2 Peter #2 2 Peter 1: 3-4 You Have All You Need
2 Peter #2 2 Peter 1: 3-4
In our teaching today we are going to affirm that God has given us every grace we need to excel in living an exemplary life and that our part is to actualize this grace in our lives.
2 Peter 1:3-4 (MSG)
Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! 4 We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.
The key to growing deep, growing up, and growing fruit, living your life to the full is personally and intimately knowing Jesus. You know that introduction is made through God’s gift of grace that comes before, prevenient grace, that awakens you to your need of a savior. As you seek the Holy Spirit allows you to encounter the good news of the gospel that Jesus is the savior you need. Acknowledging your need, believing that Jesus can meet that need, with faith you commit yourself to be His slave and ask God to accept you. You heard the knock at your soul’s door and opened it to find Jesus standing there with a hand extended to you. This is your introduction. You invite Him into your life. Now you have the privilege of getting to know Him.
The way you develop a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus is not all that different than how you do the same with anyone: you spend time with them.
You can spend time with someone by writing letters. Reading the scripture and journaling are ways of writing letters to Jesus and reading letters from Jesus. You want to get to know Jesus so read the Bible. I suggest you start reading 1 John. When you complete the reading feel free to ask me which book in the Bible you should consider reading next.
You spend time with someone by speaking with them. Prayer is the way you speak with Jesus. Divine conversation talks place in your mind. I know some people brag of visions and verbal voices, but more likely it will be by new ideas in your thinking, seeing things you did not consider before, and a change in your attitudes and feelings.
You spend time with someone by being with them. Because Jesus is One with His disciples, followers of Jesus are little Christs with skin on. It is through fellowship that you allow Jesus to love you through others. It is in the company of those living a devout and holy life, an exemplary life, that you learn that you are loved by Jesus, that you belong, and that you are important.
You spend time with someone by lending them a hand and doing things with them. Working with someone or working for someone you get to know who they are. When you get involved in service, Jesus joins you in the work. I have experienced going out to help someone and coming away feeling I was helped more.
You spend time with someone by celebrating life with them. As you get to know someone personally you know the birthday, the graduation, the anniversary, the promotion, the milestone, victory, and you pay due diligence in celebrating with them. Worship is giving God His due, celebrating all that He has accomplished, the creation, and the blessings He has bestowed. Look for opportunities to celebrate Jesus and you will find them everywhere.
You’re spending time in bible study, in prayer, in fellowship, in service, in celebrating; you’re developing a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. You will want to guard that relationship. You guard that relationship, and keep it healthy, by doing the things that enhance and deepen the intimacy you share and you refrain from any thought or behavior that would weaken the foundation laid. A disciple of Jesus accomplishes this by their intent to be obedient to Jesus’ will and way. Knowledge grows as you lovingly obey.
With any relationship sometimes it requires discussing a hard truth. Something is not right and it’s hindering the relationship. Working it out requires a serious heart-to-heart talk. This is what the spiritual discipline of contemplation is all about. The Holy Spirit will point out an area in your life that is hurting your relationship with Jesus and then together you work it out.
Everyone’s experience is unique but those who have a genuine desire for a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus advise that it is through the practice of the 7 spiritual habits of a disciple that this knowledge comes. Bible Study, Prayer, Fellowship, Service, Worship, Obedience, and contemplation. Engaging in all these activities is how they grew in their knowledge of Christ.
The bible contains the primary source information about who Jesus is, and what Jesus is all about. Prayer is openly and honestly sharing your thoughts, concerns, and desires and allowing time to listen to God’s guidance. Surrounding yourself with folks who have that desire to live exemplary lives is important to know Jesus for where two or three gather in His name, Jesus manifests himself among them. This is a mystery while being a true experience. In this fellowship, we receive Jesus’ encouragement and accountability. Looking for reasons to celebrate Jesus allows you to sense His presence as you move through life. Have you heard someone say: “God is with me.” “God is here in this place.” That’s the result of worship. Loving the lover, and reciprocating love is what you do when you obey all that God has commanded. Living His way increases your knowledge of Jesus which results in even more grace and peace. The scripture reveals that if we deviate from the path of righteousness if we step off to the left or the right, the Holy Spirit whispers in our ear the right direction, this is the result of contemplation.
There are other ways to acquire true knowledge of Jesus. Reading the work of those with proven track records of ministry is another way. A.W. Tozer, “The Knowledge of the Holy” is a good place to start. “The Pursuit of God” is another. Oswald Chambers's “My Utmost for His Highest” is a profitable way to start your day. Check out books by E Stanely Jones. Oh, yeah, The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer is another worthwhile read when it comes to discovering who Christ is. Listening to biblical preaching and teaching is another. You will find the preaching of Billy Graham and John Stott a means of gaining true knowledge of Jesus. The teachings of N.T. Wright, if you stick with the ones written for folks like you and me and not the scholars, unless you get into that kind of stuff, will help you grow in the true knowledge of Jesus. You can gain true knowledge of Jesus through music. You’ve got to be picky though, for me Keith Green, Rich Mullins, and Twila Paris help me see and recognize Jesus. Those forgotten hymns of the Church are often rich with insights into Jesus.
Now all this feeds the mind. What is lacking is experiencing Jesus in the ordinariness of your day. To find Jesus during your day go on a God Hunt. Pay attention to your surroundings, the people you interact with, and the tasks you engage in, the conversations you enter into, the acts of kindness and love you see (Chat GPT June 21, 2023). Ask yourself if God is at work in all these routines of life. When you serve someone in love, showing kindness, compassion, and generosity to those around you, Jesus said to give a cup of cold water to one in need, and to do so is giving it to Him. So you encounter Jesus as you love others and this is another powerful way to gain true knowledge of God (Chat GPT June 21, 2023). Another way to develop a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus is going to be introduced by Peter. That way is cultivating the virtues of Christ in your life.
It is experiential knowledge that makes all the head knowledge come out in your life in behaviors that glorify God. Soon you will be able to say with the Apostle Paul, “I know in whom I have believed.”
Everything you need to live a life worthy of the gifts God gives is found in deepening your relationship with Jesus. This miracle that meets your greatest need is given to you at the moment of conversion when after acknowledging, believing, committing, and asking God that moment that God makes you one of His own, that grace and peace yours. Our task is to mature. As that relationship deepens you know Him more. Jesus said that knowing God is the path of salvation. True knowledge results in right action, it is living like Jesus that God is pleased with.
Peter writes that we have been given promises that allow us to participate in the life that God gives. He doesn’t list those promises but we can discover them in other places in scripture.
We have been given the promise of forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, and the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus (John 3:16; Romans 10:9; 1 John 2:25)
We have been given the promise God’s guidance and wisdom are ours when we ask (Proverbs 3:5-6; James 1:5)
We have been given the promise of God’s help in times of trouble and distress (Isaiah 41:10; Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:27).
We have been given the promise of God's provision and care (Matthew 6:25-34; Philippians 4:19)
We have been given the promise of God’s strength and help when we are faced with overwhelming adversity (Isaiah 41:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Hebrews 13:5-6).
We have been given the promise of becoming Christ-like, that’s what sanctification is all about. God's work in us promises to conform us to the image of Christ and to empower us to live a holy life (Romans 8:28-29; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
We have been given the promise of victory over Sin and Death with the assurance of eternal life (Romans 8:1-2; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57; 1 John 5:4-5).
These promises are yours when you bend the knee to Jesus. When you bend your knee to Jesus who are saying no to the things that those who do not know Jesus clamor after. Lust is all ego driven, I want what I want when I want it regardless of the consequences. The Apostle Paul gives us a sad commentary on what happens when you live by egoism in his letter to the congregations in Rome :
Romans 1:21-32 (MSG)
… refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. …24 So God said, in effect, "If that's what you want, that's what you get." It wasn't long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. …26 Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn't know how to be human either—women didn't know how to be women, men didn't know how to be men. 27 Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men—all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.
28 Since they didn't bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating. Look at them: mean-spirited, venomous, fork-tongued God-bashers. Bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags! They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives. They ditch their parents when they get in the way. Stupid, slimy, cruel, cold-blooded. And it's not as if they don't know better. They know perfectly well they're spitting in God's face. And they don't care—worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best!
What Paul has written is a brief description of the corruption that results from living by the dictates of egoism. When you follow Jesus, you turn your back on all of this. If you are caught up in some of these behaviors you seek deliverance to quit, God honors the intent of your heart. By turning your back on worldly corruption caused by egoism you participate in all those promises of God, and you live that exemplary life that is pleasing to God.