(Lesson 2 from "If Ye Do These Things, Ye Shall Never Fall")

(This Sunday's lesson was presented with audio and video on PowerPoint.
You can download that presentation in various formats HERE.)

Peter’s final letter to the church contains one of the greatest promises in the Word of God, with the assurance that, “If ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”

2 Peter 1:5-7, 10b
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
10 ... give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

It is our “like precious faith” that gives us communion one with another.

2 Peter 1:1-2
1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

Our faith qualifies us as believers.

John 20:29
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Faith is fundamental to Christianity: God has purified our hearts by faith (Acts 15:9). We are sanctified by faith (Acts 26:18), justified by faith (Romans 3:28), and made righteous by faith (Romans 3:22). We STAND by faith (2 Corinthians 1:24), WALK by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7), and LIVE by faith (Hebrews 10:38). We are the children of God by faith (Galatians 3:26).

As Christians, we should be concerned that our life is pleasing to God.

1 Thessalonians 4:1
Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

You cannot please God without faith.

Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

This verse teaches the two components of faith in God: 1) Acknowledgment ("for he that cometh to God must believe that he is"); and Expectation ("that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.") When you can say YES to these two things, you know your faith is intact.

The Bible teaches us that God is not a liar, but this information does nothing for you until YOU believe it!

Numbers 23:19
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Too many Christians have TWO gods: Their SUNDAY God is almighty, loving and generous. Their MONDAY to SATURDAY god is negligent and indifferent. Make sure your SUNDAY God your ONLY God! (Our Nepalese brothers and sisters will have to adjust these days!)

Faith makes each Christian experience unique. God can only take you as far as your faith allows. In that way, God is limited by a man’s faith.

Psalm 78:41-42
41 Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
42 They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.

Jesus placed his disciples in situations that would test the limits of their faith:

Luke 8:22-25
22 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.
23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish...

How bad did the storm get before they decided to wake Jesus? Who did they elect to wake him up?

24b ...Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

The safest place on earth was on the boat with Jesus. But what about you? Does your God abandon ship when trouble comes?

For their next test, Jesus sent his disciples out by themselves.

Mark 6:46-51
46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.
48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

The disciples marveled when Jesus calmed the wind and sea. Imagine their astonishment when he walked on water!

49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.

The stakes were raised yet higher when Jesus invited Peter to join him on the water.

Matthew 14:28-32
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

As far as I know, no other mortal man has ever walked on water, and yet Jesus called it ‘little faith.’ Imagine how life would be if we never gave surrendered to doubt! 

32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

Jesus lifted his disciples to greater levels of faith as he set greater and greater – and yet achievable –  obstacles before them. How much faith will you exercise before you give in?

People want proof of God’s existence, but they don’t have the courage to prove the Lord!

Malachi 3:10-11
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

Like the muscles in your body, faith must be strained in order to grow.

1 Peter 1:7
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

You find out what kind of faith you have when things are NOT going well. Don’t settle for being a ‘fair-weather’ Christian.

Matthew 13:20-21
20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Jesus pointed out examples of ‘great faith’ and ‘little faith.’ He chastised the ‘little faith’ of those who did not believe God would take care of them.

Matthew 6:25-30
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Jesus marveled at the ‘great faith’ of the Roman officer:

Matthew 8:5-10
5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Is your faith in things seen or unseen?

2 Corinthians 4:18
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Where is your faith?

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Presented 18 November 2018 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana