Thanksgiving of a faithful people
Scripture: II Peter 1:1-21
Aim: To help the pupil better understand the Christian faith, the application of the faith, and the basis upon which the Christian faith is founded. Thus resulting in thanksgiving to God.
Golden Text: “Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (I Peter 1:8).
A joyful people will be a thankful people. Those who are filled with the joy of the Lord because of their salvation from sin through faith in “our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1:1), are filled with thanksgiving for the grace, mercy and blessings (both spiritual and physical) they have received from the Lord.
If ever a nation of people ought to be filled with thanksgiving to Jehovah God, it is the people of the United States of America. It would do us all good to remember the first Pilgrims who came to establish a new nation. They celebrated the blessings of God upon them by having a congregation devoted to thanksgiving for good provisions and divine watch and care over them.
They recognized a truth that many do not know, or have forgotten: That all the good blessings to individuals and nations come from the hand of Jehovah God, our Creator and Benefactor. Let us give thanks unto God at this season!
I. The blessings of faith in our God and Savior Jesus Christ (II Peter 1:1-4). First, the Christian has “obtained” precious faith through and in Jesus Christ (vs. 1). It came from Him as a gift (Ephesians 2:8), and it is a trust, a reliance upon Him. Second, this faith stands in the righteousness of God Himself (vs. 1). That is, He has given to the believer His own righteousness in order that he may be acceptable to God (Romans 4:22-5:3).
Third, when a person receives (believes on) Jesus Christ as personal Savior from sin he comes to know Jesus Christ in a personal way. Knowing “Our God and Savior Jesus Christ” is to have His salvation (vs. 2). “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Fourth, the believer receives the grace of God, which means God gives the believer what he does not deserve—eternal life (vs. 3-4). Fifth, this results in “peace.” Peace with God—the war against Him is over. Peace of God—there is peace within.
Sixth, the believer receives godliness (from Christ) and will receive glory from Him in the future (vs. 3). Seventh, the believer receives “virtue,” that is the courage and fortitude to live the Christian life (vs. 3). Eighth, the believer receives the precious promises of God, which results in the reception of all God has promised to believers. The grand results is that the believer becomes a “partaker of the divine nature of Jesus Christ” (vs. 4)! He is no longer under the corruption of sin (vs. 4). The believer now has the Holy Spirit to help him overcome the “corruption that is in the world because of lustful desires” (vs. 4). What a list for which to be thankful!
II. The believer is instructed to exercise himself in Christian faith by adding “virtue”—courage to practice Christian living, “knowledge”—the knowledge of the Word in order to know how to live the Christian life, “temperance”—self control (not letting emotions rule the mind), “patience”—bearing trials and difficulties in fear of God, “godliness”—genuine piety of worshipping, adoring and magnifying Christ in the heart, “brotherly kindness”—strong attachment and concern for other believers, and “charity”—love for all men (II Peter 1:5-9). This is fruitfulness in Christ (vs. 8-9)
II. Peter assures the believer that all this “salvation by faith in Christ” is based upon a solid foundation (II Peter 1:10-21). Peter wants them to remember after he is dead (vs. 12-15). The Christian Faith—Salvation is Jesus Christ is affirmed by Christ himself (vs. 18) and by the Old Testament prophecies concerning Christ and Salvation (vs. 19-21). Thanks be unto God!