Our Spiritual Wake-up Call
Our Spiritual Wake-up Call
2 Peter 1 8-18
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - March 17, 2013
*Peter has been talking about the wonderful things God has done and can do in our lives. Now starting in vs. 8, Peter gives us a spiritual wake-up call from God. Let's begin by reading 2 Peter 1:8-18.
*Sometimes people get sleepy in church. We've all been there. I read about a preacher named Jim Dunn, who sometimes forgot when to stop preaching. One Sunday the sermon seemed to go on forever, and many in the congregation fell asleep.
*Well, Jim's wife is named Gladys, -- Gladys Dunn. And she is a lot like my wife: energetic and friendly to everybody. Gladys loved to greet visitors after church. That Sunday, she walked up to a sleepy, new guest, stuck out her hand and said, "Hello, I'm Gladys Dunn."
*That sleepy man looked back at her and replied: "You're not the only one!" (1)
*Sometimes we're going to get sleepy in church, but a much bigger problem is Christians falling asleep spiritually in life. That's why in vs. 13 Peter said: "Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you."
*The word picture behind "stir you up" is someone who keeps trying to wake us up. God wants His people to wake up! And in these verses He helps us see what this means.
1. First: God wants us to wake up, to the great responsibility of His riches.
*Think back on the wonderful things God has done in our lives:
-Back in vs. 1 Peter says that we "have obtained like precious faith with" them "by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ."
-In vs. 2, God's "grace and peace are being multiplied to" us "in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."
-In vs. 3, "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue."
-And in vs. 4 we see the "exceedingly great and precious promises" that have been given to us.
*Then in vs. 5-7 Peter listed 7 divine qualities that can be added to our lives because we are born again with the nature of Jesus Christ: Virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, Godliness, brotherly kindness and God's kind of agape love. All of these fruitful things can grow in us because of our relationship with Jesus.
*And since so much has been given to us, we have the responsibility to live Godly, fruitful lives in this world. God wants us to be fruitful! -- Adding new virtues to our lives, and adding new people to His Kingdom.
*This is why in vs. 8 Peter said: "For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
*Then in vs. 12&13:
12. Therefore I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know them, and are established in the present truth.
13. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you,
*Peter wanted to wake us up to the great responsibility that comes to us because so much has been given to us. God's riches bring great responsibility. As Jesus said in Luke 12:48, "Everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required."
*We can be inspired by a Christian girl who lives in India. Her name is Namrata Nayak. Namrata is about 15 years old today. But when she was 10, Hindu extremists bombed her home trying to kill Christians. Namrata's face was badly burned and she had shrapnel wounds on 40 percent of her body.
*At the time Elizabeth Scalia wrote: "I am struck by her power and beauty, which is transmitted through her eyes. One does not see the scars for the steadiness and fullness of Namrata Nayak's eyes. Her eyes are fearless. She is unintimidated.
*She looks directly at you, with a collectedness and assurance that only comes from deep interior knowledge. Namrata knows who she is. At ten years of age, she understands the world in ways many of us never will, no matter how long we tread the stony paths."
*Here are the little girl's own heroic words: "The world has seen my face destroyed by the fire, now it must come to know my smile full of love and peace. I want to dedicate my life to spreading the Gospel. We forgive the Hindu radicals who attacked us, who burned our homes. They were out of their minds. They do not know the love of Jesus. For this reason, I now want to study so that when I am older I can tell everyone how much Jesus loves us. This is my future." (2)
*Thankfully, Namrata almost completely recovered from her burns. But haven't we been given so much more than her? Surely we have in many ways. And so we have the responsibility to be like her.
-God wants us to wake up to the great responsibility of His riches.
2. He also wants us to wake up to the treasure of our time.
*Peter reminds us of this treasure in vs. 12-14, where he says:
12. I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know them, and are established in the present truth.
13. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you,
14. knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.
*Peter was talking about that walk on the beach he took with the Lord after Jesus rose from the dead. Three times Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me?"
*Then in John 21:18 Jesus told Peter, "Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish." Jesus was talking about Peter dying on a cross. And by the time Peter wrote this letter, that time was near.
*Even at the best, our time in this world is short. James 4:14 asks, "What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."
*Our time in this world is a treasure. It's too precious to waste. The life we live in this world is much shorter than we think. Abraham Lincoln died almost 148 years ago. It was on April 14th, 1865, and that seems like a long, long time ago. But one of Mary's grandfathers was born that same year! And we were born just 86 years after Lincoln died.
*One time our daughter Katie and I were on the way to school, and we started talking about an old song I was singing. I told her I thought it was from back in the late 50's. And in amazement she asked: "You were alive in the 50's?"
*The 50's may seem like forever ago, but it's not. Our time in this world is short. And we should treat it like a treasure.
-God wants us to wake up to the treasure of our time.
3. He also wants us to wake up to the legacy we can leave.
*Peter was thinking about his legacy in vs. 15 when he said: "Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease."
*Peter wanted to have a long and lasting legacy. Peter wanted his life to count for Christ long after he had joined the Lord in Heaven. What kind of legacy will we leave for the cause of Christ?
*One of the great blessings God has given me was the privilege of 5 mission trips to Ukraine. I still have some contacts over there, and this week I heard from a Youth Pastor named Roman Bevz. Roman is coming back to the States in May. And Lord willing, I would like our church to hear about and help his work with students in Ukraine.
*The last time I got to go there was in 2005. While I was there, I had a conversation with Pastor Sergei Gaza's wife. She was about 30 years old at the time. And Olla reminded me how hard life was for Christians under the Communist regime.
*She said that when she was a little girl the teachers were told to scare the little children away from going to church. They had to tell the children that if they went to church, their parents would probably lose their jobs. Our translator Anna said that her mother was a teacher and she was forced to do the same thing.
*The teachers were even forced to stand outside the churches and make sure that no children came. Anna knew one little girl whose grandmother deeply desired her to go to church. So, she dressed her granddaughter up like one of the old ladies, but the teacher saw the smooth skin on the young girl's hands as they walked into church. And that young girl was expelled from school.
*Olla also told me about her grandfather. When she was a little girl, he hid two things from the Communists to help his family: One was a large bag of wheat so they wouldn't starve, and the other was his Bible. The communists didn't find the wheat, but they did find the Bible and they burned it.
*From that point on, her grandfather taught the Bible to his children through the Scripture he had memorized and the Bible stories he remembered. He even wrote out the Bible stories as poems so they would be easier for the children to remember.
*What a legacy that grandfather left for his family and for other people! He left a legacy that continues to bear fruit today. He left a legacy that will last forever!
-And God wants us to wake up to the legacy we can leave.
4. He also wants us to wake up to the glory of God.
*Peter spoke of God's "Excellent Glory" in vs. 15-18, where he said:
15. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.
16. For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
17. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.''
18. And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
*Of course, Peter was talking about the Lord's miraculous transfiguration. The story is recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke's gospels. And I have blended all 3 for us, because each version adds something we need to know:
Luke 9:28. And it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on (a high) mountain to pray.
Luke 9:29. And as He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening.
Matt 17:2. and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
Mark 9:3. His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.
Luke 9:30. Then behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah,
Luke 9:31. who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
Luke 9:32. But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him.
Luke 9:33. Then it happened, as they were parting from Him, that Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make 3 tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah" -- not knowing what he said.
Mark 9:6. because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid.
Matt 17:5. While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!''
Matt 17:6. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.
Matt 17:7. But Jesus came and touched them and said, "Arise, and do not be afraid.''
Matt 17:8. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
Matt 17:9. Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.''
*This miraculous event gives us a small taste of God's infinite, "Excellent Glory" that Peter mentioned in vs. 17. The glory of God belongs to God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit, but here the Bible stresses the glory that belongs to God the Son, Jesus Christ:
-We see Christ's glory in His radiant, glowing clothes.
-We see Christ's glory in His face that shined like the sun.
-We also see His glory in the Old Testament heroes Moses and Elijah, who were there to worship the Lord.
-Best of all, we see the glory of Jesus Christ in the words of our Heavenly Father who said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!"
*But in this story we can also see the "Excellent Glory" in Christ's love. The Lord's great love for us shows up in the conversation Jesus had on the mountain with Moses and Elijah.
*Luke's Gospel tells us that they were talking about the cross! They were talking about the death Jesus was going to accomplish at Jerusalem. So Paul would later say: "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." (Galatians 6:14)
*God wants us to wake up to the glory of His love in the cross of Jesus Christ!
*Steve Shepherd told about a man over ninety years old who was asked this question by his pastor: "My dear aged friend, do you love Jesus?" His deeply-wrinkled face lit up with a smile that came from 67 years of following Jesus. Then the old man took hold of his preacher's hand and said, "Oh, I can tell you something better than that! It is that He loves me."
*God wants us to wake up to the boundless love that Jesus has for us!
*Max Lucado wrote, "Surely there has to be an end to this love. You'd think so, wouldn't you? But David the adulterer never found it. Paul the (persecutor) never found it. Peter the liar never found it. When it came to life, they hit bottom. But when it came to God's love, they never did. Christian: They, like you, found their names on God's list of love." (3)
*And our gracious, loving God wants us to wake up:
-To the great responsibility of His riches.
-To the treasure of our time.
-To the legacy we can leave.
-And to the infinite glory of our God.
*That's why in Romans 13:11-14, the Apostle Paul said:
11. . . that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
12. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
13. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not in strife and envy.
14. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
*God wants us to wake-up and start walking the right way.
-Now is the time to start.
*Let's ask the Lord to help us, as we go to God in prayer.
(1) SermonCentral illustration contributed by Paul Decker
"FAITH UNDER FIRE" - "Mutilated Christian girl, 10, forgives attackers" - Posted: December 16, 2008 - By Chelsea Schilling - Copyright 2008 WorldNetDaily
(3) SermonCentral sermon "When to Break the Law" by Steve Shepherd - Matthew 12:1-14