Thursday, July 26, 2007


2 Peter 1:1-11 Make Yourself Useful!

How many have heard the clear motivation to “Make yourself useful”. Usually we hear it as a child. The lazy person soon finds motivation by that phrase.
No one wants to be thought useless.
We want to be known as significant to others in this world. We want to know we are more than just a waste of space.
Being useful means we are secure in the knowledge that we are needed.
No ones wants to be thought useless!
2 Peter 1:8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Who among us tonight would like to be known as a failure in the Christian life? That's a pretty stupid question isn't it? After all, who wants to fail? The truth is, every one of us wants to be a successful Christian and we really want to bring glory and honor to God.
Well, you can have it either way you want it! After all, we read of men in the Bible who failed in their Christian experience.
Even today, we see it all around us. Some preacher will fall, or a good church member will get out of God's will. It happens all the time and far too often
Now, if I have my way about it, I don't want this to happen to me! My desire is to be the best that I can be for the glory of God. I would say that that is what you want as well.
Jesus said in John 10:10 " I have come that they may have life and that they might have it more abundantly. We can live our Christian life to it's fullest.
Add to your faith…
Peter has already spoken of the reality of our faith.
2 Peter 1:1 Simeon Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ: To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
ESV : To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
ESV 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith
make every effort to supplement ἐπιχορηγήσατε grew to mean not only to equip a chorus but to be responsible for any kind of equipment. It can mean to equip an army with all necessary provisions; it can mean to equip the soul with all the necessary virtues for life. But always at the back of it there is this idea of a lavish generosity in the equipment. So Peter urges his people to equip their lives with every virtue; and that equipment must not be simply a necessary minimum, but lavish and generous. The very word is an incitement to be content with nothing less than the loveliest and the most splendid life.
In the Christian life there must be steady moral advance. Moffatt quotes a saying that, "the Christian life must not be an initial spasm followed by a chronic inertia. Moral purity refers to every aspect of our lives. Physical, mental, spiritual purity must be maintained if we expect His blessings on our lives. Barclay
1. Virtue 1:5 ἀρετήν: Virtue ("Moral uprightness"; "Holiness") This word literally means "Excellent living. Fullfilment of a thing, Fulfilling the purpose for which it was created." In one word, God is telling you and me that if we will live by the Bible and live morally pure lives, then He will guarantee our success as Christians. Excelling in purity.
In 2 Maccabees we read of how Eleazar died rather than be false to the laws of God and his fathers; and the story ends by saying that he left his death for an example of noble courage (arete,) and a memorial of virtue, not only to young men, but also to all the nation (2Macc 6:31). Barclay
2. Knowledge 1:5 Gno-sis: primarily “a seeking” An inquiry, investigation primarily of spiritual truth. To develop an understanding of what you believe and why you believe it.
Gnosis is that knowledge which enables a man to decide rightly and to act honourably and efficiently in the day to day circumstances of life. So, then, to faith must be added courage and effectiveness; to courage and effectiveness must be added the practical wisdom to deal with life. Barclay
If you re not reading your Bible each day, you are not able to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ 2 Peter 3:18
3. Temperance 1:6 : ἐγκρατείᾳ “strengthen” Learning to yield my controlling power to the operation of the Holy Spirit. It follows knowledge; thus it suggests that what is learned requires to be put into practice. and knowledge with self-control,
Oscar Wilde, a writer/poet of the previous century, once said, "I can resist almost anything but temptation!" While he said it as a joke, it was a revealing remark. In fact, there were few temptations that he resisted. Oscar Wilde lived wildly, defying most every social convention of his time and his life ended in wreckage in 1895. Many of us, if pressed, might have to admit to far more temptation than appears on the surface of our lives. At times those temptations are like hurricane force winds that threaten our destruction. We need self control:
a. Our Tongues (Gossip and telling another person off) Some people are doubting their salvation, being unfruitful, falling into sin, and have no spiritual discernment because they cannot control their tongues!
b. Our Tempers (Flying off the handle, getting mad and getting even.) Some people fail in their Christian life because they cannot control their temper. Temper can get you into big trouble! (Eph. 4:26) (Never think that holding a grudge, or trying to get even will help you. When you do these things, you have assumed the place of God Rom. 12:19)
c. Our Temptations. Everyone is tempted 1 Cor. 10:13. However, not everyone falls into sin! The difference is self-control!
1 Corinthians 9::24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but [only] one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then [do it] to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified"
4. Patience 1:6 ὑπομονήν: cheerful endurance, constancy; an abiding under; The quality that does not surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.
and self-control with steadfastness,
The patient person is the one not swerved from his devotion to God even by the greatest of trials. Many are experiencing failure in their lives just because they allow the slightest little wind to blow them off course. The patient person is one who has endurance.
Chrysostom called hupomone "The Queen of the Virtues." In the King James Version it is usually translated patience; but patience is too passive a word. Hupomone , has always a background or courage. Cicero defines patientia, its Latin equivalent, as: "The voluntary and daily suffering of hard and difficult things, for the sake of honour and usefulness." Didymus of Alexandria writes on the temper of Job: "It is not that the righteous man must be without feeling, although he must patiently bear the things which afflict him; but it is true virtue when a man deeply feels the things he toils against, but nevertheless despises sorrows for the sake of God." Barclay
In May, 1940 the Nazi forces of Germany skirted around the ends of the French Maginot Line, broke through defensive positions and in a matter of days had swept to the English Channel. The British Forces in France were threatened with annihilation and fell back to the beaches of Dunkirk. An epic evacuation of 300,000 troops saved the armies. Under protection of the Royal Air Force, a thousand boats of every size and description left English shores to ferry the shattered armies of the Allies back to England. On June 4, Winston Churchill, England's Prime Minister, reported to Parliament the success of the evacuation. His description of the heroic effort and his call for courage, unity, and determination buoyed the spirits of the English people. It also stirred the resolution of Americans and one week later when Italy entered the war on the side of Germany, President Roosevelt committed our resources to the Allied cause. Mr. Churchill's gravely voice ground out these words that inspired the free world....
"We shall prove ourselves once again to defend our island home, to ride out the storms of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone..... the British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in cause and need, will defend to the death their native soil. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous states have fallen into the grip of the Gestapo and the odious apparatus of the Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend this island whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight on the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender....."
Dr. Raymond Edmond wrote an article called "Advice When In The Tunnel". He made some interesting comments about how trains operate and the attitudes of their passengers when the trains are in tunnels. He pointed out, first of all, that tunnels are always on the main line. You never find a siding in a tunnel. So, he says, when the pressures come, the periods of darkness, recognize that this is all a part of the plan, that you're still on the track, that you're moving in the right direction. Secondly, he says, recognize that you're making progress, because they always build tunnels in the mountains. You never find tunnels in the valley. Just know that this is a part of God's working in your life, that progress is being made thereby and this is something that is just necessary in order to yield further progress. Third, he says, recognize that tunnels always come to an end. When you're in them things seem bleak and dark, they seem interminable, but there is always an end. He says, "Don't stall out in the tunnel; just keep moving on." Now this is what Peter is talking about endurance, the ability to keep moving. to keep walking in obedience no matter how we may feel, no matter what our emotions or circumstances may tell us.
5. Godliness 1:6 εὐσεβείᾳ: piety - reverence for God or devout fulfillment of Christian obligations. To be like God, holiness, to do that which is well pleasing to Him.
and steadfastness with godliness,
Godliness This word literally means, "Walking in view of His greatness." It has reference to the person who has every action and attitude yielded to the fear of the Lord. This person spends his life in a state of "God-like-ness." He spends his days serving God and serving men. Interestingly, the Old Testament Hebrew word for "glory" is KABOD which is a cognate of the verb KABED meaning "to be heavy" or "to have weight." God's glory is the sheer punch of his holy presence, the sense of gravity and seriousness and weightiness you receive when God is near. Peter links this glory of God with ARETÉ. This may provide a clue that there is a connection between the moral and holy grandeur of God and the content of God's goodness. Excellence in Christ means living in such a way as to line up with God and with his excellent designs for how life in this creation is supposed to work.
1 Timothy 4:8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Many are in doubt, in sin, in trouble, because they reached a place in their walk with God where they just didn't care anymore what God thought about anything. They do what they please about church, the Bible, prayer, witnessing, sin, etc. Self is the motivation and not the fear of the Lord. These people have lost their fear of God. What a dangerous thing to do. Rev. 3:19)
The person who practices godliness is one who understands that God truly is an awesome God. He fears the Lord, and strives at every turn to please Him and Him alone,
Eccl. 12: 13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
As I grow older, my daughters often note phrases, gestures, and mannerisms of my Dad showing up in me. Why? Because he was a profound influence in my formative years. His ways were transferred into me without conscious indoctrination. Transference of values is the secret of good parenting. It requires modeling of the kinds of values you want your child to have and spending enough time with them to let them see those values at work in you
6. Brotherly Kindenss 1:6 philadelphia: fraternal affection in word and deed.
2Pe 1:7 and godliness with brotherly affection,
1 John 4:20-21 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? (21) And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
7. Love 1:6 to express the essential nature of God (I Jn. 4:8). Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God’s love is seen in the gift of His Son (I Jn. 4:9-10).
and brotherly affection with love.

Why Should You Be Diligent About These Character Qualities Diligence: σπουδὴν: to use speed to make effort, to be prompt or earnest.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness
Thursday night just before the news, the Antique roadshow had a beautiful ornate French court table. The valuer valued it at 30,000 pounds. Then he said, “well look at it 30,000 pounds and its absolutely useless!” He was right! It was useless as a table. It was useless for any human usage! There was nothing you could do with it.
Costly, but useless!
You were costly too. You were redeemed at a price. The price was the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ! And what about you. Are you useful at all to the Lord? If we develop these character qualities we make ourselves useful to the Lord. Its not great giftedness that God blesses. Its not great abilities that God blesses. It’s great likeness to Christ that God blesses. Will you become useful to God?

8 These Character Qualities Are essential For Your Fruitfulness
If "these things" are found in your life, then you will never be barren, but you will always be a fruitful branch for God's glory. This implies that you will be a witness and a soul winner for Jesus. Whatever "these things" are, they must be pretty great because they promise us that we will always bear fruit. This, after all, is the goal of our Heavenly Father John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. 2 Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit.
8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to beMy disciples.
16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.

9a These Character Qualities Are Essential For Spiritual Discernment
Many people have absolutely no spiritual discernment. They are blind and easily lead astray, Eph. 4:14. But, when "these things" are active in our lives, we will be able to see the tricks, traps and temptations of the Devil. We will be able to see the needs of others and not be blinded by our own selfish interests. We won't ever be blind and in spiritual darkness ever again. I don't know about you, but whatever "these things" are, I want to know about them!

9b These Character Qualities Are Essential For Your Assurance Of Salvation -
Who among us hasn't doubted his/her salvation? We have all doubted from time to time! Many people are so over come with their doubts that are of no use to the Lord. Evidently, they lack "these things." Because, "these things" promise us that we can have assurance of salvation. They promise us that we can get to the place where we never doubt again! I tell you, "these things" must really be something! Whatever "these things" are, then I want to know them. I want to be secure in the knowledge that I am saved.

10 These Character Qualities Are Essential For Your Stability
This verse says plainly that "these things", if practiced in our lives, will ever keep us from falling. How many have fallen as a Christian? Every single one of us has fallen from time to time. But, "these things" promise us a fall free life. If I can get my hands on "these things" then I want them really bad because I never want to fall again. Whatever "these things" are, they are worth going after if they will do all this.

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