Summary: The first in a series of 5 sermons dealing with abundant living from 2 Peter 1:3-11. We have everything we need for life and godliness!
Dwight Nelson recently told a true story about a pastor. The pastor had a kitten that climbed up a tree in his backyard and was then afraid to come down. The pastor coaxed, offered warm milk, etc. The kitty would not come down. The tree was not sturdy enough to climb, so the pastor decided that if he tied a rope to his car he could bend the tree down enough to get the kitten. He did all this, checking his progress frequently. But as he moved the car a little further forward, the rope broke. The tree went "boing!" and the kitten instantly sailed through the air - out of sight.
The pastor felt terrible. He walked all over the neighborhood asking people if they’d seen a little kitten. No. Nobody had seen a stray kitten. So he prayed, "Lord, I just commit this kitten to your keeping," and went on about his business.
A few days later he was at the grocery store, and met one of his church members. He was amazed to see she was buying cat food. Now this woman was a cat-hater and everyone knew it, so he asked her, "Why are you buying cat food when you hate cats so much?" She replied, "You won’t believe this," and told him how her little girl had been begging her for a cat, but she kept refusing. Then a few days before, the child had begged again, so the Mom finally told her little girl, "Well if God gives you a cat, I’ll let you keep it." (Can you see where this is heading?)
She told the pastor, "I watched my child go out in the yard, get on her knees, and ask God for a cat. And really, Pastor, you won’t believe this, but I saw it with my own eyes. A kitten suddenly came flying out of the blue sky, with its paws outspread, and landed right in front of her."
Never underestimate the Power of God!
That story is not true—it’s a load of hogwash. The problem is that it has been passed around as true for quite some time. But it sounds so authentic and real and good, that we want to believe. The problem is, it isn’t true.
We are finishing up a five-part series this morning on how to experience the abundant life. The abundant life that Christ came to give. Remember what Christ said? “I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly?” Christ came not just to pay the penalty for our sins on the cross and give us eternal life, but to give us life!
And remember, abundant life doesn’t mean that we will have everything—it’s not a health and wealth gospel that Christ preached while he was here. What it does mean is exactly what 2 Peter 1:3 tells us—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.
I like the way the New Living Translation puts it—3As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness!
We’ve looked at four words so far during this series. The first was SUFFICIENT—everything we need (3). The second was CERTAINTY—they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive (8). The third was FOCUSED EFFORT—make every effort to add (5). The fourth was QUALITY—possess these qualities in increasing measure (8). Today, we add the fifth word, which is ASSURANCE.
10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Maybe you remember the television commercial for a deodorant stick—Raise your hands if you’re sure. The idea was, unless you wear our deodorant, you might not want to raise your hand, because you never know what smell might come out from there.
How do we have assurance of our salvation? What is it that shows us how to have full assurance that when we die, we will go to heaven? As Peter says, “be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.” But he precedes it with the word, “THEREFORE”. Basing it upon all of the rest of what we have been talking about, make your calling and election sure. Well, what is Peter basing this on?
8For 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. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.