Seize the Moment – Day 308

Jesus is Praying for you!

Hebrews 7

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, January 19.

 

Did you know that the most powerful intercessor in the world is praying perfectly for you, right now?

 

This is true for every believer in Christ Jesus. Listen to Hebrews 7:25-27,

 

Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

 

Jesus is holy, innocent, without sin, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

 

Jesus is the High Priest, above all other priests, and His priesthood will never come to an end.

 

Jesus is the mediator and guarantor of the covenant of grace. And He is praying for you right now!

 

Listen to Paul explain this powerful prayer ministry of Jesus in Romans 8:33-35a, “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ?”

 

Just like the truth of God’s forgiveness through the finished work of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary for your eternal life, Jesus’ promise for ongoing intercession at the throne of God’s grace for you day-to-day life is secure.

 

Seize the moment and join Jesus in His prayer life—partner in the life of Jesus by praying with Him! Never forget that Jesus is already praying for you!

 
If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

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Seize the Moment – Day 307

Hope for the Future!

Hebrews 6

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Monday, January 18. Today is a national holiday in honor of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist minister and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He is famously known for his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, when he said,

 

Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

 

Great leaders provide people with hope for a better future, especially in the midst of difficulties. Great leaders invite people to apply all diligence to bring about those preferred futures.

 

Hebrew 6:9-12, 19a teaches us to be diligent in the hope we have in Jesus Christ,

 

But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. … This hope we have as an anchor of the soul…

 

Anchor your life in the hope that only comes from Jesus Christ; He is your Victory! It is only through Him that you will find peace of mind and heart, and rest for your soul. He’s with you right now waiting for you to recognize His presence and call upon His name.

 

There are many leaders in our world who want your loyalty, but only Jesus delivers on every promise.

 

Seize the moment and be diligent to put all of your faith and hope in Jesus alone.

 
 
If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

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Live Like a Champion ( Week 3)

“Live Like a Champion: Victory Through the Promises of God!”

The Promise of Effectiveness and Fruitfulness!

2 Peter 1:5-9 (NAS95)

 

(Matthew Hurst introduces a new song he wrote for this sermon series.)

 

In the first two weeks of this series, we have learned how to live like a champion by learning how to live in the victory of the promises of God. Our guiding image for this series is being a member of an NFL team who wins the Superbowl. In order for this to happen, every player on the team has to play like a champion.

 

That means, each player must do the following four things:

(1) Know the team’s playbook;

(2) Train to be in great shape;

(3) Listen to the coach; and

(4) Work together with all the other players as one team.

 

In the same way, as we learn the precious and magnificent promises of God so that we may become partakers of the divine nature to the glory of God, we must also do those same four things:

 

(1) Know God’s playbook—the Bible—by learning the promises of God.

(2) Train ourselves for godliness by learning to live according to the promises of God.

(3) Learn how to listen to the Coach’s voice so that we play the right play at the right time.

(4) Work together as members of God’s family—His Church.

 

Never forget, the Superbowl celebration is in our future and we are invited to play like a championship team. As you have heard me teach every week of this series, both your salvation and glorification are already finished in Jesus; now live accordingly—the Victory is yours, now live victoriously—live like a champion!

 

Today, we are going to learn that both our effectiveness and fruitfulness require us to be diligent in the second step—train yourself in godliness! As Paul said to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV),
“train [discipline in NAS95] yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

 

This teaching is based on our ongoing study of Peter’s words from 2 Peter 1. Listen to 2 Peter 1:5-9,

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

 

The opening clause “Now for this very reason” is referencing the reality of 2 Peter 1:4,
“For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”

 

To be a “partaker of the divine nature” is to be in fellowship with God! It is to be in union with Jesus Christ through the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. This is God’s sovereign will for our lives as we learn from Romans 8:29-30,
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”

 

This is a triple blessing—past justification (DONE!), future glorification (DONE!), and our present godliness or progressive sanctification, which is the intent of this passage (APPLY All DILIGENCE…).

 

The opening clause continues, “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence…” We are invited to participate in God’s divine nature through our diligence! This is the truth of Philippians 2:12b-13,
“work out your salvation with fear and trembling; [Yes, we are to apply all diligence to our salvation, but listen to verse 13:] for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

 

To be very clear, our fellowship in God’s divine nature is a promise to take on God’s characteristics through our union with Jesus and fellowship with His Spirit. It is not a promise to become a god, rather, it’s a call to share in the eternal life of God (His immortality), as well as a partner with God in His mission on earth by taking on the character and life of Jesus (His morality).

 

Just as the author of Hebrews exhorts all believers in Hebrews 3:14,
“For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end.” This is the invitation!

 

We are to be diligent in living our eternal life today by partaking in His divine nature. We are called to manifest the new morality of Jesus, in increasing measure (progressively more!), as we remember our past justification and our future glorification. These are done, the Victory is ours in Christ, now live like it!

 

In the words of Jesus from John 15:1-17, we are to bear His fruit because we are branches connected to His vine; therefore, demonstrating to the world by manifesting good fruit in this life that we truly are sharing in His divine nature. You will know the partners of God by their fruit—God’s trees are effective and fruitful!

 

That is what Peter said in 2 Peter 1:8-9,
“For if these qualities are yours and are increasing [abounding], they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.”

 

Do you want to be effective and fruitful in living as a partner with God through Christ’s Victory?

 

Here’s a key—preach the gospel of Jesus to yourself every single day! Never forget that though you were once hell-bent, you are now heaven-bound! You were once dead in sin; you are now alive in Christ!

 

To apply this lesson to our everyday lives we are now going to focus the rest of our teaching time on 2 Peter 1:5b-7,
“applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.”

 

This diligence is our Christian discipleship and the heart of all discipleship is the work of the Holy Spirit to transform us through the renewing of our minds into Christlikeness, which is our sharing in His nature. Paul taught us this about spiritual formation in Romans 12:1-2,
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

 

According to God’s Word from 2 Peter 1:5-7, we are to be diligent in the process of spiritual formation:

 

1) Faith supplies moral excellence.

Faith is the preexisting condition! Morality is an outflow (a product or fruit) of God’s good gift of faith to you. Moralism, the enemy of Christ, is when you strive in the flesh!

 

Paul very clearly said in Romans 12:3,
“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” Galatians 3:3 teaches us the role of the Spirit and not the flesh!

 

2) Moral excellence increases knowledge.

Moral excellence is the other side of the coin of partaking of the divine nature, for as Christ welcomed us in the eternal life of the Father, He could only do that by first removing our sin, this is our escape of the corruption that is in the world by lust (2 Peter 1:4).

 

As Paul emphasized in Philippians 3:8,
“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.”

 

3) Knowing Christ Jesus leads to self-control.

Self-control is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). As Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7,
“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline [sound mind].”

 

4) Self-control grows perseverance.

There is nothing our bodies want more than a stress-free, pain-free, pleasurable experience. It is our faith, not sight, which deeply roots us in Christ through the storms of life. As James 1:12 explains,
“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

 

5) Perseverance is what trains us in godliness.

We must never bail before the blessing of Christlikeness because God uses all things in our lives to conform us into the image of Christ Jesus. This is the “called according to His purpose” of Romans 8:28-30 that allows us to persevere through suffering and hardship.

 

Paul explains in Romans 5:3-5,
“We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

 

6) Godliness manifests in brotherly kindness (philadelphia).

The truth of your fellowship with God is your fellowship with others. We are God’s greatest dumbbells in the weight room of training godliness.

 

John unapologetically taught us this in 1 John 3:14-18,
“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”

 

7) Brotherly kindness expresses God’s love (agape).

Agape is God’s love! It is the example of Jesus Christ, who is the fullness of God dwelling in flesh (Colossians 1:19)—the One from whom we learn what it truly looks like to have escaped the corruption of the world and have become partakers of the divine nature.

 

Jesus’ words are very clear in John 13:34-35,
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is your way to effectiveness and fruitfulness—Train! We are each chosen and called members of the same team. For us to be effective and fruitful, we each must be diligent in our training in godliness, so that as we, His team, hear the Coach’s voice we can run the right play at the right time, according to His playbook, as the many unique members of His one unified body (Romans 12:4-5).

 
 

You can listen to the message here:

 

You can watch to the message HERE.

 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 304

Discernment in Today’s Information Age!

Hebrews 5

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Friday, January 15.

 

There is more news and information available to people in today’s world than ever before. This requires of us to learn how to be discerning of what is good and evil.

 

The teaching in Hebrews 5:12-14 teaches us about this:

 

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

 

How do we grow in our ability to discern good and evil?

 

Developing and practicing discernment is a spiritual process led by the Holy Spirit, who uses the Word of God to cause you to become a person who knows the truth and who knows what is good.

 

This is an intentional process of study and application; it is the integration of our minds and hearts, doctrines and practices, private life and public life. Discernment is trained by constant practice.

 

Churches in the midst of this information age will not mature in faithfulness and grow in fruitfulness without each of us becoming discerning members of His body. We all are overwhelmed with dissident information and competing ideas and only those of us who choose obedience to Jesus Christ will ever become discerning of the things of God.

 

This is how we become wise! As Jesus taught us in Matthew 7:24, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

 

Seize the moment and build your house on the rock.
 
If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

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Seize the Moment – Day 303

Draw Near!

Hebrews 4

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Thursday, January 14.

 

How are you practically experiencing the promises of God in your daily life?

 

For example, in Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus promised that in His easy yoke all who are weary and heavy burdened will find rest.

 

God’s word teaches us how this happens in Hebrews 4:11-13,

 

Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest… For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

 

Here are three ways reading your Bible daily helps you enter into His rest:

 

  1. There is a great rest to be found in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ when we daily enter the rhythm of being still and knowing that He is God. It is wearisome trying to be god! He is God, we are not!

 

  1. There is a clarifying conviction that comes from reading His Word because God knows us and our needs and sets us free from our burdens.

 

  1. There is the Counselor’s comfort when we invite the Holy Spirit to know our thoughts and hearts and speak truth to us.

 

As Hebrews 4:16 commands us, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

 

Every day as you read and pray the Word of God, draw near to God and He promises to draw near to you (James 4:8).

 

Seize the moment and draw near today! Allow His Spirit to make you lie down in green pastures and lead you beside still waters (Psalm 23:2)—be diligent to enter His rest today.

 
 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

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Seize the Moment – Day 302

Hold Fast to the Promises of God!

Hebrews 3

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, January 13.

 

This morning’s Bible reading in Hebrews 3 is a great reminder of Sunday’s sermon about how God has given us the privilege of partaking in His nature according to the precious and magnificent promises of God (see January 10, 2021 sermon on 2 Peter 1:3-4).

Listen to Hebrews 3:12-14,

 

Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end.

 

The Bible commands us to live “today” with a present tense, active faith. We are called to watch our hearts and maintain our walks of faith—to hold fast! So, please, do not lose heart: Jesus will accomplish that which He promised; your deliverance is guaranteed and your salvation is secured; God is faithful to keep all of His promises and the grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient for you today!

 

Today is the day the Lord has made so let us rejoice and be glad in it! Sing that song to yourself every morning and it will change your outlook on your day, more and more as you make it a habit of your life. That is part of training yourself in godliness.

 

May the Holy Spirit remind you today of God’s promise from Hebrews 3:6: “but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.” This is a promise with a practice—HOLD FAST!

 

Seize the moment and never stop starting! Today is a great day to walk with Jesus! This is a key to victorious living—hold fast to the promises of God!

 
 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

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Seize the Moment – Day 301

“Medic!”

Hebrews 2

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, January 12.

 

You have seen in the movies that when a soldier is wounded in battle, one of his buddies cries out, “medic”. What does the medic do, often putting himself in great danger—he goes to the man down to give him aid.

 

Like a medic on the battlefield, Jesus left his place of safety to enter the battlefield of human life; He came from heaven to earth in order to provide aid to anyone who would call upon His name: Jesus!

 

Hebrews 2:17-18 is a triumphant declaration of why Jesus Christ came into the world:

 

Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

 

Are you facing temptation in your life and need help? Are you struggling with issues of forgiveness in your relationships? Are you facing a health crisis or financial difficulty?

 

Cry out to Jesus today and He will come to your aid!

The Gospel is the story of the greatest rescue effort ever made in the history of humanity. Jesus came on a mission—to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10)!

 

Do you see someone else on the battlefield who is in need of Jesus’ help and rescue?

 

You have been saved to be a part of the great rescue work of Jesus! You have been blessed to be a blessing! You have been empowered and equipped with the presence of God’s Spirit in you!

 

Seize the moment and be the hands and feet of Jesus today. Pray for and then practically help someone today!

 

Don’t know where to start, check out the weekly prayer guide or the prayer request emails that go out from our church. There are many invitations for you to be a part of God’s work.

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

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Seize the Moment – Day 300

Worship Jesus Above All Else!

Hebrews 1

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Monday, January 11.

 

Did you know that today is Daily Call #300? One day at a time!

 

As I read Hebrews 1, there is one message that is clear: Jesus Christ is to be worshipped above all things in all of creation.

 

Listen to Hebrews 1:1-4,

 

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

 

In this first chapter of Hebrews, the author quotes multiple Old Testament passages, including Psalm 104, to proclaim the awesomeness of God’s splendor and majesty that has been made known and visible to us through Jesus Christ.

 

The point is that Jesus is greater than all of creation, including the angels, which, throughout history up to today, people want to worship. Verse 14 teaches us that angels exist to “to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation.” The true purpose for all of creation, seen and unseen, is to bring glory to God so that we may know Him and enjoy Him forever.

 

Seize the moment and worship Jesus above all else; only He is worthy of your worship!   

 
 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

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Live Like a Champion (Week 2)

Series:  Live Like a Champion: Victory Through the Promises of God!

“The Promise of Becoming Partakers of the Divine Nature!”

2 Peter 1:3-4 (NAS95)

 

Last week, we learned that we are going to learn how to live like a champion by learning how to live in the victory of the promises of God. Our guiding image for this series is being a member of an NFL team who wins the Superbowl. In order for this to happen, every player on the team has to play like a champion.

 

That means, each player must do the following four things:

(1) Know the team’s playbook;

(2) Train to be in great shape;

(3) Listen to the coach; and

(4) Work together with all the other players as one team.

 

In the same way, as we learn the precious and magnificent promises of God so that we may become partakers of the divine nature to the glory of God, we must also do those same four things:

 

(1) Know God’s playbook—the Bible—by learning the promises of God.

(2) Train ourselves for godliness by learning to live according to the promises of God.

(3) Learn how to listen to the Coach’s voice so that we play the right play at the right time.

(4) Work together as members of God’s family—His Church.

 

Never forget, the championship celebration is in our future and we are invited to live like champions, as one team, today. Today, we are going to learn an overarching truth about the promises of God that will allow us to live like champions because we know that the Victory is already ours in Christ Jesus!

 

Listen to Peter’s words from our theme verses for this sermon series, 2 Peter 1:3-4,

 

Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

 

The promises of God are both a future-focused faith (hope) and a present practice of our faith (behavior). Partaking in God’s nature is both a promise of immortality (eternal life, salvation, saved, etc.), but also the life of a new morality (Christlikeness, godliness, righteousness, holiness, etc.).

 

Paul taught us this is the meaning of our baptism; the imagery of our being united in Christ’s death and resurrection.
Listen to Romans 6:4-5,
“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.”

 

Your submission to this ordinance is critical to your living a life of victory. By God’s grace, through faith, believers become partakers in the divine nature and now share in the resurrection of Jesus Christ; in other words, we live in the victory of this future hope and that allows us to persevere to the end and to live with hope in the face of the most difficult of situations. Because we are partaking of His victory and our baptism is a proclamation of our fellowship with God and our break of fellowship with the world and its corruption.

 

Paul taught in Ephesians 4:22-24,
“in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

 

In order to learn how to live like champions, I need to define two terms from our 2 Peter 1:3-4 passage:

 

(1) Promise, as used by Peter in the original language, is focused on the content of what God has promised; there are precious and magnificent promises we are to know! That is the point of this entire sermon series—to take time to examine the promises of God and then apply them to our lives, so that we can live like champions, which is why we need to understand the second word: “partake” and the larger concept.

 

(2) Partakers of the divine nature. The best way to accurately understand this is to realize that the Greek word for “partaker” shares the same Greek root word as koinonia which means, “fellowship”. Partaking in the divine nature is NOT to become a god, but, rather, to have fellowship with God. Furthermore, to be God’s partners in His divine power to bring about His precious and magnificent promises through Jesus.

 

We are called partners with God through Christ’s Victory, not because of anything we bring to the table, but because of what God has bestowed upon us. As Paul reminds us to clearly in his picture of this truth in 2 Corinthians 4:6-7,
“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.”

 

Through His divine power, His precious and magnificent promises that were “granted to us”, which, according to the original language means that our status with God has been lavished upon us or bestowed by royalty. And it’s grammar (perfect participle) implies that this granting which was done in the past is still effective in the present and will continue to be so in the future. The promises are based on a past reality (justification) that will find fulfillment in the future (glorification), and is efficacious today (sanctification).

 

John made this very clear in 1 John 3:1,

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed [lavished] on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

 

We have a fellowship with God that will never end; eternal life starts at conversion through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ, and your fellowship in the divine nature becomes more visible and effective as you grow in Christlikeness through the true knowledge of the Son of God and His precious and magnificent promises. This is God’s divine work in you; the zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this!

 

Paul said something very similar in Philippians 1:6, 9-11,

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. … And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

 

A commentator explained,

God has given saving promises to his people, so that they will become like God. They will become like God and are becoming like God because they have escaped “the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” Once again, some scholars argue that believers will escape the corruption of the world at death or when the Lord returns. It is more likely, however, that Peter operated with an already-but-not-yet schema. Believers have already escaped the world’s corruption in that they belong to God, but the full realization of such a liberation will be theirs on the day of resurrection.[1]

 

This is the ethical reality of partaking in the divine nature. This is the praxis of the promise! Every promise of God comes with choices of how we are to live: the commissions and omissions of God’s promises!

 

Paul was very clear in 1 Corinthians 10:20-21 that once we belong to Christ, we are to break fellowship with this world and that which has caused it’s corruption through lust:
“but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.”

 

We no longer are to have fellowship with the corruption of this world caused by lust. That is our holy omission within the Great Commission! The key to this reality is that every ‘no’ you say to your lusts is so that you can experience the better ‘yes’ of partaking in God’s blessings in your everyday life.

 

The promise that we will partake of the divine nature is not only some heavenly-minded teaching that we get to go to heaven one day (yes, praise God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ we have escaped the mortality of this perishable body (1 Corinthians 15)), but partaking of the divine nature is also the taking on the life of Jesus Christ—the sharing in the moral qualities of who Jesus Christ was and joining Him in His mission on earth, of why He came and to what He rescued us for.

 

When you share the nature of something or someone, you take on their qualities and character. You become the fruit of that which you are grafted to. You are a branch upon the Vine that bears His fruit (John 15).

 

Peter taught us that we have everything we need, through His divine power, for godliness and life. That’s a promise about the precious and magnificent promises that have been lavished upon you through the Victory of Jesus Christ—IT IS DONE—the promise of resurrection (John 19:30) and consummation (Rev. 21:6), both of which are guaranteed to us through Jesus’s Victory—these are His promises!

 

The promises of God equip us with everything we need to live in victory. They are a both-and, for this life and the next, for salvation and sanctification, for heaven and earth!

 

The promises of God gives us the hope to keep the faith; and the faith to love; and the love to be like Jesus.

 

Allow me a closing illustration of how this works, using a common phrase from Christianity.

 

What would you think if I were to say to you or one of your loved ones after I visited with you, “May you rest in peace”?  It would be heard as a harbinger of death and not appreciated by you or anyone in the family.  

 

Honestly though, if we understood the promises of God, we should pray this for one another every night and every Sabbath day and even, if we are willing to learn, as we work hard in your day-to-day lives.

 

The rest that God promises is not just for heaven, but also for this life! I could make a convincing argument that the greatest evangelist witness we could display right now is to be peaceful and restful, inside and out.

 

Listen to Matthew 11:28-30,
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

 

Every precious and magnificent promise of Jesus comes with a praxis—it’s His yoke! We experience peace by learning to live in the yoke of Jesus, and the yoke is an agricultural metaphor for coming into the Christian life of discipleship, the life of obedience and submission to God, under the power of the Spirit.

 

Let me connect that back to our theme verses. As one commentator explained about 2 Peter 1:3,
“By the divine power evident in Christ’s life, death and resurrection he has called men and women to be Christians, and when they come to knowledge of Christ in Christian conversion they also receive through that knowledge the grace of Christ which will enable them to live a life of obedience to God.”[2]

 

Furthermore, this is your partaking of the divine nature—your “fellowship with the Spirit” as Paul invited us to in Philippians 2:1-2,
“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” (cf. 2 Cor. 13:14).

 

In other words, outside of the yoke of Jesus there is no peace because outside of His yoke there is no relationship with God …so, rest in peace; have fellowship with God; partake of Him and in His nature, walk as He walked, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

To complete this little illustration, “Rest in Peace” is a promise with a praxis, yes for Heaven, but more so for today, just as Paul promised in Philippians 4:7 & 9,
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [&] “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

 

In conclusion, the promises of God teach us how to live faithfully on a day-to-day basis. This is the content of the promises of Jesus Christ—the same divine power that gives us hope of eternal life, once partaken of, henceforth, directs and empowers how we live today.

 

In fact, that is the exact intent of Peter who book ends his letter with this reality. Listen to 2 Peter 3:13-18, the last verse of Peter’s letter and our last scripture for today’s lesson:

But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You, therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

 

The promises of God are a both-and! They are your future-hope and your present-faith! God is inviting you to have fellowship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. All of His promises can be yours in Him.
 

Footnotes:

 

[1] Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 293–296.

[2] Richard J. Bauckham, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 50, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1983), 192–193.
 
 
 
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 297

Philemon as a Case Study of Romans 12:1-2

Philemon

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Friday, January 8.

 

Change is hard, but the whole Christian life is about change—we are to be transformed through the renewal of our minds. This is demonstrated radically in the one chapter book called Philemon. The purpose of Philemon is the redemption of a person’s life and the transformation of their story.  

 

When we are saved, everything begins to change—how we view the world and relate to ourselves and other people. In this letter, Paul had to use his friendship and apostolic authority to get Philemon to stop thinking and behaving according to the political and economic patterns of this world and be transformed by the renewal of his mind.

 

In many ways, Philemon is a case study of Romans 12:1-2.

 

Listen to Paul write to Philemon about Onesimus in verses 10-12, 15-16, “I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart . . . For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.”

 

For you to truly live up to the radical call of Paul’s letter to Philemon, regardless of whether you are young or old in the faith, you must invite the Holy Spirit to challenge you in what areas of modern life and thinking you need to be transformed by the renewing of the mind and start relating to people and the world around you like a child of God.

 

Seize the moment and remember who you are in Jesus: you are no longer a slave to fear, you are a child of God.

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

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