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(Greek words can be viewed with symbol font)
Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
August 16, 2009
Power for Living
2 Peter 1:1-4
Have you ever considered the radical changes that have been made in the last two hundred years and especially in the last 50? For example, a hundred years ago, even in the United States, most people were dependent on animal power to meet most of their needs. When my dad was a young man most people in the area he lived still plowed behind a horse or other animal. Only a few could afford tractors. I can even remember as a child one of my grandparents neighbors still using their horse and wagon to go to town. A hundred years ago most people still got around by horse or on foot. If you wanted to travel long distances there were trains and steam ships, but you still had to walk or go by horse to get to the stations and ports, except in a few cities that were developing mass transit, or if you knew someone who had one of the new horseless carriages. When I was in my late twenties I conducted the funeral for our family friend, Mr. Ball, who died at 105. He had courted his wife in a horse and buggy and sold steam tractors in Czarist Russia.
Think through the developments that have occurred since the industrial revolution. Someone figured out how to harness the power in a river through a water wheel. Grain no longer had to be ground by hand but could now be taken down to the mill, and light manufacturing began. Then somewhere in time, someone noticed that steam under pressure had a lot of force to it. Perhaps it was when some one was trying to heat something in a pot and the lid became stuck, then suddenly “kaboom” the thing blew up. An idea came alive, “I wonder if there is some way to tap into the power of that steam.” It was the invention of the steam engine that began the industrial revolution. The new power source changed the way men lived by radically increasing man’s productivity.
Later on, someone thought of a different way to use one of the fuels that was being used to produce steam. This led to the development of the internal combustion engine – diesel and gasoline engines like what are in locomotives, trucks, cars and light aircraft. This new energy source radically changed the way men live, work and play. No more trying to prepare a field for planting by hand, no more marathon runs in order to deliver a message, mo more saddle sores. You can now cruise along at high speeds on an interstate while listening to your favorite music and the temperature around you carefully controlled to be comfortable. In the mid 1800’s a trip across the nation could take many months by ship or wagon. The completion of the transcontinental railroad reduced that to a little over a week. Now, we no longer think much of traveling in a jet airliner clear across the nation in five or six hours. Rockets have been taking people into space since the 1960’s
Electricity is another power source that has radically changed the way man lives, not only supplying power to all sorts of engines and machines, but also for providing light, and speeding communication – audio and visual – around the globe in seconds. Harnessing electricity in electronic and computer components has resulted in such a radical change in the way we live that there is now great concern that our nation could survive if our electricity grid was destroyed in an enemy attack. We are still learning the possibilities of what can be done by tapping into the source of power contained in the very atoms themselves through nuclear reactions and radioactive decay. I know most people tend to think of just atom bombs and nuclear power plants when they think of this, but there are all sorts of applications of nuclear energy in medicine and food safety.
What may be the most interesting thing to note about all these different sources of power – animals, water, steam, gas and oil, electricity and nuclear – is that they all have been around since Creation. Man was either just not aware of them, or he did not know how to tap into these sources of power and make them useful. A source of power can radically change the way we live, but we have to be aware of its presence and then know how plug into it.
The same thing is true when it comes to living for God – our spiritual lives. We can try to go it on our own and live according to our own resources, which would be like man was before he started using horses and oxen to help him plow the field and carry heavy loads, or we can try to find some source of power outside ourselves to help us live out our lives the way God intended for us to live.
A Changed Life
I know a man who tried very hard to please the Lord. I don’t think there are many men who have ever lived that were as zealous (fervent, intense, enthusiastic) in their desire to live for God as this man. This fellow would do anything he was asked to do. In fact, he would volunteer to do things that no one else was willing to do even to sometimes risking his life in the process. Yet, it seems that just when everything seemed to be going great, he would do something stupid and blow the whole thing. He would be just about at a peak of really living for God, and then, “crash,” he would be right back down into the depths of sin.
Maybe you can related to that. There was the time this guy was in a small group discussing theology and the teacher asked a really hard question. It was one of those questions that seminary students sometimes get and they try to get out of it by quoting Deuteronomy 29:29, “the secret things belong to the Lord . . .” This was a tough question. The other guys start fumbling around trying to give some kind of answer, but this man came up with the exact answer. It could not have been a better answer. He was sitting on the top of the world. And then, maybe because he got to thinking he was something special, he got into trouble. The leader of the group started to tell the guys about another subject, and this guy tries to correct the teacher – with the wrong answer. He went from the top spiritually, right to the bottom in less than five minutes.
Then there was the time that this guy was with a small group of Christian fellows and they were having a great time. In fact, they had just had a special meal, listened to a wonderful sermon, spent time in prayer together and were now at a quiet place of retreat with their pastor. Then a larger group of men came up to them and started giving them a hard time about being Christians. Well this guy was ready to take on everyone and defend the name of Christ. It was one of those spiritual peaks when your doing great things for God. Yet, only a few hours later this fellow was in another small group and was given a perfect opportunity to witness for Christ, but he became so intimidated that not only did he blow the opportunity to witness, he even cursed and denied that he was a follower of Christ. At that point he was a spiritual wimp. From spiritual giant to spiritual mouse in mere hours.
Maybe there are times that you have felt like that. Just when you think that your starting to get the hang of living for God and really getting on track spiritually, and then “Bam.” You hit a wall and it seems you are farther back than when you started. Maybe you wonder if it is even worth it.
That was the way it was for this man I have been talking about. He had been studying for the ministry, and there were times while he was preparing to serve the Lord that he saw God do great miracles, but at other times so many things seemed to keep him from doing what he thought he should be doing, that finally he was ready to give up and go back to his old job. In fact, he did try to do that for a short time. This guy had been to the top and to the bottom several times.
You may wonder what ever happened to him? Well, the story is actually pretty exciting. Everything in his life changed in one day. One day he was just hanging out with some other Christians wondering what God was going to do, and not doing much himself other than praying. The next day this man was on fire for the Lord and even faced down the same people that previously caused him so much fear. He went on to preach in all sorts of evangelistic meetings. Thousands of people were saved under his ministry. He was a pastor for awhile, and then he traveled all over the place as a missionary. He saw multitudes of people get saved. He started new churches. He encouraged Christians and trained new leaders. This guy was sold out for God. Eventually he got into a country were the political situation was very dangerous. He was arrested and finally executed for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He died as a martyr for Jesus.
How could this guy change so much in just one day? Now I do have to give full disclosure that he did still have some struggles later on, but the change that took place in life of this man was radical and he never went back to what he had been before. How could he go from such a struggling Christian to such a victorious one in such a short time? How was he able to go from a guy hardly willing to even admit that he was a Christian to one who willingly died for the cause of Christ? We can answer that question because someone wrote a book that documents the change that took place in this man, and this man also wrote a couple of books in which he gives some indication of why there was such a change.
Who was this man? What are the books he wrote? It is Simon Peter and we will be studying out of one of his books today. Peter’s life changed suddenly on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came and fulfilled Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you . . .” The radical change in Peter’s life was do to the fact that he was finally plugged into the power source.
This morning I want to examine the source of power. Turn with me to 2 Peter 1:1-4 and let us see if we can find out something about the power that is needed for living the Christian life.
In these four verses Peter tells the people that he is writing to that there is something that he wishes for them, something that has already been done for them, and that there is something that he wants them to become.
Simon 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: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing 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. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of [the] divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
Let me give you a more open translation and try to bring out some of the things indicated by the Greek words & grammar that are harder to translate into English. Peter is saying something like this.
- Simon Peter, a bondslave of Jesus Christ who has been sent by him with His authority. I am writing to you who have received the same precious faith that we have, a faith that was received by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, who is our God and Savior.
- My desire concerning you is that grace and peace will be increased in you through your intimate personal knowledge of God and intimate personal knowledge of Jesus who is our Lord/master.
- I desire this because God’s power has already given us everything we need concerning our new life in Christ and the practical application of that in every day life through the intimate personal knowledge of God who has called us to this new life by His own glory and excellence.
- And by His own glory and excellence God has also granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by these precious and magnificent promises we might partake or share in the moral qualities of God, since we have escaped the corruption that is in the world because of man’s sinful desires.
Peter’s Greeting – 2 Peter 1:1
Let us go back to verse 1 and look at Peter’s greeting, for there are some very significant points I want to make sure we understand.
First, notice that Peter starts out with both names, “Simon” and “Peter.” Simon is the name given to him by his parents and represents all that he was from birth. Peter, meaning “stone,” is the name given to him by our Lord and signifies what Peter became in his new life in Christ. Peter uses both of these names. The boy given life and raised by his parents became a radically different man when new life was given to him by Jesus and he became a disciple of Christ.
Peter also calls himself here both the bondslave and apostle of Jesus Christ and that is important. As I pointed out last week, (See: Introduction to 2 Peter) though the Greek word here, douloV / doulos, is often translated in English versions as servant or bond-servant, the better English word is “slave,” for it refers to someone who was under the authority of a master that owned them and not to someone hired to aide an employer. That is how Peter understood his relationship to Jesus. Peter recognized that he was redeemed from sin with the price of the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18,19), he was purchased by God and no longer his own (1 Corinthians 6:20; 2 Peter 2:1). He had learned to submit his will to the Lord and trust Him and therefore go and do whatever the Lord desired.
Peter also identifies himself as an apostle (apostoloV) of Jesus Christ meaning that he knew he was sent by the Lord as His representative and with His authority. God has given him something to say to us, and we should pay attention.
Peter is writing to those who have received the same kind, or literally, the “same precious faith,” as Peter and those with him had received. Peter is writing to Christians, and since Peter says in chapter 3 that this is the second letter he was writing to them, these are the same people he wrote to in 1 Peter which are those “scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. ” This is the area of northern modern day Turkey. Paul had traveled through some of these regions and written to churches in parts of it.
Peter says two other significant things in his greeting. First, he states that faith comes by the righteousness of Christ. They were those “who have received a faith.” It is not something you work up on your own. It is something provided for you by Christ which you receive. This matches Paul’s statement in Ephesians 2:8 & 9 that “by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God.” That faith is also received as a gift whose origin is in God, not man. Those who believe in the name of the son of God are “born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12).
Second, Peter states here that this faith “came by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is a proclamation of the deity of Jesus Christ in a very clear statement. The English text here may not seem to be as clear, but the Greek text is absolute. Peter says that Jesus Christ is both our God and Savior. Jehovah Witnesses and other cults want to diminish or even eliminate the deity of Jesus, but in doing so they have a different Jesus than that of the Bible. Their Jesus is not God and therefore neither he is Savior.
Peter’s Salutation – 2 Peter 1:2
Peter tells us in verse 2 his wish for those he was writing. The meaning of the Greek grammar here is, “May grace and peace be multiplied or increased in you.” Peter wanted these two essential elements of the Christian life to be growing in them. How can these grow in the believer? They are not things that you can work up yourself. They are things that must be given to us, and we find in the Scriptures that they are. Grace and peace grows in the believer as they get to know God and His son Jesus Christ better. The word for “the knowledge of God” mentioned here (epignwsiV / epiginosis) is not mental knowledge, or even just experiential knowledge. This word speaks of a close, intimate, experiential knowledge. Peter says that grace and peace will grow in you as you get to know God and Jesus Christ in a close, personal, intimate relationship with them.
Please take careful note here that Peter says that Jesus is our Lord. He is our master and our allegiance belongs to Him. Peter has already stated that Jesus is God, so calling Him “Lord” here is not a restatement of deity. It is rather a designation of the relationship between Jesus and those who have faith in Him. Logic itself demands that God is also Lord in the sense of master. Those who advocate the idea that a person can believe and be saved and then sometime later finally also have Jesus as Lord are in grave danger of advocating a different Jesus than the one Peter is talking about here. The Jesus Peter speaks of is both the God and the Lord of those that have the same faith as him. Those who have faith in a Jesus that is less than God and / or less than Lord have a different Jesus and therefore a different faith than that of Peter.
Peter’s wish for them that grace and peace would be increased in them would not be in vain because, as he says in verse 3 and the first part of verse 4, something has already been given to them. What is it that has been given to those who have this faith? It is something that can change your life radically. It is something that will do in your life the same thing it did in the life of Peter. We have been given the power to live a godly life! Do you understand that? Peter says the power to live a godly life has been given to us.
Divine Power for Godliness – 2 Peter 1:3
“. . . seeing 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.
The nature of this power is that it is divine power. This is the power of God. There can be no shortage of power if God is its source. A battery may run down and not have sufficient power in it to produce light in a light bulb. An engine can break down and leave us stuck in the middle of no where. The equipment of an electric company can break down leaving a whole city dark, or the demand for electric power can exceed the capacity to produce it resulting in regional failures. There can be a lack of supply with any earthly power source, but there is never a shortage of God’s power and He never breaks down! It is important to note here that the Greek grammar here is in the perfect tense meaning that this divine power has already been given to us and it continues to be with us. It is not just past nor is it something just for the future. It has been there in the past, it is in the present, and it will be there in the future. What is this divine power for? It is to given to us for “everything pertaining to life and godliness.” The life being spoken of here is the new life that comes by giving your life to Jesus. Jesus Himself said, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10). He also said, “Whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). True life begins when you give your life to Jesus Christ.
What kind of life is it? It is a life lived in godliness. Godliness is simply the practical outworking of a person who has given their life to Christ. Their lifestyle changes into one that is pleasing to God. It is changed from worldliness and sin to a lifestyle that is lived in accordance to God’s commandments. It is a life of righteousness because its values are set by God’s standards. It is a life of holiness because it is lived set apart to God.
How do those with this faith tap into this divine power so that they can live in godliness? How can you get that power in into your life and change the way you are living? Peter says that this power is made available to us “through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” Knowledge here is the same word used earlier. It is a close, intimate, experiential knowledge. In other words, the more we get to know God, the more this power is going to be released in our lives resulting in us changing. Grace and peace will grow in us and we will live life in godliness.
Precious and Magnificent Promises – 2 Peter 1:4
Peter goes on in the next verse to remind us of something else concerning God. He says, “For by these (referring back to God’s own glory and excellence) He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises.” The Greek grammar here is another perfect tense meaning that just like power mentioned earlier, these promises have already been given to us and they continue to be with us. But what “great and precious promises?” What has God promised that will result in such change in your life. Let me mention a few briefly.
*The promises of the beatitudes in Matthew 5 – the kingdom of heaven, comfort, satisfaction, mercy, seeing God, being a son of God, etc.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him.”
*Security of the believer – John 10:27-29
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
*Jesus will never leave us – Matthew 28:20
“. . . and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
*Jesus is preparing a place for us and will come back – John 14:1-3
“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am there you may be also.
* We shall be changed from corruptible to incorruptible – 1 Cor 15:51,52.
“Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”
*Confidence in God in all circumstances – Romans 8:28
For we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes”
*We can have Peace in all circumstances – Philippians 4:6,7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
*God provides a way to overcome temptation – 1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.
*Our prayers are heard and answered – 1 John 5:13,14
And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. and if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
*Christ will come back for us & we will be with Him forever – 1 Thess 4:16,17
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
The promises of God are precious and magnificent, and these mentioned only barely scratch the surface of what God has promised to us.
Why are all these precious and magnificent promises given? Peter tells us at the end of verse 4, “in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” Peter wants us to become partakers in the divine nature. The word partaker (koinwnoV / koinonos) means to be a partner or sharer. Don’t let that confuse you. It is the same idea Paul talks about in Romans 8:29 that we are being conformed to the image of Christ. We are to become like Christ in our being and share in His moral attributes. We are to become holy, righteous, just, merciful, gracious, faithful, true, loving, etc.
If these things are true about us, then it shows the reality that we have escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. The apostle John put it this way, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17). This world is corrupt and it is perishing.
God has provided for us all we need to escape the futility of this world and come back to the purpose of our existence and truly live for Him.
By the righteousness of our God and savior, Jesus Christ, we can receive the same kind of faith that Peter, the bond-slave and apostle of Jesus Christ had. Peter’s desire is that those who have this faith grow in grace and peace in their personal, experiential relationship with God and Jesus our Lord. This can and will happen because God, by His divine power, has already given us everything we need for life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him. God has called us by His own glory and excellence and given us His precious and magnificent promises which enable us to change and share in His moral characteristics which in turn will enable us to escape the lustful corruption of this world.
Every true Christian has available to them all the divine power needed to live in godliness in the grace and peace that come through God’s many wonderful promises. God has already done all that is needed for us to change and become like Christ. The only question is whether we are tapping into the power source or still failing because we are trying to do it our own way by our own power. Where are you at today? If you lack the power to live for God you need to be properly plugged into Him. Spend time with God. Get into His word and learn of Him. Spend time in prayer and communicate with Him. Get active in serving Him and see Him at work. Commit you life to being obedient to Him and God will change you the same way He changed Peter. He delights in taking ordinary weak and stumbling people and changing them into godly people who are bold in their faith.
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – 1) Count how many times power is mentioned. 2) Talk with your parents about how the power of God can change your life to make you like Jesus
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What technology advances have been made since you have been alive that have changed the way you would have otherwise lived? Since your parents birth? Since your grandparents birth? How has been the effect on societies of different sources of power over the last 200 years? Have you ever been frustrated in wanting to live for God but finding you fail at doing so? Trace the life of Simon Peter. At what point in his life did he become successful at living for God – what changed to make that happen? What is it significant that Peter identifies himself with both names, Simon & Peter, and as a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ? To whom is Peter writing? How does Peter declare Jesus deity in verse 1. What is Peter’s desire for those he is writing? What does it mean that Jesus is Lord? Can a person have the same faith as Peter if their Jesus is not Lord? What does this divine power enable the Christian to do? How does the Christian gain access to this divine power? What is the purpose of God’s precious and magnificent promises? Which of these promises have affected your life the most? How do you think your life would change if you knew more of God’s promises and believed them? What do you need to do for your life become more like Jesus and less like the world? What has God done / what will He do to enable that to happen? Are you plugged into God’s divine power?
Power for Living – 2 Peter 1:1-4
The way people live has changed radically in the last 200 years: ________________________________
The internal combustion __________has changed the way people work, play and get from place to place.
Dependence on electricity and electronics is such that ______________ becomes a concern without them
All power sources have existed since ________- but man just unaware of them & how they could be used
There is a power source in _________ that can radically change our lives if we will use it.
A Changed Life
Many people want to live for God, but continually stumble and _______ despite their desire and zeal
The man radically changed in one day from failure to success once he had the source of ____________
That man was _________________ who finally learned to live by the power of the Holy Spirit
The Text – 2 Peter 1:1-4
Peter’s Greeting – 2 Peter 1:1
_____________ – named by his parents signifying all he was from birth.
_____________- named by Jesus signifying all he became after the new birth
douloV / doulos – a ________ : someone under the authority of a master who owns them
apostoloV / apostolos – an apostle: sent by the Lord as His representative and with His ____________.
Writing to those of the “same precious ________” scattered throughout what is northern modern Turkey
The source of this faith is “our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Jesus is __________.
Peter’s Salutation – 2 Peter 1:2
Peter wished for them to grow in grace and peace in the ________________of God and Jesus our Lord
epignwsiV / epiginosis – a close, intimate, ______________________ knowledge
Jesus is Lord in the sense of ____________ . Those with a different Jesus have a different __________
Divine Power for Godliness – 2 Peter 1:3
We have _________ power available to us.
This power is given so that we have ________________ needed pertaining to life and godliness
Godliness is simply the practical outworking of _______________in those who have faith in Jesus Christ.
This power is made available through the true ______________ of God
Precious and Magnificent Promises – 2 Peter 1:4
These promises have already ___________ to us and they will remain in the future.
*The promises of the ____________ in Matthew 5
*_____________ of the believer – John 10:27-29
*Jesus is always with us – Matthew 28:20
*Jesus is preparing a __________________ and will come back – John 14:1-3
*We shall be _____________ from corruptible to incorruptible – 1 Cor 15:51,52
*All things work together for ____________ for those who love God – Romans 8:28
*We can have ____________ in all circumstances – Philippians 4:6,7
*God provides a way to overcome ________________ – 1 Corinthians 10:13
*Our ____________ are heard and answered – 1 John 5:13,14
*Christ will __________________ for us & we will be with Him forever – 1 Thess 4:16,17
These promises are given so that we can _____________ the divine nature
God has given us all that we ___________to radically change – are you plugged into the power source?
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