Faithlife Sermons

Generosity through Participation

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Good Morning, Have you ever been excluded from something? Maybe you didn’t get the wedding Invitation.. or you were out of the loop… Maybe everyone else in your family got the memo but it missed your inbox…
We don’t like to be excluded? And if we are honest… being excluded hurts…
God’s plan in salvation was one of inclusion…we were chosen in Him from the foundations of the world… Paul tells us in Ephesians that God has blessed us with every Spiritual blessings in heavenly places.. God’s plan has alway s been one of inclusion.. God says I chose eternity past from the beggining of time ....from day one.
Ephesians 1:4 ESV
4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
What the doctrine of Election teaches is that we did not influence God’s decision to save us; he saved us according to his plan… God has always chosen us… Salvation is all God none of us… but it is a bit of a paradox because we still have to receive the gift by faith in order to make our election sure.
We are in a Sermon Series entitled - The Generous life....
The conversation of Generosity has to begin with the nature of God himself… We have to decide for ourselves whether we have a God who is Generous or we have God who is stingy.. God with open hands towards us or a God who is withholding from us…
The Generosity of God is foundational to living the Generous life..
We need to remember that...Generosity doesn't mean that God gives us everything we want… God love towards us parental ….Most of us like big portions of food…I remember when I was in college in 1990’s everything was Supersized… you get go to McDonalds.... you would say supersize your order... and everything doubled.
… the problem with that kind of Generosity is it can be dangerous for our health.. God’s generosity is always for our good ...
James 1:17 Every Good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights whom there is no shifting or change.
God gifts and perfect and unchanging.. When God give he gives everything that could possibly be needed; he gives everything without holding back. His giving is always exactly appropriate to what is required: his gifts are perfect...
God’s Purpose in essence is to Display his goodness..
One of the great Prayers In the Bible is the prayer of Moses. - Moses had been dealing with Israels continual failure and disobedience
Moses was a little tired and warn out, but he enters into the Tent of meeting outside the camp of Israel and He prays this.. BIG HAIRY AUDaCIOUS PRAYER..
Exodus 33:18 ESV
18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”
.... Moses asks God, “Show me your Glory”
Show me the REAL YOU? Moses had seen God’s glory … His omnipotence …He had witnessed the drowning of the Egyptian Army in the Red sea; He had seen God provide water from a Rock… He witnessed the miracle of manna and quail feeding the million plus Israelites.. But here in this prayerMoses wants to see the Real God...
Moses wants to see a different side of GOD,Show yourself to me.. Here is the Problem.
The Bible says that nobody had ever seen God and lived… But God in His Grace… passes before Moses on Mt Sinia and shows Moses His goodness -
Exodus 34:6-7
God goes before Moses… declares hisShows his Eternal qualities....The Lord Yaweh… The God who is.. (these qualities never change) — God is...
-Always Merciful… Always Gracious… slow to anger… abounding in steadfastness....God is always Faithful… Steadfast in love for thousands… Forgiving.
Now what we are going to see this morning is that ther
fundamental Difference between How God interacted with Israel in the OT and How God deals with his church…In the OT everything is distanced… you come with a sacrifice.... only the priests could serve in the Temple--- only the Hight priest could enter into the Presence of God…
In the NT.. it is all about our participation..
In the NT… We are no longer spectators of Glory of God --- we have are participants in the Glory of God.
There is this exchange in Salvation……We are new creations in Christ and we participate in the the very nature of God… Salvation… is the first of the New Creation… there is going to be a New Heaven and New Earth…
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
In God’s Generosity we Partakers in His very nature…WE are going to look at our Text in the book of 2 Peter 1.
Peter is writing to a church that have been displaced by the persecution of the Roman Emperor Nero.. On top of that there is false Doctrine taught by a group called the gnostics…who deny the diety and the second coming of Christ...Peter encourages the church to hold onto what they have been given - what is already in their possession.
Tradition tells us that Peter was executed in Rome by Nero in AD 67 and so the book of 2 Peter would have been his last words to the church before his death… So this is an important message that Peter is giving..
T/S Peter tells us four things that we participate in..

1. We have Received Genuine Faith.

Several years ago Scotland Yard conducted a private exhibition of forged paintings for art dealers. The objective was to send a warning to their select audience about the sale of forgeries, which some experts estimate make up 40 percent of the art market. The sale of these fakes can undermine the value of the genuine articles...
One of the problems that Peter is dealing with in our passage is false doctrine… those who are faking it…Some of you might know Bob Goff from Thrive… but he said “God was a lot more concerned about people who faked it, than blew it. - Bob Goff”
Love that…the problem is that your are always going to get fakes.. we need to make sure we know the difference…
The Gnostics were pretentious… the were the spirtual elites that taught special knowledge and what it did was created an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy on the part of the Christians… These teachers taught that they had a special annointing… to know God..
Peter calls it a destructive teaching-… instead of dealing in truth they tell fables and stories that they have made up. What is interesting is that Peter spends the majority of his time laying down the Truth… its important to point out error…but its even more important that we faithfully teach the truth.
Peter reminds them of the Genuine faith they had…
2 Peter 1:1 ESV
1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
Peter wants Christians to know with out a doubt that the Faith which they had received, believed, lived and passed on to others is the genuine article and not a substitute.
Peter says that the obtained fait of equal standing of the apostles… they God the real deal…
Peter isolates four areas where we should check what we believe against what he believes:
1. where our gospel came from - Where did this Gospel come from.... it came form Jesus directly and it was passed down to the apostles.- the apostles were those who had known Jesus personally....Peter was one of the twelve and one of the three whom Jesus had trained personally..
2. whether it is as good as the original - Peter assures them that they had received Christ the same way as the Apostles… What a contrast to the teaching of the gnostics that it was special knowledge attainable by a select few… Peter says that their faith equal standing… and It hasn’t changed in 2000 years..
3. what difference it makes in real life - and the doctrine it teaches -
A person who claims to be saved while remaining unchanged does not understand faith or what God has done for him or her… Not only have we received grace and peace in Salvation.. but as we grow in the knowledge of God grace should be multiplied.
2 Peter 1:2 ESV
2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Grace and Peace are renewable… they are multiplied…the word multiplied here means to undergo change.. to become bigger or greater in amount…
More grace, More peace… this increases as we grow in our our knowledge of Jesus Christ… Again there is a little play on word in our text.. gnostics claimed to have special knowledge…
Peter is talking about an intimate and personal relationship. It is the means by which God’s grace and peace may be received and experienced… the knowledge of a husband or wife or good friend that goes beyond knowing things about them and actually knows them… The more we get to Christ through his word… the more gracious you are going to be… the more merciful… the more of Christ’s nature...
T/S God’s generosity allows us to participate in four things..
1. We have Received Genuine Faith...

2. We have Received Divine Power.

In his book Rust: The Longest War, Jonathan Waldman takes us chapter by chapter into the world of oxidation and the problem of rust. He tells the story of how America almost lost the Statue of Liberty to corrosion, the constant struggle needed to maintain oil pipe lines, the development of stainless steel and rust resistant paint, how aluminum cans are treated to deter oxidation, and of the enormous cost and effort needed to beat back rust in the military—especially the navy's ships.
Rust isn't just annoying; it's expensive and dangerous. But rust happens and we can't stop it.
For instance, on August 1, 2007, a bridge spanning the Mississippi in Minnesota suddenly collapsed during the evening rush hour. The bridge, identified as Bridge 9340 in official records, was rated as the second busiest in the entire state, with 140,000 vehicles crossing it every day. One hundred eleven vehicles rode the surface of the bridge down as much as 115 feet to the surface of the water and riverbank, with 13 people killed and 145 injured. A school bus with 63 children returning from a field trip ended up resting on a guardrail at the bottom.
The collapsed bridge over Mississippi had one cause: oxidation. Iron (in the soil and the bridge gussets) reacted chemically with oxygen and the result is a reddish product that eats and destroys that we call rust.
Here is the thing we too can suffer from oxidation. And instead of bringing life…into those in our lives we can bring destruction.
One of the ways that we as Christians can rust out is by ignoring the power of God.
One of the metaphors I have been using to describe the generous life is this pipeline of Grace. If the Divine life is not flowing into our lives… that flow is powered by the Holy Spirit.
Peter challenged believers to take full advantage of the divine power and promise of God which made it possible to participate in the divine nature and thus overcome the corruption caused by evil desires
Peter starts with His divine power…
2 Peter 1:3 ESV
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
Peter tells us that we have everything we need for life and godliness.. and it has been granted by His Divine Power..
What is Divine Power? Divine Power is Supernatural Power… Divine Ability… We see God’s Divine Power when Jesus was raised from the Dead… … Paul tells us in Romans that Jesus was Promised to be the son of God through what was spoken through the prophets…and also through being descended from the line of David… But was DEClARED TO BE THE SON OF GOD… through power by his resurrection.
Romans 1:4 ESV
4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
As Christians our identity comes from our identification with Christ’s death burial and Resurrection… In Romans 6 we are buried with him by baptism and just as Christ was raised from the dead we now walk with him in new life...
Peter tells us that His Divine Power has been granted to us … Divine ability is working for us and in us..
God has given us: “everything we needed for life and godliness,”
This implies The power to grow doesn’t come from within us, but from God. Because we don’t have the resources to live as he requires, God gives us everything we need for godly living
Christ’s power manifests itself in the lives of Christians, for that power gives believers everything we need for living a godly life.
Steven Furtick said
“Nothing can stop the power of God in your life, except your unbelief.”
When you are born into the family of God by faith in Christ, you are born complete. God gives you everything you will ever need “for life and godliness.” Nothing has to be added!
There will always be people who want to supplement the work of Christ with extra teaching, and convince us that we are living less than Christian lives, while their particular form of teaching is the ingredient missing from traditional Christianity. It takes different forms: Christ plus healing, Christ plus success, Christ plus prosperity, Christ plus counselling, Christ plus an overwhelming experience. Anxious Christians may spend many years going through these, searching for an assurance that is already theirs in Christ. Simply by being Christians we have access to everything we need to live a life that pleases God.
The false teachers claimed that they had a “special doctrine” that would add something to the lives of Peter’s readers, but Peter knew that nothing could be added. Just as a normal baby is born with all the “equipment” he needs for life and only needs to grow, so the Christian has all that is needed and only needs to grow. God never has to call back any of His “models” because something is lacking or faulty.
Just as a baby has a definite genetic structure that determines how he will grow, so the believer is “genetically structured” to experience “glory and virtue.
That sufficiency of Christ is good news. .A godly life is not something that only a few super-saints are destined to achieve, for Peter says it is well within the reach of the ordinary Christian
How has this power been granted?
This power is released to believers “through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness”
T/S T/S God’s generosity allows us to participate in four things..
1. We have Received Genuine Faith....
2. We have Received Divine Power.

3. We have Received Great and Precious Promises

Apparently Australia has be slowly moving. This isn't so surprising—all the continents are on the move, and Australia drifts 70 millimeters to the northeast every year. The continent drift happens at a rate far too slow for humans to notice. But apparently that journey is now starting to mess with systems that rely on pinpoint accuracy, specifically GPS.
Australian GPS was last updated in 1994, and the entire country has moved a little more than five feet since then. Much of our current technology relies on accurate GPS coordinates. For instance, driverless tractors that help with farm work will start having problems because the information about the farm won't line up with the co-ordinates coming out of the navigation system there will be problems. For Australians using driverless cars or shipping drones, accurate map information is fundamental.
Everything on earth changes, including the mighty continents. But for believers there are three crucial foundational things that will never change: God doesn't change, His Word doesn't change, and His promises do not change. These are settled forever in the heavens.
Peter tells the church that through the generosity of God we have very great and precious promises.
2 Peter 1:4 ESV
4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
God has not only given us all that we need for life and godliness, but He has also given us His Word to enable us to develop this life and godliness.
Jesus never promised to eliminate all of the chaos from our lives; He said He’d bring meaning to it. – Bob Goff
These promises are great because they come from a great God and they lead to a great life. They are precious because their value is beyond calculation.
If we lost the Word of God, there would be no way to replace it. Peter must have liked the word precious, for he wrote about the “precious faith”
(2 Peter 1:1; cf. 1 Peter 1:7), the “precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4), the “precious blood” (1 Peter 1:19), the precious stone (1 Peter 2:4, 6), and the precious Saviour (1 Peter 2:7).
Two Benefits of Great Promises
through” these promises that the follower of Jesus gains two benefits, the first positive
A. We get to “participate in the divine nature”
We need to make a distinction between what the Hellenic taught… They taught that we could become gods… Jesus was God because he shared in his nature… Peter is saying is that because we are in Christ we also partake of Divine nature…not that we become gods..
To say that we are God, or become God, would be a shocking misinterpretation of Peter.
When Peter and John walking to the temple… the lame man at the gate beautiful asked for Alms and Peter said look at me....then said “silver and gold have we none but such as we have we give to you… In the name of Jesus of Nazareth rise up and walk ..he took him by the right hand and immediatley he was made strong.. This as Divine Power supernatural power at work.. the man went walking with them to the temple walking and leaping and praising God… What immediately followed is people began to recognize the man and they filled with wonder… when they got to the temple a crowd had gathered outside the temple and were in awe and wonder… They began to wonder about the Power within Peter.. . They may have thought that Peter was something special…godlike..
Peter directs them to Jesus. ‘Why do you stare at us as if by our own power (dynamis) or godliness (eusebeia) we had made this man walk?
What Peter is talking about here is our Nature that has changed.
Nature determines appetite and behavior. An eagle flies because it has an eagle’s nature and a dolphin swims because that is the nature of the dolphin. Nature determines environment: squirrels climb trees, moles burrow underground, and trout swim in the water. Nature also determines association: lions travel in prides, sheep in flocks, and fish in schools.
If nature determines appetite, and we have God’s nature within, then we ought to have an appetite for that which is pure and holy. Our behavior ought to be like that of the Father, and we ought to live in the kind of “spiritual environment” that is suited to our nature. We ought to associate with that which is true to our nature (see 2 Cor. 6:14ff). The only normal, fruit-bearing life for the child of God is a godly life.
The church Father Ignatius said that Christians “partake of God..” What an amazing statement… Think a good metaphor is that of a container… Scripture tells us that Jesus himself was equal in nature with God… Christ is in God… and we are in Christ...
The second benefit of Gods Promises is written as a negative
b. We “escape the corruption in the world caused by [evil] desires”.
Because we possess this divine nature, we have “completely escaped” the defilement and decay in this present evil world.
If we feed the new nature the nourishment of the Word, then we will have little interest in the garbage of the world.
But if we “make provision for the flesh” (Rom. 13:14), our sinful nature will lust after the “old sins” (2 Peter 1:9) and we will disobey God. Godly living is the result of cultivating the new nature within

4. We have Received a Clear Path to Spiritual Growth.

In a recent blog, Randy Alcorn discusses why God allows suffering in the lives of his people:
Mountain climbers could save time and energy if they reached the summit in a helicopter, but their ultimate purpose is conquest, not efficiency. Sure, they want to reach a goal, but they desire to do it by testing and deepening their character, discipline, and resolve.
God could create scientists, mathematicians, athletes, and musi­cians. He doesn’t. He creates children who take on those roles over a long process. God doesn’t make us fully Christlike the moment we’re born again. He conforms us to the image of Christ gradually: “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
In our spiritual lives, as in our professional lives, and in sports and hobbies, we improve and excel by handling failure and learning from it. Only in cultivating discipline, endurance, and patience do we find satisfaction and reward.
2 Peter 1:5–7 ESV
5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
Peter tells us to make every effort to live a life here and now which is consistent with what God promises.
When he says grow, he assumes you already have the divine nature in you. Any word grow assumes there has been germination, there’s been a new birth, there’s been an inception of new life. Therefore, an admonition to spiritually grow is actually an admonition to take the new life that was implanted in you with the new birth and nurture it. This is so obvious that people miss it all the tim
Peter insists that this growth is our own responsibility—not that we are to ‘let go and let God’, as some Christians say.
The verb “make every effort” istranslated possess (hyparchō) is an estate agent’s word, the related noun meaning ‘property which one fully possesses and which is therefore fully at one’s disposal’.
Where there is life, there must be growth. The new birth is not the end; it is the beginning. God gives His children all that they need to live godly lives, but His children must apply themselves and be diligent to use the “means of grace” He has provided.
Spiritual growth is not automatic. It requires cooperation with God and the application of spiritual diligence and discipline. “Work out your own salvation … For it is God which worketh in you”
Imagine a ladder propped precariously against a wall. It will need care when climbing so that a mishap does not occur. The outworking of the Christian faith is like climbing that ladder, as life and the devil will conspire in many ways to cause a false step to be taken. Progression in the Christian life can be likened to climbing a ladder of faith: a strenuous climb that needs to be undertaken carefully and diligently.
Each successive quality seems to spring from the previous one… These virtues are all connected to Christ.. by faith we are participating in the nature of God.. that enable us to have — add to Faith....
a.Excellence (Character virtue)
b. Knowledge
c. Self Control
d. Steadfastness
e. godliness.
f. brotherly love
g. Love
Notice that this virtue list is about our spiritual Growth… often times we worry about everyone else… Genuine faith is not watching everyone else… whether they are making it or faking it… We need to watch out for the things that cause corrosion and rust..
Conclusion: God’s Generosity has been poured out to us through Creation.. through.. His plan in salvation… through his invitation for us to participate in His very nature…The question is what do we do with what we have been given… Challenge us to look for God’s Generosity towards you… embrace his Generosity…begin to seek ways that you can become a conduit of His Divine Flow…
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