“CERTIFIED BY THESE THINGS”
(A Godly People – Series in II Peter)
Westgate Chapel 4/1/01 2 Peter 1:10-15
PROPOSITION: Our sense of security in the Christian life is directly connected to doing, knowing, and remembering Peter’s list of growing Christian graces.
- WE are studying the apostle Peter’s second and final letter to a cluster of young churches scattered throughout eastern Asia Minor, present day Turkey.
- IT is approximately 67 AD, and the apostle is sitting in a Roman prison, awaiting his execution at the hands of the emperor Nero.
- IN his first letter to these new Christians, many of whom came to faith through his ministry, Peter writes about holding on to faith and hope in the middle of suffering and persecution.
- BUT now he has heard about false teachers who were telling these new believers that as long as they considered themselves God’s elect, by faith, that their salvation was secure no matter how they lived.
- SO, in this second letter, Peter writes about the Christian’s call to godliness.
- AND in the few verses we will be looking at this morning, Peter is greatly concerned that when he dies at Nero’s hands, he will leave behind a group of Christians who are secure in their salvation.
- ISN’T that exactly what you would be concerned about for your children, if you knew your time was short….the eternal security of your children?
- NOW that term makes a lot of people uneasy….eternal security.
- BUT if we can, let’s just let the Holy Spirit talk to us from 2 Peter on the subject this morning.
- TURN with me to 2 Peter 1, and let’s begin reading with the passage we studied two Sundays back…..verse 3 (page 1204).
“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. (4) Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (5) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; (6) and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; (7) and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. (8) 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. (9) But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.”
- REMEMBER the title of the sermon on those verses was “Adding to Faith.”
- THAT is something that some would consider a heresy. We have been deceived by an ultra-Calvinism which says there is absolutely nothing that we can add to our faith.
- YET there it is in verse 5 in plain view, “make every effort to add to your faith…”
- THE apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says exactly the same thing in Philippians 2:12,
“…work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”
- THE Christian life is a free gift of God that cost Him His only Son….and when we receive this gift it costs us our whole lives.
- A critic of Christianity said to the 18th century theologian, Moffat, that as he observed it the Christian life was…
“An initial spasm, followed by chronic inertia.”
- THAT is precisely what the apostle Peter was trying to assure would not happen to the new Christian churches he was about to leave in Asia Minor at his execution.
- SO in 2 Peter 1:10a he writes,
“Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.”
- BROTHERS, and sisters, because God has at great personal cost, given us “everything we need for life and godliness.”
- THERE is an urgency to “be all the more eager…”
- AND what is it that we are to be eager to do?
“…to make your calling and election sure.”
- YOUR calling is the work of the Holy Spirit who reveals Jesus to you, who reveals your sin to you, and who convicts you, who opens your heart to respond to the invitation to be a Christian.
- THAT is your calling….to be a child of God.
- YOUR election…is what God has done to chose you as one of His own.
- THIS is one of those mysteries of the Gospel….that God can choose you for His family of faith and yet not violate your free will (which He gave you anyhow).
- AND both of these are a free gift of God…your calling and your election as a child of God.
- YOU receive both of these by faith….BUT…..it is up to you, says Peter to work at making them “sure.”
- WHAT does he mean by sure?
- THE Greek word means to “certify” as the real deal.
- SO, let me paraphrase Peter in verse 10,
“Adopt an attitude of urgency to certify your Christian faith as the real deal.”
ii. do these things
- WELL, how do you do that?
- HOW do you certify that your Christian faith is the real deal?
- THE apostle Peter tells us in the next 6 verses….three ways to certify your faith as the real deal….and you don’t have to look too hard.
- DON’T look ahead, but the Holy Spirit uses the phrase “these things” three times in verses 10 to 15.
- AND each time he writes, “these things,” he uses a different verb.
- LOOK at verse 10 with me,
“Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things…”
- WHAT are the “these things” that will certify your Christian faith as the real deal?
- THAT is easy! They are the “things” we are to add to our faith back in verse 5.
• The quality of life that fulfills what we designed for in Christ.
- Loving your wife, or husband.
- Being compassionate with the people around you.
- Living in truthfulness.
- Having integrity in your business dealings.
- Being joyful.
- Speaking only good of others.
• How to…
…growing Kids God’s Way.
…grow in your relationship with Jesus.
…getting a new heart in Christ.
• It is making right choices in the day-to-day.
• It is the ability to get a grip on yourself….achieved only through an intimate relationship with Jesus.
• This is the courage to deal with all that today might bring, unmoved and confidently pressing into the future Jesus has just for you.
• Very simply this is living life in the fear of the Lord and respectful of others.
6. BROTHERLY KINDNESS
• We show the legitimacy of our birth into God’s family by how we treat His family.
• It is the deliberate and sacrificial commitment to the highest good of the one who is the object of agape love.
- SO, in 2 Peter 1:10, the apostle takes us back to that list that we are to be adding on to each day in our lives…..and says “certify that your Christianity is the real deal by “doing these things.”
- AND here is something you have to get this morning.
- THE tense for the Greek verb translated “do” means “you, yourself make it happen.”
- NOW saints, this is so important, because there is a teaching out there that says you as a fallen human are incapable of doing anything to certify or make your Christianity “sure.”
- BUT the verb here for “do” is NOT in the passive voice, which would mean that this may be something God does for you.
- YOU yourself must “do these things” listed in verse 5.
- NOW, obviously God does not leave us on our own.
- PAUL says,
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
- SURE God alone gives us the strength….and the will to do.
- BUT the plain, in the trenches, day-to-day, when no one is looking, “doing” of the “these things” is in our hands.
- LOOK at the rest of verse 10,
“For if you do these things, you will never fall…”
- DOESN’T say you will never stumble, but you will never fall.
- WHAT does Peter mean by “fall?”
- WELL, if you are Calvinist, you have been taught that there are no circumstances in which you could ever lose your salvation….so, for you that word would not mean the ultimate fall.
- BUT would you at least agree that it would not be a good thing….and that at very least Peter is talking about “falling” from your ability to “certify that your faith is the real deal?”
- BUT then verse 11 sheds some more light on the importance of “doing these things,”
“For if you do these things… you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
- SO, doing “these things” is a vital part of the Christian faith…..the real deal.
iii. know these things
- LET’S move on to verse 12 with the apostle Peter.
- AFTER telling these Christians that they had to be personally involved in “doing these things,” Peter moves on to the subject of “knowing these things” as a means of certifying their faith as the real deal.
- LOOK at verse 12 with me,
“So I will always remind you of these things, (second reference) even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.”
- FIRST, Peter establishes to role of the shepherd to be reminding those in his or her charge of “these things.”
- HE shifts the emphasis from “doing” to “knowing them.”
- “YOU know these things,” he tells them.
- AND he uses a totally new word for “knowing.”
- THE Greek word he uses is “oida” which literally means “an initial encounter with on-going results.”
- WELL that is the whole Christian life captured in one word.
“…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- THAT initial encounter with Christ is the very fountainhead of on-going life transformation.
- THE danger we face with contemporary Christianity is that we have the initial encounter, but lack the on-going results.
- PETER says, I am going to keep reminding you of these things, because your “knowledge” of them is intended to be producing on-going results.
- THAT is the only kind of knowing that will certify that your Christian faith is the real deal.
- IF going to Bible studies is simply filling your head with more facts about God…..quit….and get alone with God until there are some on-going results with the “these things” in your life.
iv. remember these things
- LASTLY, the apostle Peter moves from the subject of “knowing” these things, to “remembering” these things.
- LOOK at verses 13-15,
“I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, (14) because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. (15) And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.”
- SOME scholars believe that in addition to his two epistles, Peter authored the Gospel of Mark, using John Mark as his scribe.
- BUT in any event, Peter was doing his part to leave behind at his death the kind of instruction that would remind Christians of “these things.”
- I TRUST that his efforts will not be lost to our generation.
- PETER says that if you are going to certify that your Christian faith is the real deal, you are going to have to “remember these things.”
- DO them.
- KNOW them.
- REMEMBER them.
- THE verb tense for “remember,” literally means “you are to engage your mind, to involve yourself in what it takes to recall ‘these things.’”
- IT is not anything that can be done for you.
- GOD won’t do it for you.
- AND it is a present continuous tense which means this is a life-long, on-going endeavor….to remember, think about, take time to meditate on…”these things.”
- IN order for you to certify that your salvation, your election and calling to the family of God, is the real deal, you have to take responsibility for remembering “these things.”
- PETER did all he could by the Holy Spirit to put them in a form that has lasted 2000 years.
- DO them.
- KNOW them in a way that produces on-going results.
- REMEMBER them….meditate on them.
- AND the evidence that Jesus is working in you.
- THE evidence that the Holy Spirit is living in you.
- THE evidence that the Christian faith in you is the real deal, will be…
6. BROTHERLY KINDNESS
7. LOVE….in increasing measure.