God’s Promise…Our Response
I. The IMPORTANCE of last WORDS. (v.12-15)
A. They flow from CLARITY of EXPERIENCE. (v.12-14)
B. They SERVE as a LEGACY. (v.15)
2nd Peter is the last letter that we have from Peter in the Bible. He knew it was getting close to his time to die. That’s why these words have so much meaning. He was putting together his thoughts from a lifetime of following Jesus and trying to convey what was most important to those who would read these words – even after he was dead.
1. Kid’s question: If you could only say one more sentence for the rest of your life, what would you say and to whom would you say it?
II. The FOUNDATION of God’s PROMISE. (v.1-4)
A. We only HAVE what we have RECEIVED. (v.1-2)
B. What we have RECEIVED is ENOUGH. (v.3-4a)
C. An INVITATION to PARTICIPATION. (v.4b)
D. DRIVING with a different ENGINE. (v.4c)
Just as 1st Peter was reminding his readers of the ultimate truth about their identity and what that meant for the hope and future, 2nd Peter starts with a foundational truth that sets the stage for everything else that will follow. God has promised some specific things, and those promises set the tone for all our experience.
2. Do you feel like God has given everything you need? Be honest. How does the intro to 2nd Peter impact you in light of that?
3. What thoughts, ideas, or images does 2 Peter 1:3-4 stir up in your mind? What do you think it looks like to participate (or share) in the divine nature? Have you experienced that in your own life?
III. BUILDING on what we have RECEIVED. (v.5-11)
A. The difference between EFFORT and EARNING. (v.5; Eph 2:8-10)
B. A focus on TRAINING versus TRYING. (v.5,10; 1 Tim. 4:7-8)
C. FRUITS that flow from EFFORT. (v.5-8: Jn 15:5)
But these promises of God don’t mean we just passively sit around and wait for Jesus to return. They actually inspire us to shed the old ways of life and embrace the characteristics of divine life. This has often gotten skewed in churches today, and we misunderstand the role that our actions play and the motivations that underlie them. This misunderstanding has often hidden the gospel (the good news) under a blanket of guilt.
4. Would you say you are focused on “trying” or “training” (or neither) when it comes to your own spiritual growth? What does that look like for you at the moment?
5. As you read through the things we are to add to our faith, how do they strike you? Are they present in your own life? Are there ones that you struggle with?
IV. LIVING into these “great and precious PROMISES.” (v.3-4)
A. It all STARTS with the GIFT. (v.1,3; Titus 2:11-13)
B. We become RECEPTACLES for divine LIFE. (v.4; Jn 17:20-23)
C. Our effort is the CHOICE to SURRENDER. (v.5,10; Phil. 2:12-13; Eph 4:22-24)
D. Our FAILURES brings us back to the GIFT. (v.1,3; Eph 2:8-9)
So how do we live into this truth that Peter is sharing? How do we adopt these great and precious promises of God into our lives as more than just ideas, but as foundations on which we base everything else? It all starts with the gift.
6. Take a moment and write out the gift that you have received from God. Then add the implications that this gift has for your own feelings today.
7. How can we know if we are drawing from Divine Life or living on our own steam? How can we “practice” drawing from Divine Life on a regular basis?
8. What role does failure play in your own spiritual life? Can you see failure as a gift from God because it drives you back to Him?