Sunday, 19th September 10.30 am Order of Service

WELCOME

HYMN Immortal, invisible

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, thy great Name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above
Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all life thou givest—to both great and small;
In all life thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
Then wither and perish—but nought changeth thee.

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
All laud we would render: O help us to see
’Tis only the splendour of light hideth thee.

PRAYER

READING 2 PETER 1: 3-8

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 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.

SERMON WHAT IS GOD LIKE?

Peter begins his teaching by reminding them and us of the basics of authentic Christianity. If we continue to live by the divine power which God has given to us, and if we continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, we will be fruitful. And so we are challenged to take full advantage of God’s power and His promises. Peter then gives us the specific steps to follow so that we may be victorious through Jesus Christ.

If we imitate these characteristics of God’s nature not only do we grow in Christ-likeness, we also experience the assurance of eternal rewards.

I. GOD’S POWER, 3.

II. GOD’S PROMISES, 4.

III. GOD’S PROGRESS, 5-7.

IV. GOD’S PRODUCTIVITY, 8.

I. GOD’S POWER, 3.

Any expectations of becoming Christ-like would be impossible if not for God’s enabling. Verse 3 teaches that Christ has provided everything believers need for life and godliness. “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

The first amazing statement is that He has already given us all we need. God has given us all the resources necessary to make spiritual growth possible – through knowing Him. As Christians, we are fully equipped to live a life pleasing to God, to overcome any obstacle we face, and to persevere under trial.

II. GOD’S PROMISES, 4.

4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

We have so many magnificent and precious promises in the Word of God. The promise of the forgiveness of sin, rest to the weary, comfort to the sad, hope to the dying, resurrected life to the dead, and answered prayer. The promise of sharing the very nature of God by the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise of eternal life in a new heaven and a new earth.

The promises of God are precious for at least two reasons. The first reason is because “through them” we “participate in the divine nature.”

What an utterly staggering precious promise that is. We have the potential to live by the very power of God.

Second, by the promises of God we can escape “the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

God’s way of escape lies in seizing hold of His promises and thereby growing in God’s own nature. When we walk and live in the power of the Holy Spirit, we are walking in the opposite direction of our old life.

III. GOD’S PROGRESS, 5-7.

Because Christians have the power and the promises Peter urges the essential goal of growing to be like Jesus and spells out the steps towards it in verses 5-7.

We are encouraged to make every effort to become fruitful disciples.

Spiritual growth does not come without effort. God though has provided all we need, but we must still put in effort.

All of these virtues are dependent upon our faith.

Peter instructs us to “add to” our faith seven character traits.

goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love.

Daily we need to: strive for holiness – to get to know our heavenly Father better – to rein in our passions (Only when we are under the control of the Holy Spirit can we be self-controlled) – that perseverance which is strength in the face of adversity – godliness, this cannot be manufactured; we cannot merely pretend to be godly. The quality of godliness comes from God Himself. He must give that quality of life to us. We receive it as we are dead to self and alive to God and as we allow the Spirit to live within us – mutual affection is the wonderful warmhearted affection between fellow believers (philadelphia) kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see- and finally love, agápē is the very quality of the love of God.

IV. GOD’S PRODUCTIVITY, 8.

Verse 8 gives a marvellous promise to those who increasingly integrate these qualities into every part of their life. “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.”

Sharing the life of God leads to fruitfulness in our walk with the Lord.

Christians face two staggering possibilities. On the one hand, we can work to develop these qualities in increasing measure in our lives, and thus find a deepening experience of the Lord leading to a fruitful Christian life. On the other, we can ignore this opportunity [& provision].

2 rewards are promised if we live this life of God on earth: First, we will be saved from having an ineffective life. We all want our lives to count for something – and this is how they will.

Second, we will be saved from being unproductive in our Christian lives.” Jesus gave instruction to Peter and to all of us concerning the life of bearing fruit when He said, “4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4).

The secret of fruit-bearing is to stick close to Christ and to allow Him to stick close to us.

IN CLOSING,

The value of a promise depends on what is promised, who made it and whether or not they will keep the promise. We all have been impacted by promises that have not been kept, but that is not so with God. He being God can keep all He promises and His integrity, His righteousness demands that He keep all His promises.

Let’s search the Scriptures and claim all God’s precious promises to us. These promises are wonderful. After you lay hold of them, cherish them for they are His personal pledges to you. Then watch your interest and your fruitfulness grow.

PRAYER

HYMN Standing on the promise of God

Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Saviour;
Standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.

  1. Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
    Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
    Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
    Standing on the promises of God.
    Standing, standing,
    Standing on the promises of God my Saviour;
    Standing, standing,
    I’m standing on the promises of God.
  1. Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
    When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
    By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
    Standing on the promises of God. Standing, standing,
    Standing on the promises of God my Saviour;
    Standing, standing,
    I’m standing on the promises of God.
  1. Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
    List’ning every moment to the Spirit’s call,
    Resting in my Saviour as my all in all,
    Standing on the promises of God. Standing, standing,
    Standing on the promises of God my Saviour;
    Standing, standing,
    I’m standing on the promises of God.

Benediction

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