Evangelical Community Chapel at Liberal: a Molalla, Oregon Church

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Making False Teachers Powerless

November 9th, 2008 by Vic

2 Peter 1:5-21

Before I go on a hike there are many preparations to be made. The more I prepare, the more I enjoy the hike. Our Christian life is like that. There will be false teachers telling us to follow rabbit trails. The hike is more fun if you are following someone who knows the trail.

Before hiking I study the maps. I choose where I will go. I anticipate the rough trails and allow extra time for those uphill climbs. I plan where I will camp overnight. I consider my abilities. I know my weaknesses and plan accordingly.

Before hiking I review my checklist. Different equipment is needed for different trails. Unnecessary equipment makes my load heavier and my hike less pleasant. I take out of my pack all those items I will not need.

Before hiking I meet with those who are walking with me. There are some things we can share. Only one of us takes a stove. Only one of us takes emergency medical supplies. Only one of us takes spare equipment parts. It is pleasant to walk together. God’s Spirit also walks with us.

Today Peter is talking about our hike to heaven. In his 1st letter he told us some things to leave behind; now here he suggests some things we need in our pack of faith.

When you were saved God made available to you everything you need for your hike to heaven. He intended that you enjoy your hike so He sent His Spirit to walk with you. Your spiritual eyes were open to see the beauty of God’s grace and promises. You have everything you need to make your hike to heaven very pleasant. You have someone to walk with you and you have unlimited resources available for life and godliness.

1:5 “And so for this very reason make every effort to lavishly outfit your faith.” Do some planning. Exercise some discipline.

To avoid rabbit trails, know where you are going, who’s going with you and take along the right equipment. You probably will not need scuba gear, climbing gear, or Twinkies.

There is thoughtful effort involved here. God does not issue pack mules and 4 wheelers. God does not cook your meals or do your dishes. There is no idleness in the Christian life. Every promise has a condition. God has provided everything we need but we must pick it up and put it in our pack of faith. There is effort and discipline required from you.

What motivates you? The goal? The leader? Those walking with you?

There are nice backpacking stoves available. Some are better at higher elevations. Some do better in windy conditions. But none do me any good until they are purchased, put in my pack, and used according to the directions. If I make no effort to put the right things in my pack, my hike becomes a disaster or an exercise in survival. If the equipment I really need I failed to purchase and the items I brought were sold to me by a fast-talking salesman, I may be in trouble. It is hard to carry a BarBQ if you are changing elevation over 1,000 feet twice a day.

All our effort and energy must be brought along side the Spirit of God to make our hike to heaven more pleasant. God through Christ has given us, graced us, with all things so now I must be a diligent steward of the promises.

If you are on a long hike, you will need to plan to add more provisions at different times and in different places. You keep replenishing your pack. Are you making any spiritual provision? Don’t just add enough to your faith to get by, but lavishly outfit yourself with the abundant resources of God.

This word for ‘supply’ is ‘super-choreograph’. The word choreograph originally meant to sponsor a drama group or chorus. A choreographer was one who paid all the expenses for the training and production of a traveling group. It was also used of outfitting an army. But here Peter creates a new word by adding the prefix which means ‘super’.

God has the super supplies for your hike to heaven. You need to accept His provision. Do you want to enjoy life? Listen to the one who created the trail for your pleasure. Sam Hill designed the gorge bridges for our pleasure.

In verse 11 this same word is used to describe our welcome in heaven. If we make super preparations now, when we reach our goal, there will be a super supply.

Peter is writing to Christians. You have faith in God. You are getting rid of all anger, malice, deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, slander and the desires of this world that lead to corruption (1Pet 2:1). Now into your backpack of faith super size the attitudes that will make your life very rewarding and pleasant as you walk the way to heaven. You will not be distracted by false teachers.

Faith is like your backpack. Faith is belief. You either believe or you don’t believe. You don’t add to your faith or belief, but you fill it with grace. Your faith will not expand if you are making no effort. If you have no desire to grow spiritually, you won’t. Your faith or backpack was a gift from God. He knew the style you needed for the life you have ahead of you. It is a measure of faith (Rom 12), not too much and not too little. It is variegated and different from others (1P 4:10).

Remember the children of Israel in the wilderness. They were dying from snake bites. God made provision so they could be healed. Moses lifted up a symbol for healing. Healing was available, but the people had to make an effort to receive the healing in their lives. There was no provision for carelessness, for vacations, for busy schedules. God said they had to look to the symbol of healing to be healed.

That symbol represents Christ. There is still no provision for carelessness or stubbornness. We must look to Jesus to receive the benefits of God’s grace. If you want to enjoy your walk in the Way, you begin by believing in Jesus as Lord. That faith will get you on the right trail with a custom built backpack, but you will not enjoy the hike unless you fill your faith with the provisions that God has made available. God set conditions to His promises. Jesus said, Come follow Me.

Peter lists 7 attitudes here that we need to have in our lives to protect us from false teachers.

First, lavishly supply to your sphere of faith, moral power or excellence of virtue. This is a Christ-like attitude that is not attracted with this world. This attitude sees the real unseen world. It does not focus on this visible shadow of reality.

Next, grow in knowledge. This word is used 29 times in the N.T. 16 of those are in the Corinthian letters. Without knowledge we will have problems. Be a learner, a student of life.

To grow in knowledge is a way of life. We are to fill our faith with a growing knowledge of God. Not the knowledge of books, but of a person. It means seeing life more from God’s point of view. To know Him is to love Him and perfect love casts out fear.

Next, add self-mastery. When I know who I am, what I am, and why I am where I am, I see God working in my life and self-control is a natural response to God’s grace. I want to please God and His grace gives me strength to do it. In Christ I can control my tongue, affections, and appetites.

Self-control is an attitude of contentment in Christ.

Next, add patience. This is a grace that grows from trials. Patience is an attitude of rest that results from complete trust in God. It is not a passive or an insensitive attitude, but a willingness to endure all events and conditions to honor God. It is endurance against temptation and discouragement because I trust God. Impatience is an indication I don’t see God. We run so fast we don’t see the trail markers or we sit down and never reach the markers.

Next, add godliness, a godly way of life. This is the same word as verse 3. We have everything we need to live godly lives. A godly man respects all forms of life. When a man is godly, he is in harmony with himself and all of life. Godliness is an attitude of reverence, a reverent manner of life, and an attitude of worship. Without godliness we leave a trail of trash behind us.

Next, add love of the brethren. Philadelphia will take time. Peter does not allow for a monastic life. If we love God we will love our brothers. If you don’t feel like helping the neighbor by the side of the road, maybe you have lost your love of God. Practice random acts of kindness.

Next, make love your nature. Perfect love is Christlikeness. God is love. You can participate in the divine nature. You can see the world as God sees the world. Your heart can be broken with the things that break the heart of God.

1:8 “For if these things are in you and are super-abounding, you are destined to be neither ‘out of order’ nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Plan to keep your supplies replenished. Without supplies you are out of order.

When my cup is full and running over it shows. The Father is glorified when I bear much fruit.

When you were born again, you became part of God’s family. You received everything you need for life and godliness. Now if these things are super-abounding and increasing, you will be effective and valuable like an artesian spring. You will have a supply from a source greater than the visible.

If my faith is not filled and lavishly outfitted, I am useless and out of order, no use to anyone. It is not normal to be born again and not grow. Faith without works is useless. When do we have an “Out of Order” sign on our lives? When we are “out of sorts”?

If I say I have faith and I am not growing, and people are not seeing the fruit of the Spirit in my life, I am out of order. There is no peace in an empty faith.

1:9 Here is a contrast. “For whoever does not possess these things is blind being near sighted, having forgotten the earlier cleansing of his sins.”

Not only are we out of order but we are blind to what God is doing in our life today. We are blind to what God has promised to do in the future. And we are blind to what God has done in the past. We can’t see God in anything. The pure in heart see God in everything, but we can’t.

We have been born again with an imperishable seed. The healthy plant will grow. All of nature teaches us that you grow or you die. The healthy Christian will be lavishly adding to his faith. Not all Christians are healthy. They are spiritually blind and cannot see the unseen. They are near sighted and focused only on themselves.

Forgetfulness causes spiritual blindness. When I forget who I am in Christ my spiritual life resembles a blind man’s walk. I can’t see God working. I miss the beauty of the walk. Each step becomes a struggle. My life is no longer pleasant.

I took a blind boy on one pack trip. I remember a few of his frustrations. When we got to a spectacular view point, he could sense the reality, he could feel the breeze, he could hear the quiet echoes, he could listen to the description of others, but he could only imagine the majesty. And for the other students on the hike, Clark was extra work because he could not do his share.

When Christians are not growing they loose their spiritual eye sight. They need to be helped again with the elementary teachings. They miss the majesty. They need a lot of help.

1:10 “Therefore, now more than ever brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and selection.”

There is no room for apathy or a passive attitude. Be diligent. Do your best. Stretch for the goal with every effort to confirm and guarantee your calling. It takes effort on your part. Every relationship takes time and effort.

“For if you are doing these things, if they are abundantly existing in your life, NEVER EVER will you stumble at any time.” We do not have to sin. We do not have to break God’s law. If we are a healthy Christian, we are living holy lives.

1:11 The reward of living a holy life is sure. Salvation is promised. “For thus we will be lavishly supplied in our welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” If you are living a holy life, God will supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus. You will be welcomed into heaven as a child of the king. You will not be checking into heaven as a beggar with dirty clothes and no money, but you will be lavishly supplied.

It is foolish to hike in the mountains by yourself with an empty pack. The Christian life was not intended to be a practice in survival, but a joyous celebration of the majesty of God’s creation and provisions. Jesus said, “Come follow Me.” Accept the Holy Spirit as you hiking partner.

Look at the end of this paragraph (1:15). Peter wants us to remember what? The promise of God is that He will be with us and He will be a Father to us (2Cor 7:1; 2P1:3-11).

1:12 Peter is writing this letter to remind us to keep growing. He wants to always remind us, both before his death and after his death.

Remember who you are and why.

He is not adding anything new to what we already know. He is repeating the basic Christian instructions that all believers received. All the apostles preached the same thing. Even though Peter had never visited these churches, he knew his message was no different from the other apostles.

You are established in the truth. You are well grounded, instructed, committed, but be careful of false teachers. To stand in the face of heresy you must remember the truth. Remember the word given to you. Remember to remember.

1:13 The body is the temporary tent for our immortal soul. We leave the tent behind.

1:14 Peter knew he was about to die and that confirmed what Jesus had told him in John 21:18. Many people who walk with God receive some kind of intimation of their approaching death.

1:15 Peter was being diligent to get something in writing so these churches could remember what they had received and how they should live and how great was their salvation.

When I was teaching at WES, one of the popular churches in Portland was the Living Enrichment Center in Wilsonville. Then in 2004, the woman pastor was convicted of embezzling 11 million dollars. Do you remember how easy it is to believe a lie? False teachers are common.

1:16 Critics were saying that the resurrection and second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ was a cleverly concocted myth that the disciples created. Peter says stop and think. It can’t be a myth.

1:16-18 The Transfiguration is evidence for the second coming. We were eyewitnesses of His majesty. Peter says he heard God speak.

The expectation of the second coming is not a humanly contrived myth, but is firmly grounded in God’s word. It is not a human invention.

1:19 The second reply to the critics is the Old Testament scriptures. The transfiguration confirmed the OT prophecy. Both look to the second coming.

Neither the Transfiguration nor the O.T. Scriptures were a plan of man.

You would do well to pay attention to the Scriptures as to a lamp shining in a murky place. Meditate on the Word. Fix your eyes on Jesus in the Scriptures like you would a light in a cave. God’s word can be light in your darkness and give you hope. It’s like walking along the marquee in a Carnival. Keep your eyes on Jesus. See people through Jesus’ eyes. Don’t be distracted by those shouting at you.

The day will dawn and the morning star rises. The morning star is Venus that introduces daylight into the world. Christ is the morning star that precedes the coming fullness of the kingdom of God. The Scriptures tell us about the star and look forward to daylight of the new age. When the morning star has risen in your hearts, you’ll know that the kingdom of God is at hand.

1:20-21 Now the criticism was apparently raised that the OT was also a creation of man. To refute that Peter gives us the truth about the inspiration of Scripture.

No prophecy of Scripture derives from the prophet’s own interpretation. The prophet was usually given a sign, a dream, or a vision and then given the interpretation. God gave them the words and the interpretation of the words. Remember Daniel.

The critics say that the Scripture is ambiguous. Anyone can interpret it anyway he likes and no one can say which way is correct. The critics would say that everyone can have his own interpretation. But these verses imply that because God inspired the Scripture, He has determined the meaning of Scripture. Scripture never came by the impulse of man, but men were impelled by the Holy Spirit from God. The words at the Transfiguration came from God. The words of the OT also came from God. The Holy Spirit was the source of prophecy. The Holy Spirit inspires the words the prophets receive and the interpretation of the words. The Holy Spirit makes Christianity different from the myths.

God has spoken. Are we listening?

The map is not as exciting and pleasant as the journey. Am I still reading the map or enjoying the journey?

We do not do anything because we are told to. We need a transformation by the renewing of our mind. (Rom 12:1-2) Growing in grace is a God thing. Maturity happens to a healthy body.

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