Introduction: 2 Peter is a book primarily warning the church to guard against false teachers within their fellowship who would lead them into apostasy. (apostasy = abandonment or renunciation of a religious or political belief)Fidelity (or faithfulness) to sound / apostolic teaching is the main concern.
Warnings against Gnosticism was the greatest concern and trend of the day.
Gnosticism – the thought and practice especially of various cults of late pre-Christian and early Christian centuries distinguished by the conviction that matter is evil and that emancipation comes through gnosis
Gnosis – knowledge.
The great Lutheran historian Phillip Schaff says, “All speculative theologians who endeavor to reconcile reason and revelation, may be called Christian Gnostics … bringing with them a morbid pride of wisdom, an arrogant, self-conceited, ambitious knowledge, which puffs up, instead of edifying … resting on an over-valuation of knowledge and a depreciation of faith.” (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 2, p. 445.)
I. Gift(s) Given
v. 3 ‘By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.’ (NLT)
1. A complete knowledge of the doctrines of the Gospel.
2. Power to preach and defend their doctrines in suitable language, which their adversaries were not able to gainsay or resist,
3. Wisdom to direct them how to behave in all cases, where and when to labor; and the matter suitable to all different cases, and every variety of persons.
4. Miraculous powers, so that on all proper and necessary occasions they could work miracles for the confirmation of their doctrines and mission.
Application: We shouldn’t / needed to go anywhere else for the truth of what will keep us in the faith.
Transition: He has given/provided everything we need for
II. Virtues for Godly Living / Life
God has called us to live a life of virtue and courage with heaven as the goal and prize.
- He has provided, by His power, all things necessary for a happy life and godliness, having called and brought us unto himself!
Transition: God has provided / given everything; the gifts of knowledge and virtue tied to precious promises.
III. Promises – 2 Peter 1:4a
By his own glorious power he hath freely given unto us exceeding great and invaluable promises.
- The Jews were distinguished in a very particular manner by the promises which they received from God; the promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and the prophets.
- God promised to be their God; to protect, support, and save them; to give them what was emphatically called the Promised Land;
- and to cause the Messiah to spring from their race.
- Peter intimates to these Gentiles that God had also given unto them exceeding great promises; indeed all that he had given to the Jews, the mere settlement in the Promised Land excepted; and this also he had given in all its spiritual meaning and force. And besides
Ta megista epangelmata, these superlatively great promises, which distinguished the Mosaic dispensation, he had given them ta timia epangelmata; the valuable promises, those which came through the great price;
- enrolment with the church of God,
- redemption in and through the blood of the cross,
- the continual indwelling influence of the Holy Spirit,
- the resurrection of the body, and
- eternal rest at the right hand of God.
It was of considerable consequence to the comfort of the Gentiles that these promises were made to them, and that salvation was not exclusively of the Jews.
IV. Enablement’s – 2 Peter 1:4b
These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires’. (NLT)
Transition: But there is more beyond the gifts, virtues, enablement’s and promises.
Transition: In view that the Lord has given us all we need, to be believers, to know Him, have his promises, he admonishes to add a few things.
2 Peter 1:5a ‘In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises’. (NLT)
IV. Matters of Addition – 2 Peter 1:5b-7
- moral excellence (purity, modesty, moral excellence).
- Knowledge – a deeper more perfect and enlarged knowledge of faith/religion, such as belongs to the more advanced.
Application: Don’t remain a babe in faith or you’ll get gobbled up by those who claim to be wise or have knowledge.
- self-control / temperance – the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, esp. his sensual appetites.
- Perseverance – steadfastness, constancy, endurance.
- Godliness – reverence, piety, respect toward God
- brotherly kindness – Philadelphia
- love for everyone – agape
Conclusion: Peter is aware that this new ‘cult’ of self-knowledge and self-good is just no good! We see this still today and probably growing in strength and popularity as time moves forward.
Don’t trust / look to self or deny God and the apostolic teaching and then grow in it.
It will save you, keep you, lead you, rescue you and bring you into those deep and precious promises!
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