THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 4-9-06

LESSON TITLE: "PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE: GOD'S PART"

WELCOME

Isaiah once proclaimed, "You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You (oh God), Because he trusts in You." Do you trust in your God on this wondrous Lord's Day morning? I certainly hope we all do!

And now may I welcome you to our program. We are glad that you have chosen to assemble before the almighty God today. Furthermore, as those who love and desire to serve Christ, what a privilege and opportunity this is to worship His glorious name. I hope and pray that we will each do our best to participate in this worship to God and to offer those sacrifices which are acceptable in His sight.

So, as we begin our reverence to God the Creator of all, won't you bow with me before His throne at this time.

(PRAYER)

Let me take just a moment to again remind you of our song taping for this program which is coming up on April 23, beginning at 2:00. Hope to see you there!

Now let's join right into our song of praise with the first song of the day. Won't you do your part in praising God at this time, as we sing together, "Holy, Holy, Holy!"

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

We mentioned a beautiful verse from Isaiah 26:3, earlier this morning. And in that verse we learned about our God's true love for the faithful follower of His will! Notice what Isaiah said God gives us as His children, "perfect peace!" Wow do you realize what this inspired writer is confirming for us? We all need peace in this life, for it is peace that gives us the ability to deal with the issues of life and afterward to be able to move forward. Well, in this passage not only is God offering peace to us, but "perfect" or complete peace!

This makes me think of a similar passage over in the New Testament. Let's read together from Philippians 4:6-7, there it says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Did you catch all of that? Paul says pray, ask, receive and the peace of God is ours. And what kind of peace is Paul talking about here? A peace which surpasses all of our human understanding! What a loving and caring God we serve!

Furthermore, notice in this same text that he also gives us an outcome of this glorious peace from God. He says, it "will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus!" What can God's peace do? It can guide us in the right way both physically and mentally. And how is this accomplished? Through Jesus Christ! How blessed we are to have a God which offers such peace to the faithful. So let me ask, are you a recipient of God's peace this day? If not, obey God this very hour that you may as well enjoy His peace which surpasses understanding. As far as our main lesson of the day, we will begin a new series of study which will focus on what are often referred to as the Christian Virtues! The title of this series will be, "Partakers Of The Divine Nature!" Our specific topic of the day is entitled, "God's Part!" So please stay with us for this study from God's Word, and I will be leading our thoughts at the appropriate time. Now let's join together in our next song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "How Sweet How Heavenly."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Have you ever wondered what God wants you to do in your life in order that you might be pleasing to Him? Certainly we've all wondered and thought these things from time to time because we want to be pleasing in His sight. We want to receive the blessings and the rewards that are ours in this life if we are among the faithful, and as well, we want to receive the great eternal reward of heaven some day if we are found faithful in the end.

With these thoughts in mind, today, we want to begin a new series of study that will help us to focus on those things that are often called "The Christian Virtues." All of the Christian virtues as are in indicated, at least from 2 Peter chapter 1, clearly show us characteristics, characteristics that exemplify Christ and show forth God in all things. They are encouragements to us that we might build on our faith and build on our different characteristics to make ourselves even better everyday according to those things that God demands through His Word.

With that in mind, we want to turn to 2 Peter chapter 1 and we want to look at the text here and today introduce these virtues and these ideas that certainly are ours to make us better people, better servants and better workers in the kingdom, so that after today, we might continue looking at each of these virtues, each of these things that make us better and build on them so that as we have said we might be those people in the eyes of God who are found acceptable in all things. If you'll notice there in the text as Peter writes to brethren, those he says, "of like precious faith," those who are fellow Christians. Notice in verse 3 what he begins to declare there to these Christians about his God. He says that his "God has provided all things for us." You know, God has played a part. He has already done His part. And what has He done? Verse 3 says, "And His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue." Notice what this is and really what is clarified here by the apostle Peter, that is given by God. What has God done? God has given us all things, not some things, not a few things, not those things that He sees fit here and there. God has given us all things. All things that what? Pertain not only to life, but godliness. All of those things then that are spiritual that we need. All of those things that are physical, that are mental. All things God has provided to us according to His power, the Bible says here, according to His divine power. He has given us all things that pertain both to life, everyday life and godliness. Now I want you to notice as well what he goes on to clarify there as he says, "Through the knowledge of Him who has (done what?) called us by glory and virtue, through the knowledge of Christ." Again, it is through Jesus that He has blessed us in such a way, that He has given us all things according to life and godliness. Then I want you to notice the calling that is mentioned here, who has called us by what? What is it that God has called us through Jesus Christ that we might be endued? He states there that He has called us by "glory and virtue." There's that word, that moral excellence. We all know what it means to glorify or to lift up and praise God, but here again the idea of through us glorifying God and even here, as he states, "being those who take the moral high ground, who are virtuous." So yes, our God has done His part through Jesus Christ. He has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness and has called us by His glory and His virtue, His moral excellence.

Then do we not only understand that God has given us all things on this earth and those promises, but also all things pertaining to eternal life. Notice the next verse, verse 4. "By which we have been given the exceedingly great and precious promises, through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruptions that are in the world through lust." Here we see that God adds something else, the idea that we have great and hear precious promises. Again, I think we're finding the idea of all that God does for us now and the blessings and those encouragements, but also eternal life, the eternal and great and precious promises that help us to want to be virtuous as God is virtuous, to be as we read here, those who as well are striving to glorify God through our bodies as God deserves that glory. Yes, our God according to as it states there, His divine power has now given us all things, all things unto the calling through His son Jesus Christ that makes us virtuous, that causes us through our lives to glorify Him and that causes us to realize that we must everyday react to the great and precious promises that God has given us.

And then now notice, notice the series that we now will study, the title that we draw from this text as He says that "through these, through these exceeding promises, through these wondrous blessings of God and the things that He has given us, all things through His divine nature that pertain to life and godliness..." He has done what? "Made us divine partakers." God, through His divine power has given us, and now He has made us divine partakers of what? Read that again. Partakers of the divine nature, the divine nature of God that we have left the corruptions of the world, the lust and escaped sin and become followers of God. Well, think about that. Think about how wonderful that is, that you and I are not only children of God but imitators of God, that we are those who as Christ lived on this earth and He was morally excellent. He took the high road. He always did what was right. He never sinned. That you and I then strive for the same virtue, the moral excellence, the high road. And what is it that we even become partakers of the divine nature? The divine nature that has done what? The divine nature that has given us all things through Jesus Christ, that has blessed us with the great and wondrous promises and precious promises of this life and the life to come. The divine nature that exemplifies in all things that our nature is striving to imitate the nature of God Almighty Himself. Moral excellence. Are we striving for that? Are we striving to be those in this life who are morally excellent, who are wanting in everything we do to show that we have died to the old man, to the sin, to the lust, to those things before and we now are followers of God. Is that what we show? Are we showing forth that we are partakers of that divine nature? Do people see God in me? Do they hear it in my words? Do they see it in my actions? We are and must be partakers of that divine nature.

Now, how is it possible. Well, we can't become God and we certainly will never be God. So how is it possible that we imitate Him? Ephesians tells us that, that "we be imitators of God as His dear children," Ephesians 5:1. But here again, we find the same idea. How do we do it? How do we do it, Peter? Continue on in verse 5 there of our text, again 2 Peter chapter 1. "But also for this very reason..." What very reason? The very reason that we left the old and become partakers of the divine nature. "For this very reason giving all diligence, committing yourself." Committing to what? "Adding to your faith virtue." To virtue what? "Knowledge, to knowledge self control, to self control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love."

Now we have a list of things and certainly this is not an exhaustive list. There are other things that we certainly must do and characteristics that we must exemplify and attitudes that we can have and actions that we can show forth that certainly as well would be added to this list and also show forth the divine nature that we are partakers of with God and through God and through Jesus Christ. But here we have a very, very good list of those things that show forth that divine nature. When people see faith in me, when they see not only faith, but the moral excellence and the knowledge and they see in me the self control and the perseverance and as we read here even the godliness, and then through the godliness they also see in my life a brotherly kindness and then not only the brotherly kindness, but love that certainly is the foundation of all. Then they see God! They don't see me. They don't see my insignificance or my humanity. They don't see my shortfalls and my shortcomings because what they see is that everything I'm about and everything I'm doing, everything I say, everything I do, everything in word or deed is done in the name of the Lord Jesus. Why? Because I am as a child of God a partaker of that divine nature and therefore I must show forth in my life those things that are divine, that are divinely approved, that are righteous, that are holy, that are good, that are perfect and pure. Isn't that what God wants of us? "Be ye holy for I am holy." Yes, that's what God wants and that's exactly what He encourages us to do. But what do we often do? We often look at these types of lessons and we say, "Well, it's impossible. I can never achieve that. I can never accomplish what you're talking about. I can't be perfect." But we can try. We can try. God is not expecting perfection. He wants us to strive for it. God knows. He made us. He knows we're human. He knows we're going to make mistakes and that's why He said, "The blood of My Son will continually cleanse you." (1 John) But yet, He says, "Strive to do your best. Seek the kingdom first. Do all that you can to show that you love Me and that you're going to make every effort and that you're going to repent and you're going to try your best to make it right and then in the end, you'll be given the (what?) rewards...", that we read back in verse 4, those things that are great and precious promises, exceedingly great, far more than we can comprehend or even understand. Our God is good.

Now I want you to notice also in this text what he goes on to say there in verse 8. We've looked at what God's part is and we've seen now that God challenges us to be partakers of the divine nature as we strive to be imitators of that which is righteous and certainly God is righteous. So he mentions that these are the things that we must strive for. Then what we'll do in the following weeks is we will look at each of these topics more in detail, so we won't do that this morning. But then I want you to notice if we do, what is the outcome? If you do, if you show yourself to be a partaker of the divine nature by exemplifying these characteristics and that you are building on them and as we read there in verse 5 as well, that you are giving all diligence, that you are continually striving and moving forward toward the cross to show forth that divine nature. What is it that will be ours if we do these things? Notice verse 8. What's the outcome? What does God see in me when I am doing it? If you do these things... What does it say? "For if these things are yours and they abound in you, you will neither be (as he says here) barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." What does he state? He says if you do these things, if you are diligent and you have given yourself to diligence and you're showing forth the divine nature and growing in all of these areas and building every day to be a greater and a more perfect, and striving to be a more complete Christian, if you're doing those things you won't be barren or unfruitful. In fact, what will we then be? You will be fruitful. You will be seen by God as one who is accomplishing the task, who is doing your best, who is making every effort, who is worthy of grace, your undeserved favor, who is worthy of mercy and all those wonderful and great and exceeding promises that He has said that are ours if we will be His children. We are fruit. Do you want to be fruitful in the eyes of God? Certainly you do, and if you do then give all diligence to show forth the divine nature of God by implementing these things in your life, putting them into practice and growing in every area that we have mentioned.

But also, what if we do not? What if we choose not to show forth these virtues? What if we don't show that moral excellence or what if we don't take the high road? Verse 9, "For he who lacks these things (is what?) shortsighted even to blindness and he has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins." The one who chooses not to be diligent, who chooses not to show forth the divine nature, who chooses not to enjoy the promises in these things, who chooses not to in character do all of these things that make him a better example for others for the sake of God in this life. That individual is shortsighted even unto blindness, is no better than someone blind as if they have never known or seen it because they are not doing what they know to be right, what they have seen and heard. But then he says, "And they have forgotten that they are cleansed from their sins and were supposed to follow the new way and follow Christ." So therefore since they had been blinded and shortsighted, what did they return to ? The sin. They're not growing. They're not moving forward. They're not giving themselves diligently to being those who are truly partakers today and everyday of the divine nature, but they are backsliding. They are falling. Brethren, we must be those who understand that if we do, we are fruitful. If we don't, "we are trees that are worthless to God," Matthew 7, "no better than just to be cut down, torn down and thrown in the fire." We must be fruitful trees.

Finally this morning, I want you to notice in the last two verses there, 10 and 11, that there is something certainly that is a result to again the things that we have done, and a challenge that he once again states here. He says, "Therefore brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Several things here, brethren, be even more diligent. Why? Because you know God's promises and the exceedingly great and precious things He has said to us. Not only that, but because you know you have been called to do something and if you do it, if you're growing everyday and becoming more like God and striving to be more perfect and complete, then He says here that you will never stumble. You will never fall. Why? Because God is always first. And even if you do fall, guess what. God's going to pick you up. But then in the end, if you have been even more diligent, if God is there to help you even more and you now are not stumbling hardly ever because God is first and you are more committed than ever to show forth the divine nature, then what is the result? An entrance is supplied, an abundant entrance into the what? The everlasting kingdom of God. You see, the promises are, those exceedingly great and wondrous promises of life today and eternal life are so worth it. Therefore, we must be virtuous. Therefore, we must react and respond to the part that God has played in giving us the opportunity through Christ to show forth the divine nature, and now as we desire to show forth that divine nature, may we have the characteristics and bear those things here as well as elsewhere through the scripture that show we are worthy before God to receive these wondrous and true promises, those promises that show we love God and will put Him first. Then may we know that God being with us, we have no need to stumble because He is by our side.

Are you willing to put your confidence in God? Are you willing to serve Him? Are you longing for those promises that are yours if you will only believe and obey His precious Will?

(SONG # 3 - "Let The Beauty Of Jesus!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to us all. We invite you to join us every First day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!

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How thankful we should all be for the great things our God has done for us, so that we might be saved. Furthermore, let's thank our God for His love, care and guidance in all things, unto salvation!

(Program closing)