Sermon Manuscript . . .
You Have All You Need to Live for Christ
2 Peter 1:3b-4a–part two
Do you know poor, lost Mephibosheth? He was King Saul’s grandson, and the son of David’s friend Jonathan. He was lame on both of his feet, and he dwelt in distant Lo-debar (“the place of no pasture”) in a dry and thirsty land. As the son of Jonathan, Israel’s crown prince, Mephibosheth had been born to great expectations–but they had all been swept away by the defeat of his grandfather King Saul, the death of Jonathan, and the collapse of Saul’s house. He had become a fugitive, remembered only as the only surviving member of the house of Saul–a man who, for so many years, had persecuted David.
Once David was securely settled on the throne over all Israel, he sent the messengers of his grace to find Mephibosheth and bring him to himself. He wanted to “show the kindness of God unto him.” Mephibosheth responded at once to the royal invitation. He came in all of his poverty, brokenness, and need. David adopted him then and there into his own royal family and seated him at his own table “as one of the king’s sons.”
But Mephibosheth didn’t have the resources to maintain himself in a manner commensurate with his newfound dignity and rank. In 2 Samuel 9, David restored to him all of the land that had once belonged to his grandfather, Saul. In other words, David gave him all that he needed so that he could live his new life as one of the King’s sons. Can you picture little, crippled Mephibosheth, sitting at the splendor of King David’s table? It reminds me of me–what am I doing here? But that is God’s grace!
In the same manner, when you as God’s enemy become His friend–when you’re given the faith to believe and God causes you to be born again, the Lord puts you into the royal family of Heaven, and you become sons and daughters of the living God. You are now members of the royalty of the universe–no joke. But suddenly now you’re expected to live like sons and daughters of the living God.
But sadly you don’t have what it takes to live as children of the King, let alone like Jesus. So Christ our King gives you all you need. You must now live His life, not your life. You must live all of life in His power, not your power. You cannot live the Christian life in your own strength, because it’s a supernatural life–so Christ gives you all you need. And our Lord confirms this in 2 Peter 1.
Open your Bibles and follow in the outline. Peter says in 2 Peter 1:3 and 4, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”
You have all you need to live for Christ–you are sufficient in Christ. You and I are sustained by God’s power in the Christian life. In these two verses, Peter gives the churches in Turkey and believers at FBC today four essential components of the sufficiency of their salvation. You have all the power, provision, promptings and promises you will ever need. Peter continues his celebration of salvation from verses 1 to 2, to now in verses 3 to 4, focusing upon the sufficiency of salvation in Christ. Last week we discovered Peter encouraging us with this truth–you have . . .
#1 All the POWER you need is in Christ
Verse 3a, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness.” The power operating in you and I as believers is the same power residing in the divine nature of Christ. This is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and the identical power that Christ used to cleanse a leper. This is the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Peter says it is divine power–the power of Christ.
Christians may distance themselves from God’s power with a sin of commission–some clear violation of Scripture. Or they may distance themselves from God’s power by failing to minister or love or give or some other sin of omission–a failure to obey. But the moment they’re given faith in Christ from verse 2, God grants them His power in verse 3. “Seeing that His divine power has granted“–the Greek verb granted is pointed. God permanently bestows His power on believers and continues to do so. You have what you need in Christ. But how much of my need is met? Verse 3, “has granted to us everything.”
#2 All the PROVISION you need is in Christ
Verse 3b, “has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness.” Nothing is missing in your sanctification process. Genuine believers have received not only divine power, but they have received everything they need for sanctification. You and I have nothing lacking at all. Like a baby–just feed it, deal with the consequences and it grows. All the core necessities are there–all the baby needs is already a part of its DNA.
In verse 3, the Greek word “everything” is first in the Greek sentence, emphasizing that the Holy Spirit is communicating all you need, the whole–nothing is left out, everything necessary to sustain eternal life is provided through Christ’s power. And everything that pertains to living Christlike today is provided. God has given you everything you need to live a life pleasing to Christ. Each genuine believer already has every spiritual resource needed to live holy and continue to live in obedience. Peter makes certain you know everything between initial salvation and final glorification is covered by this guarantee–you have what you need. But what’s my motivation to pursue my resources in Christ?
#3 All the PROMPTINGS you need are in Christ
Verse 3c, “through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” Peter wants his churches to be encouraged to rely on God’s power and encourage them to dependently pursue His all sufficient resources. In verse 3, Peter actually gives three major encouragements. Last week we saw . . .
First The encouragement of CLOSENESS
Verse 3c, “through the true knowledge of Him“
“How does one experience the sufficiency of Christ to the fullest?” The apostle Peter says it’s “through the true knowledge of Him.” It is the close intimacy with God Himself which encourages us to rely on Him for everything we need. The Greek word “knowledge” in verse 3 is not the knowledge of facts. This is not what you often see from professors today–it’s not superficial knowledge. Many have a religion, but not a relationship. Many have a Christianity, but without Christ.
This same Greek word “knowledge” describes personal knowledge that is so intimate–in some passages “knowledge” is used to describe sexual intimacy. Your knowledge of Christ is to be genuine friend knowledge–you walk with Christ. If you don’t have true knowledge of Christ, you might think Jesus merely exists to make you feel good, give you what you want, entertain you, solve your guilt, avoid Hell or provide you with a few nice friends. And that false knowledge of Christ will not satisfy you, nor cause you to look to Christ for everything you need.
But if you realize Christ’s purpose is to bring Himself glory and work for your good–when you understand His purpose in trials, when you know Him accurately, personally and intimately, you will be prompted to trust His sufficiency. That was last week. This week Peter continues to encourage us with . . .
Second The encouragement of CALLING
Look at verse 3, “who called us through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” When my boys were young, there were two kinds of calls for them to come. I would call their names and ask them to come. But I used another call–it was an incredibly important call. It was actually a whistle–a very loud, two-finger whistle, where I warbled the loud whistle like a horse whinny. My boys called it the horsy call. They were both told, when they heard that call–no matter what was going on, no matter what they were doing, they were to drop everything, stop any conversation, and run to the sound of that whistle. It was my version of God’s irresistible call.
Our Lord has two types of calls–there’s a general call and there’s God’s special call, also called the irresistible call, the internal call or the efficacious call. This call never fails–it always works. People called this way always come running to Jesus. Every time the New Testament epistles speak of a divine calling, it is referring to God’s special, internal, never fail, irresistible, efficacious call. Verse 3 is God’s call.
The other call–the general, external or gospel call is describing our call. When you share the Gospel, when I proclaim the Gospel, we are all calling sinners to turn from their sin in repentance and entrust their lives to Christ by faith–that’s the general call. And when you and I share that general call, people often reject that call. The “sharing the Gospel general call” is not irresistible. This is why Matthew 22:14 says, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” They might be called by you, but God did not elect them.
There is a big difference between the internal call of God (the efficacious call) and the external call of the everyday believer or preacher proclaiming the Gospel. The internal call is given only to the elect and always brings the sinner to salvation. In contrast, the external call is given to all people without distinction, and is often rejected. In simplest terms, people give the external to every person alive all they can. God alone gives the internal call to His chosen elect. The general call is what we do–the special, irresistible call is what God does.
But before you draw a wrong conclusion, never forget–both calls are necessary. Believers and books must call with the Gospel. And God must call with regeneration. You and I must communicate the Gospel calling sinners to turn from sin and trust in Christ, and God must have elected, then call in time, regenerating the sinner to be able to repent and believe. Both are required in the salvation of the lost.
Turn to Romans 10. I know what you’re thinking–you’re thinking, “Chris, really–all that’s necessary is God’s call.” But not according to God, and not according to your Bible. Read Romans 10:13 to 17, “For ‘whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!’ 16However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our report?’ 17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
Paul, in Romans, clearly says proclaiming the Gospel and hearing the Gospel message is required. It is necessary. It is a must for people to be saved. For salvation to come to anyone, the Gospel message of the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the God/man, sent from Heaven to save sinners by grace through faith, apart from any effort on your part, must be proclaimed to them. There must be a sincere call for repentance from sin and faith in Christ alone, based upon the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. The Gospel must be shared, and God has chosen you to share what Christ has done.
But along with our external call, God must give his internal call–why? The big problem is your nature–before Christ, you were Ephesians 2:3, “by nature children of wrath.” You were dead in your sins, Ephesians 2:1, spiritually blinded in the eyes of your heart, 2 Corinthians 4:4, sinfully corrupt in nature, and deaf in your perceptions. No non-Christian can perceive the truth of the Gospel on their own. Spiritual corpses are totally unresponsive to spiritual truth proclaimed by the external call of the Gospel. That’s why your unsaved friends reject the Gospel–they are so saturated with sin, their heart is so deceived, they are not able to understand the truths of the Scripture, because those truths are spiritually discerned, 1 Corinthians 2:14.
When the glory of Christ is presented in the Gospel, the natural, unsaved person can’t see Christ or hear this general call. Even though God has revealed His attributes, His power and His divine nature to the world through creation, all people (Romans 1:19 to 20) “are without excuse.” Because of their sin . . .
The only solution to our damning spiritual condition is not found in a general call, or by looking hard at yourself, or by anything you can do–you don’t have the resources. The external Gospel call can’t save you–that general call can’t awaken the dead, it can’t wash people of their sin, it can’t open blind eyes or fix deaf ears. The general call is to be shared with every person you can share the Gospel with. But only those whom God has chosen will hear an unfailing, efficacious call and respond. When you’re saved, you were given a general call and God gave you His special call.
Thank God in His amazing grace, love and mercy toward sick, corrupt sinners He is willing to call you to Himself, to awaken you from the dead and make you alive. In the exercise of His sovereign pleasure, God issues an effectual call in the heart of the elect. He powerfully summons the sinner out of his spiritual death and blindness–then by virtue of the creative power of His Word, God imparts new spiritual life to him, giving him a new heart and along with eyes to see and ears to hear, thus enabling him to repent and believe in Christ for salvation.
Romans 8:30 spells it out, “And these whom He predestined [before time], He also called [in time]; and these whom He called, He also justified [saved]; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” Second Timothy 1:9, “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”
First Peter 5:10, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” And now 2 Peter 1:3, “Through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”
The intimate knowledge of Christ in salvation grows sweeter when you celebrate that Christ called you to Himself. Christ made it possible for you to turn from sin and depend on Him by faith. You were lost–but Christ chose you, then called you. Do you remember that unique time when they were choosing up teams and you, the weakest, most uncoordinated and messed up player, were miraculously chosen first? That’s a little like the efficacious call of God. You’re now on Christ’s team–the winning team. Which leads to . . .
Third The encouragement of Christ’s CHARACTER
Verse 3, “by His own glory and excellence through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” What does Peter mean by glory and excellence? Some say it’s glory and goodness. Others say it is the glory of God and the excellence of Christ the God/man. Some say it’s the glory of God, then the excellence of His character. His character is so excellent–there is no one like Jesus Christ.
The effectual call to salvation is based on the sinner’s understanding of Christ’s revealed majesty and moral excellence, proving He is Lord and Savior. This implies there must be a clear presentation of Christ’s person and work as the God/man in evangelism, which the Spirit uses to attract men to salvation. The cross and resurrection most clearly reveal Christ’s “glory and excellence”–but it is His person, the nature, personality and heart of Christ which is in focus here.
God effects His saving call through the revealed majesty of His own Son. Get this–sinners are drawn by the “glory and excellence” of Jesus Christ. More than to escape Hell, more than to clear your conscience, more than to go to Heaven–true salvation is a person overwhelmed by the person of God in a body, Jesus Christ.
In Scripture, glory always belongs to God alone, and when sinners see the glory of Christ, they are witnessing His deity and His attributes. They should be fearful and hopeful. Fearful of His holiness, wrath plus justice, and hopeful for His love, mercy plus grace. Unless, through the preaching of the Gospel, they realize who Christ is (the glorious Son of God, who is Savior), and they understand their need for repentance from sin and dependent faith in Him, sinners cannot escape Hell nor enter Heaven. They need God’s call.
So when God draws sinners to Himself, they see not only Christ’s glory as God, but also see His excellence as a man. They see Jesus as the one who satisfies God’s justice and also the substitute for men in the punishment for sin. Let me make it simple–they will see Christ’s glorious attributes as God and Christ’s amazing character as a man. They will see Christ as the best. There is no one better. There is no one who can save you but Christ. There is no one more awesome than Christ. There is no one who is more beautiful than Christ. There is no one more loving, more gracious, more merciful, more sacrificial, more powerful than Jesus.
I have had an éclair in Paris, France. Now no other éclair has ever come even close. I watched a USC football game on the field in the Colosseum and watched a UCLA football game on the field in the Rose Bowl, and no other college game has ever come close. I married the cutest, most godly woman I have ever known, and no one compares. I have been mentored by the greatest preacher of our day–there is no one better. I am the pastor teacher of the most amazing church I have ever known–it is an amazing church. But all of those fall short of the excellence and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no greater character, no greater person, no better quality than Jesus Christ.
I’ve always dreamt of finding gold underwater and the day I find it will be thrilling–but that does not even come close in comparison to the dead sinner who is made to be born again and tastes of the “glory and excellence” of Jesus Christ. There is love in this world, but Christ’s love is perfect love. There is mercy found here, but Christ’s mercy is the excellent mercy. There is power around us, but Christ’s power is all power. There is grace given by some, but Christ’s grace is abundant and glorious grace. His character motivates you to trust Christ and depend on Him as the all-sufficient one. His glorious character and bestestness motivate us. His irresistible call to salvation overwhelms us. And his intimate closenss prompts us to depend on His power and sufficiency.
God reveals His essential being through visible glory and He displays his excellence through His deeds. Through these, Christ has given us His very great and precious promises, so that verse 4, through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by your evil internal desires.
#4 All the PROMISES you need are in Christ
Verse 4a, “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises.” Christ’s glory as God and His excellence as the perfect man will attract people to a saving relationship with Him. By these attributes of “glory and excellence”, Christ has accomplished all that is necessary for a believers’ salvation. So Peter says He has granted to all believers “His precious and magnificent promises.”
These promises are not like those made by people, so many of which end up broken. These are from the one, true, all-powerful, ruling God of integrity who cannot lie. So these are not pie crust promises–easily made and easily broken. They are promises made by the perfect, truthful, trustworthy Son of God. “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises.”
The Greek term “has granted” is from the same verb that occurs in verse 3, again in the perfect tense, describing past completed action with continuing effects. Peter is implying that God not only has given these promises to us, but He has also fulfilled them in the person and work of Christ, and they continue to be available. The Word of God is loaded with promises and there is a promise for every need.
It would be a monumental task to go through the Bible and try to catalog all the promises, then to try to note the occasions they were given, the benefits they bestow, and the beneficiaries who are named, plus any conditions which are attached to each. God has given us so many promises–spiritual life, resurrection life, the Holy Spirit, abundant grace, joy, strength, guidance, help, instruction, wisdom, Heaven, even eternal rewards. All these promises come from those who are given salvation. All those who have been made a part of God’s royal family are promised all they need to be a part of the King’s family.
Do you know His promises? What promises have you memorized? The promises of God are like blank checks, Christian, drawn on the bank of Heaven–signed by the Lord of glory, and given to you so you can fill in your name, list your present amount of need and trust in your God. What more could you ask?
Now, are you hearing what Peter is saying about the sufficiency of Christ? You have what you need. You have God’s power, God’s provision, God’s promptings and God’s promises. But what are these promises like? And what do these promises do? Incredibly, you will be blown away–next week.
TAKE THIS HOME
Be a doer of what you have heard today, but also consider . . .
A You have received the EXTERNAL CALL, but have you been given Christ’s INTERNAL CALL?
Matthew 22:14 points out, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Are you the “made a decision, had a crisis–so you prayed a prayer and now claim Jesus/make believer?” Or have you been made new, born again, all in, transformed–/real believer?
You can be deceived into thinking you’re a Christian and headed for Heaven, when you are actually a church-going, pseudo, professing Christian headed for Hell. Jesus makes this very clear in Matthew 7:22 to 23, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
They thought they were saved. Ephesians 5:5 to 6 reinforces, “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” First Corinthians 6:9 to 11, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”
Have you been made new, born again, washed, sanctified and justified? Today is the day for you to be certain. Cry out to Christ to call you. Ask Christ to open your heart and give you repentance to turn in faith to believe.
B Are you keeping your eyes fixed on Christ, to be motivated by His CHARACTER?
The more you meditate on the person of Christ, the more you will love Him. The more you think on His character, the more you become like Him. The more you study His attributes, the more you pursue Him. Second Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
Read Knowing God, The Joy of Knowing God, The Attributes of God, The Existence and Attributes of God, Knowledge of the Holy. Study chapters like Isaiah 40, Ephesians 1, Romans 9, Nahum 1 and memorize the verses that grab you. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
C Are you genuinely living by God’s incredible PROMISES in everyday LIFE?
If you’re battling with lust, memorizing John 11:35, “Jesus wept,” will not help much. If you’re fearful, memorizing Matthew 27:5, “Judas went out and hung himself,” is counterproductive. With salvation, the Lord has given you power, provision, promptings and promises. But you must know His promises in order to see His power and provision.
Next week, verse 4 will tell you His promises will cause you to be empowered in order to live like Christ and to overcome the corruption of your own flesh. The New Testament will tell you His promises will help you not to give into temptation, overcome fear, grow in your trust, see God work through you, know what to say, change your thinking, fix your bad attitudes, overcome your temper, control your money, temper your desires, repair your weaknesses, rejoice in His providence, guide you through the dark valleys and direct you while on the mountain tops.
Memorize and then rehearse His promises every single day–it will change your life. Let’s pray.