Sermon Notes & References

Gratitude for His High Calling

2 Peter 1:1-4

October 13, 2019

1 Simon Peter, bond-slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those having been allotted faith equally valuable as ours in the righteousness of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ; 2 May grace to you, and peace, be abounding in the full knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 As His divine power has given to us everything which pertains to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us, by His own glory and excellence; 4 whereby He has given to us the precious and very great promises that through these you might become sharers of divine nature, having been freed from the corruption in the world on account of lust.                                   (RGH)


1.  Introduction

      a.   Thanksgiving to the Point

      b.   Manifold Blessings Footnote


2.  Salvation’s Blessings

      a.   His High Calling

      b.   Faith Footnote

      c.   Righteousness Footnote

      d.   Grace Footnote

      e.   Peace Footnote

      f.   Knowing God Footnote

      g.   Power for Living Footnote

      h.   Purposeful Promises Footnote

      i.    Freedom Footnote


3.  Conclusion

Endnote  2 Peter 1:1-4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Gratitude for His High Calling


1.  Introduction

      a.   Thanksgiving to the Point

             i.    Garrison Keillor, author of the nostalgic Lake Wobegon books, recalls his childhood Thanksgiving dinners, as the family gathered around the table and remembered the blessings of the past year. Uncle John usually gave the prayer, which caused everyone to squirm. As Keillor said, “Everybody in the family knew that Uncle John couldn't pray without talking about the cross and crying.... Sure enough, Uncle John prayed, talked about the cross, and cried. Meanwhile, the rest of us shifted nervously from one foot to the other and longed for the prayer to end.”

             ii.    Then Garrison Keillor adds this powerful observation: “All of us knew that Jesus died on the cross for us, but Uncle John had never gotten over it.” Endnote

            iii.  Peter, too, never got over the cross

                  (1) Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ” (1:1)

                  (2) note the order

                        (a)  first: ‘Bond-servant’ or slave – confessing the tremendous debt paid on his behalf by Jesus

                        (b)  second: ‘apostle’ or commissioned messenger – rejoicing in the tremendous privilege of spreading that Gospel to others

                  (3) Peter’s life reflected his gratitude for Christ’s work at the cross

                  (4) and so should ours

                  (5) that is the real point of thanksgiving

                  (6) to express our gratitude to Jesus for Calvary

            iv.  Such gratitude is the only proper response to the cross, as A. W. Tozer expresses it, “Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it.” Endnote


      b.   Manifold Blessings

            i.    our God is the God who blesses

                  (1) the record of Genesis says that when He was finished, God looked upon His creation and it was good

                        (a)  so He is actively, continually caring for His creation

                        (b)  Christians, of all people, should take care for their natural environment

            ii.   He blesses materially – we expressed gratitude

                  (1) in today’s hymns, Psalms – with emphasis on God’s material care

                  (2) for the harvest: “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”

                  (3) for His general Providence to Man & Beast: Psalms 104, 147

                  (4) for His defence from evil: “We Gather Together”

            iii.  but also for His spiritual blessings

                  (1) for joys given: “For the Beauty of the Earth”

                  (2) we gave thanks, singing, “Let Us with a Gladsome Mind” – John Milton from Psalm 136

                  (3) and will in our closing hymn, “Thank You”, for His salvation

            iv.  it is this special blessing that we shall consider today from the first verses of Peter’s second letter


2.  Salvation’s Blessings

      a.   “His High Calling”

            i.    all our spiritual blessings which we discover in Peter’s introduction to his second letter stem from the truth of a phrase found in verse 3: “ … Him who called us …

            ii.   it is the effectual call of God from on high to the sinner

                  (1) His gracious invitation to the sinner, “Come!”

                  (2) applied by God the Holy Spirit

                  (3) met with the response of faith

                  (4) that ushers in all the blessings of our salvation in Jesus Christ

            iii.  so let us look through the verses and give thanks for them one by one


      b.   Faith

            i.    verse 1 – “to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours

            ii.   Ephesians 2:8 says “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” –

                  (1) ‘grace’ and ‘gift’ can be taken

                  (2) to apply to faith, or,

                  (3) to apply to salvation as a whole

            iii.  but the end result is the same: there is nothing – not works, not even faith – that come from within us to merit our salvation

            iv.  Peter here tells us that faith is a blessing we have received or obtained – something allotted to us – and not previously in our possession

            v.   this blessing of saving faith

                  (1) equally precious as that of Peter and the other apostles

                  (2) equally honourable and privileged as Peter’s and the apostles’

                  (3) for this let us give thanks with a grateful heart


      c.   Righteousness

            i.    verse 1 – ‘by the righteousness of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ

                  (1) note that this is the right translation: there is One Person being spoken of in this verse, and He is ours – Jesus is our Saviour God

                  (2) and this is what makes faith to be saving faith to us just as it was to Peter, James, John and the rest

            ii.   Jesus, God incarnate lived a righteous, perfect life

                  (1) in order that “He [God the Father] made Him [God the Son] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. [God the Son]” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

                  (2) and so the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, so that on God’s balance sheet, it is accounted to our credit, whereas any and all of our good works would only throw up a debt

            iii.  be full of gratitude that we can stand before God dressed in Christ’s righteousness alone


      d.   Grace

            i.    verse 2 – Peter prays for us, ‘Grace and peace be multiplied to you …’

                  (1) these are blessings rightfully expected by every believer

                  (2) so Peter can pray aright that we enjoy them

            ii.   grace is God’s unmerited favour

                  (1) as first shown in our salvation

                  (2) but since then demonstrated abundantly

                  (3) as He accompanies us as our Heavenly Father

                  (4) through every difficulty and problem of life

            iii.  for even as believers we fall short of what we should be

                  (1) for Jesus teaches us, ‘”So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’”’ (Luke 17:10)

                  (2) and yet, “… we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

            iv.  thank you, Lord, that You have “… not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.” (Psalms 103:10)


      e.   Peace

            i.    like grace which precedes, we are told is being ‘multiplied’, ‘abounding’ or being heaped up for our benefit

                  (1) peace is also liberally provided in this same fashion

                  (2) biblical peace is a natural consequence of salvation

                  (3) the wholeness of a person when the relationship to God for which he was created has been restored

            ii.   it is the Saviour’s bequest as a heritage to His people

                  (1) Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)

                  (2) it is the peace between God and man for which He gave His life

                  (3) it is the peace among God’s children which should identify us

                  (4) it is the inner peace promised in Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” (NKJV)

            iii.  let us give thanks for “… the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, [that] shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)


      f.   Knowing God

            i.    verse 2 continues, “… in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;”, while verse 3 adds, “… through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

                  (1) in verse 1, Person of the Godhead spoken of was God the Son: He is our God and Saviour

                  (2) in this verse the Deity of Jesus is not lessened, but the distinction is made between Emmanuel, God with us in the person of Jesus, and either the Triune God or the Father God

                  (3) in theology we describe the Trinity – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – as being indivisible but discernible; God is One Being, One God and yet manifest in three Persons

                  (4) recognizing this, all these truths about His glory and excellence, is part of our knowledge of God

            ii.   but such intellectual understanding is only a part of knowing God

                  (1) ‘knowing’ in Scripture conveys the idea of intimate relationship

                  (2) Paul in Galatians 4:9 describes this reciprocal relationship in these terms, ‘But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God …’

                  (3) and John uses another term, ‘… and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.’ (1 John 1:3)

            iii.  thank God that our knowledge of Him involves not just our heads but having a sharing of mission as a child from its father.


      g.   Power for Living

            i.    verse 3: “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, …

                  (1) the second part of this blessing only takes effect if we accept what God grants in the first part, His divine power

                        (a)  why do I as a Christian so often fail (you may ask yourself the same question)?

                        (b)  because I first fail to recognize my own weakness

                        (c)  and have not learned the lesson that Paul did; ‘And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9)

                  (2) faith – continuing dependence upon God – is the link that channels God’s power into our lives

                        (a)  for life in this verse is not just eternal life, but day to day life

                        (b)  living without hypocrisy – putting on an act

                        (c)  living to show the love of Jesus Christ in word, in action

            ii.   and also godliness

                  (1) that does not mean god-likeness, though that’s a common idea

                  (2) the old English word, piety, was a closer definition

                  (3) it is something, however, that is easier to recognize than to define

                  (4) it is being such a person that our very being worships God

            iii.  the way to show gratitude for this blessing is to accept it, applying it through our day as we realize our need of it.


      h.   Purposeful Promises

            i.    verse 4: “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, …

                  (1) I am almost afraid to enlarge on this blessing, lest you should think that I have gone around the bend

                  (2) but the verse means just what it says

                        (a)  throughout the Scriptures there are made many wondrous statements concerning God’s purpose for His people

                        (b)  they promise an exaltation of man only grace could give

                        (c)  Satan promised the woman that by eating of the forbidden fruit she should be like God– Satan often tempts to a good end by the wrong means

                        (d)  God’s purpose is that, being made in the image of God, we as His children should grow like Him

                  (3) that we should partake (share) the divine nature

                        (a)  … Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV)

                        (b)  but we are given some hints in those promises:

            ii.   “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

            iii.  and “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren;” (Romans 8:29)

            iv.  praise God in gratitude for His divine purposes for His children


      i.    Freedom

            i.    verse 4: “… having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

                  (1) because sin is such a trouble to us: in thought, word and deed, we probably do not appreciate this blessing as we should

                  (2) and may even critically evaluate others

                  (3) yet Jesus promised, “If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

            ii.   there are the three tenses of salvation and of this freedom

                  (1) when we accepted Christ’s death for our sin, we were freed from the guilt and punishment of our sin

                  (2) day by day, as we seek God’s power to life we are being freed from the power of sin

                  (3) and, when Christ shall come, we shall be freed from the presence of sin

            iii.  How thankful we should be for all thse blessing that attend salvation


3.  Conclusion – our closing hymn includes the verses of that well-known chorus: “Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul” ... let us give thanks now in singing it.