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A Beautiful Gift [3-3-24]




March 3, 2024

2 Peter 1:3-7

“A Beautiful Gift”


Let’s start out with a negative observation. Life is not easy. We can all agree on that, right? Life, in general, is a challenge, at best. How many of you, when things are smooth and peachy-keen for a stretch of time, in the back of your minds, are waiting for something to go wrong or for something bad to happen? How many of you don’t think about life that way until the stupid pastor brings it up?


Anyway, none of us escapes the troubles of life in these sinful bodies in this sinful world. We are tempted…we fall prey to temptation…we live with regret…we endure rejection…we have frustrations unique to our personality and character…people disappoint us…we disappoint people…we fail…we’re weak at times…we experience pain…sadness…loneliness… confusion…we get angry over even the smallest things…we’re apathetic… and sometimes we grow weary of people. Sometimes I wonder if it would be too easy for me to be misanthropic or a curmudgeon. We know all too well what it’s like to live in these sinful bodies in this sinful world.


Have I sufficiently brought you down?


Good…I hope I have painted a glum enough picture of how we experience life. Imagine, for a moment, if you will, what it would be like to experience life without God.


Can you live your life triumphantly? Even in the darkest hours, can you deal with life effectively? When things aren’t going well or at their best for you, do you believe God cares? Do you believe He loves you? Can you turn to God no matter what you experience or go through in life?


I love this observation:

“Being optimistic doesn’t mean you don’t experience negative thoughts. I just means that you don’t let them control you.”

  • Ed Latimore


Did you have to read Moby Dick in school? Not a fan. The Bible has a much better whale story. Here’s something author Herman Melville once wrote:

“The reason the mass of men fear God and at the same time 

dislike Him is because they rather distrust His heart, and fancy Him all brain like a watch.”

Interesting how some people consider God nothing more than an unfeeling machine. To them, God doesn’t care much about us or our problems or our ability to deal with the issues of life. It seems like that’s the direction Melville was going.


Well, what does the Bible say? To find out, let’s turn to 2 Peter 1:3-7:

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and 

brotherly affection with love.


As we will see, there is a depth and breadth with which God cares for us that is beyond what we would expect or deserve. In Jesus Christ, God has given us more than we could ever need or want.


Before we move through the specifics of these verses, first two general notions. These flow out of the beginning of verse three, His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. This verse makes two huge points.


First, there’s transcendence. God is above and beyond and independent from what is known and unknown. As Creator of all things, He exists above and beyond them. As Hebrews 1:3 says, all things are upheld by His       

mighty power. Here’s something worth remembering:

THE WHOLE UNIVERSE EXISTS IN GOD AND FOR GOD THAT HE MAY RECEIVE GLORY, HONOR, AND PRAISE.


Yet…yet, God chose to draw near in a close, personal relationship with us 

in Jesus Christ. How beautiful is that?


Second, verse three assumes the sovereignty of God. God is sovereign. In other words, God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and in all places all at once. God is not limited by time or space. Here’s the best way to capture it:

GOD IS.

In the context of 2 Peter 1:3, this means that God has the power, wisdom, and authority to do anything He chooses to do within His creation.


Here’s something you might want to write down as it relates to God’s sovereignty:

GOD IS ABSOLUTE IN AUTHORITY AND UNRESTRICTED IN HIS SUPREMACY.


Understanding those principles make these verses in 2 Peter 1 even more powerful. Think about God’s transcendence and sovereignty as reflected in Psalm 121:

I lift up my eyes to the hills.    From where does my help come?My help comes from the Lord,    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;    he who keeps you will not slumber.Behold, he who keeps Israel    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.The sun shall not strike you by day,    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;    he will keep your life.The Lord will keep    your going out and your coming in    from this time forth and forevermore.


Again, remember, as hard and difficult and challenging and frightful as life can be, God’s divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. God will take care of everything. Everything. As John 1:14-16 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”


Now connect that with 2 Peter 1:3. When we received Christ, we received the fullness of his grace and mercy. Not partial…but all things. All things. How beautiful is that? Jesus says it in John 10:9-10:

“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Again, there’s the fullness of verse three. Everything we need or want, we have received from God through Jesus Christ. You have grit. You have resilience. However challenging or difficult or painful life is or will become, you will be a survivor. Because God has promised. His divine power has granted to us all things.


Here’s one last passage to add an exclamation point to 2 Peter 1:3:

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future - all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.

  • 1 Corinthians 3:18-23


Again, all things are yours. What I love about this affirmation in 1 Corinthians is it written to people in a church that had its share of problems. Paul had to do a lot of correcting and chastising. They struggled in so many areas. But notice what he says. “For all things are yours…all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” There are no caveats. It is in the nature of God to be generous.


Here’s something else you might want to write down:

WHEN GOD GIVES SALVATION, IT IS SALVATION IN ITS 

FULLNESS.

There are no asterisks, clauses, exceptions, or loopholes. God gives grace 

upon grace, mercy upon mercy, all He can give. Remember that when you struggle. Remember that when the burden of your life feels almost too heavy to bear. Remember that when it seems as if life is coming apart at the seams. In Jesus Christ, God has already build resiliency into your life. You have already been given what you need to persevere. Triumph over sin and death is already built into your life. God has granted unto you all things that pertain to life and godliness. Amen? Amen.


We’re going to close here with a promise that will carry us into next week.

“YOU BELONG TO CHRIST…AND CHRIST BELONGS TO YOU.”

We’re all in this together. Whatever God and Christ possess, we possess. Everything belongs to us. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful. In life and in death, we are his and he is ours. That’s why Paul said, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” We share in a life like his…we share in a death like his…we will share in a resurrection like his. Because all things have been granted to us, we will share in eternal life with Christ.


We are going to add so many wonderful punctuation marks to that next week. Until then:

 SOLI DEO GLORIA…

To the Glory of God Alone

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