Monday, August 21, 2017

2 Peter 1:10-21

Jer 37:17  Now King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah and took him out of prison; and in his palace the king secretly asked him and said, "Is there a word from the LORD?" And Jeremiah said, "There is!"
·         God, me what’s going on.
·         God, tell me why this is going on.
·         God, tell me what to do.

Remember that old commercial: When E.F. Hutton speaks…People wanted to know what E.F. Hutton said because his opinion had credibility. You listen to whom you trust.

When you read the creation story do you come back with the assurance that God did all that?
When you read of waters of the Red Sea separating so the people of Israel could walk across, do you say, absolutely?

When you read of fire coming from Heaven to consume an altar, fire in a furnace not burning three men, lions shutting their hungry mouths so they won’t eat God’s prophet, do you say, certainly?

When you read of Jesus walking on water, calming storms, raising Lazarus or dying for our sins and coming back alive in resurrection, do you say, of course!?

When you read: cast your cares upon Him for He cares for you, or He will keep you in perfect peace if your mind is stayed upon Him, or those who wait upon the Lord will mount up with wings like eagles, run and not be weary, or He will give you peace that passes your ability to understand, do you say, yes?

How much confidence do we have that the Bible can be trusted to be true? If it tells us of history, is that history accurate? If it tells us of people, did those people exist? If it tells us of an event, did that event happen? If it gives us a promise, can that promise be relied on?

Steel workers on high-rise buildings have a rule: don’t lean into the wind. There is a resistance you can feel when the wind is blowing, but when it stops and you have been using that wind to keep your balance, you’re going to fall.

Are God’s promises substantial enough for us to count on or are they puffs of wind that hold us for a minute then vanish, leaving us off balance and falling?

2Pe 1:10  Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, (Jude 1:24)

Not stumbling has a lot to do with standing firm and standing firm has a lot to do with where we’re standing.

God has built a platform, a foundation for our faith, to stand on. It’s called: His faithfulness. We don’t stand on our ability to believe things but on Him to be faithful in who He is, what He does and what He says.

When He says My Words will accomplish what I intend, we know immediately those words are backed by His faithfulness not upon our ability to believe them. They are not floating in some hope-so realm of wishful, happy thought thinking but words energized by the One who said them. In fact, they are true whether we believe them or not.

As soon as we see these three together: who He is, what He does and what He says, all sharing the same faithfulness, we begin to see Scripture differently.

2Ti 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

What is Scripture? The Bible. God’s Word, breathed from God’s Spirit, through the mind and heart of perhaps as many as 40 people, over a span of 1600 years, moved to write what God wanted written so that that word could be counted on to make us adequate and equipped for every good work. He used kings, prophets, priests, a farmer, a tax collector, fishermen, a radical zealot, disciples, historians, a doctor. But all had one thing in common: moved by God.

That’s where our confidence comes from. His words have power to accomplish what He wants, purpose to fulfill His will and specificity to target the circumstances of our lives.

2Pe 1:16-19 For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”—and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.
We have to pay attention in the dark. When you turn out the light you lose sight of what’s there. When you lose sight you stumble. When we enter the dark times, we can lose sight of who God is, what He’s done and what He says. But if we seek His light we won’t stumble. Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.

A Scripture you’ve read thousands of times may suddenly become your word from the Lord.

2Pe 1:20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation,

2Pe 1:21  for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Movement of the Holy Spirit to produce Scripture.
Movement of the Holy Spirit to protect Scripture.
Movement of the Holy Spirit to illuminate Scripture.

Satan’s attack: to discredit Scripture. Did God really say that? Did God mean that? Can you trust what God said? It’s not all true, only some of it. It isn’t the word of God, it contains the word of God. That’s man’s opinion. That’s only for those people back then. Don’t let Satan deceive you!

God is God or He isn’t. God does what He does or He doesn’t. God’s word is true or it’s not. Can’t have one without all three.

Practical exercise:
Php 4:1  Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.
Standing firm on His faithfulness.

Php 4:4  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
      How can I rejoice? My circumstances have no room for rejoicing.

Php 4:5  Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
      What do I know about the presence of God?
·         He will never leave you nor forsake you.
·         He will be with you to the very end.
·         He is the God of all comfort.
·         He will accomplish what concerns you.
·         He, who began a good work in you, will bring it to completion.
·         He will supply all your needs.

Php 4:6  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
      Nothing going on should be allowed to take me into anxiety—hopelessness.
      In everything not for everything.
            God does not plan everything that happens but in everything that happens, God
            has a plan.
      He is waiting to hear the extent of your faith.
#What do I have to do, thank Him for what’s going on? No. I thank Him that in what’s going on, He has been and will be faithful in my life.

Php 4:7  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Php 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Php 4:9  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Practice: make them a habit.

  1. If God isn’t God, doesn’t do what He does, and His Word isn’t true, I have no hope.
  2. If only part of any of this is true, how am I supposed to know which part I can count on.
  3. If it’s all true, I can settle my concerns and stand upon God’s faithfulness in all circumstances.
  4.  If it is all true, I can say, without doubt: It is Well with My Soul.

Monday, August 14, 2017

2 Peter 1:5-11

Ever get hung up between what God is supposed to do and what we are supposed to do?
Two sides: for the aggressive, impatient – they want to step in and do God’s job for Him.
For the non-aggressive, more aid back – they want God to do everything for them.
Guy praying for God to send someone to help.
            You are the one.

David wrote: God will accomplish what concerns me. Ps 138:8. He didn’t say how.

Parable of the soils: Mark 4:14-20 

To get good soil:
      Remove obstacles
         Dig deep 
      Enrich soil with growth enhancers

None of the good soil practices change the nature of the seed. They only give the seeds better opportunity for good results. Working the soil gives the root system of whatever is planted room to do what it’s designed to do.

From the parable, the same is true for the Word of God. God said through Isaiah: Isa 55:11  So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. Track record: spoke the world into existence.

God’s Word is designed to accomplish what God wants accomplished. However (now insert the parable of the soils), unprepared soil can interfere with expected results.

Matt 13:58  And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.
            Disbelief – I will not engage my ability to accept or believe.
            Is there a difference between I cannot believe and I will not believe? Same results.

We prepare our soil to accept the Word of God because we believe He has something He wants to say into our life and something He wants to do in our life.

So, since we have the promise of God accomplishing what concerns us, and His Word accomplishing what He desires, what are His options:
            Run over us if necessary
            Work with what we give Him
            Draw us into compliance – God I want what You want for me.

Mark 4:26-29 

We’re not the sower, God is. We’re not the grower, God is. We’re not the seed, we’re the soil. The pile of dirt into which God deposits His glory and excellence—who He is and what He does.

Our job is to remove the obstacles that inhibit the results God wants—denying the old tendencies of our flesh, and giving ourselves to the desires of the New Nature which opens us to the activity of God in us and through us.

2Pet 1:4  For by these [who He is and what He does] He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them [the promises – the seeds] you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

To partake of (to participate in) the divine nature, God must give us a new nature [our old nature cannot participate in God’s divine nature]. The Old nature lives out of its own selfish desires. The New nature lives out of a desire for God’s best. The unrestrained, driving force to satisfy myself is now challenged by the desire to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and body.

2Pet 1:5 Now for this very reason [that we are partakers of the divine life], also, applying all diligence in your faith, supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,
Applying – not surface application but brought in deeply – get to the root system that feeds my life. Parable – I wonder if the people Jesus was talking to got that. No, I must ask myself: did I get it?
·         Is my relationship with God too shallow to give His word room to grow?
·         Is my life too congested with problems to work God’s word into my life?
·         Do I have too many things more important than God to me that prevent me from hearing His voice?

What prevents me from going deep?                     
Even Socrates said: An unexamined life is not worth living.
n  To never challenge my own attitudes or actions…
n  To never ask God is this activity best for me?
n  To never question how I’m living in light of the truth I know?
n  To never place my life up against the promises of Scripture to see how I match up…indicates, I’m not interested in God’s Word accomplishing what’s best in my life. Instead of good, deep soil, I’m full of obstacles.

Diligence – with determination.   Set this as priority. Work at it.
Supply – add these into your faith.

Moral excellence – God isn’t going to make us make moral choices. He doesn’t force obedience: Luke 6:46  "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?
Knowledge that you learn. Dig into the Word. God show me what is better than how I now live.

We can’t live out God’s intentions apart from God’s direction.

2Pet 1:6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,

Control of attitudes and actions. Staying on track.
Feels like self-improvement but actually it is seeking to allow the divine nature room to work so it can express itself in our lives.
Perseverance – staying with it
Godliness – devotion to God. Living in a way that demonstrates our love for Him.

2Pet 1:7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
Devotion to God should lead to devotion to others.

2Pe 1:8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
John 15:8  My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
The Seeds of the Word remain full of potential.
      Medieval Cathedral was destroyed during WWII. After all the rubble was removed a flower through extinct grew up and bloomed.
2Pe 1:9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

If there is no change, there’ll be no difference in our lives, soon there’ll be is no respect for what Jesus did to save us.

2Pe 1:10  Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
Make certain you belong to Him.
Things that can’t save: church, being a good person, doing good things, having good parents, believing good things.
What can save: God when we call out to Him.
If you are His, everything you need for life and godliness are seeds planted in your soil. Give them room to grow.
Practice these. Let them become habits. Exercise your faith. Stretch your desire to believe.

2Pe 1:11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
Entrancenot door to get into the kingdom, but since you are already in, it is your access into all the kingdom provides.

      1. We have been set up for success in our Christian life not failure.
      2. God has planted within us all that is necessary for an abundant, meaningful and fruitful life.
      3. By not examining our soil—our life—we may be competing against God’s best.
      4. Our job is to prevent anything from interfering with what God wants to accomplish.

Monday, August 7, 2017

2 Peter 1:4

I watched the movie about the life of Stephen Hawking: The Theory of Everything. Stephen Hawking was very clear about how his theory answered most of his questions about all that exists without there needing to be a God to create that existence. He privately admitted, the only question it failed to satisfy was why?

Hawking’s answers for life were found in the intellect. Problem: God is not hiding in the intellect, waiting to be found. God is a God of revelation, not discovery. To experience God requires the exercise of faith: Heb 11:6  And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Then, by faith, what isn’t obvious becomes clear and what isn’t seen becomes real.

Exercising faith requires letting go of a self-driven life and embracing a God-directed life.

In the world of trapeze performance, there are "flyers" and there are "catchers." If I let go, I’m grabbing something, anything, and hanging on to it for dear life! But the flyer is trained to resist that impulse.  If he tries to catch the catcher they’ll both come tumbling down. The principle is: The flyer is the one who let's go and the catcher is the one who catches. The flyer must never try to catch the catcher!

To exercise faith requires letting go of our grip on the world and trusting God.

2Pe 1:1-3  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: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing [understanding] that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by to His own glory and excellence.

Peter starts his letter making faith the common denominator. The starting point with God is always faith. God gives us the ability to believe, then settles down onto us insight as to who He is and what He does.

He called us to His Glory and excellence.
                        Glory: who He is
                        Excellence: what He does
His reputation and the success of His reputation define the product of His work.

Glory and excellence are how Jesus explained God to us. Hebrews says, He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature.

While on earth, Jesus gave a physical explanation of God. To us who follow today, He gives the ability to believe who He is, is who He was, and to know what He did back then has bearing on how we live today.

2Pe 1:4 For by these [who He is and what He does] He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises [given with guarantee attached], so that by them [promises] you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Promises: 2Co 1:20 For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes [He is the guarantor]; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God by us.
      Amen- our agreement with the promises being true.
Josh 21:45  Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.
Rom 4:21  and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.

Promises are the lenses through which we see God. Through these lenses we see what God is accomplishing in us and know what to anticipate that He will accomplish in us.

Partakers: participants – The Divine Nature: God for us. God in us. God through us.
2Co 5:17  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Not refashioning us or reshaping us but making a new creation formed out of nothing. Ex Nihilo. God doesn’t just fix our old nature. He gives us a new nature.

The Old nature lives out of its own selfish desires.
The divine nature—the New nature lives out of a desire for God’s best.

I’m changing natures—the driving force to satisfy myself vs. the desire to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and body.

Francis Chan – p. 124.

Escaping Corruption – Turning away from who we no longer are and toward who we now have become.
Stop being a baby and be a man.
Not a baby. Am a man. Can be a man acting like a baby.

We are not who we were – the decaying life of the old nature in contrast to the abundant life Jesus promised within the new.

2Pe 2:18-19  For speaking out arrogant words of vanity, they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.

Overcome I am defeated, am overcome, am made inferior. Until we come to Jesus for salvation we can only live by the old nature. But also, after we come to Jesus we can revert back to the desires of the old life. The same result accompanies both: I am overcome.

How do we escape the corruption? By giving our lives to God and living based on His provisions for life and godliness while we rely on His promises being true.

     1. The success in our lives is not based on our faithfulness but on our confidence in God’s faithfulness.
     2, Even when we are unfaithful, He remains faithful.
     3, However, our responsibility to entrust our lives to the promises of God determines the effect of all God has accomplished fully working in our lives.
     4. By not adjusting our lives to God’s truth we will lose sight of why God saved us and the benefits of that salvation.
     5. When we allow the new nature room to consume us, we discover the vastness of the everything God has prepared for us.