THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 10-31-10
LESSON TITLE: “IF THESE THINGS ARE YOURS AND ABOUND: MAKE YOUR CALL AND ELECTION SURE”
The Psalmist once proclaimed, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God,” (20:7) So where do you place your trust on this wondrous Lord’s Day? Whose name do you remember as first and foremost in your daily life?
Thank you so much for joining us this day for this time of Worship to our God. We are also thankful for this opportunity to assemble before God’s throne and to study His Living Word. It is my prayer that we are all doing our best, today and every day, to accomplish everything according to God’s precious will and His eternal purpose. Won’t you do your part this morning so that God may truly be praised and so that all we offer toward our God will be done in spirit and in truth.
With these thoughts in mind, will you bow with me before His almighty throne in prayer?
Now let’s join in our first song of the morning. It reminds us of just how important it is that we respond to the great love of God. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “My Jesus I Love Thee?”
(SONG # 1)
There are two words which are sharply contrasted in the scriptures: faith and sight! In fact, in 2 Corinthians 5:7, Paul said, “For we walk by faith, and not by sight.” I am afraid that many in our day and time do not really understand the fact that we are not to base our faith in God on that which is seen.
To understand our discussion more, we might consider the definition for faith, given to us in Hebrews 11:1. There God says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Sound familiar? Faith is founded in those things from God which we hope for. They are real and they do have substance. However, the reality is that these things which are hoped for are not things which can actually be seen. The evidences which confirm our faith are not actually visible.
Another verse we want to consider is found in 2 Corinthians 4:18. Paul further states, “While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Again, we have the same fact proclaimed. As those who love and believe in God, we are not looking for the visible things which are simply temporary and passing away. Rather, as God’s children, we are looking toward those things which are not seen, and are of a spiritual nature - thus being of a spiritual nature they are eternal.
You see, we have a clear distinction here between God, His Will and the spiritual. On the other hand, we see by sight the world and that which is in it, which is only temporary and will eventually pass away!
So what type of faith do you have in God? Is it based on the invisible proofs from God’s Word which fully confirm that God exists, He is real, and He will do all that He has proclaimed. Or have you based your faith in things which are seen and passing? Therefore your faith is very shaky, wavering, and moved with those things which are visible to your sight. Chose today to be founded in the things of God and to build your faith in that which is not seen, just as God has commanded!
As far as our main study of the day, we will be continuing our discussion on Peter’s statement, “If These Things Are Yours and Abound.” Our specific lesson of the morning will deal with the phrase, “Make Your Call and Election Sure.” So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will be leading us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “Nothing but the Blood.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
Over the past several months we’ve been having a great discussion from the book of 2 Peter chapter 1. We’ve seen together many of those great and wondrous exhortations about what we call sometimes “Beatitudes” or “Christian Graces” or those exhortations of how we live for God every day in order as He starts early on in that passage to be partakers of the Divine Nature. But then as we move on throughout the text and we see those things that we are to practice and to add to, for instance again verse 5, “To faith virtue and virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control,” it says there, “perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness love.” As we’ve seen all of these things we find our great privilege and opportunity to be what God wants of us, to illuminate ourselves in a world of darkness as the light, the light of God so that people see His nature in us by and through our actions and words.
If you’ll notice now then a little bit later in the text in verses 8 and 9 we then see the theme for our overall discussion. After he mentions all of these Christian graces, again so to speak, he then says, “For if these things are yours and abound.” If they are yours, he goes on to say that “you will be fruitful.” “You will be fruitful in the knowledge of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Isn’t that what Christianity is often summed up as? Isn’t that what it is all about? To bear fruit for God? How can I bear fruit for God? By showing forth these wondrous characteristics that God has asked of me as a faithful child and if I do it, if these things are mine and abound, if they are abundantly in my life, he says there, “I am fruitful.”
However, if I do not do these things, the next verse, verse 9 says, “He who lacks these things is short-sighted even to blindness and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”
We’ve got two directions to go: toward God and building on these things and becoming closer to God and becoming more of what God wants or backsliding, being short-sighted, or apathetic, and not being at all what God has asked of us. You see brethren; the reality is that we need a greater desire to be diligent in these things. That’s why I believe in the next verse we find our discussion for today. Verse 10 says there, “Therefore brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure.” He says that you need to be diligent in these things, committed in these things, focused on these things. Does that sound familiar? Remember back in verse 5 and the challenge that he gives to those saints as he tells them how they should act every day? It is this: For this very reason giving all diligence, being committed through study and work ethics, to be what God wants of us. And so again, he says, “After being all diligent,” and then he gives us all of these exhortations and tells us that we can be fruitful and must be fruitful in order that we might not fall away from God. Then he says, “Be even more diligent.” If you’re doing these things, great! But do them even more! Why? Because you should want to accomplish your calling and election.
So what about this call of God? It is interesting again that in the same text we’ve already been introduced to the call from our Creator. If you back all the way up in chapter 1 to verse 3 the last phrase says, “Who has called us…” Who? God! “Through knowledge…” The knowledge of Jesus. “God, the knowledge of Jesus has called us by glory and virtue.” You see there the idea of glory which is that holiness of God and virtue which is that moral excellence. We have been called by God through knowledge of Jesus to be morally excellent and have the spirit and attitude of Christ. Isn’t that what we’ve been talking about? For months now, we’ve been talking about those attitudes that demonstrate to the world that I am not my own. I am God’s! I am striving, as we read in verse 4, to take of that Divine Nature and to show forth God, not Ray, to show forth who my Creator is to the world that they might be saved because I can’t save them. But when they see my God, when they learn of Him, when they see the fruit that I bear in my life, then I begin as we read here to respond to the call, the call that God gives through His Word. We see this call again throughout scripture. We might quickly make a few references in other places.
For instance, in Ephesians chapter 4 and verse 1, Paul says, “I therefore the prisoner of the Lord beseech you to walk worthy of your calling.” But then he goes on to say, “What worthy of your calling with which you were called.” You were called by something. Walk worthy of what you were called by. What are we called by? God! His Word! How do I know about Christ? The Book! Without the Bible how would I know my Lord? How would I know my God? How would I know what things I need to do, as we have learned in 2 Peter chapter 1? How would I know without that instruction, to be fruitful as God would have me? How can I make my calling sure if I have never heard of that calling, again revealed to me by and through in the knowledge of Jesus Christ?
Another text that I think is really clear concerning these things is found over in the book of 2 Timothy, here Paul, as he talks to this evangelist is trying to help him, I believe, not only to understand it but to be able to present it properly so that others might know about this calling and understand where it comes from. I wish we had time in detail to look at this passage, but if you will look briefly with me starting at verse 8, he speaks of the fact that he is “not ashamed of the testimony of the Lord.” Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Back in Romans 1:16, “Not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power unto salvation, the testimony of the Lord.” He says, “I am not ashamed of it because that testimony is the power of the gospel,” that verse goes on to say. Then in verse 9 he says, “Who have been saved by God, He has saved us and called us with a holy calling.” We’ve been called by and through holiness. What can be more holy than Jesus Christ? Than the life that He lived? The sacrifice that He gave? The resurrection? What can be more perfect than a perfect God in the flesh. You see Jesus was all of those things! So we have been called by a holy calling. How? Through the gospel, through the truth, as well verse 8 indicates.
Then down in verse 10 we see that idea that we have been brought to life through the gospel. We have left that concept of mortality and those things that would destroy us and leave us for naught in this world in order to come to who? God! Responding to the calling.
Paul also mentions in Philippians in chapter 3 and verse 4, “An upward calling unto Christ Jesus.” We’ve been called by God from Heaven itself to be children of the Creator. Through the Word we know this to be the case, and so we ask the question: Have you been called? Yes, we all have. Have you responded to the call? And now as Peter said, “Are you striving in order to bear fruit to make your call sure?” What does that mean? It means to make that call a reality, something that will happen, meaning that we will receive the promises and rewards of our God.
The other idea is not just to make the call sure, but the election sure. We’re almost into a period here of an election and certainly when we think about those who are elected we know that there are certain individuals who are running for certain things. As Christians, what are we running for? What are we striving for? Well the elect or the election of God. How do I accomplish that? By responding to the calling and following the call of God that once again is revealed to me in His Word, the Bible.
As we look specifically at the idea of election, it is not just mentioned there in this text, 2 Peter and chapter 1, but we also find it again just a passage back or a book back, we might say, in 1 Peter chapter 1. Guess what Peter in this first book says about the Christians that he is writing to. There in verse 2 he says, “The elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” Then he goes on to say, “Those who were sprinkled with the blood of Christ.” The elect of God. Who are the elect? Those who have not only heard the call or know of the call, but those who have responded to the call, those who have obeyed the call of God, those are the elect of God. So he addresses Christians, faithful Christians as the elect. And so now when we begin to read this idea to make your call from and by God and election sure making sure that it is a reality, that it will happen and that there is something that I will receive as promised by God is all in my heart, is all in my hand. You can’t do it for me. Others can’t do it for me. It is up to me! Will I bear fruit? Will I do what God has asked me to do? Will I show forth and partake of the Divine Nature that I have been given a privilege to partake of? You see all of those are choices that you and I make every day.
Again in the book of Colossians chapter 3 and verse 12, we read there again that, “As the elect of God, holy and beloved…” Put on what? “Put on tender mercies, kindness, mercy, humility, meekness.” He goes on to talk about those Christian attributes that again we show forth as the elect. It sounds just like what we’ve been studying together in relationship to faith and virtue and virtue knowledge and self-control and all those wonderful things that show that I am really and sincerely focused on my God and Jesus Christ.
Now I would like us to look specifically at that word for a moment of “sure” or “surety” to make that call and that election sure.
If you’ll go with me there to the book of John, that is the 1st book of John and chapter 3. We yet again find another familiar concept telling us how maybe we accomplish this surety or this ability to know that we have what God has promised. As we look in this text we are able to now again comprehend those things that help us to be confident, confident in what God has said to us. Look at verse 18 of chapter 3 with me there. “My little children let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and truth.” There we have the action again. We have that idea of needing to be able to show forth the glory of God and moral excellence. Then he goes on to say this in verse 19, “And by this we know that we are of the truth and shall assure our hearts before Him.” What do we want? What do we strive for? To assure our hearts before God. How do I do that? It says, “By indeed in truth and action and in the right way doing what my God asks of me.” Then he goes on in verse 20 to say, “For if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us we have confidence toward God.”
Do you know what we have as those who strive to be faithful? Confidence! Do you know what we have as those who are committed to God? Surety! An assured sense of commitment not only to our Creator, but a willingness to know that if we do our part, He will do His. I am confident of that fact. Why? Because God said it, but even more than that because I am doing what He asked to receive it. That’s what Peter is talking about. Our part in the plan. Are we making our call and election sure? Are we being all the more diligent to make our call and election sure?
Now there are a few final things mentioned at the end of verse 10 and 11 that give us the final incentive, if you will. Besides the fact of already being Christians and partakers of the Divine Nature and so many things we’ve already said that should be enough. But if you’ll notice there in verse 10 he goes on to say that if I am doing all of this, if I am fruitful and I am striving diligently even more diligently to make my calling and election sure, he then says this at the end of verse 10. “If you do these things, you shall never stumble.” What does that mean? It means that when I draw near to God and I give my best to God and He is here with me, it is hard to fall away. It is hard to stumble. It is hard to do what is wrong when you’ve got the loving, caring and comforting, protecting arms of our Creator with us all of the time. You will never stumble. You don’t have to worry about stumbling when God is the center of your life and universe. If I can make my calling and election sure diligently then I can know, I can withstand all sins. God is always there to help me.
Then finally verse 11 says, “For so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Well that sounds great. The Kingdom of God! Heaven! An entrance! I like how he puts it. He says here that, “You will be given an abundant entrance into that kingdom.” In other words, God, because of your faithfulness, desires to reward you greatly because you have committed diligently to make your call and election sure, because you have committed yourself to showing forth faith and virtue and knowledge and self-control and perseverance and godliness and brotherly kindness and love. You have committed to bearing the fruit that God commands of you each and every day of your life and therefore you are one who enjoys and reaps the rewards that are for the faithful. No doubt that is why we find Peter and Paul and so many other writers of the Bible giving us that confidence that we need, understanding, like there in 2 Peter chapter 3 and verse 18 that, if we will “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we will be those who will receive the blessings of today and the blessings forever more.”
Will you work towards Heaven? Will you give your best to God? Will you be found as one who partakes of that nature that God has provided for you?
(SONG # 3 - “Peace, Perfect Peace!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
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What are you doing to make your calling and election sure? Are you giving God your best? Are you committed to doing all things as He commands according to His Will?