2 Peter 1:1-11, Christian Assurance in Our Troubles

Our services have temporarily been put on hold, but we will continue to encourage you with God’s Word. The following sermon was prepared by Ps Lucas Stoltz this week for your edification and uplifting.

Click here: 2 Peter 1:1-11, to download or stream the audio sermon, or click here: 2 Peter 1:1-11, for the video recording, and follow the notes below. May the Lord speak into your hearts as you worship.

Please enjoy.

  • Who or what is your anchor when doubts of your salvation come to mind? Many of us will say that the Lord is my anchor! But is He truly? I ask the follow up question, because the Bible repeatedly gives us such assurance. So the implication of that is, we don’t first and foremost look to the Lord as our anchor!
  • Here are some of those examples; 1 John 5:12, “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” Jude 1:24, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy…
  • Romans 8:16, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God…” Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” These are all ammunition for Christian assurance!

 

  • Therefore, when trouble strikes you – the first thought you should have is this, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…” I’ll admit, it was overwhelming to hear our lockdown has been extended, and that it is intimidating knowing that many of us are in a financial struggle, while others don’t have enough food or the ability to provide food…
  • So this morning I want us to turn to 2 Peter 1:1-11, and look at 4 virtues of assurance that should comfort us in our troubles. And this is encouraging because we don’t only have to apply this to COVID-19, but that we should apply it in every trial!

 

  1. Context:
  • Text – 1:1-11
  • Explanation – Now I want to just deal with some context so that you can see, the folks Peter wrote to, went through so much troubles, yet this is the encouragement he shared with them!
  • Peter is writing to Christians who were dealing with false teaching and facing persecution. Turn to 1 Peter 1:1, he writes to those scattered in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.

 

  • Illustration – Now Peter wrote this letter in AD 65, before the destruction of the Temple. It was a rather difficult time to become a Christian, Nero was the reigning emperor – and he was a tyrant!
  • Nero took the throne at age 17. It is believed that he had his mother killed because she tried to control him. He spent wastefully and behaved inappropriately. He would execute opponents and later, Christians. Then, the bad finally caught up to him in AD 68, when he committed suicide when the empire revolted.

 

  • Application – Peter was actually martyred during Nero’s reign, which was a prophecy fulfilled. In John 21:18-19, Jesus said that Peter would die a martyr’s death. And traditionally, Peter was crucified upside down in Rome on and x-shaped cross.

 

  • Conclusion – But before then, Peter wrote this letter from Rome with the knowledge of Christian persecution in and around the region and that’s why in 1 Peter, he addresses them as “scattered aliens”. Christians were spread out because of the persecution! People were forced out of their homes and towns, others were crucified or beaten to death.
  • Bridge – And so Peter writes to encourage these Christians to live a life fully devoted to their Saviour and to be an example of what Christian conduct should look like. And that is where we will pick up, looking look at 4 virtues of assurance that should comfort us in our troubles…

 

  1. Virtue One – Provision:
  • Text – 1:1-4
  • Explanation – The first virtue is how God has provided for us in our salvation! Now there is a great significance to this, see back in verse 1, Peter writes assuming that the reader has come to know the Lord, ‘those with “a faith”!’
  • Faith is a God-given capacity to trust in Christ for salvation. So firstly, God gives us the ability to trust Him for salvation. And furthermore, a Christian’s faith is built on knowing the truth about God. The more we know about this truth, the more ‘grace’ and ‘peace’ are multiplied.

 

  • Illustration – This doesn’t mean that the more you believe, the more Jesus will be gracious. This simply means that you will be more aware of the comforting truths in God’s Word because you’ll be more open to it.

 

  • Application – now go down to verse 3, in addition to this provision, it is Christ’s divine power that drives us to perseverance. God has made it possible for us to gain all that is needed to grow spiritually. We are eternally secure in His salvation and He will sustain us through His power.
  • Therefore, a genuine believer doesn’t need to ask God for something more to obtain godly living, God has already given the believer every spiritual resource to have this assurance and to stand firm in our troubles! How? Verse 4!

 

  • Conclusion – God has promised eternal life to the one who confesses and believes that Jesus is Lord. And so we participate in the divine nature through adoption by God, by receiving sonship. And more so, through this God provides our escape from the devastation of sin, and we are no longer held captive by its sting!
  • Therefore, at the time of salvation, we are transformed from a sinner, to an agent of worship.

 

  • Bridge – So folks, for you and I to enjoy this blessed assurance of God’s hand in our troubles, we have to consider what He has provided. He has provided the faith that enables our salvation, all things that pertain to life and godliness, and His promises of eternal salvation and the liberation from sin.
  1. Virtue Two – Application:
  • Text – 1:5-7
  • Explanation – It is comforting to have the knowledge of how God secures us. But thankfully, there is more to it! The second virtue is how we need to live out what God has provided, as this will also give us the necessary assurance. (Read)
  • In the beginning of verse 5, Peter makes an interesting remark, ‘if these qualities are yours.’ In other words, ‘if you say so.’ If you say you are who you are, then you better get to it!

 

  • Peter says, make every effort! Honouring God cannot be successful without making effort. Yes, God has poured His divine power to the believer, but the believer is to still be disciplined by what God has done. It means to make every effort in supplying what is necessary for an event or meeting.

 

  • Illustration – Supplying, in the Greek culture, meant giving everything that was necessary for a specific event, not to sparingly give = to give in abundance. So make every effort, through the faith that God has given you, to supply virtue, or moral excellence.
  • Moral excellence meant the God-given ability to perform heroic deeds. So don’t just make an effort, and well I tried… no make an effort of high stature. And in this case, the effort would be to strengthen your faith by looking at God’s provision in the previous verses.

 

  • Application – the next application is to accommodate your effort with knowledge. Knowledge of what? The knowledge about the object of your faith! Christ is to be the object of your faith, therefore, your knowledge of Jesus needs to grow though the study and pursuing of God’s Word.
  • But heads up, there is a comforting warning here. Verse 6, knowledge must be supplemented with self-control! The false teachers taught that self-control wasn’t necessary if one had knowledge, but Peter here, teaches that in your knowledge you are to supply self-control.
  • Knowledge puffs up (1 Cor. 8:1), but self-control means “to hold oneself in”. A Christian is to self-control the flesh, the passions and the bodily desires. It is to be in control of your environment. But in this case, in our troubles we are usually tempted to ‘let go and let God…’ that is not self-control!

 

  • This is why Peter continues to say that self-control must be supplemented with perseverance. Perseverance is to endure in doing what is right, not giving in to temptation or trial. It means to never quit, it means to go on until there is no means to keep going. To have exhausted all resources necessary to keep going, and a believer can only come to this point at death.
  • But don’t let the steadfastness be in vain, supplement it with Godliness. Which is to live respectfully, loyally and obediently toward God. It means to pursue holiness, to be open about your sins and to be found in repentance regularly. How does this give me godly assurance in my troubles? Through humility, it helps us realise our true weakness.

 

  • Conclusion – But what is godliness without love? Verse 7 adds two more applications for our consideration, but both compliment godliness. Firstly, brotherly love, which is warm hearted affection. It also means mutual sacrifice, “to love your neighbour as yourself!” it refers to being devoted to one another.
  • Which integrates well with the second, love! Now love has a vast definition. Love could be an affection of the mind which it is excited by beauty and worth of any kind. Between certain natural relatives, love seems to be in some cases instinctive. Such is the love of a mother for her child.
  • To love your enemy, to feed him or her when they are hungry or to give them a drink when they are thirsty. Yet, Paul says, (1 Cor. 13:4-8) Love is patient and kind, rejoices with the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, and love never ends.

 

  • Bridge – This is a lot that should comfort us, it calls us to be active and mindful.
  1. Virtue Three – Caution:
  • Text – 1:8-9
  • Explanation – So what Peter is not saying, perfect one quality at a time’, he is saying be active in your Christian walk – always! The Greek verb expresses the idea of permanent property or possession, it is to have rule over ones possession.
  • So because you have these qualities, they make you neither useless nor unfruitful in true knowledge: To be useless means to be inactive and empty, applying these qualities would ensure a Christian to not be ineffective or useless. If these qualities are not present in a believer’s life, it will be difficult to discern between him and an unbeliever. But when these qualities are increasing in a believer’s life, they reveal the true nature of the relationship with their Creator God.

 

  • Illustration – How? Through our knowledge of Him. The Christian’s knowledge should affect the way he lives. It is to make the decisions that would produce holiness. It is to look at Christ and behold Him and His worth! We learn to know Him by following Him. And we learn to follow Him by His instruction, by His Word.

 

  • Application – Peter warns us further, if we are blind to these qualities, we have purposefully shut our eyes to them. This also happens when we’re unsure of our salvation. The assurance of God’s care goes out the door.
  • The extent of it is this, Peter says, he forgets that he has been purified from his former sins. – Purification from his former sins: it is like when James says: “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like”. (James 1:23-24).
  • Conclusion – The “purification” is that of our conversion. The man who forgets this cleansing of his soul, ignores what God has done for him. Friends, it is foolish to put the thought of sin above the praise and service of God. We end up making our troubles worse by ignoring God’s promise of salvation!

 

  • Bridge – With that, we’ve seen 3 out of 4 virtues of assurance that should comfort us in our troubles. First, God’s provision to life a godly life; second, the call to apply those qualities; and third, the caution or encouragement to continue with steadfastness in our relationship with the Lord.
  1. Virtue Four – Reward:
  • Text – 1:10-11
  • Explanation – So on top of having the assurance of God’s presence, Peter tells us there’s a reward! And the reward is not a result of good Christian works, the reward is the welcoming reception at the end of our earthly lives!
  • Therefore, Peter gives us a final instruction – be diligent in confirming your calling of salvation! How do I do that? Be open with your relationship with the Lord. Work hard in your Bible study in order to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word. Encourage others in fellowship, and be ready to learn.

 

  • Illustration – This are Christian that will assure you of His calling and choosing you! This is a work for salvation, as Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
  • Go back to verse 3 of our text, it is the divine power of God that has granted us everything for life and godliness. God has already confirmed our salvation, and so living out these qualities are to give us the assurance of this confirmation.

 

  • Application – Therefore, through our growth in Christ, we’ll doubt our salvation less, and will enjoy the assurance of God working in our salvation. You see, in verse 11 it seems as though Peter says, only after you do these things and grow – will the entrance be opened.

 

  • Conclusion – But on the contrary, for the believer, the entrance is from a saved soul struggling in the flesh, to being made as Jesus is – glorified. This is the greatest assurance, and this should secure our joy when troubles overwhelm us.

 

  • Bridge – and so, God has provided salvation from sin, death, & His wrath. God works in and through us to confirm into the likeness of Jesus. God cautions us not to be unfruitful or ignorant of His grace and work. And lastly, God will ultimately prepare us for our eternal inheritance in His kingdom.

 

Application:

  • Whatever we face now, is temporary, a momentary affliction. Of course it is a big deal, don’t misinterpret me. The troubles we face can be awful, heartbreaking, and sometimes devastating! Peter’s point is that we as believers should be comforted as God is working through us!
  • These virtues are to assure your calling, to keep your eyes on the future hope, while having the knowledge and assurance of your salvation in Christ Jesus.