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'Cause This Is Why

Fan or Follower  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  22:12
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When you follow a sports team, it really doesn’t matter what team you follow, sooner or later you are going to be disappointed. Last week as a Chicago Bear fan, I was extremely disappointed. They had the lead, and it looked like they were going to win, and yet they lost to the Green Bay Packers.
This week, as most everyone knows the Minnesota Vikings play the Green Bay Packers. It is very unique here in Minnesota, we do not only have Viking fans, but we also have a fair amount of Packer fans. It is interesting to listen to both sides talk about how great their particular team is.
I have a friend who has a real dilemma this weekend. He is a young father and He and his wife have several friends that also have young children. Their friend group is getting together for a BBQ, yard games and of course the centerpiece is the football game. My friend’s dilemma is that He and His wife are both Green Bay Packer fans. All of the other people at the party are Viking fans. They were born and raised in Wisconsin. This is a real problem. He doesn’t know what to do. He wants to be a part of the group, and enjoy the party but it will be really hard to watch the game. If his team wins, he will have to deal with everyone being grumpy toward him, as if he has anything to do with it, and if team loses, he will have to deal with everyone gloating, as if they are responsible. Each team is promising a victory for their followers, and one way or another one side is going to be very disappointed.
Fans and followers deal with disappointment differently. Fans have a less confidant approach to things. A fan is less intense, they maybe feel if their team wins, that’s great, but if they lose, oh well. Most fans lose interest if it appears the season is going poorly. A follower on the other hand almost prides them self on hanging on no matter what comes. But no matter what you follow, if you follow things of this world they inevitably will let you down, and they will leave you disappointed.
Let’s watch the intro video, one more time.
Intro video
Last week we looked at this idea of Fan or Follower, and I tried to make several points that were take-aways, and we can carry those into this week. First there is a difference between being a fan of Jesus and being a follower of Jesus. The call of the gospel is to be a follower of Jesus. This is a serious call, and you must consider if you are a fan or a follower. You can identify a follower by the following characteristics.
A Follower is...
A follower is growing.
A follower’s faith is precious.
A follower is called to life.
A follower interacts with God.
Let’s pick our reading in 2 Peter again today. 2 Peter 1:3-11 on page 1204 of the Pew Bibles.
Scripture Reading
2 Peter 1:3-11.
page 1204
2 Peter 1:3–11 NIV
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Before we go any farther with this letter, I would like to take a moment to remind you of the writer. This is the second letter written by Simon Peter one of the Lord’s first disciples. Matthew recorded Jesus calling Peter in chapter 4 verses 18-20.
Matthew 4:18–20 NIV
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
Peter jumped in with both feet-pun intended. Remember he was the guy that got out of the boat when he saw Jesus walking on the water. Peter was a follower. He bought the Jesus jersey, and not the cheap one from Kohl’s either, he bought the real deal at the Galilee gift shop. The thing about followers is often they are proud of being followers. They let everyone know they are are not just fans, and Peter was no exception.
Life of Peter
At the last supper. In Matthew 26, Peter talked about how great a follower he was.
Matthew 26:31–35 NIV
31 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “ ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” 33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” 34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” 35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
Peter adamantly declared he would not fall away. But Jesus knows how strong Peter is, and how strong the pull of evil is. Jesus, because He is God, knows Peter’s heart, and also knows the future. Jesus predicts in detail that Peter will deny Him, and Peter does deny Him. After Jesus is arrested Peter denies Jesus three times. Then in Matthew 26, verse 75 Peter remembers what Jesus says....
Matthew 26:75 NIV
Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
I gave you this brief portrait of the man writing this letter, so you know that you aren’t alone. This letter is not coming to you from someone who doesn’t know the struggles of being a follower. Rather this letter is coming to us from someone who knows exactly what it is like to be a follower. We hear a message, we read a verse, we have a moment where we are like Peter, we are convinced we are not going to fall away. We vow to do better. The message in 2 Peter is coming from a guy who knows. A guy knows what it means to fall away-In fact he uses similar sounding phrases, in this letter, he talks about stumbling and falling away.
2 Peter 1:10 NIV
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble,
2 Peter 3:17 NIV
Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.
With Peter’s background in our minds, let’s pick up where we left off last week at verse 3.
2 Peter 1:3 NIV
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
We talked about this last week…through God’s divine power-the same power that raises the dead-God has given us everything we need for a Godly life-that is the Holy Spirit- and God has done this because of HIS glory and goodness. On to verse 4....
2 Peter 1:4 NIV
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
Through these (That is is His Glory and Goodness) He has given us His very great and Precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
His very great and precious promises-(That’s Why)
Because God is good, and for His glory---God has given us His very great and precious promises. There is that word we talked about last week-precious-precious like a jewel.
Peter would know how precious, and very great those promises are. See Peter, when He was convinced He would never fall away, that was when he denied the Lord Jesus. After he did that what would Peter have left? Put yourself in his shoes for a moment-after denying the Lord Jesus Peter saw his beloved Lord whipped, and carried off for crucifixion. He witnessed the spikes being driven through His hands and feet. And Peter watched His righteous God and Savior Jesus die on the cross. Yet there was Peter, in his denial.
Peter, guilt ridden with his denial, would have nothing left. All he would have to hang onto as Hs Lord was dead in the tomb, was the promises. A some point Peter realized that the promises that Lord Jesus makes are precious, When everything is shattered, when you bitterly fail when you cannot see God through what is happening-you need to know that this book, God’s word, the Bible is filled with very great and precious promises. Promises Like.
Romans 10:13 NIV
for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Promise #1 -Salvation is found in Jesus
That is everyone. That includes the prideful denier He with a broken and contrite Heart who calls on the name of the Lord-He will be saved. That includes fans who see what it means to be a follower and realize that they aren’t one. Everyone-who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Those caught in sins of a sexual nature, or sins of addiction, unbelief, and idolatry. People who have looked to themselves, the thieves, and the immoral, the self seeking, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. And if you are in grief, over your sins today you can cling to this very great and precious promise.
Or Promises like we talked about last week, when you believe in Jesus Christ you have the Holy Spirit. John 14:6 and Ephesians 1:13.
Promise # 2 You have the Holy Spirit
Ephesians 1:13 NIV
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
The Holy Spirit is also the person of the Godhead that will help keep you from stumbling. He-as you interact with God through prayer and His word, will keep you from sin.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
The Holy Spirit is the second great and precious promise.
Promise #3 You have a new nature
Lastly followers have a new nature that is set free from sin.
Romans 6:18 NIV
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
Sin no longer reigns in the mortal body.
Romans 6:12 NIV
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
Followers are a new creation
2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
These are just three great and precious promises, God’s word is filled with them, this is only three, that I chose since they are found here in this passage.
Peter knows how precious they are. Back to verse 4.
2 Peter 1:4 NIV
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
Participate in the divine nature
It is through promises like those that we are participating in the divine nature. People over the centuries have had difficulty with that phrase, and people have thought that we have some sort of divine nature, and that is not true. The divine belongs to Christ alone, we participate with God, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We participate with the divine nature to battle sins. To be a follower To not deny Christ, to grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. And this participation in the divine nature allows us in some sense to escape the the corruption of the world.
Escape the corruption of the world-
Followers of Jesus Christ have escaped being enslaved to sin. That does not mean that sin is not still in the world, it does not mean that the temptation to sin is not there, it does not mean that we do not struggle with being a follower. It means though that through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we are given the Holy Spirit that allows us to not be enslaved to sin any longer, to escape the evil of the world and grow in Christ. We have a way out.
What I want you to see today-is when we take those ideas and realize the life of the man writing it it connects this passage to us. At some point as Peter was growing, before he wrote this letter and while he was still growing in his knowledge of Christ, before he had the whole picture, before Jesus died and rose from the dead, Peter stumbled.
The precious promises, the participation in the divine nature, the escape from the corruption in the world that Peter is talking about is coming directly from his experience of stumbling. And this meant so much to Peter because He had that direct Knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
BeCause the PROMISES of Jesus-are not the same as the promises of the world. The promises that you have when you are follower of something in this world is reliable. Sooner or later whoever you follow will let you down. Your team will lose, your money will go away the stock market will fall the politician will let you down. But the great and precious promises that are made by our God and Savior Jesus Christ. The are made by a God who cannot lie. Jesus offers promises that are true, promises that stand of the rock of our redeemer. Promises of participation with the divine-promises of escaping the corruption in the world. And Peter lived it.
We all remember Peter as the guy that got out of the boat to walk on the water, but there was another time that Peter got out of the boat. After Peter had denied the Lord Jesus, after Jesus was dead and buried, after Jesus rose from the dead. Peter and the disciples did what they used to do, they went fishing, and in John 21 we read.
John 21:7 NIV
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
He jumped into the water. He jumped into the water and swam back to shore. He saw the Lord Jesus and He didn’t run from him, he didn’t hide from him, he didn’t stay in the misery of his denial instead-he ran back to the Lord Jesus. A follower runs back to the Lord, and after the Lord reinstates Peter, three times, just as Peter had denied him three times, in John 21, Jesus says.
John 21:19 NIV
Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Then he said to Him Follow me.
When followers stumble Followers run back to follow the Lord Jesus
Brothers and sisters, Follow Jesus.
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