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Great Power and Great Responsibility (2 Peter 1:1-15)

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

Series: The Responsibilities of Righteousness Title: Great Power and Great Responsibility Passage: 2 Peter 1:1-15 (csb)


Good morning. It is an honor to come before you today in a different capacity than I usually do. I would like to thank Jen Jones for leading us in worship this morning, and what a blessing it was to be able to sing with you in the congregation for a change.

Many of you have seen and commented on an incredibly special tie that I wear semi-frequently. This tie not only holds a great deal of sentimental value to me (tie I wore on my wedding day), it also reminds me of an important moral from the comic book character Spiderman.

As a teenager, Peter Parker was bitten by a spider, gifting him with superhuman strength, agility and other abilities that put him a unique position to “do the right thing” more so than others could IF HE SO CHOSE. And while he was still acclimating to his abilities, he encountered a situation where he decided NOT to do the right thing because it was easier to just let the situation pass. This crucial moment in Peter Parker’s life was instrumental in defining Spiderman because, as he would learn quickly thereafter, the consequences of his inaction led to the untimely death of his dear Uncle Ben who was not only an uncle, but also a father figure to Peter. The realization that his inaction caused the death of his beloved Uncle Ben would force Peter into realizing that, in this world, “…with great power comes great responsibility.”These words would forever transform Peter Parker into the Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman that we all know and love.

If you have not already, go ahead and open your bibles, or turn them on and find your way to 2 Peter 1:1-15.

As we read through this passage today, and as we study God’s Word, I would like for us to look closely at this idea of the great responsibility we have because of the great power we are given through our knowledge of God and His Son Jesus Christ. With that being said, the topics that we will see in today’s passage are simple:

  • Knowledge of God, and Jesus Christ.
  • Godliness that comes through practicing the knowledge we have.
  • Responsibility for which we are to hold one another accountable.So, enough introduction; let us delve into the Word of God and find out what it says about knowledgegodliness, and responsibility. I am going to read the passage in its entirety and then we will go back to the beginning and unpack some of the truths for us in this passage.(Read 2 Peter 1:1-15)
    For those of you taking notes, you will find blank spaces in your handout as we progressthrough our message. So, takes notes as you see fit. With that being said, our first point is: 

Point I: Common denominator of our faith (v. 1-4)

As we unpack this passage, I want us to focus on three subpoints of our first point:

  • Who is the Author?
  • Who is the Audience?
  • What is the Purpose?Most of us might think that the author of this letter (aka. Epistle) is self-evident, and you would be correct. However, the fact that this letter is from Peter makes the following statements so much more impactful. Let’s take a look at verse 1-2; follow along as I read.1 Simeon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ:To those who have received a faith equal to ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

A. Who is the author? Simeon (Simon) Peter

  • A servant and apostle (“person sent”) of Jesus Christ
  • He was also…

o …a fisherman who left everything to follow Jesus
o …a disciple who saw Jesus transfigured on top of a mountain
o …a disciple who, at the command of Jesus walked on water
o …a disciple who swore to go to his death alongside Jesus
o …the same disciple who would later deny even knowing Jesus three times
o …thedisciplewhowouldexperiencethehealingforgivenessoftheresurrected

Jesus face to face
o …the disciple who was personally charge by Jesus to “…feed (His) sheep”.

  • Peter was many things and is relatable to us all for so many reasons:
    o We have all said and done things we regret.
    o We all have tendencies to be hotheaded and rash in our words and/or actions.
  • HOWEVER, although he was influenced by his experiences, Peter was not defined by them.

o Peter addresses this issue right off the bat in his letter; he is defined by “…the righteousness of our God and savior Jesus Christ.”

o He identifies himself as someone who has received salvation just like his audience has, from the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ.

B. Who is the audience? …those who have received a faith equal to ours…” 

  • We have obtained a faith equal (…of equal standing) to that of the disciples who personally witnessed and experienced the ministry and miracles of Jesus Christ.
  • As an individual, I struggle with comparisons; comparisons between myself andsomeone else whom I view as superior to myself, which often brings me to the conclusion that, because I’m not like “fill-in-the-blank”, the impact I have for the kingdom of God is of no consequence.
  • However, this introduction does away with the preconception that “even though I’m a follower of Christ, I could never be like (Francis Chan; Billy Graham; the Apostle Paul; the Pastor; etc.).”
  • In believing that preconception, we are not only denouncing our own responsibilities as a follower of Christ, but we also deny the power of the Holy Spirit that is active within EVERY believer who submits themselves to Christ and His glory.
  • This introduction directly addresses this preconception by stating the truth: we have all obtained a faith of equal standing alongside the disciples, not based on our abilities, but on the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.
  • To further emphasize this truth, look at Ephesians 2:8-9.
    “8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’sgift 9 not from works, so that no one can boast.”
  • Praise God that we are given grace and mercy based on the righteousness of God, and not on our individual abilities, shortcomings, or faults.

C. What is the purpose?
• Peter emphasizes that he wants his audience (probably various Churches in Asia Minor

province, which would have been comprised of Jews and Gentiles alike) to experience the grace and peace that comes through the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ.

o This topic of Knowledge (of God and our Lord Jesus Christ) is a recurring theme throughout this letter.; knowledge of which God is the source. This knowledge is pivotal to our salvation and growth as followers of Christ.

o Without knowledge, we have no way of understanding: ▪ God’s faithfulness compared to our depravity. ▪ God’s love and our need.
▪ God’s mercy and our sin.

o Without knowing Jesus, we have no way of knowing:
▪ Our depravity, and His faithfulness to God’s plan. ▪ Our need, and His provision for our salvation.
▪ Our sin, and His sacrifice on our behalf.

• With this knowledge, we can begin to understand God and His holiness, Jesus and His faithfulness, us and our sinfulness, and how we should respond to all of this (repeat?). o This is why knowledge is pivotal to our salvation; without knowledge, we have no way of knowing how to respond to God’s love for us.

Peter continues in verses 3-4

“3 His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

4 By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.”

  • Church, this passage is not simply a promise; this is a constant reality for all followers of Jesus Christ. This is the gift of God that we receive daily!o By His divine power, we are given EVERYTHING required for life and godliness. o By His goodness and mercy, we know Him because He called us to Him.
    o By His great and precious promises, we share in the divine nature.
    o By these same promises, we escape the fate of this world and its corruption.
  • What does it mean to experience “…life and godliness”?

o The ‘…everything we need for LIFE and GODLINESS’ is God’s provision for us that

we may experience life as God would have us experience life; not as the world would have us experience life.
▪ Ref. John 10:10 – We know that Jesus came to give us life, and that

▪ Ref. John 14:27 – Jesus also came to gives us peace, but not as the world

gives peace. So, we should not let our hearts be troubled or fearful. o The life and peace we are given by God are for us, that we might escape the

corruption of the world. As our passage just said in verse 4, the world is filled with corruption because of evil desires. Why then, would we seek peace from the world, if the world is the very reason we need peace?

o The answer to this question is simple: we should not seek peace from the world. What then should we do? Well, Peter addresses this as well. We are to share in the divine nature, and in so doing we escape from the evil and corruption of this world.

Hebrews 3:14 echoes this practice of “sharing in the divine nature” by simply saying:

14 For we have become participants in Christ if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start.”

  • What is this “…reality we had at the start”? This reality is that we received salvation by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ for the purposes of life and godliness. However, we should take care to understand that LIFE and GODLINESS are in direct opposition to the EVIL and CORRUPTION that is at work in the world. And we are charged to hold firm to this reality to the very end.
  • All this talk of knowledge has finally led us to the point where action is now required. We know through scriptures that faith without works in dead. Likewise, knowledge without action proves to be unbeneficial, which brings us to our next point…Point II: Communicable attributes of our God (v. 5-9)What is a ‘communicable attribute’ of God?
  • To better understand this term, we are going to look at its counterpart as well: incommunicable attributes of God. Google has this to say on these terms:Omnipotence (complete control)omniscience (all knowing)omnipresence (all places), infinity, self-existence (aseity)these are some of the incommunicable attributes of God, those attributes of our Creator that He does not share with His creation. However, the Lord also has communicable attributes, or attributes that He does share with human beings to at least some degree.
  • For example:

o God loves; we too can love (although not as a perfectly)
o God forgives; we too can forgive (although not as completely)
o God is mercifulkind, and good. These are all attributes that we are capable of sharing with God. In fact, we are called to exhibit these traits as followers of Christ.

  • Let’s take a look at verse 5-8 to see the attributes we are called to exhibit. Everybody getyour pens ready because there are seven attributes in this passage!5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, 6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, 7 godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • We are charged, as followers of Christ to “supplement our faith” with seven attributes, each of which are compounded by the attribute mentioned before. For those of you who like definitions, the seven attributes are:
    1. Virtue – behavior showing high(er) moral standards
    2. Knowledge – practical understanding of a subject (God and Jesus in this case)
  1. Self-control – the ability to control oneself (particularly in difficult situations)
  2. Steadfastness – being dutifully firm and unwavering
  3. Godliness – conforming to the laws and wishes of God (also see below)
  4. Brotherly Affection – gentleness towards other believers
  5. Love – godly benevolence towards another human being

• Google is a wonderful resource that I use regularly to help me understand big words.

However, some terminology often requires me to turn to a more reliable resource because, unfortunately Google does not possess the answers to everything…

o Matthew Henry’s Commentary says this about godliness: “…(godliness) includes the holy affections and dispositions found in the true worshipper of God; with tender affection to all fellow Christians, who are children of the same Father, servants of the same Master, members of the same family, travellers to the same country, (and) heirs of the same inheritance.”

  • As stated so well by Matthew Henry, godliness is the evidence of the “true worshiper” of God. If we want to know how to exhibit godliness in a way that confirms our calling, we should look closely at the attributes that precede godlinessvirtueknowledgeself- control, and steadfastness are just the beginnings of what we are called to exhibit as followers of Christ.
  • Knowledge especially should produce fruitfulness for the follower of Christ; fruitfulness that furthers the kingdom of God by bringing others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We “…share in the divine nature” by putting into to practice these communicable attributes of God so that we are fruitful and productive.
  • Peter clearly lays out for us what we should be, while also effectively calling out what we should not be.o If we do not participate in Christ the way His Word and Holy Spirit instructs us to, then we are considered “useless” and “unfruitful”. In fact, verse 9 further clarifies what a person who does NOT participate in the divine nature looks like. Look with me as I read verse 9.“9 The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins.”
  • So, we are to possess “these qualities” mentioned in verse 5-7. But more than that, we are to grow these attributes. Verse 8 tells us that, if we have “these qualities” and they are INCREASING, we will be effective and fruitful in our knowledge of Jesus Christ.
  • However, if we lack these qualities, we are nearsighted and have forgotten our cleansing from past sins. How terrible it is for followers of Christ to forget that which has brought them to salvation in the first place.
  • We should take stock of our lives church. Do we possess, exhibit, and grow in the qualitieswe just mentioned? If not, what’s stopping us?
  • “These qualities” make us faithfuleffectiveproductive and fruitful. We are to continuallystrive to be faithful followers of Christ, growing in our faith and the attributes mentioned in this passage today, because as Matthew Henry so eloquently stated, “…(these) dispositions (are) found in the true worshipper of God”. To put things more simply, these attributes separate the true worshiper from just someone who knows a lot about the Bible. We need to strive to be true worshipers of God, which brings us to our final point.Point III: Constant reminder of our salvation (v. 10-15)Peter wraps up our passage for today with a word of encouragement. Look with me at verse 10- 15.10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble.11 For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.12 Therefore I will always remind you about these things, even though you know them and are established in the truth you now have.13 I think it is right, as long as I am in this bodily tent, to wake you up with a reminder,14 since I know that I will soon lay aside my tent, as our Lord Jesus Christ has indeed made clear to me.15 And I will also make every effort so that you are able to recall these things at any time after my departure.

• Peter’s desire for the followers of Christ is that we confirm the calling and election we have through Christ by being diligent in practicing “these qualities” mentioned in the passage.

o Through constant practice of the life and godliness to which we are called, we are affirmed in our faith (in relationship with others and in our minds). And this constant practice of godliness prevents us from stumbling in our walk with Christ.

  • ▪  Does this mean that we will be perfect in following Christ if we practice these things? By no means!
  • ▪  However, in practicing these qualities of a godly life, we effectively remove the things in our life that cause us to stumble, the temptations and evils in our life that bring us grief because of our own sin.

▪ So, in practicing these qualities, we allow God’s righteousness to be exemplified in our life.

  • In response to all of this, Peter assures us that we are richly provided an entrance into the kingdom of heaven through Jesus Christ. But with this knowledge comes a great responsibility.o We must be aware that there is much work to be done; God intends for us to be effective and fruitful with His gift of grace and salvation.
  • Peter recognizes that those to whom he writes are already “established in the truth”. They already possess faith and the qualities that supplement their faith. However, Peter also recognizes that his time on earth is limited, and therefore his remaining words must be chosen carefully. He uses the time he has left to remind us of what is most important in this world: knowing, growing in, and leading others to salvation through Christ.
  • I’m reminded of the musical “Alexander Hamilton”. One of the dominant themes throughout the show is Alexander’s fervency with which he documents and categorizes the information that is most important to him, that information being his life’s work. And those who watched him perpetually asked the question, “why does he write like he’s running out of time?” The answer to that question is simple; eventually we will all run out of time. All we can do is be effective and fruitful followers of Christ with the time we are given. This brings us to our Bottom Line.Bottom Line: Remember and remind one another of our responsibility.I would like to bring us back to the analogy made at the beginning of this sermon.
  • Peter Parker was entrusted with an incredible gift; a gift that set him apart from others because he was capable of doing what others could not. Unlike Peter Parker though, we have not been bitten by a radioactive spider so as to give us superhuman strengths and abilities.
  • However, we have received the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, power that, as we practice the qualities will continue to transform us into faithful and effective followers of Jesus Christ.
  • And just in case this connection is unclear, we have experienced life and godliness (salvation) so that the world around us might see Christ at work within us.
  • Church, the world desperately needs us to exhibit the qualities of life and godliness mentioned in our passage today. In fact, there are so many things in this passage that clarify how we should live our lives to be faithful and effective followers of Christ. So, this week challenge yourself with this passage in the following ways.

Weekly Challenge:

  1. Grow in your knowledge of Jesus Christ.
    1. Spend time reading and studying the Bible.
    2. Read with intentionality.
  2. Recognize the sovereignty of God.
    a. After spending time studying the God’s Word, spend time in prayer.
    b. Ask God to show you specific ways that He can change your heart regarding what Hesays to you through His Word.
  3. Share the gospel until we can’t.a. After spending time in the Word and in prayer, look for opportunities to show ‘n tell what how God has changed you.b. As with Spiderman, the world needs people to act upon the good they are capable of doing. We as Christians have been given the goodest of goods that this world could ever know. The world needs us to share the good we are capable of sharing.(Gospel Presentation)

How can I know Jesus?

  • Step 1. Recognize the sin in our life (sin: living life “our way” as opposed to “God’s way”, whether that’s in ignorance or blatant rejection.
  • Step 2. Understand that Jesus came to pay the price for that sin.
  • Step 3. Submitting ourselves to faithfulness to Jesus. This requires (repentance) walkingaway from our sin and actively serving God in our life (this is the part people, includingChristians struggle with).
  • Step 4. Exhibit the qualities of life and godliness like we discussed in our passage today. Godhas called us to live life and that abundantly, and we can’t do that on our own terms; to experience life abundantly, we have live on God’s terms.