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Our Pricelessly Valuable Faith 2 Peter 1:1 4 pt. 1

February 4, 2018 Speaker: Jim Galli Series: 1 & 2 Peter

Topic: Sunday AM Passage: 2 Peter 1:1–1:4

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      1Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
      To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

First of all, a mile marker and a note of thanks and encouragement.

It is notable that we completed first Peter together.  Looking back on my poor records I see that we spent 33 Sunday's studying the first epistle, or letter of Peter  That takes us back to April 1 of 2017, so the better part of a year on 5 chapters.

I hope that seemed neither too fast or too slow.  There is a very real sense that I am lead by the Holy Spirit of God in that speed.  As evidence, I hold forth that when Jeff or Melissa ask me on Friday what our passage is going to be, it's usually a guess.

Friday is my main day that, having studied and read and listened to others, and thought over the passage, I sit down and by God's grace, I see where the Spirit will lead us.  I never quite know what will flow out of the fingers onto the keyboard and into this manuscript.

So there is a real sense that this study you are hearing this morning is a combination of some amount of diligence, usually 8 or 9 hours of study, and then the leading of the Spirit of God.  Very often we don't get as far in the passage as I originally perceived.  

I commend that to you.  If I get run over by a truck or God calls me off to some place with trees and rivers, try to find someone who combines diligence, knowledge of this book that aligns with orthodoxy over many centuries of previous saints who have done the same thing, but also the spontaneity of being lead by the Spirit of Christ each week.

You don't want all of one or all of another.  All spontaneity with no real knowledge or study is popular these days.  Write your notes on a matchbook cover while you're walking into the service and then claim everything you say is directly from God.  That's bogus.

Or the other possibility is that someone is a scholar, completely devoid of the leading of the Spirit, teaching by rote, and it may indeed be orthodox, but there's no power.  It's dry as toast.  Dead orthodoxy.

Power and life come from the words of this book, combined with the moving of the Holy Spirit in our presence.  That's why I humbly pray for just that phenomenon every morning that I am blessed to be in this pulpit.  I'm helpless to cause a spiritual result.  If you are edified, it's because the Spirit of God has taken these words of His book and added His power..

So with that said and I hope it didn't sound like me blowing my own horn, I want to thank you folks for giving me uninhibited latitude to go anywhere in this book and teach you from whatever book and verses we find ourselves in.  

2 Tim. 3:16  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

We could go to any book and passage in this book and enjoy those same truths.  And in fact I did give some thought to taking a break between Peter's 2 letters and doing some kind of series on some topic.  But that was short lived.  The Spirit didn't lead me anywhere else except right here.  

And it won't take long for you to see why.  I've argued that if we simply go verse by verse in these books, any book, it doesn't matter, what happens is that it really doesn't take all that long before you can say with some confidence, like Paul, I did not fail to declare unto you the full council of God. Acts 20:27

If we go verse by verse sooner or later we get the easy stuff and the difficult stuff.  It just works that way.  

And like I began to say, it won't take you long to see that 2 Peter is totally different from 1 Peter.  Like night and day.

1 Peter lays all of the foundations that a true faith needs to survive in this world and wait patiently and faithfully for the next.  It is a rock you can build up your faith on.

2 Peter has a different purpose.  We'll see many of those truths repeated, but the purpose is different.  2 Peter is a warning against false doctrine and those who purvey it.  

So the first letter makes us solid, and the second letter provides us with necessary means to ward off the false and cling to the truth.  False teachers and false doctrine have decimated the church for 20 centuries.

Satan isn't stupid.  We sort of had a mini-series about him and his methodology at the end of 1 Peter.  In 2 Peter we're going to see first hand what his most successful method is.  False doctrines.  False teachings.  But he's not going to walk in with cups full of poison with a skull and crossbones on them and a warning label, poison.  

He's going to make the poison look like lemonade on a hot day.  He comes to the sheep pen dressed like a shepherd.  He knows all the lingo.

So, let's make a start this morning, with that in mind.  Chapter 2 is where it gets hot and heavy.  These first few weeks he's going to re-affirm the same foundational truths that we saw in his first letter.  All of it is like milk to the weak and meat to the strong.  We can't get enough.

Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ

Peter begins by identifying himself and giving us a certification of why we should believe what he is going to say.

Simon Peter.  Simon his fleshy name that his parents gave him is the greek equivalent of the hebrew Simeon.  That was a very popular name and one of the names of the 12 patriarchs of Israel.  We can find 8 other Simon's in the new testament.  But only one Simon Peter.

Peter, petros, Rock is the name given to him by the Lord, Jesus.  And it's fun to take a review of how sometimes Jesus calls him by his fleshy name and sometimes He calls him by his more spiritual name.  Depending on what he's doing at the time.  Sometimes he acts like the old man, Simon, and sometimes, often, thankfully for us, he is Peter the rock.

Peter acknowledges both persons.  We do too.  We have our moments when the Lord is in charge and we're in His will, and then we have far too many moments when we're still acting like the not born again Jim.

For further reading but not necessary for us is that this book is prominent with the crowd that seeks to be higher critics and say this wasn't written by Peter.  It was written by someone who forged his name at a date a couple of centuries later.  Higher criticism.  People who are smarter than the rest of us who take this at face value.  Or at least they think they are.  Simon Peter wrote this.

The arguments that he did not are full of holes.  And the fact that the church fathers who were a lot closer and had a lot more information to work with than these higher critics do now, those men included this book in the canon of scripture and for all these centuries this book has not been questioned.  That holds more weight with me.

Part of that is my faith in God's oversight of the transmission of this book from 68 AD until 2018 AD.  I believe that the ones that God wanted in are in and the ones that are baloney are out.  A long time ago.  God has had oversight in not only that, but also the long transmission through the centuries of manuscripts being copied again and again.

We have more evidence for this book by many thousand fold than for any other ancient book that no one questions at all.  We hold in our hands reliable copies of what was written and preserved.  We thank God for that.

And if you don't believe that, everything breaks down rather quickly.  If God didn't do that, then the authority that this book claims over us is quickly refuted and vanishes.  That's one of Satan's schemes.  An effective one, sadly.

  Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ

Simon Peter is a slave.  That word translated most often as servant and in the NAS as bond servant is doulos.  And doulos is the word for slave.  Slaves are owned.  Servants are hired.  Servants can leave and seek other employment.  Slaves are bound to the one who owns them and if they go AWOL, it's understood that their owner can mete out retribution.

Because of all the obvious and real abuses in slavery, that idea is so troubling to us now and also to the men who did our Biblical translations that they changed it to something that is more palatable.  

Servant is weak.  Bond-servant at least has within it the idea that you are a servant bound to the person you're serving.  But to the folks who read it in 67 AD, there was no question.  Peter is a slave.  He belongs to Jesus.

Why is it that we want to call Jesus Lord, but we shrink away from the other side of that coin.  If He is your Lord, you are His slave.  You belong to Him.  Paul says "For you are not your own, you've been bought with a price."

In Lk. 6:46 Jesus says;  "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?  And His point is, that lip service is worthless.  If He is Lord, then you are doulos.  

I can only speak for myself, but I want to get in line behind Peter and embrace this sweet slavery.  He owns me.  His blood has bought me.  I belong to Him.  Therefore, the word doulos is sweetness to me, not problematic.

FWIW, one translation, the Holman Christian Standard Bible, based and published by our old friends the Southern Baptists, reliably translates doulos as slave.  Every time!  I hold it in high esteem, even though I find it a bit too wordy.  I still love my NAS, but I always include the HCSB in my comparison texts.  It holds my esteem because of that one word.

So Peter doesn't make any bones about it, he is a slave of Jesus.  Jesus owns him lock stock and barrel.  But he doesn't stop there.  If that was all he said, we might say, why should I pay any attention to what Peter says as opposed to any other slave of Jesus?

Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ

Oh.  There is a difference.  Peter is a bond slave, like I also am, but Peter was chosen by Jesus for a special position and authority.  The apostles have the authority to relay as witnesses who were with Jesus, the very word of God.

That's why I have big problems with any church that wants to have apostles in the 21st century.  The apostles were a select group that were with Jesus, and we'll include one untimely born one, Paul, who encountered Jesus on the Damascus road, who have the responsibility and authority to bring to us the very inspired words of God.  

We dealt with that very thing last week.  Peter says; 1 Peter 5:12  Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!

That is a claim to inspiration only an apostle can make.  Peter is basing their standing firm on the fact that what he has told them is indeed the very grace of God.  What he has written is the very grace of God and it is in that grace, brought to them by his writings, that they are to stand.  Against all the wiles of Satan, as we saw.  That is apastolic authority.

Peter may be a slave, but what he says has authority over the other slaves.  That is the authority of an apostle.  There are zero apostles living in 2018.  This faith and grace was 'once for all given to the saints' Jude says in his book.  

When the last apostle of Jesus died, the revelation was complete.  Nothing gets added or subtracted once that generation of apostles was gone.  

That becomes important.  Because we have people today not only claiming to be apostles, but to be receiving revelation.  Those are false teachers.  God speaks in this book through His apostles and prophets.  Once for all delivered to the saints faith.  Complete.  This book has authority over the slaves.  Period.

1Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
      To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:

There's so much here to dwell on.  These words are rich with truth and meaning to us today.  It seems like every word there is an important truth.

To those who have received a faith...  I told you last week that Peter is a calvinist.  He's reformed.  Where did the slaves get their faith in which they stand according to Peter?  They received it.  The action is always originated in God, not us.

Paul's words are so familiar to us, we take them for granted.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  Eph. 2:8.  The grace that saves us by faith.  Where does that come from.  It is the gift of God.  We received it.  He called us and even gave us the very faith that saves us.

Eph. 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Who did all that?  The dead guy?  The not only dead guy but the guy who was a helpless slave of the prince of this world?  Did he wake up one day and decide not to be dead?  Are you waiting for the rocks in your back yard to come alive?  Dead things stay dead until someone with a higher authority over death comes along and quickens them to life.

Salvation is a gift.  The very faith to receive the gift originates with God.  We make no claim to anything except that for some reason He has not chosen to tell us, He quickens us to life and gives us the very faith to receive His gracious gift of salvation.  It is all of Him, and none of us.

To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours . . .

Who are the those?  To those  We discover in chapter three who Peter is writing to.  He says I wrote to you previously.  The recipients are the same christians in asia minor, what would now be modern Turkey, who are scattered abroad.

Within that group would be some jews.  But mostly these are gentile christians.  The authorized version has some distinctive beauty in how these words are arranged.  Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us

The gentiles and scattered jews in Asia minor that Peter is speaking to have obtained, there's our word, received, they've obtained a "like precious faith"

Why was that important for him to say?  Because initially, when Peter himself was called to go to Antioch to Cornelius' house and the very first gentiles were saved, it was a hard pill for the jewish believers who for centuries were seperate ethnically and culturally and religiously from gentiles.

It didn't happen overnight that jews would all of a sudden shed those prejudices.  Peter gets back to Jerusalem and the jewish christians are not thrilled with him.  You went where?  And did what?  Gentiles?  Really?

Acts 10:34Opening his mouth, Peter said:
      “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, 35but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.

But then later at the Jerusalem council with a bunch of angry jews Peter has to defend what was so obvioius to him, and so easy to say at Antioch.  

Acts 15:7 After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 “And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; 9 and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 “Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 “But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”

That happened perhaps several years before Peter writes these words we're looking at this morning.  And Peter says the same words again.  Like precious faith.  The faith of these gentiles is the same as Peter's.  It's the same thing.  

And the other word is value.  It's the same as our faith, and it is just as good, just as valuable as Peter's.  There are no second tier christians.  When God supplies grace and faith, that person who receives it has a faith just like ours and just as valuable, just as good, just as precious as ours.  

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us

Peter may be an apostle, that's a real difference, but the faith that saved these scattered gentiles and jews is like his and has the same value as his.  Like precious faith with us.  That should encourage you.  You'll never be an apostle.  But your faith is just as good, just as precious as Peter's was.

To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:

How did our faith save us?  We received it as a gift.  But what did it do for us.  This is foundational truth.  We received a faith that saves us, how?  by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:

The gift of faith that we received is this.  We have believed that Jesus took our sins and bore the punishment for them completely at His death on the cross.  Our sins were imputed to Him.  But that isn't all that happened.  By grace through faith, we believe that His righteousness is imputed to us.

Imputation.  My sin on Jesus.  His righteousness, given to me.  That's a precious faith.  That's a pricelessly valuable faith.  And the ordinary, persecuted, scattered christians in Asia minor, gentiles and jews alike, received this gift.  Theirs is just as valuable, just as precious, just as priceless as Peter's.  

And the saints in Tonopah?  Same as the ones in Asia minor.  God's gift to us is the same as theirs and the same as Peter's.  We also have received a like, precious, faith.  1950 years have come and gone since Peter wrote these words, and our faith is the same today as these folks had then.  We have an unbroken connection to them, through a "like precious faith"

And finally, more precious words.  It's like this first greeting in this letter is so loaded we can't exhaust it.  I originally figured we'd get through vs. 4.  Nope, we'll tackle the rest next week.  But vss. 1 and 2 are so rich we're just enjoying a shower of wealth.  Precious truth.  Valuable faith.  Rich grace.  Given to us freely by our God.  God's righteousness imputed to me.  My sin imputed to Him.  Fully paid for at the cross.

By who Peter?  by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ
Who is God and Saviour?  Jesus.  Jesus Christ.  

Peter lays this foundation because false teachers will attack every tenet of what we've said today in just these first verses.  "Jesus isn't God.  His death was his death.  It has no value to impute to me.  Righteousness is not imputed.  Righteousness must be earned by good deeds."  

"Christianity and for that matter all religions are working their way to God.  And there are many tiers.  Some are more important than others.  Some are ordinary christians.  Some are extraordinary.  Some are apostles.  You work your way up this ladder.  The higher up the ladder the more valuable your faith is deemed based on your righteous works."  And on and on . . . False teaching.

Everything Peter said in vs. 1 & 2 will be under attack by false teachers.  That's why it's so important for him to begin with the basics of our faith and salvation.  This is important grounding.

The famous old story about Herbert Hoover.  He made his agents study real money for tedious hours on end.  Over and over.  Not that much fun.  

But having done that, when the counterfeit money comes along, it's immediately obvious.  It feels different.  It looks different.  The weight is different.  Stuff is missing.  Stuff is added.  Whatever, the agents knew immediately it was counterfeit, because they were ingrained with the real thing.  The real is imprinted on their brain.  The false is obvious.

Peter says, later on in this same chapter;  12 Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. 13 I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder,

We need to here the truth, the basics, the foundations, over and over and over again.  Peter understood that.

Vs. 2  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;

We have a couple of minutes left, and I want to use them to do a couple of word studies.  Grace, and peace.  Both are tremendous words.  A brief re-visit to the definitions of the words used in the original language may help us to actually think about what's being said here.  What's being offered.

Grace is charis.  It's not too common, but Charis was a name given to girls exactly because of what the greek word meant, even beyond the Bible.

From wikipedia;  Charis is a given name derived from a Greek word meaning "grace, kindness, and life"

In Greek mythology, a Charis is one of the Charites or "Graces", goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity and fertility; and in Homer's Iliad, Charis is the wife of Hephaestus.

I have a book on my shelf written by Charis Weston.  Otherwise I might not have made the connection.  Not an often used name, but familiar to me.

But in our verse, in the biblical use, charis is favor.  And it has within it an idea of effort of the one who is giving the favor.  A leaning towards.  An incline towards.  And in that sense, it becomes God, going out of His way, to shed favor and blessing on those who love Him, those who are His adopted children.

We think it's cool if someone, anyone of any importance at all, pays any little attention to us.  

One day I had a lucky day and was able to get important pictures of an event out where I work.  And one of the mucky mucks of Sandia was visiting that day.  And he wanted to meet me and have his picture taken shaking my hand.  Woo hoo.

That's cool.  Or maybe some important photographer notices one of your pictures and says good things.  Whatever.  We get all worked up about that.

But, in fact, the God of the universes, that spoke them into existence by the word of His power, has been pleased to purchase me, and not only that, He is going out of His way, He's inclining His favor, His blessings, His friendship, His value towards me.  

That's what this word means.  Grace.  Unmerited favor, by and from the God of Glory, towards me.  

Don't pass over this word lightly.  This coin has two sides.  And the other side is wrath.  Displeasure.  Judgement.  Ruin.  How unspeakably valuable then is that faith that was given to me to belong to Him!

We often use a little acronym to describe grace, and it works well.  God's Riches at Christs Expense.  God showers His riches on me because of what Jesus did in my place on the cross.  God's riches at Christs expense.

The next word in Peter's greeting is Peace.  Peace.  

This word, for the world, means an absense of war.  Something the world has never achieved since the fall in the garden.  Cain killed Abel.  And men have been killing one another ever since.

The world loves to talk about peace.  There will not be peace until Messiah comes and removes Satan and vanquishes all evil.  Until then, there is no peace.

But against that backdrop there is individual peace and tranquility that God gives to those who belong to Him, whose sins are forgiven, who have the downpayment of eternal life, the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Such men have a tranquility that this world only dreams about but rejects when they reject God and His Messiah.

The only way to have peace is to transcend this world.  That's what has happened to real believers.  We come out from this world.  God has called us to be citizens of heaven.  We belong to a new place.  We have a new King.  

So, as it was in the case of these believers, even if this world is trying to kill you, God's favor and God's peace dwell with you.  They are in you.  

2Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord

We'll pick it up just here when we meet next week.  Chapter 2 is difficult.  A lot of folks avoid this little book.  But all of this foundational truth is important for just that reason.  The real becomes more real, so that the false becomes more ane more obvious.