Sunday, January 14, 2018

2 Peter Study Series Lesson 1 Part 1

The next several entries (with possible exceptions) is from a Sunday School class I am teaching on 2nd Peter.
Lesson 1, Part 1 - 2 Peter 1:1-4
Supporting Scriptures
  • Galatians 6:4-5
  • Luke 14:26-33
  • Galatians 1:3-5
  • Ephesians 1:3-14
Background on Peter:
Introductory notes on this section:
  • We will be dividing this lesson series into basically 4 sections, as outlined by Pastor John MacArthur, though I will not be generally referring to his study notes. This week, and possibly next week's session will deal with "knowing your salvation."
  • Knowledge and its various forms show up somewhere around 14 times, depending on your translation.
Notes in context
  • [2Pe 1:1] Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
    • Peter refers to himself as Simeon Peter, Simeon being the Hebrew version of his name, Simon, the Greek. Peter is responsible for two epistles; he references the first epistle in 3:1. I find it interesting that he introduces himself differently in each letter. He addresses himself as Peter in 1 Peter, and as Simeon Peter in 2 Peter. Peter's authorship has been questioned in both epistles, with 2 Peter being the most questioned of even all the NT books. 1 Peter was questioned because, while Peter was known as an uneducated Jew (who knows what that means?), classical Greek was used in his letter. That simply means that Peter was not rabbinically trained. The other argument made for Peter's authorship was the fact that he writes "through Silvanus" (1 Peter 5:12). It was not uncommon to dictate to a scribe or secretary, which is likely what happened here.
    • 2 Peter is the most challenged book in the NT. In fact, the leading Reformers were even hesitant to accept it as an inspired letter. However, it is likely, though not certain, that he either used a different scribe/secretary or he wrote the letter himself. Also, the themes of the book differ. 1 Peter is written to suffering Christians, while 2 Peter is written to prevent the church from being lead astray by false teachers, which will be discussing throughout our lessons.
    • Peter states he is addressing "those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours..." What do some of your other translations say?
      • To those who have received a like-precious faith as ours
      • to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours
      • To those who have obtained a faith that is as valuable as ours
      • to those who have been granted a faith just as precious as ours.
      • To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours
    • The basic sense is that this faith is both ours, and it is yours. This follows the line of thinking in Galatians 6:4-5. [SOMEONE READ]. God has granted the Holy Spirit to all people groups. We are united with those who possess faith in Christ. At the same time that we bear one another's burdens here, we are also preparing to stand before God of our own accord, according to the the righteousness given to each individual believer. This can be seen as both a blessing and an exhortation. It is a huge responsibility to "weigh the cost of discipleship."
      • Luke 14:26-33 [SOMEONE READ]
    • "by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ."
      • The device used here is called the Granville Sharp Rule, which simply states that, since there is only one article used here, both God and Savior refer to Jesus Christ. Therefore, Jesus is both God and Savior.
  • [2Pe 1:2] May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
    • Knowledge is a repeated theme here. Faith is mentioned as something obtained (as a gift from our Heavenly Father). Yet, it is through knowledge shared with us that we come to this faith in Jesus.
  • [2Pe 1:3] His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
  • [2Pe 1:4] by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
    • Paul offers blessings or thanksgiving in almost all but one epistle. The particular passage I'm referring to is Galatians 1:3-5. [SOMEONE READ] The blessing goes solely to God. Because of the Galatians departure from the gospel disqualifies them from any thanksgiving or blessing as they perverted the gospel of Grace into a gospel of works "which," Paul states, "is no gospel at all.
    • Of the letters that do contain blessings, the favorite of these pericopes is from Ephesians 1:3-14. [SOMEONE READ]
    • Verse 3 is a continuation of the subject of verse 1 and 2 - Jesus. In other words, it is the divine power of Jesus that granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.
    • This is incredibly important, because God can be what anyone wants to mean in today's culture. That is why we must pay attention to the word "knowledge" and what it is connected to. This is over and above simple carnal experience. It is not visceral, but rational, reasonable. More on this in a moment.
    • Kirk Cameron, self-proclaimed atheist child TV star turned Christian evangelist, has noted that lots of people believe in God in Hollywood. But, God could be a special tree in your backyard, a wooden statue, or your belly. Once you mention that you are a follower of Jesus, "people want to step 10 feet back and point their finger at you." Dr. MacArthur adds, "...People applaud the idea of believing in God, as long as that god is not the God of the Bible. Because once you affirm the God of the Bible, then you get the God of the Bible. Then, you get the Law of the God of the Bible. You get the commands of the God of the Bible. You get the morality of the God of the Bible. You get the holiness of the God of the Bible, the justice and righteousness of the God of the Bible, and you get the punishment of the God of the Bible. So, you have to face your own sinfulness, you have to face the reality that you have violated the Law of God, that you're headed toward judgment in eternal hell, and in order to be saved from that you have to turn from your sin and embrace the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. The bottom line is men love their sin. Men love darkness because their deeds are evil. And, there are all kinds of gods who will not impinge on that...Not the God of the Bible."
    • So, because we are confronted by the God of the Bible, he is clear to reveal himself in specific terms. We first read that it is "His" divine power that grants. Who does "his" refer to?
    • Let's read more of Christ's divine power.
      • Matthew 28:18 [SOMEONE READ]. Jesus has the authority of God.
      • John 17:1-4 [SOMEONE READ]
    • Who is it that calls? It is the Father.
      • More on this later.
    • What does this knowledge of the Godhead access? (Here, I believe Peter refers to God the Father and God the Son. Christ's divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of the Father who called us to himself.
      • We are granted all things pertaining to life and godliness.
        • Romans 8:32. He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
          • This is the crescendo, emenating from verse 1 - "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of Life has set you free from the law of Sin and Death."
        • So, this list of "all things" in Romans 8 includes freedom from condemnation, being positionally in Christ and out of darkness, we are sons of God, we have future glory as we await the redemption of our bodies, the Spirit prays on our behalf, we were predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, justified and glorified (present and future tense).
      • We know who called us to his own glory and excellence.
        • 1 Corinthians 1:9 [SOMEONE READ]
        • 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14.
      • We are granted his precious and very great promises.
        • If you do a cross reference search (my favorite cross-reference device is the Treasury of Scripture knowledge), these promises are very specific to being made Children of Abraham, adopted as sons and daughters of God through Jesus, and given eternal life. Sorry, prosperity preachers. No dollar amount is listed here.
      • We may become partakers of the divine nature.
        • John 1:12-13
          • God grants us new life. Salvation belongs to our God.
        • 2 Corinthians 3:18.
          • And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,[fn] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
    • As we live coram deo, before the face of God, we can life assuredly that God is the one who calls, Christ is the one who saves, the Holy Spirit dwells within us, drawing us near to Him. If we are filled with his spirit, we will desire to draw to him. If we do not desire those things, let us fervently pray that God forgives us of our hard-heartedness and to grant us repentance that leads to life in Jesus.

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