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:

(This should be available by late Sunday.)
 

You can watch to the message HERE.

 
 

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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.
 
 
 
 
 

You can listen to the message here:

 

You can watch to the message HERE.

 
 

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Live Like a Champion (Week 1)

Victory Through the Promises of God!”

“The Promise of Precious and Magnificent Promises!”

2 Peter 1:1-4 (NAS95)

 

 

 

Communion Devotion:

 
At the end of 1939, Dietrich Bonhoeffer explained a critical truth in his “Christus Victor” address:

 

In our lives we don’t speak readily of victory. It is too big a word for us. We have suffered too many defeats in our lives; victory has been thwarted again and again by too many weak hours, too many gross sins. But isn’t it true that the spirit within us yearns for this word, for the final victory over the sin and anxious fear of death in our lives? And now God’s word also says nothing to us about our victory; it doesn’t promise us that we will be victorious over sin and death from now own; rather, it says with all its might that someone has won this victory, and that this person, if we have him as Lord, will also win the victory over us. It is not we who are victorious, but Jesus.[1]

 

The key to all of the promises of God are found in these words, “if we have him as Lord, [He] will also win the victory over us.” The Bible teaches us that the victory we have and the victory we live is a vicarious one. That means, it is a victory that is not of our own making or doing, but a victory that has been given to us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is something we get to “partake” in or share.

 

All that we have is by God’s grace and that is what we remember and rely upon in our daily lives and that is why we regularly come to the Table of the Lord’s Supper: to remember the victory of Jesus Christ and to learn that we have nothing apart from Him and that in our daily lives we must “partake” of His victory.

This is the essence of our salvation and this is the purpose of communion: to remember God’s grace and to be reminded to live every day of our lives in God’s grace—as completely dependent on His gifts!

 

Let us now partake of the elements—the Bread of Life and the Cup of the New Covenant: Paul teaches us how we should participate at the Lord’s Table in 1 Corinthians 11:23-28:

 

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. [Pause to pray.]

 

We are invited now to take in Christ, His Victory over sin and death, so that we, too, can walk in victory through the strength that can only come through God’s grace. It is God’s grace that qualifies us to partake and it is God’s grace that strengthens us through our partaking. It is all gift, all grace, all Christ, whose body was broken and whose blood was poured out, so that we can receive forgiveness of sins and redemption of life into the divine nature of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You are invited to partake. Partake and Pray.
 
 
This week’s message:
 

“The Promise of Precious and Magnificent Promises!”

2 Peter 1:1-4 (NAS95)

 
[Play Sermon Bumper Video]
 
As you saw in the video, our theme verse for the 2021 sermon series is 2 Peter 1:4. Listen to God’s Word from 2 Peter 1:1-4:

 

Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 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.

 

Today’s message is going to provide a big picture for this sermon series and the four BIG IDEAS of how God is inviting us to live the Victory that Jesus Christ has given to us. We are invited to live like champions because our victory is through the promises of God.

 

Never forget what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1:20-22,
“For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.”

 

You hear this truth from Paul at the very beginning of Peter’s second letter: your faith is a received faith, not a created one. You have received a faith as the same kind as Paul’s.

 

How? By the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Grace and peace are multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord because He has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through His divine power.

 

Are you hearing this? Peter made it very clear from the very beginning: God has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises—they are all of grace!

 

And why has God given us His grace through His Son Jesus Christ? Peter continues: so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption (death) that is in the world by lust.

 

God has given you Victory through His precious and magnificent promises and that victory is your fellowship in the Trinity—you are alive in Christ, no longer cut off or dead in sin! You have been delivered and rescued and now, God is calling you to live through His divine nature—to live in the victory of Jesus Christ—the victory that is found in every promise of God that has been lavishly poured out upon you through you adoption as sons, the children of God with right of inheritance.

 

Listen to Paul explain this miracle of grace from Galatians 4:4-7, a scripture we looked at thoroughly in our Christmas messages over the last month,

 

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

 

You are an heir to all the promises of God! You will be His people and He will be your God!

 

As Paul proclaims of our rich inheritance in Ephesians 2:4-10,

 

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

 

You already have been fitted for your super bowl ring, now you just need to trust that the victory is your’s and live like a champion and wait for the day when the ring is put on your finger.

 

We are now going how to do this through the framework of being a part of a Superbowl winning team. For a NFL team to win the Superbowl, every player has to play like a champion.

 

Each player must do the following:

(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) We are God’s team and we need to know God’s playbook to run the right plays at the right time. God has given us everything we need to do His will for His glory.

 

Paul exhorts his disciple Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16-17,
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man [athlete] of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

 

Do you know the promises of God? They are found in the Bible and they are your victory in Jesus Christ. We will be learning them throughout 2021, but each of us must commit to hiding them in our hearts.

 

Psalm 119:11 states,
“Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.”

 

(2) We are God’s players and we need to exercise our faith and work together to win the victory! We are called to train ourselves for godliness and to be ready at any time to run God’s play!

 

Paul teaches us in 1 Timothy 4:7b-10,
“Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”

 

Are you in spiritual training? I remind you that grace is not opposed to effort, only to earning.

 

I can testify to you that physical training does have a season of glory, whether that season ends in high school, college, in the NFL, but there is a day where even the most celebrated athlete’s career must come to an end.

 

The good news is that when we train ourselves in godliness, the fullness of the victory is always yet to come! 

The glory days are never behind us, but always before us! When we train ourselves according to the Word of God, the living God sets before us a future that has the truest and highest honor of being welcomed into the Victor’s Circle of Heaven. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27,

 

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

 

That leads us to the third big idea of how we are to live like champions…

 

(3) We are God’s players and we need to learn the Coach’s voice so we can play the right play at the right time! We are God’s players and when the Coach calls us into the game, we must be ready to obey even if we don’t understand exactly how God is going to use us!

 

Listen to how Jesus explains the importance of knowing the Coach’s voice in John 10:3-5, 10b,

 

“But he who enters by the door is a shepherd [coach] of the sheep [players]. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep [players] hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep [players] by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep [players] follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers. … I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

 

Do you know the Coach’s voice and trust Him so well that you respond without hesitation?

 

Jesus promises that His Victory is the “abundant” or fullness of life that can only come through your fellowship in His Trinity—the Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Now, let’s be clear, that the victory I am calling us to live and the championship I am calling us to win is not always health and wealth, worldly success and prosperity! That is not the gospel I preach or we have been given by Jesus.

 

The abundant life that God promises through Jesus Christ is the fullness of His Presence—your partaking of His divine nature. Because it is only then that we can have the fullness of joy, the sufficiency of grace, the perfection of love, or the rest that comes through His peace guarding your heart and mind.

 

That leads us to the final big point that will thread throughout this sermon series on the promises of God…

 

(4) We are God’s team and the victory is God’s! The championship celebration is in our future; we are invited to live like champions, as one team, today, knowing the Victory is already ours in Christ Jesus!

 

Paul explains to us in Romans 8:37-39,
“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Do you trust and live like God’s victory is secure for you, as a member of His body—His Church?

 

I invite you on a journey in 2021 that no matter what may come in the circumstances of our lives, God is inviting us to live like champions by partaking of His divine nature. Jesus is our victory and He has given us the precious and magnificent promises of God so that we may learn to live with Him—in His victory!
 

Footnotes:

 

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, ed. Jana Riess, trans. O. C. Dean Jr., First edition. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 75.

 
 
 

You can listen to the message here:

Communion (at beginning)  Message (10:27)
 

You can watch to the message HERE.

Communion (at beginning)  Message (10:27)
 

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