ALL THINGS THAT PERTAIN UNTO LIFE & GODLINESS
Text: II PETER 1:1-15
1. There is an important statement recorded here in II Peter 1:3 – “According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness…”
2. Not “some” things, but “all things.”
3. Oftentimes people tell me they cannot live for God. They say it is too hard. Yes, it is too hard if you try and live for God in your own strength. Second Corinthians 3:5 says, “our sufficiency is of God.”
4. We are not supposed to live for God in our own strength. Our Lord said, “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41).
5. And, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63).
6. Romans 8 teaches us that we are to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
7. And here in II Peter 1:3, the Bible says, “According as His divine power hath given unto us all things…”
8. When Peter was young he tried to live for God in the flesh, and he failed. He took his eyes off Jesus and he started to sink. Later on he boasted, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended” (Matt. 26:33).
9. The Lord had to warn Peter that he would in fact deny Him three times that very night. But Peter repented and developed into a great preacher of the Gospel.
10. Notice the order: first life, then godliness (1:3). You cannot live for God until you have first received eternal life. This is the beginning. This is the difference between life and death, heaven and hell, light and darkness, eternal bliss or eternal damnation.
11. Our Lord said in John 10:10, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
12. Do you have this abundant life?
13. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. It is God’s power from the penalty of sin, and it is also God’s power from the defilement of sin.
14. Note the term “these things.” It occurs five times (II Peter 1:8, 9, 10, 12, 15) in this chapter. Let us consider some of the things God has given us.
I. THE WORD OF GOD
1. This epistle is addressed “to them that have obtained like precious faith” (II Peter 1:1). How are we to obtain “like precious faith”? From the Word of God. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).
2. Notice the phrases, “the knowledge of God” (1:2) and “the knowledge of Him” (1:3) and “the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1:8). How are we to obtain this wonderful knowledge? From the Bible (1:15-21).
3. It is impossible to be saved apart from the Bible (cf. I Peter 1:23). Let me give out a warning: some of these new Bible translations are so inaccurate that they are ineffective in bringing genuine conviction and regeneration.
4. Let me encourage you to read your Bible every day. Psalm 119:130 says, “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”
II. THE DIVINE NATURE (1:3, 4)
1. When we receive Christ as Saviour, we receive His divine nature (1:4). This begins at conversion and continues till we leave this world to meet the Lord.
2. When we received the divine nature, we “escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (1:4). The moment a person receives Christ, he is delivered from this evil world system (cf. Gal. 1:3, 4).
3. What exactly does it mean to be a “partaker of the divine nature” (1:4)? First of all, it speaks of regeneration. The Spirit of God convicts us and regenerates us, and we are born again into God’s family (cf. I Peter 1:23).
4. The new birth is a spiritual birth. Our Lord said to Nicodemus, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:6-8).
5. We are partakers of the divine nature through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit not only regenerates us, He dwells within us.
6. Some churches teach that one can be saved but still not have the Holy Spirit. This teaching is contrary to the Bible.
7. Romans 8:9 says, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (cf. I Cor. 6:19).
8. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).
9. Also, we are partakers of the divine nature through our union with Christ. The apostle Paul frequently uses the term “in Christ.”
10.Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
11.Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
12.In John 15:4, 5, our Lord said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
III. THE CHRISTIAN GRACES
1. There are seven (perfect number) graces listed here. Second Peter 1:3 says God “hath called us to glory and virtue.”
2. Verse 5 says, “add to your faith virtue…” “Virtue” is the first of the Christians graces we are to add to our faith.
3. This is God’s mathematics. In verse 2, Peter says, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you…” (cf. I Peter 1:2b). We have here divine multiplication and addition.
4. These terms suggest constant and steady spiritual growth. Are you growing spiritually? I see many Christians growing financially and physically, but my concern is that they grow spiritually.
5. Billy Sunday said that when he was a new convert, an older preacher told him: do these three things every day and you will never backslide: read your Bible every day; pray every day; and talk to someone about the Lord every day. Billy Sunday said he determined to do that and he never did backslide.
6. “Virtue” here means “moral power” or “moral energy” or “moral character.” It means “vigor of soul” (A.T. Robertson) and “moral excellence” (W.E. Vine).
7. Strong’s Concordance says the word means “valor.”
8. Virtue is followed by “knowledge” (II Peter 1:5), i.e., spiritual sense, insight and understanding. This knowledge comes from the Word of God.
9. There are too many Biblically-illiterate people in our churches today. And there are too many pastors that are not teaching their people the Word of God.
10. Christian author David Wells, in his book, No Place for Truth, says, “I have watched with growing disbelief as the evangelical church has cheerfully plunged into astounding theological illiteracy.”
11. Researcher George Barna writes, “The Christian body in America is immersed in a crisis of biblical illiteracy.” In my opinion, Mr. Barna is part of the problem. He is now promoting the home-church movement.
12. Gary Burge, professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, asserts that biblical illiteracy is at a crisis level not just in our culture in general but in America’s churches.
13. Mr. Burge points to research at Wheaton College in which the biblical and theological literacy of incoming freshmen have been monitored. These students, who represent almost every Protestant denomination in the United States from every state in the country, have returned some “surprising results”:
- One-third could not put the following in order: Abraham, the Old Testament prophets, the death of Christ, and Pentecost.
- Half could not sequence the following: Moses in Egypt, Isaac’s birth, Saul’s death, and Judah’s exile.
- One-third could not identify Matthew as an apostle from a list of New Testament names.
- When asked to locate the biblical book supplying a given story, one-third could not find Paul’s travels in Acts, half did not know that the Christmas story was in Matthew, half did not know that the Passover story was in Exodus (http://www.theologicalstudies.citymax.com/page/page/1573625.htm).
14. There are Christians in Muslim countries and communist countries that would love to own a Bible but they cannot get one. Meanwhile here in America we have plenty of Bibles but few people that actually read them.
15. The next grace is “temperance” (1:6). This means “self-control.” The other day in Brooklyn, a 19-year-old punk tried to abduct an 11-year-old girl. Fortunately she got away and the police arrested the man (he is now out on bail).
16. The young man told police, “When I see young girls, I have to go after them.” There are many people like that today – no self-control. And their passions and lusts are inflamed by Hollywood and pornography and rap music and all of the other garbage in our toxic pop culture.
17. I realize lost sinners are enslaved to sin, but those of us who are saved have been saved from the power of sin. Remember: “His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3).
18. After temperance comes “patience” (1:6). “Temperance has to do with the temptations that spring up from the inside of the believer while patience faces those from the outside” (J. Allen Blair).
19. You are looking at a man who was probably the most impatient man in the world. I had to learn the hard way that “tribulation worketh patience” (Romans 5:3).
20. As a young preacher I had to learn James 1:3, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.”
21. To patience we add “godliness” (II Peter 1:6). This means “reverence” and “holiness.” We need to understand how important this is. The other night one of our men was praying during the service and I actually heard people talking while he prayed.
22. We have youngsters (and even a few adults) get up and walk out during the preaching service (cf. I Tim. 3:15). I am opposed to formalism but I strongly believe in godly reverence.
23. Next comes “brotherly kindness” (II Peter 1:7). Christians ought to be the kindest of people. The great evangelist Sam Jones had a message he preached all over the country, “Quit Your Meanness.”
24. “…and to brotherly kindness charity” or love (1:7b). This is broader than “brotherly kindness.” Galatians 5:22 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love…”
25. First Corinthians 13:4 says, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”
26. Romans 13:10 says, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
27. If you really love some one you will want to see him or her get saved.
1. The other night there was a presidential debate at the University of South Carolina.
2. One of the candidates, Governor Huckabee said this, “I'm pro-life because I believe life begins at conception, and I believe that we should do everything possible to protect that life because it is the centerpiece of what makes us unique as an American people. We value the life of one as if it’s the life of all, and that's why we go out for the 12-year-old Boy Scout in North Carolina when he's lost; that's why we look for the 13 miners in Sago, West Virginia, when the mine explodes; that’s why we go looking for the hikers in Mount Hood, because we value life, and it's what separates us from the Islamic jihadists who are out to kill us.”
3. I agree with Governor Huckabee, but let me add something to his comments. Yes, we value life; therefore we should oppose abortion. We value life so we go out searching for a child lost in the woods or a miner trapped in a coal mine or a hiker up on a mountain, etc.
4. But there is something far more important than rescuing a little boy out in the woods or rescuing a miner trapped in a mine or a hiker wandering on Mount Hood – and that is rescuing a lost sinner from hell.
5. I read about a man who fell into a ten-foot hole in the Grand Canyon. On one side there was a wall of solid rock. On his other side there was a 50-foot drop-off ledge. He had no way of getting out.
6. After two long days a helicopter came and pulled him out. After climbing into the helicopter he said, “I feel as if I have been born again!”
7. But being born again is far better than being pulled out of a pit – it’s being pulled out of the pit of hell.
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