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                     "THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PETER"

                    Precious Gifts From God (1:1-4)

INTRODUCTION

1. The Second Epistle of Peter is a short but significant part of the
   New Testament...
   a. It was written by Peter, who identifies himself as "a servant and
      apostle of Jesus Christ" - 2Pe 1:1
   b. It was written to those who received his first epistle - cf. 2 Pe
      3:1; cf. 1Pe 1:1
   c. It was written shortly before his death - 2Pe 1:12-15

2. The "theme" of the epistle can be stated as "Beware, But Grow"
   - 2Pe 3:17-18
   a. "Beware" lest you fall, being led away with error - 17
   b. "But Grow" in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior - 18
   -- Virtually every verse of this epistle falls into one of these two
      areas

3. In this lesson, the first in a series of expository outlines based 
   upon 2nd Peter, we shall consider Peter's salutation - 2Pe 1:1-4
   (read)

4. In his greeting, Peter refers to several blessings or "gifts" that 
   we have received from God and Jesus Christ

5. In describing them, I am going to use a word that was a favorite of 
   Peter:  "precious"
   a. It is found twice in this passage:  "precious faith" (1:1) and 
      "precious promises" (1:4)
   b. Peter used it six times in his earlier epistle as well - 1Pe 
      1:7,19; 2:4,6,7; 3:4
   c. The Greek word is timios {tim'-ee-os}, and it means:
      1) As of great price, precious
      2) Held in honor, esteemed, especially dear

[This word is most befitting the four "gifts" referred to in our text, 
the first of which Peter actually uses "precious" to describe...]

I. A LIKE PRECIOUS FAITH (1)

   A. A FAITH THAT IS "LIKE"...
      1. Like what?  Like the faith that Peter himself has!
      2. While the "objective" sense of faith (i.e., the gospel - cf. 
         Jude 3) may be in view here, I suspect that Peter has in 
         reference the "subjective" sense of faith (the faith one has 
         in the gospel)

   B. NOTICE THAT THIS GIFT IS "OBTAINED" (GIVEN, KJV)...
      1. The word is doreomai {do-reh'-om-ahee}, and is in the middle 
         voice, suggesting that "faith" is both given and received
      2. That faith is "given" is evident from:
         a. Ro 10:17; Jn 20:30-31 - faith comes from the Word of God;
            if God had not given His Word, saving faith would not be 
            possible!
         b. 1Pe 1:20-21 - it is through Christ we believe in God; if
            God had not sent Christ, many of us would still be idol 
            worshippers!
         c. 2Pe 1:1 - it is "by the righteousness of our God and 
            Savior Jesus Christ" that we have faith; because of Jesus' 
            Divine sacrifice, saving faith is possible!
      3. But faith "given" is not truly "obtained" unless it is also 
         faith "received"
         a. One must be willing to accept the Word with faith - cf. 
            He 4:2
         b. We must therefore be willing to receive the gift which God 
            gives (in this case, the gift of faith made possible 
            through His Word)

   C. WHY IS THIS FAITH "PRECIOUS"?
      1. Most certainly because of the "object" of our faith:  Jesus 
         Christ, the Son of God!
      2. But also because the "faith itself" (trust, conviction) is of 
         great value to God; consider how God viewed Abraham's faith - 
         cf. Ro 4:3; He 11:1-2
      3. And one might add, because of all the blessings enjoyed by 
         those with such faith!

[This leads us to the next "gift" described by Peter...]

II. GRACE AND PEACE "MULTIPLIED" (2)

   A. "GRACE" AND "PEACE" WERE COMMON FORMS OF GREETING...
      1. Grace - the greeting which requests God's unmerited favor upon
         the person addressed
      2. Peace - the greeting requesting the natural result of God's 
         favor

   B. THESE TWO BLESSINGS ARE "MULTIPLIED" IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD AND
      OF JESUS CHRIST...
      1. All men experience God's favor and its result to some degree 
         - cf. Mt 5:45
      2. But only in Christ can one enjoy the "fullness" of God's favor
         and peace
         a. Only in Christ can one have "every spiritual blessing" - 
            Ep 1:3
         b. Only in Christ can have "the peace of God which surpasses 
            all understanding" - Php 4:6-7
      3. Such fullness comes "in the knowledge of God and of Jesus 
         Christ"
         a. This "knowledge" will be a recurring theme in this epistle 
            - 2Pe 1:3, 5-6, 8; 2:20; 3:18
         b. What this "knowledge" entails will be the focus of our next
            lesson
         c. But notice for the time being that "growing in grace" must 
            go hand-in-hand with "growing in knowledge" - cf. 2Pe 3:18

[To the "multiplicity" of grace and peace, and to obtaining of "like 
precious faith", we can add a third "precious gift from God"...]

III. ALL THINGS THAT PERTAIN TO LIFE AND GODLINESS (3)

   A. DEFINING LIFE AND GODLINESS...
      1. "Life" in this context refers to our spiritual life and 
         well-being
      2. "Godliness" refers to the pious conduct which comes out of 
         devotion to God
      3. Thus, everything we need for spiritual life and serving God 
         acceptably has been given to us!

   B. "AS HIS DIVINE POWER HAS GIVEN TO US"
      1. It is by the power of God that we have new life! - cf. Col 2:
         12-13; Tit 3:4-5
      2. It is by the power of God that we can live godly lives! - cf. 
         Php 2:12-13; 4:13

   C. "THROUGH THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIM..."
      1. Experiencing true "life" and "godliness" can only come through
         the "knowledge" of Him who has called us by glory and virtue 
         - i.e., the knowledge of Jesus Christ
      2. As will be seen in our next lesson, this "knowledge" is much 
         more than an academic, intellectual knowledge, it is a 
         knowledge borne of developing and experiencing life in Jesus

[Finally, consider one more "precious gift from God"...]

IV. EXCEEDINGLY GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES (4)

   A. THEY ARE "EXCEEDINGLY GREAT AND PRECIOUS" BECAUSE...
      1. Through them, we may be "partakers of the divine nature"
         a. We may share in things related to the nature of God!
         b. One of these has already been mentioned in our text:  His 
            divine power! - 1:3
      2. Through them, we have "escaped the corruption that is in the 
         world through lust"
         a. We cannot escape such "corruption" on our own
         b. But through these "great and precious" promises, we have 
            done so!

   B. A SAMPLING OF THESE "PRECIOUS PROMISES"...
      1. Promises already received:
         a. The forgiveness of sins
            1) Promised by the prophets - Ac 10:43
            2) Received upon obedience to the gospel - Ac 2:38; 22:16
         b. The gift of the Holy Spirit
            1) Promised by Jesus - Jn 7:37-39
            2) Received upon obedience to the gospel - Ac 2:38; 5:32; 
               Ep 1:13-14; Ga 4:6
         c. The assurance of God's care and strength
            1) Promised by God Himself - Isa 41:10
            2) Enjoyed by those in Christ - 1Co 10:13; He 13:5-6
      2. Promises yet to be received:
         a. The redemption of our body, at the Resurrection - Ro 8:23;
            1Co 15:50-53
         b. The inheritance that is reserved in heaven - 1Pe 1:3-4
         c. The new heavens and new earth - 2Pe 3:13

CONCLUSION

1. All these promises are "exceedingly great and precious," yet Peter 
   seems to have in mind those promises already received...
   a. Such as the forgiveness of sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit
   b. For through such promises we have already...
      1) Become "partakers of the divine nature" - e.g., Ro 5:1-2
      2) "Escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" - 
         e.g., Ro 8:1-2

2. But having received these promises does not ensure that we will 
   receive those that pertain to the future...
   a. There is the real danger of apostasy - cf. 2Pe 2:20-22
   b. Thus the need for the warning at the close of this epistle - cf. 
      2Pe 3:17

3. To remain faithful to the Lord, then, let us never forget these
   "Precious Gifts From God"...
   a. A precious faith like Peter's
   b. Grace and peace multiplied
   c. All things that pertain to life and godliness
   d. Exceedingly great and precious promises

Have you received those precious promises proclaimed on the Day of
Pentecost? - cf. Ac 2:36-39
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