New England Baptist Church
560 North Main Street
West Bridgewater, Massachusetts 02379
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HUMBLY PRAYING (05/26/19)
TEXT: 2Chronicles 7:14-15 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.”
INTRODUCTION: God promises to answer the prayers that are prayed for the right reasons, and with the right attitude! Just praying thoughtlessly is not enough to garner God’s attention and expect an answer! One of the most important aspects of prayer is our attitude. We must pray humbly if we would expect to be heard seriously by a serious God!
GOD VALUES HUMILITY:
Our text verses were taken out of their context. In order to see the whole of what God is showing us in this passage, we must give the verses before this passage.
2Chronicles 6:37-39 “Yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly; 38 If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name: 39 Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.”
This is Solomon’s prayer to God because Solomon assumed that the people of Israel would, one day, walk in their own lusts and be taken captive for their sinfulness. This is the response of God:
2Chronicles 7:14-15 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.”
Notice that the answer of this prayer is dependent on the heart attitude of those who are praying! If is the all-important word here. God is not responsible to answer foolish prayers. He is responsible to answer true, heart-felt, repentant prayers.
Isaiah 66:1-2 “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? 2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”
The Psalmist says in Psalm 119:161b “…my heart standeth in awe of thy word.”
It is not our heads that should stand in awe of God’s word, it is our hearts that should stand in awe. The heart is the seat of the affections, and it is with the heart that we draw nigh unto God!
CONSIDER THESE VERSES:
Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
Psalm 138:6 “Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.”
GOD VALIDATES HUMILITY:
The Humble king-Manasseh: 2Chronicles 33:1 “Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem:”
Manasseh was an extremely evil king, sacrificing his own children to false gods. Yet, God could even hear his prayer after being taken into captivity.
2Chronicles 33:11-13 “Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. 12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, 13 And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.”
Yes, God could answer this man’s prayers when he turned back to Jehovah!
The humble publican:
Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
Again, God answers the prayer of the humble!
The humble centurion:
Matthew 8:8-10 “The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”
Again, God answers the prayer of the humble!
The humble father:
Mar 9:23-24 “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
Again, God answers the prayer of the humble!
GOD VAUNTS HUMILITY:
Jesus promoted humility!
Matthew 18:4 “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 23:12 “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
James promoted humility!
James 4:6 “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
Peter promoted humility!
1Peter 5:5-6 “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”
GOD USES THOSE WHO THINK LITTLE OF THEMSELVES, AND MUCH OF OTHERS! GOD WANTS TO ANSWER OUR HUMBLE PRAYERS! WE DO NOT NEED TO BE TERMED “PRAYER WARRIORS,” BUTJUST PRAY-ERS. PRAY FOR REVIVAL!
~~~~~~ THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS 03/10/19 ~~~~~~
TEXT: LUKE 17:3-10
INTRODUCTION: Jesus will give us in this passage some very practical lessons. This passage is easy to understand, and should be easy to apply in our lives.
Luke 17:3-4 “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.” Look at the very first phrase. Jesus is pointing out that we are to focus on our own faults and failures. “Take heed to yourselves…” We are to be concerned about whether we are being open to the Holy Spirit’s working in our lives!
THE EXPOSURE OF THE FAULT—REBUKE
The word trespass is the word for sin. It is the case where a brother is sinning against us in some way. Jesus tells us how to handle it; rebuke him for his trespass, and expect him to repent. If you rebuke someone, in love, you do not let them continue in an unprofitable lifestyle that may destroy others.
Proverbs 24:29 “Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.”
This is what we shouldn’t do! We should handle it Biblically.
Proverbs 9:8 “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.”
Proverbs 27:5 “Open rebuke is better than secret love.”
We cannot help others mature until we are able to handle situations Biblically!
THE EXTENT OF THE FORGIVENESS—ABSOLUTE
4 “And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”
Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith…”
Ephesians 4:2 “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love…”
The rabbis would teach forgiveness for three transgressions, but Jesus extends it up to seven times!
Notice that Jesus does not account for your forgiveness of the transgressor; Jesus assumes it! He does not ask us to try to judge whether they really mean it or not!
No, if they say they repent we must be willing to accept it as fact!
Notice the sternness of Jesus’ words—“Thou shalt forgive him.” There is no room for a consideration of his sincerity; he is to be forgiven. This was obviously a problem with the apostles. Look at what they say next.
Luke 17:5-6 “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.”
The first thing they say to Jesus is “Increase our faith!” Yet, the increase of faith is also their work. They must try the Lord, and He will prove and improve their faith!
Mark 9:24 “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
They must accept the truth that they can do it!
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
6 “And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.”
Notice that Jesus does not put any boundary on the results of faith. The faith to act in a Godly manner requires obedience, and not faith!
Faith can accomplish monumental things, so the faith to forgive is “within the bounds.”
Luke 17:7-10 “But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? 8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? 9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.”
Jesus uses a simple situation to illustrate the truth. If you had a servant, and they are in a situation that requires their subservience, you would want them to take care of you before they consider themselves.
You have paid for their service, and they are not done yet!
They are doing what they agreed to do when they were hired! Jesus wants us to understand the extent of their service. Servants don’t think of themselves first, but their masters first. WE ALSO SHOULD NOT THINK OF OURSELVES FIRST—BUT THINK OF OUR MASTER FIRST.
“I trow not…” might be translated, “…I don’t think so.” The word is used in ME meaning something believed. It is the Greek word dok-eh-o; and is used 63 times in the New Testament but only once is it translated as “trow.” It must carry more “clout” than the normal fact to be believed.
10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.”
We should say that we are unworthy of his favor. His sacrifice outweighs any deed of ours. Listen to the words of Matthew Henry:
“Christ's servants do not so much as merit his thanks for any service they do him: ‘Does he thank that servant? Does he reckon himself indebted to him for it? No, by no means.’ No good works of ours can merit any thing at the hand of God. We expect God's favour, not because we have by our services made him a debtor to us, but because he has by his promises made himself a debtor to his own honour, and this we may plead with him, but cannot sue for a quantum meruit - according to merit.”
Yet, we may petition God because He is a God that exalts the humble and contrite!!!
Nehemiah 13:29-31 “Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites. 30 Thus cleansed I them from all strangers, and appointed the wards of the priests and the Levites, every one in his business; 31 And for the wood offering, at times appointed, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.”
1Samuel 1:19 “And they rose up in the morning early, and worshiped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her.”
Genesis 30:22 “And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.”
Exodus 2:24 “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.”
IN THIS PRIDEFUL GENERATION WE MUST STAND OUT BY OUR HUMILITY.
WE CAN BELIEVE THAT WE CAN DO ANYTHING—THROUGH CHRIST!
WE CAN BE HUMBLE BECAUSE WE HAVE AN AWESOME GOD!
LET US LEARN TO FORGIVE, LET TO HAVE FAITH, AND LEARN TO BE HUMBLE!
THE POWER OF WORDS! (05/20/18)
TEXT: Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
ATTENTION: How many of you are old enough to remember the adage; “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Is this really true? How many of you have been hurt by words?
CONTEXT: The power of speech is in the words, and in the way they are used. The word salt is used here because it may mean the application of something in speech that makes it palatable to the sense of taste. Vine states: “Both in the Greek and Latin authors, salt was used to express the pungency and wittiness of speech.” The importance is not only in the words themselves, but also in the way they are combined. Consider a sign in a storefront that read: “We buy junk,” and below it, “We sell antiques!” One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
DEFINITION: What is communication? Webster’s dictionary defines it: “A giving or exchanging of information, signals, or messages as by talk, gestures, and writing. The art of expressing ideas especially in speech and writings.”
WHAT IMPLEMENT IS USED IN VERBAL COMMUNICATION? THE TONGUE!
HOW DOES JAMES DESCRIBE THE TONGUE?
James 3:5-6 “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”
James 3:8 “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”
John Wesley was preaching in a church, and afterward was approached by an elderly lady who criticized the length of the strings of his tie. “You should be ashamed and cut them off,” she stated. His reply was; “Hold out your tongue; it offends me.”
HOW CAN THE TONGUE BE EMPLOYED?
To slander: Pro. 10:18 “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.”
To communicate lies: Pro. 12:17 “He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.”
To pour out foolish talk: Pro. 15:2 “The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.”
To pour out evil speaking: Pro. 15:28 “The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.”
To injure and destroy the integrity of people: Pro. 18:8 “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”
To flatter, with the intention of increasing pride: Pro. 28:23 “He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.”
To reject the truth, and promote lies: Jer. 9:3 “And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD.”
WHY DOES IT SEEM LIKE ALL THESE VERSES ARE NEGATIVE? Because the natural propensity of mankind is to be very easily negative. It is our reset position. Due to our old nature, we easily see the mistakes and are critical.
THINK ABOUT THE POWER OF WORDS! JESUS WARNS US!
Matthew 15:16-18 “And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? 17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.”
We expose the evil that is within us by the evil that proceeds forth from us! Thus we shouldn’t merely attempt to change the tongue, but the heart that motivates the tongue. That should be our goal!
HOW ABOUT A RULE FOR SPEECH: WEIGH IT, THEN SAY IT!
Are you sure it needs to be said? Will what you say be used to make the person better? Should you say it privately so as to involve the fewest number of people possible? Most of our sharing of wisdom should be private.
“Don’t mix your words with your mood, you can change your mood but you can’t take back your words.” Anonymous
Proverbs 15:7a “The lips of the wise disperse knowledge…” Sometimes it may require admonition, and sometimes a compliment.
Eccl. 12:10 “The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.”
“Words: So innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” Nathaniel Hawthorne
Knowing the power of words for both good and evil, how much more careful should we be?
THEN SAY IT:
Will the words you speak accomplish what you really wish to say?
Psalm 37:30 “The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.”
Proverbs 25:11 “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
Proverbs 15:23 “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!”
THE END OF THE MATTER: THE RIGHT USE OF WORDS TO HELP OTHERS!
Pro. 16:21,23-24 “The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning. 23 The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips. 24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”
Col. 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
Rom. 15:14 “And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”
Consider carefully your motive; will what you say, and the way you say it bring wisdom to the listener and be used to the glory of God? If not, then don’t say it!
DON’T FORGET TO REMEMBER! (05/27/18)
2Peter 1:3-15 “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. 13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. 15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.”
CONTEXT: Tomorrow we will be celebrating Memorial Day; it is a day of remembrance when we are thankful as we remember the sacrifice of the men and women who died to keep us free. We should not keep this as merely a time to have picnics and barbeques, but a time of somber remembrance for the great price that many others paid for our ability to be free. Accordingly, we will look at a passage in 2 Peter that will help to realize that we must be always in remembrance of the spiritual life that we have and how we should hold it in honor.
THE PURPOSE OF REMEMBRANCE
2Peter 1:8-9 “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”
Peter is speaking of those spiritual qualities that he has listed before in order of importance. These are the qualities which we must fertilize with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. These qualities must be explored and practiced in every-day life to be really profitable both to the user and those being served.
The purpose is that we shall be fruitful, and produce spiritual children (other believers). Knowing Christ must be showing Christ.
In verse nine Peter warns us that some have forgotten the pit that Christ had saved them from. The word blind means real blindness, and the next phrase in the Greek is mouapadzo, from whence we get myopic. This is a lack of ability to see distant objects. They have become short-sighted; they cannot see the “big picture.” While we need not dwell on our former state (before salvation,) we cannot forget who we would have been without Christ! There must be a fine balance to remember to look ahead to what those whom we impact may someday “look like.” While our sins are under the blood, others still wallow in their sins. We are saved to the uttermost! Give the word to others that are NOT saved!
THE PROMISE OF REMEMBRANCE
2Peter 1:10-11 “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
The word wherefore begins a new thought because of what the former passages have said. Carefully notice to whom Peter is speaking—Brethren. He has no doubt that they are saved, but must remind them that their salvation is only “good” if it is used to bring others to Christ! The word sure could be translated as stable, secure, or steadfast. If they put into practice the admonition he has given them, they will not fall back into old, bad habits which will make them worthless as a witness. Even so, you are making yourself more diligent for your own benefit!
Further, their good example will be a witness to their brethren of what they also could be. The promise is that Jesus will be welcoming them with “open arms.”
Revelation 3:21 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
Romans 8:37 “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Malachi commends those Jews who follow the scriptures and fear the Lord:
Malachi 3:17 “And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” (This is our abundant entrance!)
THE PRIMACY OF REMEMBRANCE
2Peter 1:12-15 “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. 13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. 15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.”
Again, wherefore starts a new thought because of what has been said previously.
Peter feels very strongly that he must warn them to keep these things in remembrance. (Didn’t Jesus warn Peter of his upcoming temptation and fall?)
Matthew 26:74 “Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.” (Peter could talk because of personal experience.)
Peter shows his confidence in them by the words he uses, “…established in the present truth.”
He also warns them that he is soon to die, and wants to “stir them up.”
John 21:18b “…but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.”
The best paint must still be stirred! Even the faithful must be reminded!
CONCLUSIONS: Peter wishes them his best because they are his “children.” He has brought them forth spiritually, and he wants them to stay faithful. He doesn’t want them to be children, but mature believers that have a vision for the lost!
He does not want them to fall by the wayside! They are the “good ground,” and need to bear good fruit. Now I speak to stir you up!
Knowing these truths should make us more appreciative of the blessings we now have, and encourage us to do more for Christ!
So because we now see the cause of our dedication, next week we will examine the “nuts and bolts” of the essential characteristics we have to put on for the cause of Christ!
WHAT TO REMEMBER (06/03/18)
TEXT: 2Peter 1:1-8
THE SOURCE OF FAITH
2Peter 1:1 “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:”
How do we obtain “like precious faith”? We obtain it when we put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Since 1 Peter 1:1 indicates an epistle to the “strangers” (probably gentiles,) 2 Peter 1:1 indicates the same readers who have faith “with us,” meaning with the Jewish believers.
Romans 1:16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
The gentiles received the gospel the same way the Jews did—by belief!
Belief in Christ brings precious life-saving faith!
Though I will not go deeply into Greek grammar, suffice it to say that the construction “…God and our Savior Jesus Christ…” really means one entity. There is an absolute unity of Jesus and God! Peter uses this phrase often in his epistles as also Paul does in his epistles.
THE SUPPORT OF FAITH
2Peter 1:2-4 “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
This passage indicates the importance of growing in Christ!
Notice verse two. How do peace and grace get multiplied to us? It is by a thorough knowledge of the Lord, both by reading His word, and experiencing His grace through trials. Also notice that they will be multiplied.
In verse three where does the power come from to experience a deeper godliness? It is by His divine power, ministered to us through the knowledge of His glory and virtue by His Holy Spirit.
The word glory is a literal giving glory to God, and virtue refers to manly valor. It is spiritual courage in the face of the difficulties of life.
Verse four: McDonald notes that there are more than 30,000 promises in the Bible!
John Bunyan once said, “The pathway of life is strewn so thickly with the promises of God, that it is impossible to take one step without treading upon one of them.”
Peter takes note of seven precious things, the last of which are the promises of God!
Macdonald notes: “Think of some of the promises that relate to the life of holiness. (1) Freedom from sin's dominion (Rom._6:14). (2) Grace that is sufficient (2Cor._12:9). (3) Power to obey His commands (Phil._4:13). (4) Victory over the devil (James_4:7). (5) Escape when tempted (1Cor._10:13). (6) Forgiveness when we confess our sins (1John_1:9)—and forgetfulness too (Jer._31:34). (7) Response when we call (Psalm_50:15).”
Maybe you could take some time to come up with your own list!
Peter also wants us to note that the thing that brings us to corruption is our lust. We must be constantly aware of the perils which our culture forces upon us! All the failures of life in some way come back to lust. We should find a verse or two of Scripture to quote when tempted by lust.
1Cor. 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
This verse and others like it can keep us from the sin so prevalent in our culture!
THE SYMPTOMS OF FAITH
2Peter 1:5-8 “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Verse number five starts a list of seven things which should be added to faith.
There are many commentators which imply that the order seen in these spiritual qualities does not really imply that we should follow this list. Yet this list does seem to accurately describe the character qualities that should follow one another in the progress of the Christian life.
We must add to faith, virtue. Virtue is a word that implies the best in human qualities—valor or excellence in life. We must strive to rise to the highest aspects of human life, which would be attractive to certain of the Greeks.
To virtue we must add knowledge. This word is used in the Scripture translated as science! It is a knowledge of how things work together.
1Timothy 6:20 “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:”
A knowledge of true science will cause us to wonder at the things God has created!
To knowledge we should add temperance. Temperance indicates a self-control of our knowledge!
Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
Proverbs 12:23 “A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.”
Proverbs 29:11 “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”
To temperance we add, patience. Patience is a character quality rooted in the confidence of God and His promises. It is a calm endurance even while things are perplexing! It specifically involves circumstances and setbacks that one is not able to foresee. (Romans 8:28: “all things work together for good…”)
Romans 2:7 “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life…”
To patience we add godliness; this word in the Greek means piety, godliness, holiness.
1Timothy 4:7-8 “But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things…”
There are some ways that you can promote godliness; read the Bible, and share it with others. Pray for the needs that are close to your heart. Memorize Scripture that can help you free yourself from the snare of the devil.
To godliness we add brotherly kindness. It is the Greek word Philadelphia; literally, brotherly love! This is love for the brethren, both men and women.
While some may think this is enough, Peter says no—there is one more step.
To brotherly kindness we add charity!
That Step is agape; love that gives! It is the verb used in John 3:16.
John 3:16” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Now this is where the rubber meets the road! This is a gigantic step to take—to love as God loves. It is something we may have to strive to incorporate into our lives until we go home to God. No wonder Peter commends them to this task with Verse eight!
8 “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
THIS IS OUR FINISHING TASK IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.
THIS IS OUR GOAL WE MUST CONTINUALLY STRIVE FOR—TO HEAR, “WELL DONE THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT.”
FOR WHOM DID CHRIST DIE?
TEXT: Romans 5:6-10
CONTEXT: This sermon comes from the question of someone who could not fathom that Christ would really die for evil people. The questioner could understand that Christ should be willing to die for “good” people, but why waste His life on those who were haters of God and goodness? The answer to this question is clearly found in Scripture.
THE EXPANSE OF UNGODLINESS
6 “…For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
The words without strength imply a total lack of ability to find a way of salvation by ourselves. Think of the man at the pool of Bethesda: John 5:7 “The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool:”
Luke 18:27 “And he said, ‘The things which are impossible with men are possible with God’.” This is the response to the question—“Who then can be saved?”
The word ungodly comes from two Greek parts; the first part a means not, and the second sebomai means reverent, religious, or devout. Our original condition is not reverent! This is our “natural” man that seeks to fulfill his own desires and needs.
Eccl. 7:20 “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”
Macdonald says this: “There is no one who is absolutely righteous in himself, who invariably does good and who never sins.”
Paul describes it this way: Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…”
There is no one excluded from the condemnation of this verse!
Romans 3:9 “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin…” (both Jew and gentile)
Romans 3:19 “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
This may be a revelation—we are all sinners! The ungodly are us!
Is there any hope for man then? Yes, because we are made in the “image of God.”
Romans 1:19 “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.” God is a witness within us!!!!
THE EVIDENCE OF UNGODLINESS
7 “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.”
The word scarcely is a Greek word that means with great difficulty. In other words, it would be hard to believe that one human being would give his life for his righteous neighbor. It is more possible that one would die for a “good” man, but still unlikely.
In this verse Paul is exposing the truth that it is difficult to believe that any human would sacrifice themselves for the life of another.
John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Jesus is saying that giving your life for another is the greatest example of love!
THE EXTENT OF THE SACRIFICE?
“8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The word commendeth could be translated exhibited!
How did God exhibit His love for His creatures? He gave them His Son to die in their place!
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
1John 4:9-10 “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Ephesians 1:7 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace…”
1Peter 3:18 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit…”
THE EFFECTIVENESS OF HIS SACRIFICE
9 “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Romans 3:24-25 “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;”
Ephesians 1:7 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace…”
This is how God responded to us when we were His enemies!!!
2Cor. 5:18-19 “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
God now has saved us through His resurrected Son!
Titus 3:3-5 “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
Romans 4:5 “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
1Cor. 6:11 “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
WE WERE ALL UNGODLY IN HIS SIGHT BEFORE WE BELIEVED
John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
YES, CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY; HE DIED FOR US
WE ARE NOW RAISED WITH HIM TO LIVE A NEW LIFE WITH A NEW LOVE
WHAT A MIGHTY GOD WE SERVE!