Sunday School Material
5-12-13: Sure Hope

(II Peter 1:2-15, 20-21; 5/12/13)

Introduction:A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is believers are urged to live godly lives. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to live godly lives.

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II Peter 1:2-4

I. Hope’s Resources. Peter greets his readers in the Sunday School material. He talks about how God has given His people all that they need to live godly lives. Believers have promises of God to aid in participating in the divine nature. Believers have escaped the corruption caused by evil desires.

Applications -

- Living godly lives. Notice in vss. 3-4 of the Sunday School material that believers have all that we need to live godly lives. We have the promises of God to help us live as those with a divine nature, instead of living like those who are corrupted and fueled by evil desires.

First, we should be thankful that as believers we have been saved from the penalty of sin, by accepting Jesus as our savior by faith. We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us along our way.

We have church families, God sent Pastors, and others to help support us on our journey. We have God’s inspired and authoritative word - the Bible. We have all that we need to live godly lives.

Second, the promises of God include blessings for obedience and punishment for disobedience. We should be moved by the promises to live like those who have a nature or internal motivation to live for God.

This is as opposed to living like we have corrupted natures and are ruled by wicked desires. Let’s work on living godly lives with the inspiration of the promises of God.

II Peter 1:5-9

II. Hope’s Character. In our Sunday School material Peter talks about adding goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love to faith. 

Adding these things will keep believers from being ineffective and unproductive. Failure to add the above puts one in the category of being nearsighted and blind.

Applications -

- Seven virtues. Notice in vss. 5-7 that believers are to work on having the seven listed virtues - goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love.

First, the urging to work on them means that they don’t come naturally, but they can be obtained or we can do better, if we work at it.

Second, the commentary gives a nice elaboration of the virtues. Note that knowledge is important and is often acquired by studying. We can demonstrate goodness, godliness, mutual affection, and love by being involved in service - by responding to the needs of people with the gifts and abilities that God has given us.

Self-control, godliness, and perseverance are areas that will be nurtured and challenged, as we strive to be fellow church members, while navigating the other responsibilities in our lives. Let’s work on being long term studying, serving, and self-controlled disciples of Christ.

When we have the love mentioned above then greeting one another with grace and peace will be more than just nice words, but they will actually be our prayer request for one another.

 - Carrots and sticks. Notice in vss. 8-9 of our Sunday School material that by working on the virtues, we prevent being ineffective and unproductive.

However, failing to work on the virtues lead to the negative situation of being like a nearsighted or blind person, even though we have been forgiven for our past sins.

In other words, there are carrots and sticks related to working on the virtues. The carrot includes the blessings of being effective and fruitful for the Lord. Think about how the profitable servants were blessed to be ruler of many in passages like Matthew 25.

On the other hand, to be considered nearsighted (i.e., not seeing very far) or blind is more like a stick. This is a negative situation that is subject to God’s chastising whom He loves. Let’s work on developing the virtues, so we can experience the blessings, instead of the punishments.

II Peter 1:10-15

III. Hope’s Persistence. The readers are urged to confirm their calling and election. In so doing, they will prevent stumbling and receive a great welcome into the eternal kingdom.

Peter acknowledges that his readers are firmly established. But yet he feels it is good to make sure they are reminded of these things. Peter mentions that his body is like a temporary dwelling or tent.

Applications -

- Getting our affairs in order. Notice in vss. 12-15 of our Sunday School material that Peter wants to make sure that those he has ministered to have a clear understanding and conviction to live by sound doctrine. Peter’s concern seems to be influenced by his anticipation of dying soon. 

First, there are some basics that we should review so often that we never forget them. In our church, we spend a great deal of time making sure people understand basic principles related to the Bible, salvation, discipleship, and the church.

Second, there ought to be some things we want to have in place, before we die.  Since we don’t know when we are going to die, we should use each day wisely.

We would do well to make sure we have wills, living wills, insurances, gifts to churches, etc. in place, because time is moving on. Let’s work on making sure we have important things in place, before we die.

II Peter 1:20-21

IV. Hope’s Foundation. Peter tells the readers that the prophecy of scripture did not come from the will of people. It came from God through people. The writers were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Applications -

- The authority of scripture. Notice in vss. 20-21 of our Sunday School material that the scriptures/the Bible is not simply the produce of some religious people from long ago. We believe that God mysteriously worked through people to produce what we call the Bible.

This is a quite a faith statement, given how long ago the original text was written, given how many people were involved in the writing and over such a vast amount of time (i.e., over 1,500 years), given the Christians usage of Jewish text (i.e., the Old Testament), and given the translations over the last 2,000 years.

But yet we trust God to leave us enough direction in the Bible to get us from Earth to glory with a smile. Let’s prayerfully and confidently study and obey God’s word as the best thing that we have to know God and His will for our lives.

Conclusion: Let’s work on living godly lives. God has much for those who obey His will.

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