Taking the High Road
Text: 2Peter 1:1-11
Introduction: Those who are born again have a hatred for sin: I once read a story close to the following: A woman, who loved roses, decided one day to cut some of them. Back near the center of one of her rosebushes, she spotted a particularly beautiful rose, which she wanted to cut. Carefully, she maneuvered her hand into the rosebush to do so. Suddenly, she felt something cold begin to coil around her arm. She quickly drew her arm back out of the rosebush, and to her horror, there was a black snake wound around her arm! With utter revulsion and fear, she violently shook her arm until the serpent was flung loose from her limb!--and from that day onward, she would not go near that rosebush. Her hatred, fear, and abhorrence of snakes was stronger than her attraction toward the roses on that bush. --Duane V. Maxey
--So many people live with the idea that sin is inevitable. This is the low road. Others have come to realize the power of God to keep the Christian from sin. These are those who take the High Road.
I. Attend To The Promise (3-4)
A. A Promise of Power
*What if someone questioned me about if electricity can light a 60 watt bulb. I try to convince him ... Let's consider the source! This bulb is in the lamp socket plugged into the outlet - the outlet goes to the fuse box - to the transformer - to the Power station - to the Power plant which lights this part of the county. At the Power Plant the energy is generated from the dam or nuclear power station. The source provides billions of units of energy. The bulb is at the smallest end of the big source of power! LIKEWISE Someone may say, "How can I keep victorious and not lose my salvation? Consider the source! The Pastor says 'divine power.' He got the message from God's Word, the Bible. It is inspired of the Holy Spirit who is God. God is the author; He is all powerful. He made the Universe and all in it. He is the source of all power! Do you think God is big enough to take care of you?
B. A Promise of Participation
- Participation in the divine nature is not a stuff encounter, but a savior encounter. Participation in the divine nature is a remedy for the fallen nature, because when it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me, then the one who is at the controls is Christ. You still have your individuality with choice enabled and intact, but when your choice is subsumed and submitted to the will of Christ, it is He who you engage first and foremost in all your choices and actions.
C. A Promise of Purity
* One day a young minister was being escorted through a coal mine. At the entrance of one of the dim passageways, he spied a beautiful white flower growing out of the black earth. "How can it blossom in such purity and radiance in this dirty mine?" the preacher asked. "Throw some coal dust on it and see for yourself," his guide replied. When he did, he was surprised that the fine, sooty particles slid right off the snowy petals, leaving the plant just as lovely and unstained as before. Its surface was so smooth that the grit and grime could not adhere to it.
Our hearts should have the same characteristic. Just as that flower could not control its habitat, so we cannot help it that we have to live in a world filled with evil. But God's grace can keep us so clean and unspotted that though we touch every side, it will not cling to us.
If we want the Lord's full blessing and approval, we must heed the admonition, "...keep thyself pure" (1 Tim 5:22). By the cleansing power of His Word and the sanctifying influence of His Holy Spirit, it is possible for the Christian to remain "clean in a dirty place."
See: 2 Cor 7:1; 1 Thess 5:23; 2 Pet 1:4; Jam 1:27
II. Acquire Possession (5-7)
A. Requiring the exercise of beginning Faith
*When General Booth was in this country he told the story of a man
who was starving to death, and the man received a check from a friend,
promising to pay a certain amount of money to him. He held it up and
danced around the room in his glee. His wife looks at him and says:
"Poor man, I was afraid it would be too much for him. He has suffered
until he is unsettled mentally." "Wife," he said, "I am going to have
it framed and hang it up. I will have it set to music and we will sing
it every day." And General Booth said he could have it framed, and
could have it set to music and sing it every day of his life, sing it
hour after hour until he died, and it would not do him any good if he
did not take the check and demand payment. It is thus we treat God's
promises. They are valueless without we present them to Him and
believe them. -- J.W.C.
By J. Wilbur Chapan, "Present Day Parables."
B. Reaping the excellence of beautiful Character
*Character is not made in a crisis. It is only exhibited in
* A dear old lady was asked what she used to make her complexion so beautiful and her whole being so bright and attractive. She answered in short:
I use for my lips, truth;
I use for my voice, kindness;
I use for my eyes, compassion;
I use for my hands, charity;
I use for my figure, uprightness;
I use for my heart, love;
I use for any who do not like me, prayer.
Try this make-up and see what it will do for you.
--- Robert G. Lee, Lee Lines, (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1937) 18-19
C. Revealing the Expression of brotherly love.
*An anecdote published many years ago of the Indian chief, Teedyuscung, king of the Delawares, is too valuable to be lost. One evening he was sitting at the fireside of a friend. Both of
them were silently looking at the fire, indulging their own reflections. At length, the silence was broken by the friend, who said, "I will tell thee what I have been thinking of. I have been thinking of a rule delivered by the Author of the Christian religion which, from its excellence, we call the 'Golden Rule.'" "Stop," said Teedyuscung, "don't praise it to me, but rather tell me what it is, and let me think for myself. I do not wish you to tell me of its excellence. Tell me what it is." "It is for one man to do to another as he would have the other do to him." "That's impossible! It cannot be done," Teedyuscung immediately replied.
Silence again ensued. Teedyuscung walked about the room. In about a quarter of an hour, he came to his friend with smiling countenance, and said, "Brother, I have been thoughtful of what
you told me. If the Great Spirit that made man would give him a new heart, he could do as you say, but not else. Thus, the Indian identified the only means by which man can fulfill the "Golden Rule."
-- Dictionary Of Illustrations
III. Add Progression (8-9)
A. Personal growth
Sir Edmund Hillary, who attempted to scale Mount Everest, lost one of the members of his team in the failed effort. He returned to a hero's welcome in London, England, where a banquet held in his honor was attended by the lords and ladies and powerful people of the British Empire. Behind the speakers' platform were huge blown-up photographs of Mount Everest. When Hillary arose to receive the acclaim of the distinguished audience, he turned around and faced the mountain and said, "Mount Everest, you have defeated me. But I will return. And I will defeat you. Because you can't get any bigger and I can." --Robert Schuller
B. Productive Labor
A poor, hungry man stood idly on a bridge watching some
fishermen. Seeing one of them with a basket full of fish by his
side, he said, "if I had a catch like that, I'd be happy. I'd
sell it and buy some food and clothes." "I'll give you that
many fish if you do a small favor for me," said the fisherman.
"What do you want me to do?" came the reply. "Just tend this
line a while. I've got some business down the street." Gladly
the young man accepted the offer. After the man left, the trout
and bass continued snapping greedily at the baited hook. Soon
he lost all his depression in the excitement of pulling in a
large number of fish. When the angler returned, he said to the
young man, "I'll keep my promise to you by giving you everything
you've caught. And I hope you've learned a lesson. You mustn't
waste time daydreaming and merely wishing for things. Instead,
get busy and cast in a line for yourself."
C. Preserved Purity
* A farmer went each week to the Farmers' Market to sell, among other things, the cottage cheese and apple butter made on his farm. He carried these in two large tubs, from which he ladled the cottage cheese or apple butter into smaller containers the customers brought.
One day he got to the Market and discovered he'd forgotten one of his ladles. He had no choice but to use the one he did bring for both products.
Before long, as the two products got mixed in with each other, he couldn't tell which was which.
That's the way it is when the child of God loses his or her purity --he or she is no longer different, distinct, from the people of the world.
IV. Apply Persistence (10-11)
A. With a Diligent Watch
* "For this grace it is in our power to kindle or to extinguish; wherefore he elsewhere says, "Quench not the Spirit." (1 Thess 5:19) For by sloth and carelessness it is quenched and by watchfulness and diligence it is kept alive. For it is in thee indeed, but do thou render it more vehement, that is, fill it with confidence, with joy and delight. Stand manfully." 2 Timothy 1:6 comments, St. Chrysostom
B. With a Deliberate Walk
* Have you ever wondered why a pigeon walks so funny? According to an interesting article in the Detroit Free Press, a pigeon walks the way it does so it can see where it's going. Because it can't adjust its focus as it moves, the pigeon actually has to bring its head to a complete stop between steps in order to refocus. This is the way it walks: head forward, stop; head back, stop. Don't laugh -- that's how it goes!
In our spiritual walk with the Lord we have the same problem as the pigeon. We have a hard time seeing while we're moving. We also need to stop between steps -- to refocus on where we are in relation to the World and the will of God. That's not to say we have to stop and pray and meditate about every little decision in life. But certainly our walk with the Lord needs to have built into it a pattern of "stops," which enable us to see more clearly before moving on.
C. With a Devine Weapon
--Not a self help program, but a divine help promise!
* If you want to be distressed -- look within. If you want to be defeated -- look back. If you want to be distracted -- look around. If you want to be dismayed -- look ahead. If you want to be delivered -- look up!
Conclusion: Centuries ago in Italy, an artist, about to paint a picture of the Madonna and the Child, after long search found a beautiful young peasant woman with a lovely child at her breast. He selected them for his model, and the picture was painted and hung in one of the galleries. Long afterward, he was at work on a New Testament scene which brought in Judas. He searched through the criminal quarters of the city, and among the baser elements of the population. At length, in one of the jails he found a desperate, wicked man, sentenced to death for his crimes against mankind. He chose this evil, sinister face as his model for Judas Iscariot.
Day after day, he went down to the prison and sketched the face of this criminal. Working on the painting in his studio one day, he saw something about the face that made him wonder. Day after day, he puzzled over the matter, and at last the secret flashed upon him--it was the same face that he had painted long ago as the infant Jesus! --McCartney