Summary: The Thirdin a series of 5 sermons dealing with abundant living from 2 Peter 1:3-11. We have everything we need for life and godliness!
A young woman was on vacation in the depths of Louisiana. She wanted a pair of genuine alligator shoes in the worst way, but was very reluctant to pay the high prices the local vendors were asking. After becoming very frustrated with the "no haggle" attitude of one of the shopkeepers, the blonde shouted, "Maybe I’ll just go out and catch my own alligator so I can get a pair of shoes at a reasonable price!" The shopkeeper said, "By all means, be my guest. Maybe you’ll luck out and catch yourself a big one!" Determined, the blonde turned and headed for the swamps, set on catching herself an alligator. Later in the day, the shopkeeper was driving home, when he spotted the young woman standing waist deep in the water, shotgun in hand. Just then, he saw a huge 9-foot alligator swimming quickly toward her. She took aim, killed the creature, and with a great deal of effort hauled it on to the swamp bank. Lying nearby were several more of the dead creatures. The shopkeeper watched in amazement. Just then the blonde flipped the alligator on its back, and frustrated, shouts out, "Oh, for crying out loud, this one isn’t wearing any shoes either!"
We’ve started a series on abundant living. We started with the thought that Christ came to give us life. “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
And as we’ve looked at how to achieve abundant life, we’ve discovered some words. The first word is sufficiency. Christ’s death was sufficient; sufficient not only for eternal life, but for life! Remember when we looked at verse 3—3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. We have a sufficiency in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection that gives us everything we need, not only for eternal life, but for life!
We then looked at the word certainty. Having a sure thing—there aren’t that many guarantees in life. In fact, the best guarantee this world can give you is that you will face death, taxes, and problems. But we have a guarantee that will not fade or fail. Verse 8—For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Remember why was it important to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ? Because in verse 3, that is where our divine power comes from—through our knowledge of him who called up by his own glory and goodness. We can be certain that we can experience Christ’s divine power in our lives.
Well, this is the third week, and now, we come to the third word. The first word was sufficient, the second was certainty, and the third is this—effort.
Wednesday, my wife put forth a lot of effort. Wednesday night, little Matthew Robert Buchanan was born into this world at 8:49 pm. Now let me ask you a question; would he have come that night if Lynelle didn’t put forth that effort? Most likely not. Let me ask a follow-up question. One of the things that nurse would do was to instruct Lynelle where to push. If Lynelle wouldn’t have pushed there, do you think that baby would have come then? Probably not.
Let me tell you another story.
Lipstick at School
According to a news report, a certain private school in Washington recently was faced with a unique problem. A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom. That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night, the maintenance man would remove them and the next day, the girls would put them back. Finally the principal decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man. She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night. To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required. He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it. Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.
You see, not only are we going to talk about effort, but also focused effort. It’s not enough to wear yourself out, expending all kinds of energy and effort, because if you aren’t focusing it on the right thing, all you’ll end up doing is spinning round on an exercise wheel like a hamster. You’ll be moving pretty fast, working really hard, getting really tired, but remain stuck in the same place you started in.