Summary: How to build character
2 Peter 1 - 4/22/12
Turn with me this morning in the end of your bibles to the book of 2 Peter. We want to take the next three or four weeks to look together at the book of 2 Peter. Today, I want you to answer two questions about yourself:
• How’s your eyesight? and
• How’s your memory? we’ll get to those questions in just a little bit.
We are already at the end of April, and in just a couple weeks it will be Mother’s Day. Hopefully you can begin to think about how you want to honor your mother this year. The story is told about three sons who left home, went out on their own and prospered? Getting back together, they discussed the gifts they were able to give their elderly mother.
The first said, "I built a big house for our mother."
The second said, "I sent her a Mercedes with a driver."
The third smiled and said, "I’ve got you both beat. You remember how mom enjoyed reading the Bible? And you know she can’t see very well. I sent her a remarkable parrot that recites the entire Bible. It took elders in the church 12 years to teach him. He’s one of a kind. Mama just has to name the chapter and verse, and parrot recites it."
Soon thereafter, mom sent out her letters of thanks:
"Milton", she wrote, "The house you built is so huge. I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house."
"Gerald", she wrote to another, "I am too old to travel. I stay most of the time at home, so I rarely use the Mercedes. And the driver is so rude!"
"Dearest Donald", she wrote to her third son, "You have the good sense to know what your mother likes. The chicken was delicious!" Well, apparently that mom had some problems seeing and remembering.
Speaking of remembering, let me spur on your memory about the book of 1 Peter. We went through it together about four years ago. In that letter, Peter is writing to give practical help to Christians dealing with daily problems.
He starts by reminding us that we all face trials. They come in all shapes and sizes. Peter says we can expect them to come; so don’t be surprised when they do come. They can be very hard to deal with, but with God’s help, we can make it through. Peter says in spite of the trials in our lives, we are to Live in Hope.
Hope is not a futile wishing for a good future, rather hope is the confident expectation that God will work, based upon his character. I can have hope in the midst of trials, Peter tells me, because
• I am chosen of God - God loved me and elected ME!
• I am born of God - God not only loved me, but he made me his child.
• I am destined for good - I have an incorruptible inheritance waiting for me.
• I am shielded by God’s power - I am completely protected as I face these various trials. Therefore, I can have JOY in the midst of the trials, and I can GROW spiritually.
Because we have hope, we are called to Live in Holiness. To do that, Peter calls us to
control our minds, imitate our master, inquire of scripture, anticipate judgment, and confirm our faith.
In living holy lives, we are to Live in Harmony with one another. Peter calls us to holiness - this word holiness is really the idea of being “different” than the world - and then he calls us to live in harmony in response to the holy life we live. We have a fond affection, a brotherly love for one another, but we go on to extend ourselves to sacrificial love, and seek to live in unity, because we are children in the same family, stones in the same building, priests in the same temple, and citizens of the same nation.
We are to Live as a Herald - to live advertising Jesus, wherever we are. And we saw that to do a good job of advertising Jesus, we need to Live Humbly - to live a life of submission, to God, to Government, to Bosses, to Spouses, and to One Another.
Then Peter calls us to Live Honorably, to live redeeming the time. We don’t want to waste our lives. We have wasted enough time already in living like the world. We want to pray more, love more, share more, serve more. We want to control our tongues. We want to control our desires and give and tithe and rejoice.
You may have trials -- we all do -- but in the trials, we gain help from faithful leaders over us, faithful followers alongside us, and by firmly resisting the forces of Satan fighting against us. And when we do, we will stand firm in spite of the trials. That was the lesson of 1 Peter.