HYMN Take time to be holy
Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.
READING 2 PETER 1: 8-15
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. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Prophecy of Scripture
12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
SERMON LIFE AND DEATH
I. SPIRITUAL SIGHT, 8-9.
The Biblical principle is if you don’t sow you don’t reap. The person who does not make spiritual progress in their life faces two dilemmas. First, a non-growing Christian is blind or has spiritual myopia. Shortsighted is a kind of blindness which prevents us from seeing ahead into our future. Back in 2002 our second eldest daughter, Lisa, had a stroke, or something like a stroke – and it left her with damage to the front part of her brain. As a result of this, she finds it very difficult to think into the future in any way – not least the inability to see the possible consequences of her actions just now. Spiritually, many people have a similar problem. Satan blinds us and prevents us from seeing eternal realities. Sin leads us astray and makes us blind to the glorious possibilities of spiritual development that exist in Christ.
Secondly, we who are united to Christ need to remind ourselves continually that we belong to Him, and we are to choose to live for His glory. By studying the Scriptures, speaking to our Father, and loving His children, we can avoid losing our spiritual identity.
As we live there is a great deal of worldly dust that gets into our spiritual eyes of faith. There is no way of clearing out that dust, and gaining eternal insight or developing a sight that can see into heaven, except by growing in that spiritual life which shows itself in faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.
II. ENTRANCE EFFORT & REWARD, 10-11.
Verse 10 is a call for diligence in seeking to grow in Christian graces.
We are to be diligent about the certainty of our spiritual growth. The verb tense stresses urgency. If God has called and chosen you for salvation, He has also called and chosen you to grow in Christ. We need to cooperate with the sovereign initiative of God.
Christians who confirm their calling and choosing [election, KJV] by their Spirit-filled conduct will experience two results. Firstly, we will spiritually grow. Secondly, we will never stumble or fall away.
We do not stumble when we are giving attention to where we are stepping.
We stumble when we become preoccupied with other things and do not pay attention to where we are going.
And so it is with our Christian walk. When we keep our eyes upon Jesus, following Him and practicing diligently the basics of the faith, we need not fear going astray or stumbling. We will not fall away from our relationship with Him.
Verse 11 teaches that God is preparing a grand welcome for all His saints. Think of the welcome a city gives to their home-coming team who have won the UEFA European Championship.
Something like that awaits the faithful Christian who has weathered life’s storms and has remained true to the Saviour.
III. DWELLING DEPARTURE, 12-14.
Yet, strangely, in spite of the rewards that await Christians, self, sin and Satan conspire to lead us astray from our journey home. Believers therefore need constant reminders of the importance of spiritual progress.
Peter was conscious of his lifelong responsibility to urge his friends to grow spiritually. He wanted to wake up his friends so that they would be spiritually alert.
Peter is also aware of the faultiness of human memory.
Peter speaks of the transitory nature of our earthly life. Peter now knew that his previously predicted death was quickly approaching.
Peter also wanted to provide a permanent reminder of Jesus’ teachings.
Knowing that he must soon die, the Holy Spirit moves Peter to finish up some work first.
We all will die, but God’s Word lives eternally.
Peter wanted those under his pastoral care to be well equipped to continue in the Christian faith without his presence or supervision.
Peter wrote a gospel and two letters to give us an accurate, enduring record of God’s truth. Our fragile memories need constant refreshing through the unchanging record of God’s Word, the Bible. Through this reliable reminder, we can guard our thinking against the subtle drift toward a merely human perspective on life.
Please notice as we close the two words used to convey our earthly departure and our entrance into heaven. The words departure and entrance are the two sides of the same event. Normally we think of departing to enter but that is not the order our text gives. The entering into our heavenly inheritance occurs according to verse 11 before our departure in verse 15. Before we depart this life our heavenly inheritance has already be established.
Your inheritance is laid up before you depart from this life as you entering into the life of Christ here and now. Fight the good fight of faith so that all Christ desire to give you will be eternally yours.
Hymn Fight the good fight
1. Fight the good fight With all thy might;
Christ is thy Strength and Christ thy Right.
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.
2. Run the straight race Thro’ God’s good grace;
Lift up thine eyes and seek His face.
Life with its way before us lies;
Christ is the Way and Christ the Prize.
3. Cast care aside; Upon thy Guide
Lean, and His mercy will provide;
Lean, and the trusting soul shall prove
Christ is its Life and Christ its Love.
4. Faint not nor fear, His arms are near;
He changeth not, and thou art dear.
Only believe, and thou shalt see
That Christ is All in all to thee.