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Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

2Peter1:3; The Divine Supply

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20091004_2peter1_3.mp3

10/04 2 Peter 1:3 The Divine Supply

2Peter 1:1 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: 2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 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, 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.

Intro

Peter is writing to churches that were in danger of leaving the truth. False teachers had secretly come in among them. These false teachers emphasized secret knowledge, so Peter points to Christ, who calls us, who is the true object of Christian knowledge. The false teachers encouraged freedom from moral restraint, so Peter chooses words unfamiliar to the New Testament, words that were common in pagan circles that point to moral effort – godliness and excellence or virtue and stresses that morality or what elsewhere in the New Testament is called holiness is inextricably tied to eternal life. The false teachers would seem to teach that holy living is impossible (2:19-20) – at least if you don’t have their secret knowledge, so Peter points us to the divine power that has already supplied everything we need. The false teachers would deny the providential care of God; Peter holds out to us God’s work on our behalf as our only hope. Peter is laying a firm foundation of sound doctrine right at the outset to strengthen and establish us in the truth.

Overview

He began by telling us that our response to the gospel, our belief, is a gift – it is equally valuable and gives us the same standing before God as the apostles themselves. This comes to us through the righteousness of God – God’s unwavering commitment to uphold the integrity of his character. Because of the cross a righteous God can consider sinners righteous – my guilt was transferred to Christ, and his perfect righteousness was credited to me. He continues by saying that grace – or God’s unmerited kindness – and peace – the end of war with God and the resulting enjoyment of him – are multiplied to us in and through our relationship with God and with Jesus Christ.

Peter will go on in verses 5-7 to give us instruction and commands on how we must live. But in order to understand those verses properly, we must understand these verses that come first. Peter does not give us a list of hopeless requirements and the moral duty of living up to the divine standard. Peter’s call to godliness is rooted in and secured by God’s grace. God’s divine power supplies everything that God’s righteousness demands of us. [Schreiner, p.290]

Peter here unfolds to us the resources we have because we know God. We have been given rich spiritual blessings and he wants us to know the ‘priceless treasure that is at stake in our conflict with false teachers. We have much to lose through laziness or defection. Safety lies in spiritual growth and maturity.’ [Hiebert, p.41]. Lets work our way through the text to see what Peter says, then we’ll come back to ask what we should do about it.

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,

In the original, ‘all things’ is placed at the front of the sentence to emphasize the comprehensive provision made for the security of believers. We have everything we need to resist the lies of the false teachers. Nothing is lacking.

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,

All things to us – Peter links himself with us. The apostle is in the same position as the recipients of his letter. We have been allotted a faith of equal value and on top of that, we have been provided with all things.

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,

Next, Peter moves to the source. The source of the ‘all things’ that are ‘to us’ is ‘his divine power’. Peter is using language that will connect with his audience. The only other place in the New Testament that this word ‘divine’ is used is in Acts 17:29, where Paul is addressing the idolatrous philosophers in Athens. Divine power is God’s power, and God’s power is limitless. Divine power is omnipotent power.

Jeremiah 32:17 ‘Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who has made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.

Psalm 135:6 Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.

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,

‘His’ refers back to ‘Jesus our Lord’ in verse 2, who is described in verse 1 as ‘our God and Savior Jesus Christ’. The divine power of our God and Savior Jesus Christ is the direct source of everything we need.

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 then specifies what kind of things are at our disposal – things that pertain to life and godliness. This is not a genie in the bottle anything you wish for kind of promise. Jesus’ divine power is at work to secure for us the things that move us toward life and godliness. Life is the new spiritual life of the believer that results from God causing us to be born again (1Pet.1:3). Godliness refers to a Godward attitude that brings pleasure to him. The order of the terms is significant. We cannot live a life that brings God pleasure until we have received the new life that comes from God. On the other hand, the two are inseparable. You cannot say ‘Oh, that eternal life thing sounds pretty good, but I’ll pass on the godliness for now. I’ve still got some sinning to do.’ No, eternal life involves transformation so that believers are morally perfected and made like God.

2Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.

The new birth produces a life that pleases God. If your life is not characterized by godliness, you have reason to question whether you have experienced the new birth.

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 stresses that this is a gift. ‘His divine power has granted to us’. The word translated ‘granted’ occurs only here, in verse 4 and in Mark 15:45. It is a stronger form than the usual word ‘give’, and indicates a royal act of lavish generosity. This is a gift that should stagger the imagination. That Jesus by his divine power would freely give us everything related to eternal life and living a life that brings pleasure to God is more than we would think to ask or imagine. Our prayers are typically focused on getting us through this present financial difficulty or physical ailment or relational difficulty. God says ‘look, I’m freely giving you everything – everything that has to do with sustaining your soul for eternity in a way that brings supreme pleasure to my heart’. Listen to some of these astonishing promises:

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

2Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

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 has laid out the ‘what’ of the gift – Jesus freely gives us all things having to do with the well-being of our eternal soul. Now he moves to the ‘how’ of the gift. This all sounds great – but how do we get it? Peter tells us it comes ‘through the knowledge of him who called us’. In verse 2 he prays that grace and peace be multiplied to us in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. Now he tells us that the supernatural power to secure all things necessary for life and godliness come through the knowledge of him who called us. Knowledge is key. The personal knowledge of the Caller is the means of communicating the gift. We worship a God “who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” [Rom.4:17].

Jesus said:

Matthew 9:13 “…For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Paul said:

1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Peter said:

1 Peter 2:9 You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

This knowledge is not the result of personal investigation or curiosity, but a result of the divine initiative. Jesus himself called us. His call brought us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

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,

We are called by his own glory and virtue, the manifestation of his divine nature and his inner moral excellence. ‘His own’ is emphatic in contrast to ‘us’. When Christ calls people to himself , they perceive the beauty of his moral character and respond in faith. When Jesus called Peter, his response to Jesus’ divine power over nature was ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord’ [Luke 5:8]. Being in the presence of the divine power revealed his own unworthiness. But at Jesus call, Peter left everything and followed him.

John says:

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The glory and excellence of Christ is attractive and compelling. It is by this compelling vision of his glory that we are called to him.

2Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

In verse 5, we are called to manifest this moral excellence or virtue in our own lives, in contrast to the sensuality and greed of the false teachers. But the foundation of our moral transformation is not our moral effort, but God’s unmerited grace.

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,

Application

So what? What should our response be to the truth that Peter has laid out for us? Here’s a few suggestions:

1. Fight for your life and for your godliness

Peter has laid out life and godliness side by side as an inseparable pair. The gift of the new birth will result in a transformed life. As the author of Hebrews says:

Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Please understand, we cannot earn our salvation. But neither should we take it out of gear and coast. God has given us everything necessary, so we should take what he has given and put it to good use!

We fight from a position of victory – the outcome is not uncertain! We have everything we need supplied by the divine power to secure our life and godliness. So…

2. Resolve to know him better

Peter tells us that the divine power comes through the knowledge of him who called us. If that’s where the divine power for godly living comes from, I want to immerse myself in the person and work of Jesus, to become a student and a disciple of him, to deepen in my walk with him and grow in intimacy and communion with him. We should take deliberate steps to increase in our intellectual and relational knowledge of him. [Phil.3:10]

3. Worship the Divine Giver

We should stand in awe of the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us [Eph.2:7]. Revel in the unmerited sunshine of his love. Thank him that he has called us and given us all things to secure our eternal joy in him. Delight in his own glory and excellence.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

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October 4, 2009 - Posted by | 2 Peter, podcast | , , , , , , , , , ,

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