“IMMURED IN THE CHARNAL HOUSE” (“partake” series #9 – series final message)

(PARTAKE SERIES #9 – series ending message)
FBC Earlville 6-30-13 10:30 AM Rev. J.B. Stopford, Pastor

Six Florida retirees are playing poker in the condo clubhouse when Walter loses $500 on a single hand, clutches his chest and drops dead at the table.
Showing respect for their fallen comrade, the other five continue playing, but standing up.
At the end of the game, Ted looks around and asks, “So, who’s gonna tell his wife?”
They cut the cards. Fred picks the low card and has to carry the news.
They tell him to be discreet, be gentle, don’t make a bad situation any worse.
“Discreet? I’m the most discreet person you’ll ever meet. Discretion is my middle name. Leave it to me.”
Fred goes over to Walter’s condo and knocks on the door.
The wife answers through the door and asks what he wants?
Fred declares: “Your husband just lost $500 in a poker game and is afraid to come home.”
“Tell him to drop dead!” yells the wife.
“I’ll go tell him.” says Fred.

Illus.: Today we complete our series on the word “partake”. We are in 2 Peter 1. The English does not do this text justice. By way of introduction, Peter has what I call “running of the mouth” disease. For example, in the Greek, just about the whole of 1 Peter 1 is one sentence! And today, our text is all one sentence – Peter is SO excited to talk about our Lord and His work in lives. Let’s enjoy his excitement today! PRAYER

You can’t read v. 4 without vs. 1-3. Vs. 1-3 give us the reason why Peter is excited about the truth of verse 4!
The servant (v. 1a)
Note which came first (before apostle). You would think that Peter would be thrilled to let everyone know, “Hey – I’m an APOSTLE of the Lord! Look at me, I’m a BIG SHOT among the disciples.” But no – he let’s us know his humbling to be God’s servant, a bondslave, a lowest of the low in the privileged rank of being able to serve the King of kings.
And so should we. Paul exhorts us: Surrender to be a slave of Christ (Rom. 6:6-13)
The society (v. 1 b) – sharing of the precious gift
* “To these” – Peter is reminding us that we who love the Lord Jesus are members of both the universal & the local church. We are not isolated – we are an important part in God’s plan!
* Paul’s illustration: Check out Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 12:15ff. Just as every part of the human body is important (where would we be without our Big Toe?), even so each one of us has an important function in God’s Body, the Church. This is true in the local church as well. Did you know that? Do you know that YOU are important in the local church body, too?
The growth (v. 2)
Where does the knowledge come from? The Scriptures! And God wants us to GROW in them!
See Luke 2:52 (“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”)
And see 2 Pet. 3:18 (“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”)
The treasury (ALL WE NEED!) (v. 3a)
REPEAT: “everything we need”! Do we really believe God has given us everything we need to know Him and to walk with Him? Why, then, do we feel like we’re in poverty, or worse, crave things that do not satisfy. A good Biblical study would be the phrase, “all things”. We have all!
Check out Phil. 4:19: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” And check out the context of this promise – it is for the local church that believes that it can do all things through the One Who strengthens her!
e. The trust (SOURCE OF ALL WE NEED: HIS GLORY & GOODNESS!) (v. 3b) Goodness could better be understood as His “excellence”.
* “Glory & goodness/excellence” – what God does in us is NOT a shabby work!
* Contemplate that all that God does is a Master Plan. It not only led up to the cross, but it leads up to eternity – all centered on HIM! And we and the church are the center of today’s part of that plan!
* So His “glory and goodness” remind us how important we are in that plan!

From the trust v. 4a “By which” leads back to verse 3b, His “glory and goodness”. What is about to follow comes from that trust, that reserve that God has!
To the heart, v. 4b
* He has GIVEN us: John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son”); Rom. 6:23 (“the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. God specializes in giving, doesn’t He?
Union with the divine nature, v. 4c
Look at the exciting “partake”s we have studied in the past 8 weeks: Grace; our parents’ nature; afflictions; humanity (what our Savior did!); of Christ; His holiness; His future glory!
Imagine looking down from the summit of Mt. Everest. That is where we are today!
Today is the culmination of where we’ve been! Being a partner of God’s nature is the fruit of His entire work in us, and His church, and the world since the beginning of time!
The Expanded Bible translates this well: “God’s nature which enables us to live forever”

Our text ends with these words of excruciating warning: “Having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Illus.: Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a British preacher – often called “the Prince of Preachers” – who lived from 1832-1894. He lived in a day when they didn’t have TV or the internet. Radio wasn’t what it is today. So what did they do? They READ. Listen to his words of old which resound to our text today: “Vanish for ever all thought of indulging the flesh if you would live in the power of your risen Lord. It were ill that a man who is alive in Christ should dwell in the corruption of sin. “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” said the angel to Magdalene. Should the living dwell in the sepulchre? Should divine life be immured in the charnel house of fleshly lust?”
* I had to google to find out what he was saying! “Immured” means “to enclose or confine against the will, as if within walls; imprison”. And “charnel house”? It was “a building or vault in which corpses or bones are piled; a place associated with violent death”.
* Spurgeon was commenting that it is possible for the church to corrupt the wonderful gift of participating in God’s nature. How? By its own lusts!
Would we waste God’s investment by being a corrupt church?
It begins with each of us as individuals to say NO to the world and say YES to God’s nature working in us!
* As we close this series, may our prayer be: “Lord, we want to be like you, not like the pattern of the world.” CLOSE IN PRAYER

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