2 Peter 1:10-11

2 Peter 1:10-11

(A Bible Study Led by Dr. Larry Reynolds)

March 13, 2014

 

1.      In the year 1928 Alexander Fleming, a Scottish bacteriologist discovered penicillin...penicillin, the first widely used antibiotic drug, revolutionized the practice of medicine...when Fleming began to grasp the importance of his discovery, he warned people against taking an underdose of the penicillin...he said an underdose would permit germs to remain in the system allowing them to build up an immunity to the drug...then, Fleming said that these immune germs could be “passed on to other individuals so that the thoughtless person playing with penicillin treatments may be responsible for the death of another [person]...” [Echoes of Eternity, Dennis Kastens, CSS Publishing]...in other words, according to Alexander Fleming, getting too little penicillin would be worse than getting none at all...

2.      When read that couldn’t help but think that is how many people relate to Christianity...they have some exposure to it...they have been introduced to it...they dabble in Christianity...they play at it...and sadly, they get just enough to make them immune from the real thing...

3.      As we continue our study of that beautiful description of the Christian life found in 2 Peter 1, we’re going to focus on a fifth characteristic of the life to which we are called in Christ...want direct your attention to 2 Peter 1:10-11...(text)

 

T.S. - Key phrase in that passage is at end of v.10...”...for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble...”...for as long as you--

--keep doing what God called you to do...

--keep on persevering...

--keep on keeping on...

you will never stumble...in the context of 2 Peter 1:10 word translated “stumble” means more than merely a slight slip...Peter is not saying there that we will never sin, that we will never make a mistake...that would contradict many other things the Scripture says about our continuing need for forgiveness...the word does not mean a slight, temporary slip...it means to fall into total ruin...and what Peter is saying is that “...as long as you practice these things...” you will never lose your salvation...

That phrase reminds us that perseverance is a quality of saving faith...and faith which does not persevere is not saving faith...an old country preacher put it this way: “If your faith fizzles at the finish, it was faulty from the first.”

Warren Wiersbe puts it this way: 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 child of God but whose character and conduct give no evidence of spiritual growth is deceiving himself and heading for judgment.” [Wiersbe, Be Alert, p.19]

2 Peter 1:10-11 tells us that we are called to a life of perseverance...and in these verses we are told two important things about perseverance...v.10 tells us that..

 

I.       Perseverance comes from looking back at what we have experienced in Christ

1.      Notice that v.10 begins with the word “Therefore...”...therefore looks back at all we have seen so far in our study of 2 Peter 1... therefore since we—

--have entered a life of equal standing before God (v.1)

--are privileged to know God in a personal, intimate way (v.2)

--share in the power of God (v.3)

--are recipients of the precious and magnificent promises of God (v.4)

--are growing and maturing in our walk with God (vv.5-9)

2.      “Therefore” what?...”Therefore—

--brethren - That’s an important word because it indicates that Peter is not questioning their salvation...he identifies them as his brothers in Christ, as fellow believers...

--be all the more diligent - That phrase translates a single word...we came across this word back in v.5 where it is translated “applying all diligence”...it means to be eager, to be characterized by sense of urgency...

--to make certain - To confirm or to remember or to focus on...

--His calling and choosing of you - Refers to what God had done for them in Christ...

Now put that all together...”Based on all I’ve said to this point, fellow believers, be eager to remember what God has done for you in Christ and remembering what God has already done for you give you every reason to persevere, to continue in the faith.”

 


1.      There’s a principle in this don’t want you to miss...while the focus of our lives must be on the present and the future and not the past...while we should be looking more forward than backward...it is helpful to us from time to time to look back and remember what we have experienced in Christ...the blessings of the past, the victories of the past, and the challenges of the past become the foundation upon which we stand today...

2.      And that is what Peter is saying in v.10...looking back at what we’ve experienced in Christ helps us to persevere...but perseverance comes not just from looking back...v.11 tells us that...

 

II.    Perseverance comes from looking forward to what we will experience in Christ

1.      While v.10 looks back, v.11 looks to the future...look at what the verse says...”...for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”...that statement provides a glimpse of what awaits those believers who demonstrate the reality of their faith by perseverance...

2.      Did you know the Bible speaks of at least two ways to enter heaven?... not two ways to get to heaven...there is only one way to get to heaven, and this is through faith in Jesus...the only way to be saved is by accepting into our lives His sacrifice on our behalf...there is no other way to do it...Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life; no-one comes to the Father but through Me.” ...in his great sermon before the Jewish High Court in Acts 4 Peter put it this way: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”

3.      If you are depending on anything else other than a faith relationship with Jesus to get you to heaven, you are going to be greatly disappointed... nothing else will do it...but while there is only one way to get there, the Bible teaches there are at least two ways to enter...

--in I Corinthians 3 Paul speaks of Christians who have not been productive or fruitful in their spiritual lives...says they will enter heaven but “only as through fire...”...that is, they will make it, but they kind of stumble or slink across the finish line...


--but in 2 Peter 1:11 Peter speaks of an “abundant entrance” into the eternal kingdom...the imagery that Peter uses in this verse would have been immediately recognizable to his readers in the 1st century... athletic contests were very much a part of that culture...all over Greece to this day are the ruins of ancient stadiums where the athletes competed ...when Peter speaks of the believer’s “abundant entrance” into heaven, he used the exact phrase used in the 1st century to describe the welcome given Olympic winners when they returned home...

  1. And what I want you to see in all that is that while every believer will make it to heaven, some will have a more glorious welcome that others...

--some (those who have come to faith in Christ but who have not really been serious about living for Him and who have let lessor priorities dominate their lives) will make it, but the entry will not be glorious...

--others (those who have come to faith in Christ and who have made living for Him and serving Him their life’s priority) will experience an “abundant entrance” into heaven like a victorious athlete being welcomed home...

  1. Looking forward to what lies before us in eternity should motivate us to a life of perseverance, to keeping on in the faith today...

                                                 CONCLUSION

1.          Chrysostom was the patriarch of Constantinople in the fourth century. One of the stories surrounding this faithful witness concerns the occasion when the Roman emperor had him arrested and charged with being a Christian. If Chrysostom did not renounce Christ, then the emperor would--

--have this Christian leader banished from the kingdom. Chrysostom responded to the threat by saying that the emperor could not do so, “because the whole world is my Father’s kingdom.”

--“Then,” replied the emperor, “I will take away your life.” To which Chrysostom said, “You cannot, for my life is hid with Christ in God.”

--Next threatened with the loss of his treasure, this saint replied, “You cannot, for my treasure is in heaven where my heart is.”

--The emperor made one last effort: “Then I will drive you away from here and you shall have no friend left.” But again Chrysostom responded, “You cannot, for I have one Friend from whom you can never separate me. I defy you for you can do me no harm.”

[Like a Breath of Fresh Air, Larry M. GoodPaster, CSS Publishing, 1992, sited in eSermons.com, 6/23/02]

  1. In ways more subtle perhaps, but no less real,  we too are often tempted to renounce our faith, to compromise our commitments, to ignore the things we profess to believe...in the face of such constant temptation, it is important to remember that the life to which God calls us in Christ is a life of perseverance, of staying with it, of keeping the faith...this part of God’s Word teaches us that looking back to what we have experienced in Jesus and looking forward to what we will experience in Jesus will help us to persevere even in the face of great difficulty...

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