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Today, we are going to dive into second Peter, chapter one, where we learn how to access all of God’s promises. Let’s start in verse three:
2 Peter 1:3 NLT – 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.
Now you know you’ve been lied to. I’m talking about all those preachers who say, “Although we are saved, we are all going to sin every day for the rest of our lives. We are all just sinners saved by grace.”
That’s a lie. We are no longer sinners. We are made righteous through the blood of Christ. The power of God lives in us and gives us everything we need for living a godly life.
Where does this come from? Knowing Christ. As soon as you put your faith in Jesus, you become a new creation. Old things have passed away and all things have become new.
So let me read that again and keep going.
2 Peter 1:3-4 NLT – 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. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
Notice it says we received God’s power that enables us to live godly lives. And we have been given great and precious promises.
The Gifts of Power and Promise
Both of these things are a gift. God’s power and God’s promises are both given to us through Christ. We didn’t earn it. It’s all a gift to us through our faith in Jesus Christ.
What happens when we receive God’s promises? It enables us to share in His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption.
In other words, we used to look like the world, think like the world, and act like the world. Now we look like God, think like God, and act like God.
We used to participate in the world’s economic downturns and deadly pandemics. But now, we live in God’s provision and healing. We share in His divine nature.
2 Peter 1:5-7 NLT – In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises.
You mean God’s promises don’t just show up automatically? I actually have to do something to see God’s promises become a reality in my life?
Yes. Make EVERY effort to respond to God’s promises. You are going to have to put in consistent effort to see the promises of God.
Walk into God’s promises
But wait, I thought they were a gift? They are! All of God’s promises are available to you! But you have to put in the effort to access them.
God has given you the key to the door, so you can walk into God’s promises. But you have to put in the effort to use the key to open the door and walk into the mansion of God’s promises.
And get this, God’s promises are only available to those living inside of this mansion. You can’t access them on the outside. Nobody can. You are either living out in the world or in God’s promises. You can’t do both.
Every one of God’s promises is available to you. If you want to access them, you are going to have to put in the effort.
And thankfully, Peter made it clear what this effort is supposed to look like. He gave us seven things we need to work on in order to access God’s promises.
But first, repeat this after me, “I’m not working to earn God’s promises. I’m working to access them.”
There’s a big difference. Think of God’s promises like a field ready for harvest. You didn’t grow the wheat. The earth did that. But you get to partake in the harvest IF you get out and work the harvest.
7 Actions to Access God’s Promises
So, let’s go through the seven things we need to do to access all of God’s great and precious promises.
2 Peter 1:5-7 NLT – Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence,
Before we get to number one, I want you to notice that it all starts with your faith in Christ. None of this will work if you don’t believe in Jesus and make Him the Lord of your life.
There’s no special prayer you have to say. You simply believe that God raised Jesus from the dead to provide salvation for you, and you live every day saying, “Jesus is my Lord. I follow Him and no one else.”
If you haven’t done that already, don’t delay. Because there will be a day, it’s too late. If you don’t make Jesus the Lord of your life, you will spend eternity in hell. No exceptions.
Once you’ve established your faith in Christ, the next step you need to do is:
1. Pursue moral excellence.
As the scripture said, supplement your faith in Christ with a generous provision of moral excellence.
Wow. Now we know why so many people are not living in God’s promises. They haven’t even taken the first step yet. They are living in the lie that moral excellence is irrelevant.
They’re sleeping around, watching trash on TV, living a homosexual lifestyle. They’re consumed with themselves, tied up in greedy living, gossiping and cussing like a sailor.
You can find plenty of people to tell you that your choices don’t matter once you come to Christ. But, scripture disagrees. And you’ll find out in a bit that when you don’t pursue these seven things, you are likely to fall away from your faith.
So, step one, pursue moral excellence. Next up:
2. Study the Word of God daily.
2 Peter 1:5-7 NLT – and moral excellence with knowledge,
Notice all of these things go together. You can’t leave one behind to pursue the next one. No, we are building a sandwich here.
On top of moral excellence, add knowledge. Not a college degree. We’re talking about increasing our knowledge of God by studying His Word daily.
If you don’t study the Word for yourself, you are going to believe all the stupid stuff people say about God and Jesus.
I wrote a book titled, “Jesus ain’t woke.” Because of that, I get frequent messages from people who say, “You are so wrong. Jesus is the most woke person who ever lived. He loved people.”
My response to this is always, “I recommend you read the gospel of John for yourself. You are going to find out that Jesus isn’t who you think He is.”
Y’all. Jesus didn’t come for social justice. Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan. He came to free you from sin and sickness. He came to give you God’s righteousness.
Not once did Jesus tolerate sin. Not once did He say, “Just do what you feel because I love you.” No. He said, “I love you, so I am going to die for you and help you out of that mess.”
Let’s keep building our sandwich. Now, we are pursuing moral excellence. On top of that, we study the Word of God daily. And next:
3. Practice self-control.
2 Peter 1:5-7 NLT – and knowledge with self-control,
When do we need self-control? When our flesh wants to do something that isn’t beneficial in the long term.
We’ve already dealt with the sin issue with moral excellence. So that’s not what we are talking about here. Now we are talking about things that are permissible but not beneficial.
For example, food. You eat one donut, and your flesh says, “Have another.” Self-control says, “Uh, no. One is more than enough.”
Another example is TV or video games. Your flesh says, “Let’s sit for hours every night in front of the screen. You deserve it.” Self-control says, “Uh, no. We have better things to do.”
One more. At work, your flesh says, “Don’t work too hard. They’re paying you by the hour. Drag it out because they’re not paying you enough anyways.” Self-control says, “I’m working as unto the Lord regardless of what I get paid.”
This is a fun one, huh? Well the next one is even more fun:
4. Remain patient through trials and sufferings.
2 Peter 1:5-7 NLT – and self-control with patient endurance,
We’re not talking about rush hour traffic on highway 169 here. Although, that’s a good time to practice. We’re talking about shopping at Walmart.
All kidding aside, most of the time, when the Bible talks about patience, it’s talking about enduring the trials and sufferings you will go through because of your faith in Christ.
Not many pastors talk about this, but the reality is that true Christianity is not a walk in the park. There are challenges. There is suffering. Certain people will hate you. Someone at church will hurt your feelings.
It’s not easy, but the outcome is worth it. Remaining patient through your trials and sufferings is how you access the promises of God. It leads you to a place where you share in God’s divine nature.
Quit running from the challenges. Don’t give up. Don’t blame it on God. Remain patient, knowing there will be a breakthrough, and you will come out stronger on the other side.
Let’s move on to the next one:
5. Develop reverence towards God.
2 Peter 1:5-7 NLT – and patient endurance with godliness,
If you look up the original Greek word translated to godliness, you’ll find that it means “reverence and respect towards God.”
American culture has trained us to think that God owes us something, along with everyone else. A common mindset is, “God, I’ll serve you if you do this for me.”
We show up to church because we want God to do something for us.
I don’t think there’s a more destructive mindset than to think God only deserves your attention if He plays by your rules.
God is God. He created us, and He can wipe us out. He doesn’t have to explain to us why He does certain things. God owes us nothing. We owe Him everything.
And even with our everything, it’s not enough to earn His attention. Yet, He loves us so much that He sent His one and only son to save our butts from eternity in hell.
God is to be respected. Yes, He’s our Heavenly Father, and He’s the perfect father. We must honor Him as the one who brought us into existence and cares for us along the way.
Don’t be like the fools of this world who dishonor their parents and live as if everyone owes them something. Throw that mindset in the trash and live with a sincere reverence towards God.
We are making quite the sandwich here. Only two layers left:
6. Develop a love for those in the body of Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-7 NLT – and godliness with brotherly affection,
For several decades, the church has talked a lot about loving those in the world. We designed our church services to make them comfortable. We stopped talking about sin. And we neglected spiritual gifts.
All of this had good intentions. We truly wanted to reach people for Christ. But, since our strategy was unbiblical, it morphed into us wanting acceptance from the world.
Acceptance is how the world defines love. According to them, you only love someone if you accept everything about them.
Nowhere in Scripture will you find love defined as acceptance. Actually, God’s love refuses to accept sinful behavior because it destroys people. And love doesn’t advocate for someone’s destruction; it helps them out of it.
But the point I am trying to make is that our love focus has been on the world and getting their acceptance. Yet, in the Bible, you’ll find that our love for each other always comes first.
Over and over, Scripture tells us to love our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. But now, most Christians slander the body of Christ while they pursue the love of the world.
If you haven’t first developed a sincere love for the body of Christ, you won’t be able to love those in the world with biblical love. Instead, you’ll adopt their fake love of inclusion and acceptance.
Love for the body of Christ comes first. Love your brothers and sisters. Be patient with their faults. Be truthful with them. Serve them well.
This is what enables you to wrap it all up by:
7. Develop a love for everyone.
2 Peter 1:5-7 NLT – and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
I want you to notice how many things came before love. Why do we have so many Christians who think we have to abandon the first five things mentioned in order to pursue love?
According to this scripture, you can’t even get to the place of loving others until you establish the other things first. It’s not that they are more important. They are just a prerequisite to love.
Moral excellence. Knowledge of God and His Word. Self-control. Patient endurance. Reverance towards God. All of these things have to be in place before you can effectively love others.
And even then, you must first develop a love for the body of Christ before you can effectively love everyone else.
The End Result
So, what is the end result when we implement all seven of the things Peter listed?
2 Peter 1:8-10 NLT – The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The more you grow in these things, the more productive and useful you are for the kingdom of God. In other words, the more people you will lead to Christ.
Turns out, loving people is not all you need to lead people to Christ. You also need moral excellence, the Word of God, self-control, patient endurance, and reverence towards God.
What happens if you don’t do these things?
2 Peter 1:8-10 NLT – But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.
If you don’t develop these seven things, not only will you be worthless for leading anyone to Christ. But you yourself might just fall away from your faith in Christ.
There is no once saved, always saved. At any point in your life, you can choose to reject Christ.
There is also no such thing as “losing” your salvation. It’s not something you can misplace. But it is something you can intentionally walk away from.
You are not saved because you said a prayer one Sunday at church. You are saved because every day you wake up and say, “Jesus is Lord of my life. I’m following Him.”
For some of you, these things are simply a reminder. And it is good for me to remind you of these things every chance I get.
For others, you discovered somewhere you need to apply effort. Maybe you have some moral issues that need to be cleaned up. Maybe you need to prioritize the Word of God.
Perhaps self-control is something you need to work on. It’s time to stop letting your flesh control you. Flip the script and show your flesh who’s boss by denying what it wants.
Maybe you are going through some trials and suffering right now, and you are tempted to give up. Don’t do it. Continue developing your patient endurance.
Maybe you’ve been too lighthearted towards God, and you need to become reverent.
Once you have these things sorted out, your love walk falls into place as it should. You’ll love everyone with true, biblical love starting with the body of Christ. It will bubble up from within.
Not only that, but you will find yourself accessing God’s promises. You will have finally used the key to open the door to His mansion of promises..
If you are having a hard time accessing God’s promises, now you know why. Put in the effort to fix whatever was revealed to you today, and you’ll find yourself living in every one of His promises.