2 Peter 1_ 1-11      Are You Sure?

Rev. David Holwick  ZO

First Baptist Church

Ledgewood, New Jersey

November 27, 1994

2 Peter 1:1-10


  I. Brother, are you saved?

     A well-dressed Chicago businessman was accosted on the street

        by a frumpy looking man.

     "Brother, are you saved?"

     The businessman bristled and replied, "I don't think that's any

        of your business."

     "I make it my business," the frumpy one replied.

        "In that case you must be D. L. Moody."


      A. Important question.  Eternity depends on it.

      B. Can we know for sure?

          1) Most religions:  you can be hopeful, but not certain.

              a) Final status depends on final actions.

              b) Positive claim would be epitome of self-righteousness.

          2) Evangelicals (most):  you can know for sure.

              a) Salvation depends on God and not on us.  Claim it!

              b) Bible gives us promises concerning our destination.

      C. Salvation is a sure thing.

          1) God chooses believers from beginning of eternity.  2 Thess 2:13

          2) Jesus never loses elect out of his hand.       John 10:28-29

          3) But can we know if we are among those chosen by God?

II. The dilemma of knowing.

      A. Only God knows for sure.

          1) Paul:  I don't judge myself - only God can.     1 Cor 4:3

          2) Our confidence always has some uncertainty.

      B. Human knowledge is easily warped.

          1) Even "sincere" people can deceive themselves.

          2) Many think they are saved, and are wrong.

              a) Bible example of knockers at door.          Matt 7:21-23

                  1> They did great religious stuff.

                  2> But their hearts were wrong.

                  3> They didn't lose it - they never had it!

              b) Our confidence must be matched by our lifestyle.

                 Television ad for upcoming interview with Rev. Paul Hill,

                    abortion doctor assassin.

                 Interviewer asks, "The jury has recommended the death

                    penalty.  Are you afraid?"

                 Rev. Hill, smugly:

                    "No.  I know I'll be in heaven."

                 According to 1 John 3:15, "no murderer has eternal life

                    in him."

                 Do Pastor Hill's actions suggest another possibility

                    for his eternity?


          3) Consider the possibility that you are wrong.

      C. We cannot have certain knowledge, but we can have assurance.

          1) Assurance is best understood as confidence in God's promises.

              a) God can give us a sense of security, though it is

                    of a subjective nature.

              b) Assurance can waver and have doubts, and still be genuine.

              c) It can never be 100%, this side of heaven.  Only 98%

          2) How we can gain a stronger assurance.

              a) Understand Bible's view of salvation.          1 Jn 5:13

              b) Seek God's presence in your life each day.

              c) Judge our spiritual fruit.

                  1> Puritans - worldly success implied Divine acceptance.

                  2> Better - our becoming more like Christ in character.

III. Making ourselves sure.                                      2 Pet 1:10

      A. We can gain assurance by living out God's plan for us.

          1) Salvation is God's gift.

              a) Other religions strive to attain God's nature.

              b) Christianity assumes you can start with it.     2 Pet 1:3

                  1> Christ's power is available, but you have to use it.

                A United Press release in a midwestern city told of a

                   hospital where officials discovered that the

                      firefighting equipment had never been connected.

                For 35 years it had been relied upon for the safety of

                   the patients in case of emergency.

                But it had never been attached to the city's water main.

                The pipe that led from the building extended 4 feet

                   underground and there it stopped!

                The medical staff and the patients had felt complete

                   confidence in the system.

                They thought that if a blaze broke out, they could

                   depend on a nearby hose to extinguish it.

                But theirs was a false security.

                Although the costly equipment with its polished valves

                   and well-placed outlets was adequate for the building,

                      it lacked the most important thing --WATER!


                  2> We must be plugged into Jesus.

          2) God's gift calls for our response.

              a) Make every effort...                       2 Peter 1:5

              b) "Do these things..."                       2 Peter 1:10

              c) His call isn't just for salvation, but for growing virtue.

      B. Adding Godly attributes to our lives.              2 Pet 1:5-7

          1) We have something to contribute.

              a) We are not predestined robots.   (Bible twisted this way)

              b) "Add" refers to generous patrons who sponsored Greek

                    choirs.  Give of your best to God.

          2) Love is supreme.

              a) Better than knowledge or power.

              b) Should be radical compared to world's love.

          3) Effective and productive.                    2 Pet 1:8-9

              a) Lack of spiritual growth is a sign of spiritual death.

              b) Blind and nearsighted - better, blind because he winks.

                  1> Or, blind to heaven and sighted only on earthly things.

              c) Positive fruit should result.

        Phillip Haille wrote of the little village of Le Chambon in France,

           a town whose people, unlike others in France, hid their Jews

              from the Nazis.

        Haille went there, wondering what sort of courageous, ethical

           heroes could risk all to do such extraordinary good.

        He interviewed people in the village and was overwhelmed by their


        They weren't heroes or smart, discerning people.

        Haille decided that the one factor that united them was their

           attendance, Sunday after Sunday, at their little church, where

              they heard the sermons of Pastor Trochme.

        Over time, they became by habit people who just knew what to do

           and did it.

        When it came time for them to be courageous, the day the Nazis

           came to town, they quietly did what was right.

        One old woman, who faked a heart attack when the Nazis came to

           search her house, later said,

        'Pastor always taught us that there comes a time in every life

           when a person is asked to do something for Jesus.

        When our time came, we knew what to do.'"

        True habits of the heart are there when they are most needed.


IV. Are you in danger of falling?

      A. All of us are falling - either up, or down.

      B. Because of 2% uncertainty, falling down is always a possibility.

             John Scott was in a 480-foot mine elevator in England when

                safety engineers began testing its emergency braking


             For two hours the engineers repeatedly raised the elevator

                to the surface  and sent it into a free-fall before

                    realizing John and a fellow miner were inside.

             They survived the ordeal with some very sore backs.

             God does not intend for us to be yo-yo's.

                Be consistent in growth, not failure.


          1) Controversy:  Lose salvation, or never had it?

          2) Doesn't matter, because result is the same.

      C. Spiritual complacency is dangerous.       Mark 4:17; 1 Cor 10:12

          1) Every Christian is potentially in danger.

             Just after baseball's investigation began, Pete Rose was

                asked if his troubles would affect his election to the

                   Hall of Fame.

             "4,256 hits.  2,200 runs.  That's all I did," Rose said on

                that sunny March morning.

             "I'm a Hall of Famer."

             But not in the eyes of the Hall of Fame.

             The doors of Cooperstown slammed shut on Rose when the Hall's

                directors voted 12-0 to bar the banned baseball star from

                   its ballot.

             He can only be eligible if he is reinstated to baseball in

                15 years; no one has been reinstated before.

             According to president Ed Slack:

             "The directors felt that it would be incongruous to have a

                person who has been declared ineligible by baseball to be

                   eligible for baseball's highest honor."

             Baseball players aren't the only ones who face


             Christians must take care not to be disqualified from heaven.


          2) Paul's warnings about his own destiny.            1 Cor 9:27

      D. Heaven is the goal of the genuine believer.


      Study Notes   


TYNDALE:  Michael Green


  I. The Christian's privileges.  3,4

      A. 1:4 - the person of Christ attracts men; his power enables them

            to respond.

          1) We become partakers of the divine nature only after we have

                escaped or turned our backs on the world.

      B. Rare pagan words are used (knowledge, virtue, nature) to

            challenge pagan concepts with Biblical truth.

          1) Participation in the divine nature is the starting point,

                not the goal, of Christian living.

              a) Pagans thought those who had divine nature could

                    disregard ethics.

          2) Pagans emphasized law, Peter emphasizes grace.

II. The ladder of faith.   5-7

      A. Because of our new birth and God's promises and power, we cannot

            rest content with faith alone.

          1) The grace of God demands, as it enables, "effort" in man.

          2) We are to bring INTO the relationship ALONGSIDE what God

                has done.

          3) It is not unaided human effort, but the fruit of our being

                partakers of the divine nature.

              a) "Add" means a generous and costly co-operation.

              b) Comes from term for person who equipped choirs.

      B. Christian virtues.

          1) Faith - initial acceptance of the love of God.

              a) Foundation of other virtues.     Cp. Rom 5:1-5

          2) Virtue - means excellence, proper fulfillment of a thing.

              a) Our fulfillment is Christlikeness.

              b) False teachers talked a lot about faith, but didn't live


          3) Knowledge - intellectual element has an important place.

          4) Self-control - for every aspect of life.

              a) Means controlling the passions rather than being

                   controlled by them.

                  1> Socrates had a dictum that no one willingly rejects

                        the best course once he sees it.  (Nic. Eth. vii.3)

                  2> Aristotle knew this was shallow, but had no answer

                        to human wickedness, which is found only in Christ.

              b) Religion cannot be divorced from ethics.

          5) Perseverance - unmoved by difficulty or distress.

          6) Godliness - better, reverence.

              a) Practical awareness of God in every area of life.

          7) Brotherly kindness - the distinguishing mark of true


          8) Love - the crown of Christian "advance."

              a) It is evoked not by what we are, but what God is.

              b) We are not lovable, but God is loving, so we should be.

III. Barren and fruitful Christians.   8,9

      A. Lack of spiritual growth is a sign of spiritual death.

      B. Blind and nearsighted - better, blind because he winks.

          1) Or, blind to heaven and sighted only on earthly things.

IV. A worthy goal.   10,11

      A. "Make calling and election sure" goes to the heart of the paradox

            of election and free will.

          1) Election comes from God alone, but human behavior is the

                proof or disproof of it.

      B. It will keep us from falling.

      C. It will bring us to the heavenly kingdom.

          1) It is eternal.

          2) Our entry is still future.

          3) It belongs to Jesus Christ.

      D. "Activist" or "receptivist" approach to heaven?

          1) Both work together.

NIBC:  Norman Hillyer


  I. God's spiritual provision.

      A. Everything we need to live a godly life is available in Christ.

      B. His call is not just for salvation, but for growing virtue.

II. The need to grow.

      A. We must be lavish in the time and effort we put into spiritual


          1) Not just minimum, but the finest possible.

      B. Ineffective faith.   Same word (argos) used in Jam 2:26, "Faith

            without deeds is dead."

III. Each believer's objective.

      A. Entrance to heaven is gained only as a consequence of a living

            relationship with Jesus.

      B. "Lord and Savior" - only found here in NT, though a popular

            expression throughout church history.

WORD:  Bauckham


  I. Verse 4.b is not teaching deification, the participation in the life

        or essence of God himself, but to the gift of "godlike" immortality.

II. (v.10-11)  This passage does not mean that moral progress provides

        the Christian with a subjective assurance of his election (the

        sense it was given by Luther and Calvin) but that the ethical

        fruits of Christian faith are objectively necessary for the

        attainment of final salvation.

III. It is not in conflict with Paul's doctrine of justification by


      A. Peter is concerned with the ethical fruits OF FAITH, and

            with moral effort with is only possible THROUGH GRACE.

      B. Paul can also regard the ethical fruits of faith as necessary

            for salvation.

      C. The emphasis on man's role in his salvation is in the context

            of moral apostasy.

IV. The final section (v 11) holds out the prospect of entry into

        Christ's kingdom for those whose faith is effective in virtuous

        living.  Despite the emphasis on moral effort in the second

        section, this concluding statement makes it clear that final

        salvation is not man's achievement but the gift of God's lavish


Copyright 2017 by Rev. David Holwick

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