:) Finally had some time! Next week should be fun... we're heading into some messianic prophecies... :)

Happy studying!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

II Peter Chapter 1

vs. 1-2

- Peter is writing to us. We share the same precious faith that he and the church of his day shared.

- This faith is a gift given to us because Christ is just and fair.

- Christ calls to everyone to come and receive a gift. Because He is just and fair, He doesn't count ANYONE out.

- There's a song lyric by Stellar Kart that says “there will always be second chances, and you'll always be on your first try.”

- Jesus will always provide second chances if we are willing to receive them. Sometimes we beat ourselves up over all our past mistakes... and God has already forgiven and forgotten them...

- Casting Crowns has a song called “East to West”. It talks about Jesus casting our sins as far as the east is from the west... “but Jesus can you SHOW me just how far the east is from the west, cause I can't bear to see the man I've become rising up in me again...”

- We forget that it's done. Once we get down and pray for forgiveness for an act of sin, we're done with it. Christ forgives and forgets completely. He's not keeping a list so that one day when you mess up again, He can pull out the list and run down through all the reasons why you don't match up to His standards.

- When you become friends with someone, you gradually start to understand all their personality traits and quirks.

- If I talk to a friend I've known for a few years, I can generally tell when they're hiding something. I know when they're not okay... even when they swear they are... I know when there's something they're just bursting to tell me, but waiting on the right place and time to explode with some kind of good news... Why? Because I've spent TIME with them. I've talked with them and learned to understand their moods and facial expressions and body language.

- I don't have to worry that my friend is mad at me over something I don't know I did. If they're upset with me, I KNOW it. I know what kinds of things get on their nerves and what things bug them, so I usually know when I do something that might hurt them, or might make them angry with me. And because I know how to read my friend, I can tell when they ARE and AREN'T upset with me.

- As we grow in our knowledge of God, may God give us more and more grace and peace.

- Grace and Peace are not automatically abundant in our lives. Rather, as we grow in our knowledge of God, so does He give you more Grace and Peace.

- I think that's a little expected. The better we know our savior and the more we come to understand His character, the more we KNOW we can depend on Him, trust Him, love Him... and have that love returned.

- And through being able to depend on Him and trust Him, peace and grace naturally follow. Understanding the character of God means that His peace will flow in and around because we TRUST him.

- Last night at youth night, our speaker had a word picture of peace. He said it was like you were rowing. You're in the boat and every muscle from your toes to your head is straining in one movement. If you paddle too deep, you're going to hurt yourself. If you paddle too shallow, you're going to make a lot of noise, but make no progress. If you try to look behind you, you're going to end up paddling with one hand and going in circles.

- However, God has pointed the boat where he wants it to go, and if you just focus on the stroke, and just focus on pulling the oars... you'll get where you need to go.

- This is peace. To trust God and just focus on the moment. God knows where the boat's going. He's not going to let you run aground. Just focus on the stroke... and God will handle the rest.

- Are you trusting God? I mean really? Are you still trying to row the boat and steer at the same time?
- How's your relationship with God? Are you making God your everything? Or just your fire insurance policy?

- Ezekiel 34:25-31
- Romans 5:1-11
- Philippians 4:6-7

vs. 3-4

- Through His power, God has given us everything we need to live a Godly life. How? By coming to KNOW Him. (There's that knowing and understanding again... seems to be a theme with this chapter so far...)

- footnote- “The power to lead a Godly life comes from God. Because we don't have the resources to be truly Godly, God allows us to “share His divine nature” in order to keep us from sin and help us live for Him. When we are born again, God by His Spirit empowers us with His own goodness.”

- John 3:1-21, 14:15-29
II Corinthians 5:18-21
I Peter 1:13-25

- Christ calls to us to come to him through his glory and excellence, through which He has also given us great and precious promises. These promises enable us to share in Christ's divine nature and escape the world's corruption, which is caused by human desires.

- So what promises do we have? The promise of eternal salvation. The promise of equal heirship with Christ. The promise of a life everlasting with our Lord.

- Because of these promises, we have the ability to share in Christ's divine nature. Which consists of what? Well... holiness, perfection, love to the max, a desire to do good, all knowing, all seeing, all understanding...

- Now, are we holy? Perfect? All those things? no... but we do have the ability to share those things to an extent BECAUSE Christ is living and working in our hearts. With Him working in our hearts, we become more like Him and exhibit those same attributes. Maybe not to the same extent, but definitely to some extent.

- With Christ in our hearts, we can escape the world's corruption. How? Through Christ moving in our hearts. If God is the center of our lives and working in our hearts to change us into a masterpiece reflecting Him, we aren't going to desire worldly things so much. So through Christ, we have to ability to avoid the temptation to fall into fleshly desires.

- What kind of reflection do you show the world?
- What are you doing with the promises that God has laid before you?
- Are you sharing in those things that God has for you; that He is longing to be able to place in your hands?

- Titus 2:11-15

vs. 5-9

- In view of all of the above, we should make every effort to respond to God's promises.

- God's promises are that He will give us life abundant, life everlasting, that He will never leave us, nor forsake us... There should be a response to this in some manner. If someone gives you good gifts, you don't turn around and treat them like a servant... you treat them as a friend. If we are responsive to God's promises, our hearts should allow Him to change them. If our hearts are changing then we are going to become more like the image of Christ.

- So supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with Godliness, and Godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

- These read a little like the Fruit of the Spirit...

- Galatians 5:22-26

- If we have faith that Christ is all He said He is, faith that there is a heaven and a hell, faith that this walk is going to lead exactly where Christ said it would... then our lives should reflect that faith.

- The first thing Peter mentions is moral excellence. If we have faith that all that Christ has promised is true, then shouldn't our lives reflect the same moral excellence as His? Shouldn't we fight for moral justice in our culture and strive for morality in our own lives?

- But to just live a moral life means nothing without knowing why we're doing it. So supplement your moral excellence with knowledge about not only this walk and our Lord and Savior, but also about the importance of morality and what morality means to God.

- II Corinthians 4:1-18

- With our knowledge of these things, should come self-control. Self-control is a hard one today... Our society is so used to getting whatever we want, when we want it, how we want it... that it's hard to maintain self-control...

- I was visiting a church last week and the pastor's sermon was on finances and stewardship and tithing... I guess this church does like a finance group for people who are struggling with finances... between just a few couples, there was like 2 million dollars worth of debt... just in this one church...

- I can't IMAGINE being so far in debt... my parents have always been conscientious of money things, and they made us to be so as well... but you put a piece of plastic into a hand, and sometimes, it's just perceived as free money. And even in the church, where finances sometimes are not taught very often, there's a lot of times even people in the church find themselves swimming in debt.

- Self-control reaches to all aspects of our lives... if we don't have self-control in one area, it spreads to others... My problem area might not be finances, but it could be a multitude of other things... like food, or clothing, or sex, or video games, or... spider solitaire... true story... LOL (totally addicted and takes up WAY too much of my time...)

- With Self-control comes patient endurance... yeah that makes sense... If I make myself wait on something then I can see it building patience and endurance. If I wait to buy things until they're on sale or until I have enough money to pay cash, or if I wait till dinner to eat instead of snacking all the time, or if I don't play solitaire until the very end of the day and limit myself to like 2 games... It would build patience... and definitely the endurance to wait until it's even better than expected...

- With patient endurance comes Godliness... wow... Can you see this picture? Christ endured suffering beyond our comprehension. He had to patiently wait until it was time for His ministry to start, then He had to endure all the scoffing and the ridicule because of speaking truth, then He had to endure pain and suffering unlike any other... and NOW, He patiently waits for us to turn and accept all that He did for us...

- And Godliness brings brotherly affection. A love for one's neighbors, family, friends, strangers, mankind in general...

- And brotherly affection begets a love for everyone...

- footnote- “Faith must be more than belief in certain facts; it must result in action, growth in Christian character, and the practice of moral discipline, or it will die away. Peter lists several of faith's actions: learning to know God better, developing perseverance, doing God's will, loving others. These actions do not come automatically; they require hard work. They are not optional; all of them must be a continual part of the Christian life. We don't finish one and start on the next, but we work on them all together. God empowers and enables us; but He also gives us the responsibility to learn and to grow.”

- I Corinthians 9:24-27

- “The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.” vs. 8-9

- What is your response to God's promises? What is your response to His gifts?
- Is your faith resulting in action? Do you believe that God is loving? How have you shown that attribute to the world this week? This month? This year?
- What are the attributes of God? If you believe that this is the character and personage of God, what are ways that you can put them into action in the world to show the world the essence of in Whom you put your faith?

- Romans 12:1-21

vs. 10-11

- Work to prove that you are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things and you will never fall away.

- Faith without works is dead. Without SHOWING our faith without putting it into practice, what do we have? A belief. I can believe a lot of things... but it takes a lot to put it into practice... I can believe and have faith that if I step off of a bridge I'm going to walk on air like bugs bunny always does... however... if I don't put it into practice, there's no proof that I believe that. And if I'm too afraid to put it into practice, then how strong is my faith? (Now obviously if I walked off a bridge I'd fall to my death... because the law of gravity would kick in... but I know that because I've fallen before and gravity is very real to me...)

- Faith without action proves nothing to the world. We are the only sermon some will ever hear, the only bible some will ever read, the only Christ some will ever know. So show me your faith.

- Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

- footnote- “Our faith must go beyond what we believe, it must become a dynamic part of all we do, resulting in good fruit and spiritual maturity. Salvation does not depend on good deeds, but it results in good deeds. A person who claims to be saved while remaining unchanged does not understand faith or what God has done for him or her.”

- What fruits are you bearing in your life? What do people see when they look at your life? Do they see just another person like them? Or do they see something deeper, something more emanating from your life?

- Colossians 3:1-17, 1:9-14
- John 15:1-17
- Romans 8:26-30

vs. 12-21

- footnote- “Outstanding coaches constantly review the basics of the sport with their teams, and good athletes can execute the fundamentals consistently well. Believers must not neglect the basics of their faith, even as they go on to study deeper truths. Just as an athlete needs constant practice, Christians need constant reminders of the fundamentals of our faith and of how we came to believe in the first place. Don't allow yourself to be bored or impatient with messages on the basics of the Christian life. Instead, take the attitude of an athlete who continues to practice and refine the basics.”

- It doesn't hurt to be reminded of all the basic things of this faith... like we are saved by grace through faith. Or like Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so... : ) The better we know and understand the basics, the better we can explain them to new believers and unbelievers and the more founded we ourselves will be in the basic necessities of this faith.

- These stories and tales are not made up. They are things that these men saw with their own eyes, experienced themselves, just as we have experienced things about God... like His working in our hearts, or His forgiveness for our sins, or His salvation from life threatening situations, or even just the little things... like finding just enough money in your car to pay for enough gas to get you home when you forgot your wallet at home...

- Christ is not a fairy tale. He is real and living and moving in this life.

- Peter relates the transfiguration on the mount. “We saw His majestic splendor with our own eyes when He received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to Him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.” vs. 16-18 As we each hear the same voice when we are called to repentance... calling us to become His dearly loved children...

- Matthew 17:1-13
- Mark 13:26-37
- I Corinthians 2:1-16
- II Timothy 3:14-17

- Because of this experience (and because of our own individual experiences) we can have confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. Their words were the light shining in the darkness before Christ came... the light leading the way to the coming of Christ.

- What kind of experiences have you had with God? How has God made Himself real to you?

- Psalm 119:105
- Luke 1:67-80
- I Peter 1:3-25

- This understanding of the coming of Christ did not come from their own understanding or from their own human initiative, but rather, they were moved by the Holy Spirit and their words were spoken from God.

- Colossians 1:15-23
- II Corinthians 5:1-21, 6:1-2

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