord came and killed the spider; and there have been no cobwebs in my heart since.
B. To be sure of His calling and choosing (confidence)
*To make sure or make certain--Peter was a fisherman used to knots. In tying the knot, you make it sure, or certain. You tie it to stay.
C. To prepare us for entrance into the eternal kingdom (no unholy thing will enter)
*The way you live on earth is a sure indicator of where you are headed when you die.
We seem to think that the here and now is what we are living for and we look at death as if God is taking something away from us. We like it here and look at death as an imposition, while what we are really here for is to prepare for heaven. Holiness is through the divine nature living within and that is available to us now. Death is not a friend that suddenly makes us holy. We are to be holy now.
* When an observatory is about to be built, the site selected is always on some high mountain. The aim is to find a place where there is a clear, unobstructed view of the heavens. Similarly, faith requires for its heavenly vision the highlands of holiness and separation, the pure sky of a consecrated life.
-- A. B. Simpson in A Larger Christian Life. Christianity Today, Vol. 41, no. 8.
If you are to have victory in your life, you must yield yourself to the divine nature in cooperation and submission, applying all the presence and holiness He imparts to yield fruit to His glory and to walk daily in victory as children of heaven where there is no sin. Holiness is not gained through death, but given through the life of God made possible within through Jesus, who came to prepare us for heaven where He is.