2 Peter 1:3

Sermon preached on March 11, 2018 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at http://www.cantonnewlife.org/.

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

One June 4, 2014 in Moncton, New Brunswick a gunman armed with a high powered rifle killed three RCMP officers and wounded two others. They had responded to a report of someone walking down a sidewalk with a rifle. When the arrived, the gunman, who was hiding a distance away in the woods—opened fire. They were basically sitting ducks. After the shooting there was a great controversy over why the RCMP officers were not more heavily armed. They were outgunned. They had handguns, and possibly shotguns against a high powered rifle. High powered rifles had been approved for the RCMP three years before but the roll out was very slow and the officers in Moncton never received them.

I felt so sorry for the officers that lost their lives. They were at such a disadvantage. Brave men and women were pinned down because they weren't adequately equipped to deal with that type of situation.

It reminded me of the beginning of World War 2 when the Nazis invaded Poland with tanks and other heavy armor. The Nazis had developed Blitzkrieg, or Lightning War, where tanks would quickly smash through enemy lines and push deep into enemy territory to destroy command and communications and then encircle the opposing armies.

The Polish army was ill equipped to deal with the Nazi armored divisions. The Polish army had not been modernized and in 1939 still relied on heavily on cavalry—men on horses. How could they possibly stand before fast moving tanks? They couldn't. There are stories told of Polish cavalry squadrons charging German tank units but some historians doubt that it happened. What would be the point? They wouldn't be able to do anything to stop the Germans.

In some situations having everything you need is crucial to you doing your job. I remember the first day I worked as a longshoreman. Our gang was called to unload tires from the back of a tractor trailer onto carts. We filled up the 6 or 8 carts that were there. We loaded them up, the trolley driver took them away and in few moments brought back another string of carts. We loaded them up and he took them away—and that was it. It was a long time before any more carts came. What we didn't know at the time was that it wasn't a shortage of carts that was the problem—it was a shortage of workers on the other end.

Another day we were called to tie down railway cars on a rail ferry. The ship could take about 40 railway cars. There were five or six lines of tracks on the ship and we had to secure the rail cars with big jacks. We were doing that when we noticed that everything had stopped. No more cars were being loaded onto the ship. We went out to the entrance and saw that one of the train engines that was loading the lines of cars onto the ship had derailed. I thought, "Wow, this is a big problem." But then two or three men came with some pieces of wood, some short pieces of 2 by 4's and some bigger blocks. They kept the wood nearby for this very purpose. Apparently it was common for the engines to derail as they went down the ramp near the entrance to the ship. One of the foremen knew exactly what to do. He placed the wood exactly where he wanted near and under the engine's wheels and then motioned to the train engineer to either go forward or backward. In a couple of minutes the engine was back on the tracks. Without the wood I'm not sure how they would have gotten the engine back on the tracks. The wood was exactly what they needed in that situation.

Our text teaches us that

Christ's divine power gives you everything you need for you to live properly.

This is an incredible truth that we should always keep in mind and close to our hearts. This text can help us greatly whenever we're facing troubles, when we're facing temptation or even when things are going good for us. It can help us to draw closer to God and help us to thank and praise Him as we should.

Peter writes,

"His divine power has given us
everything we need for life and godliness"

The first thing we should realize here is

the inexhaustible and almighty power that we have available to us.

We have Christ's divine power given to us. According to Ephesians 1:20-23, when the Father raised Jesus from the dead, He,

"seated him at his right hand
in the heavenly realms,
far above all rule and authority,
power and dominion,
and every title that can be given,
not only in the present age
but also in the one to come.
And God placed all things
under his feet and appointed him
to be head over everything…"

Your Shepherd, the One looking after you has been raised to the highest possible position—far above all rule and dominion. What incredible power!

In His great wisdom God has amply provided for you and your care. In John 14:17–18 Jesus spoke to His disciples about the Spirit. He said,

"But you know him,
for he lives with you and will be in you.
I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you."

Jesus has not left us defenceless. According to Ephesians 1:20-23, the first part we already read, when the Father raised Jesus from the dead, He placed all things,

"under his feet and appointed him
to be head over everything for the church…"

Notice that phrase,

'for the church'

He is head over everything 'for the church'. All power was given to Jesus and Jesus uses that power on behalf of His people. What power is operating on our behalf!

Christian, what kind of power do you have in your life? It is nothing less than the power of the almighty God—the power of Jesus, the exalted King of Kings. It is absolute power. No other power can compare to it. No other power can compete with it. Indeed, all other, so-called 'powers', derive their power from Him by His permission and grant. There is no power that is independent of Him. The power that is available to you is invincible, inexhaustible, absolute.

What our text reveals about this power is something that should give us great hope and encourage us to praise God with everything that is in us.

It tells us that Christ's divine power

is exercised on our behalf in a very personal ways.

His power is for you. Peter wrote,

"His divine power has given us
everything we need for life and godliness"

From one perspective you could say that this power is all about us. It is tailored specifically to our circumstances and needs.

God has put us here to be lights to the world. He has put us here to show others His love. He has put us here to live holy and blameless lives. He wants us to thank and praise Him in all circumstances. To those ends, the grace given to us is specifically tied to what we need in varying circumstances.

In his book,
Behold Your God, (p. 54) Donald Macleod writes about Ephesians 1:22 Christ being exalted, 'for the church'; about Jesus opening the seals in Revelation 5; about God bringing all things in heaven and earth together under Christ in Ephesians 1:10; and the Father giving Jesus authority over all people in order to give eternal life to those the Father has given Him. (John 17:2) Macleod concludes,

"All these passages make clear that the Redeemer is sovereign over the whole of history and that He regulates it precisely in the interests of redemption. He moves heaven and earth as the One who 'loved me and gave himself for me' (Galatians 2:20)"

I like how Professor Macleod brings out how Christ's rule is personal in the sense that it's for you, God's people. Who is the One that rules all things—the one who loves me and gave Himself for me. How incredible is that?

In Revelation 5:6 John relates what he saw in heaven. We read,

"Then I saw a Lamb,
looking as if it had been slain,
standing in the center of the throne,
encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.
He had seven horns and seven eyes,
which are the seven spirits of God
sent out into all the earth."

Who stands at the center of the throne? A lamb looking as if it had been slain. What does that tell you about the Ruler's love for you? The One who suffered and died for you is ruling. Even at the center of the throne He has the marks of His sacrifice. He loves you so much. He is so committed to taking care of you. With Him ruling, you will lack nothing. His divine power will ensure you are given everything you need.

Or sometimes someone who is supposed to help you or provide for you just can't help you with what you really need. Four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor Jimmy Doolittle led a daring bombing raid on Tokyo. They modified sixteen B-25 aircraft so that they could take off from a aircraft carrier. The carrier took them as close to Japan as it dared and then launched them. The idea was to bomb Tokyo and then proceed to a part of China that was not occupied by the Japanese. But the problem was that there was great doubt they had enough fuel to reach safety. They modified the B-25's so that each of them had roughly twice the fuel of a regular B-25. But it wasn't enough. Not one of the planes was able to safety in China. They all ran out of fuel. (Except one which landed in Russia.) All the power of the U.S. military was behind that raid—but it wasn't enough.

Again, God's power is not like that. Peter mentions three things in this regard.

First, His divine power gives us

everything we need.

We lack nothing. In 1 Corinthians 1:7 the apostle Paul wrote,

"Therefore you do not lack
any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait
for our Lord Jesus Christ ]to be revealed."

We don't lack anything. The phrase 'has given us' (NIV) renders a Greek perfect tense. The Greek perfect tense conveys the idea of a present state resulting from a past action. Jesus died and rose again for us. His help to us is based on His work. He cannot fail to help us. Simon J. Kistemaker says of our text, (Exposition of the Epistles of Peter p. 246)

"This is an amazing statement! In fact, in this introductory verse of the epistle we encounter a wonderful cheerfulness. Peter exclaims that he and the readers are the recipients of untold blessings; the word everything sums up this idea."

When David was going out to fight Goliath, King Saul had them put a coat of armor and a bronze helmet on David. But when David tried them out—he wasn't used to them and said he couldn't go out like that. So he took them off. But then what happened? All David had was a sling. What do we read in Scripture? Do we read,

"David looked everywhere but couldn't find a stone."

No. Of course not. 1 Samuel 17:40 says,

"Then he took his staff in his hand,
chose five smooth stones from the stream,
put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and,
with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine."

The smooth stones were provided for David. I don't know much about slingshots but I would guess that smooth stones would be much more accurate than irregular shaped ones. God provided David with exactly what he needed.

So it is with us. In Ephesians 1:3 the apostle Paul praised God the Father, who,

"has blessed us in the heavenly realms
with every spiritual blessing in Christ."

And in Romans 8:32 Paul asks,

"He who did not spare his own Son,
but gave him up for us all—
how will he not also, along with him,
graciously give us all things?"

He will graciously give us all things.

Secondly, we see that His divine power has given us everything we need

for life and godliness.

Some people suggest that we should understand 'life' here as a reference to this earthly life. That God supplies us with all things necessary for the preservation of this earthly life. It is true that God sustains us moment by moment. In Acts 17:25 Paul tells us that God gives all men,

"life and breath and everything else."

But in the context of 1 Peter 1 the apostle is writing to Christians. Therefore when he mentions 'life' I believe he's referring to the new life that we have in Christ. Peter H. Davids writes, (The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude, PNTC; p. 168)

"Pairs of words like 'life and godliness' are common in 2 Peter, and often function as a hendiadys, two terms standing for a single entity."

One of the great truths the New Testament teaches us is that God wants His people to be holy. That is one of the inevitable results of our new life in Christ. In 1 Peter 1:15–16 the apostle wrote,

"But just as he who called you is holy,
so be holy in all you do;
for it is written:
'Be holy,
because I am holy.' "

And in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 the apostle Paul wrote,

"It is God's will
that you should be sanctified:"

God doesn't want you to fail in this. He wants you to succeed. In Ephesians 6:13 Paul urged the Ephesian Christians to,

"put on the full armor of God,
so that when the day of evil comes,
you may be able to stand your ground,
and after you have done everything,
to stand."

God wants you to stand and to that end His divine power has given you everything you need to stand and live a life for His glory.

This means that

as Christians we must not think of the power of God as some abstract thing, far removed from us, unrelated to us and our needs.

Quite the contrary, Peter speaks about God's power to Christians in very intimate and personal terms. 'His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.' His power is related to our lives, our circumstances, our needs. Just like he gave David those stones, he gave the Israelites who marched around Jericho trumpets to bring down its walls. Just like He gave Peter and John courage when they stood before the Sanhedrin, so He will give you everything you need in the trials that you face.

Christians, you are called to live the life of God here on this earth. The new life, the life of the eternal age has broken through to you. Live accordingly. Philippians 2:14–16 says,

"become blameless and pure,
children of God without fault
in a crooked and depraved generation,
in which you shine
like stars in the universe
as you hold out the word of life"

May God give you grace to do so.

Secondly, this means

as Christians you must rely upon God's power. You must make us of it.

You must use the means of grace that God gives you. You must pray. You must read the Bible so that you'll be able to use the Word as a sword. You must attend church and so make use of the helps of Christian fellowship and the sacraments.

You have a choice to use God's power or not to use it. Don't be so foolish to think you can stand on your own.

Thirdly, if you're not a Christian, you should understand that

you don't have anything you need.

Christians have everything they need. They can and will stand and escape the wrath to come. That's because they have Jesus. You, on the other hand, are wide open for Satan to destroy you. You are without any protection. You're totally defenceless. The forces of evil that are arrayed against you can't wait to grab you and drag you into hell. Right now there's only one thing stopping them from doing that—and that's the patience and love of Jesus. He offers you safety and protection. He offers you life instead of eternal death. Go to Him now. Find a life of joy in Him.