II Peter 1
II Pet. 1: “…And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
What things are to be IN us?
• Faith: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1) Not a comfortable feeling, but the full assurance that God is THE God and has/will do all that He has said.
• Virtue (strength): A moral strength which will not bend to pressure, nor waver in its determination to accomplish that which is of God
• Knowledge: A full understanding and implementation of what God has said. Not a nodding acquaintance, but the firm assurance obtained through a regular and purposed study and application.
• Temperance: Self-control
• Patience: The courage and commitment to finish when the time is right.
• Godliness: Being in the image of God, as He has created us.
• Brotherly Kindness: Being genuinely concerned for the welfare of all, especially our brethren.
• Love: As we see from God, it is an affectionate; deeply abiding care for others. Not just an emotional attachment, but a performing feeling that seeks the best for all.
Luke 6:38 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. ..”.
Look at Luke 6:38 again.
Good measure: not short of the mark, or less than the agreed upon amount
Pressed down: effort to assure what appears is what actually is
Shaken Together: making every effort to assure completeness
Running over: not just the minimum to get by, but more than is expected
Simple examples: If you go to ice cream parlor and ask for 2 scoops of Rocky Road, there is a certain expectation of the amount you will receive. If the server uses a teaspoon for scoop, you will very likely be disappointed. If, however the server uses a large scoop and adds a bit on top, you will have received “good measure”. Farmers understand this concept even more clearly. There was a time when produce was sold by the bushel, or peck, or basket. A lot of air may be trapped in a bushel hamper, so honest farmers would heap us the basket, shake it well, press it down, and pile a little on top to be sure they delivered full measure. We all understand that! However, in spiritual matters, we sometimes feel 4 hours attending services is a good enough “full measure”.
What if Jesus had embraced such a concept? Suppose He had decided NOT to rebuke the wind and waves that night and allowed the boat to sink? Or if He had decided the beatings He took just prior to the crucifixion was enough and bypassed the cross?
What if Peter decided that his escape from the angry mob that had brought Jesus to His final trial was enough and never repented? Or when the magistrates instructed him to ‘speak no more in this man’s name’ had decided he had done enough?
What if Paul decided that two journeys were enough? Or that his initial teaching had been enough for Ephesus, Phillipi, and Thessalonica and not written them again, or sent his younger ministers to confirm them in Truth?
What if the saints which were “scattered abroad” had decided that they had suffered enough and just kept their “Christianity” to themselves?
I fear that we may sometimes sell ourselves short. I have been told many times, “I could never get up there and lead singing (teach a class, preach a sermon, write a lesson) like you do”. Maybe that is not YOUR talent. Consider reading the Bible to someone who is in pain or grieved greatly; providing food for someone who is ill; mowing the grass for an injured person; etc, etc, etc. Consider inviting someone to services, giving your boss or customer MORE than they expected. Allow others to see your good works, or openly praying when the situation warrants it? Encourage the preacher or the elders in their tremendous work? Can you ask a profane person to please not use such language in your presence? There are multitudes of good works you can do which do not occur in assemblies! “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear;” (I Pet.3:15. (Your answer should NOT be ‘I’ll get the preacher to answer that for you’. Paul would never get to play golf again; and likely would perform poorly as a husband and father!!) It is your faith, your opportunity, your ‘reason’. Let us not be ashamed of Christ, but proud to demonstrate how much He means to us. Of course, II Tim. 2:15 will become a part of your everyday life, but we all have 24 hour days! “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).
Oh what a glorious life we have as children of the King! Let us celebrate it by allowing others to see Jesus in our lives. He is the light of the world, and we are reflectors of that light. In Matt. 5 we are reminded to let our lights shine. Read through the Psalms and Job. How often do you read “blessed is the name of Jehovah” or words to that effect. Let us continually praise God from whom all blessing flow; who has blessed us beyond our own comprehension. We may miss a favored TV show, or a ball game, but look at the reward which Jesus has reserved in heaven for us.