Passage: 2 Peter 1:3-11
Approach a member of the congregation...
- hand him/her a hammer and ask him or her to build something (Slide2)
When they say they cannot, ask why not?
answer should be something along the lines of (Slide3)
- I don’t have the tools
- I don’t have the materials
- I don’t know how
- I don’t have time
The bottom line - we’re not equipped....that is, we don’t have what we need to do it. That’s often how we feel in life, isn’t it? Sometimes we’re just not equipped for work, for specific tasks. And the truth is, we’re not all equipped for just anything, because we’re not all supposed to do just anything & everything
For example, when I was in High school, I always wanted to be in the armed forces – the army or the air force. There were just two problems with that. Was I equipped to be in the army or the air force?
1. I didn’t have perfect eyesight
2. I have a condition called epilepsy
These two things stood between me and being in the firing line fortunately, I realized that early on I wasn’t equipped to be in the armed forces, and it’s clear I wasn’t supposed to be, no big deal!
When a builder shows up on the jobsite to build something, or sends someone to build something, do you think they will show up one day and says, let’s build this? No, he gets all the materials, he gets all the tools, and he gets the people who know what to do with those materials and tools.
He comes fully equipped for the job at hand...
Equipping is empowerment....being equipped means you have the power to do something. We like the sound of something that’s Powerfully Equipped. (Slide 4)
We will read a passage of scripture here in a moment which reveals that idea in a fuller way.
Put more simply, I wouldn’t ask someone to go paint our bedroom upstairs, without proper instruction, without giving them paint and brushes!!! Without empowering and equipping them with what they need, to do what I’ve asked them to do.
When we look at the bible, we see that God asks or commands us to do many things. God says, "Be holy as I am holy." Jesus says, "Go and make disciples of all nations." Jesus tells us to love our neighbours as ourselves. Bible tells us to rejoice in the Lord always. It tells us not to conform to this world. Jesus also tells us to bless those who persecute us. (slide6) It teaches us to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than ourselves. The same passage tells us to look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. With many of these things, we might have the same reaction as in our opening illustration.
I don’t know how.
I don’t have the tools, the equipment, the ability, the time.
That is, I’m not equipped to do those things. But here’s the thing..
Point 1: God’s divine power equips us powerfully & fully (2 Peter 1:1-4)
Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
He calls us to be godly – living God’s way, and equips us to be godly... He gives us the tools to be godly... (slide7)
Now, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Yes, we still struggle with sin. We have to learn to use the tools He’s given us to be godly – to live as Christian people. You could equip me with all the tools and materials I needed to fix my car, and they’d be wasted. Because I wouldn’t know how to use them well!!!
What this verse is saying, I believe, is that not only has he given us the tools,
He’s given us the knowledge. We just have to decide to use the tools, and learn how to use the tools...and yes we can learn.
It would be stupid and a waste of time if He didn’t equip us to learn what we need to learn to be godly, or even to cope with life? But here, Peter tells us that God has given us everything we need for life; He has given us everything we need for godliness to live life God’s way.
Let’s take a closer look at what this passage tells us about being Powerfully Equipped. (slide8)
First of all, we’re not just talking about any old power, the kind of power that can fail and blackout the local neighbourhood. Not like my oven where only a few of the elements work, or our dry machine that I inherited from my mum – it’s about 30 odd years old and looks like a dump. Here we’re talking about divine power.
Of course, divine means it comes from God. It’s not anything we can develop on our own. It’s not anything we bring to the task naturally. It does not come from within us. It comes from God.
The truth is, we don’t have the resources, we’re not equipped, in and of ourselves, to cope with life, or to live godly lives. That’s something we have to recognize when we come to Christ for salvation. Just as we must say before God at the moment we receive His free gift of salvation through Jesus:
"God, I know I’m a sinner, and I cannot live up to your standards, I cannot save myself."
As believers, no matter how long we’ve been followers of Christ, no matter how much we’ve grown in Him, we’re still in the same state:
We cannot be godly, we cannot live up to His standards in our own strength.
Jesus said, "apart from me you can do nothing." The moment we believe we can go it alone, or try that, we’ve failed. But the good news is that once we’ve recognized that we need Him, we have this divine power source that we can plug into, enabling us to live Godly lives.
In this verse, the word is used to tell us of the free giving of God’s power, with the result being we have everything we need, to live as Christian men and woman.
The verb here “given us” in verse 3 indicates that this divine power does not give life and godliness because somebody deserves it, but because it is available to all Christians...it is a free gift. (slide9)
It’s the same word used in verse 4, where it says that God has given us His great and precious promises. And again, the implication in the language is clear: These are promises of God, given to believers, initiated by God Himself, and therefore, undeserved promises....but promises nonetheless. (slide10)
Next in this passage, let’s look briefly at the words "life and godliness."
Because of the context, it’s clear the primary meaning of life here refers to our moral or spiritual life.
Of course, I also believe God wouldn’t have us separate life into the sacred and secular, the spiritual and non-spiritual, quite as much as we tend to, which says to me that all aspects of our life can be applied here.
Godliness is an interesting word here. The Greek word has to do with devotion to God, or piety toward Him. Let me read an explanation from a Bible Dictionary:
When godliness is applied to the Christian life, it denotes a life that is acceptable to Christ, indicating the proper attitude of the believer toward Christ who has saved him. It is both an attitude and a manner of life. It is in this manner that 1 Tim. 4:7 says,
"Train yourself to be godly,: or "discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness." It does not come automatically, but is something into which we must put effort. In 1 Tim. 6:11, we are urged to "follow after righteousness, godliness"
Peter tells us that God has given us everything we need, everything we need for life and godliness, and we’ve just taken a look at what all this implies.
And the way He’s given us this, the means through which God has equipped us with His Power, is through, because of, produced by, our knowledge of Him. (Slide11)
It’s not just knowledge, not just knowing stuff, its full knowledge....
It’s not knowing everything, but knowing everything we need to know. And it requires, on our part, participation. It requires cooperation with the Giver of this gift.
And the result.. (slide12)
2 Peter 1:8
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, how do we get this all-important knowledge of Him to keep from being ineffective & unproductive?
Peter tells us: (slide13)
1. it’s God’s divine power that does all this.
2. This power has equipped us for everything we need for life and godliness
3. The conduit, the means, through which we can access this divine power, is our knowledge of Him.
Now, I don’t want to discount the value of experiential knowledge. Clearly the bible tells us that we can know Him through what we see, (read Romans 1) and seeing is also experiencing.
So I don’t want to imply that this is the be-all and end-all of knowing Him. I also don’t mean to de-emphasize the importance of communing with God through prayer as a means of knowing Him.
But I think we can agree that the primary means God has given us of knowing Him, is His Word. (slide14)
I think we could even say that our experience of Him with our senses, and in our prayer, is guided by, enhanced by, driven by, the Word of God.
After all, the God’s word instructs us to pray. God’s word tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God, and we see that with our senses...we experience that in real life, especially when I wake up on a beach and see the sunrise. (slide15)
Now think about what that means here in the context of 2 Peter 1:3.
1. His divine power gives us what we need
2. It gives us everything; it fully equips us, with all we need for life, with all we need for godliness.
3. The primary way we’re equipped....fully-equipped.
Is through our knowledge of Him, and our knowledge of Him is primarily revealed through His Word.
Now, if we believe that...if we really want to be equipped to deal with all of life....
If we really want to have the power to live as godly, God-honouring, Christlike believers in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, how can we get there?
How can we be equipped is this way? How can we have everything we need for life and godliness?
Through our knowledge of Him.
Through what He’s given us, by His divine power.
This passage tells us he’s given us what we need.
So, if we say, I can’t do it, I don’t know how, I’m not equipped; we’re calling God a liar. Because here it is: The precious Word of God...the primary means of obtaining our knowledge of Him.
It sits on our shelves. It sits there while we read other things. It sits there while we watch TV. It sits there while we do anything but plug into the source of this power.
Now, in the introduction I showed how foolish it would be for me to ask someone to build something, or go upstairs and paint, without giving them the tools to do it. Without giving them any instructions. The opposite of that, is what we face when we look at this passage of scripture. It’s as if I gave someone the paint brushes, I gave them more than enough paint. I sent them to a Tafe course somewhere, to train them in how to paint walls, and how to do it well.
And they even came to work from Tafe with a manual, which reminded them of all the things they were supposed to have learned. After all that, what would you think of the person I asked to paint, if they said, "I can’t?" "I don’t have the tools," "I don’t know how.” "I don’t have what I need."
You’d want to say to that person, "sure you do."
"I’ve given it to you." There’s the paint. There’s the brush. There’s your manual they gave you after graduating from Tafe. Just use what I’ve given you.
I think that’s why Peter continues in this passage, after recognizing that these things are a gift from God, after recognizing that we’re fully-equipped, how we can escape the corruption in the world.
After pointing out all these truths, Peter writes:
Point 2: Faith Results in Spiritual Growth (2 Peter 1:5–7)
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
To put it simply Peter says: use what God has given you.
Cooperate with Him. God has acted, now you must cooperate. Get with His program. If you don’t, you’re nearsighted and blind, and you’ve forgotten what God has done for you. (slide17)
2 Tim. 3:16-17
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The Word of God is just that - His inspired Word, His message, His equipping for our lives, for godliness.
We must apply it to our lives to take advantage of that equipping.
We must read it, know it, study it, and memorize it. God has revealed what is true - right here in His Word.
What good is it for us to be equipped with all this power, if we don’t use it?
Point 3: Finally as Christians we have true Security (vv. 10–11).
10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
If you walk around with your eyes closed, you will stumble! (slide19)
But the growing Christian walks with confidence because he knows he is secure in Christ. It is not our profession of faith that guarantees that we are saved; it is our progression in the faith that gives us that assurance.
The person who claims to be a Christian but whose character and conduct give no evidence of spiritual growth is deceiving him or herself and heading for judgment.
Peter pointed out that “calling” – which is to be a Christian and “election” – Chosen by God to live his way goes together. The same God who elects His people also ordains the means to call them. The two must go together,
We do not preach election to non- Christians; we preach the Gospel. But God uses that Gospel to call sinners to repentance, and then those sinners discover that they were chosen by God!
Peter also pointed out that election is no excuse for spiritual immaturity or for lack of effort in the Christian life. I’ve heard some Christians say, “What is going to be is going to be. There is nothing we can do.” But Peter admonishes us to “be diligent.” This means “make every effort.” (slide20)
While it is true that God must work in us before we can do His will (Phil. 2:12–13), it is also true that we must be willing for God to work, and we must cooperate with Him. Divine election must never be an excuse for human laziness.
The Christian who is sure of his election and calling will never “stumble” but will prove by a consistent life that he is truly a child of God. He will not always be on the mountaintop, but he or she will always be climbing higher. If we do “these things” (the things listed in 2 Peter 1:5–7, cf. v. 8), if we display Christian growth and character in our daily lives, then we can be sure we are converted, that we are changed and will one day be in heaven. (slide21)
In fact, the growing Christian can look forward to “an abundant entrance” into the eternal kingdom! The Greeks used this phrase to describe the welcome given Olympic winners when they returned home. Every believer will arrive in heaven, but some will have a more glorious welcome than others.
The Christian life begins with faith, but that faith must lead to spiritual growth—unless it is dead faith. But dead faith is not saving faith (James 2).
Faith leads to growth and growth leads to practical results in life and service. People who have this kind of Christian experience are not likely to fall to false teaching.
The passage tells us that we have been equipped with everything we need to live as a Christian in our world today. God has given us tools of the trade are we going to use the tools to live God’s way?