+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Opening: (A Collect for Sabbath Rest – Saturday)
Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and set aside a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared to meet you in worship, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Reading from the Book of 2 Peter 1:1-11 (NLT)
Greetings from Peter
This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ.
I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.
May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
Growing in Faith
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Make every effort to respond to God’s promises.
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.
– 2 Peter 1:3 –
Peter’s Second Letter has the marks of a “spiritual” last will and testament. His purpose was to encourage believers to grow in faith, even as the world around them became more unbelieving (apostate). His counsel speaks to our need today – to grow in godliness as strangers and aliens living in an unbelieving world.
Peter reminds us that God has given us all we need to live godly lives, specifically his Word and his Spirit. God’s Word is filled with God’s promises and God’s Spirit reminds us of these promises and applies them to our lives when we need them most. There is power in the promises of God because they are backed by the power of God himself.
+ God’s promises are mediated through God’s Son, Jesus Christ – the more we know of him and grow in him, the more these promises are realized in our lives.
+ God’s nature becomes infused in our lives the more we know of Christ and the more we become united with him through faith.
Peter views “godliness” as a choice – actually, a series of choices – to love what God loves, or to love what the world loves. Here are the godly choices Peter sets before us –
“Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence,
and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control,
and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,
and godliness with brotherly affection,
and brotherly affection with love for everyone.”
– 2 Peter 1:5-7 –
Christlikeness is the goal of growing in godliness. Peter says we have everything we need to do just that.
Questions for consideration:
- Do you think of yourself as a godly person? Please explain.
- God’s Word and Spirit are the powerful means given us to grow in godliness. What role do they play in shaping your life?
- When you review the choices Peter sets before us, where do you need to grow? What would have to change to make that possible? Please explain.
- As a Christian, what do you want your children to know about your faith? What have you learned about living a godly life? What example have you set for them? Please explain.
Prayer for Grace to Seek God in Every Way: (Benedict of Nursia)
Gracious and holy Father, please give me intellect to understand you, reason to discern you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, a spirit to know you, a heart to meditate upon you, ears to hear you, eyes to see you, a tongue to proclaim you, a way of life pleasing to you, patience to wait for you, and perseverance to look for you. Grant me a perfect end, your holy presence, a blessed resurrection, and life everlasting. Amen.
“Standing on the Promises” – Christian Gospel Choir
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen