“Ensuring a Grand Entrance Into the Kingdom”
2 Peter 1:1-2
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of 2 Peter 1.1-2
I’d like to begin a new series in the book of 2 Peter 1. So if you would turn there in your Bibles please to 2 Peter 1.
Somebody said, “there’s nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself.” Past failures can make you search your soul.
And Dr. Seuss, the well-loved children’s book writer and illustrator, knew something of failure. Before his work was published, he submitted his work to 27 different publishers and then finally his big break came.
Another example of failure is Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before successfully inventing a commercial-worthy lightbulb. He said of his failures, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”
Not everyone has that perspective, though. It’s very easy to look back on your life and your failures and think that you’ll never have a grand entrance into the kingdom of God when you die or when Jesus comes back. But God can turn our spiritual failures into stepping stones of success.
Now, this letter was written by Peter, whose failures are well known to us. We’ll discuss a little of Peter’s failures this morning, but let’s read 2 Peter 1:1-12.
2 Peter 1:1–12 1 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: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 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. 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. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 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. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. 12 Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.
The theme of this series is: “How to ensure a grand entrance into the kingdom.” If you want to know how to have a rich, abundant, and grand entrance into the eternal kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ after your earthly life is done, this series is for you.
And the apostle Peter, of all the apostles, with all of his failures, is the one who teaches us how to have that abundant entrance into the kingdom.
You can kind of picture Peter as someone did, as a “broad-shouldered, loud, extroverted, assertive man who is always sweating. . . . He was a headstrong, unbridled hulk who was always getting into trouble and causing his Master plenty of the same.” A real human being with failures!
And he’s writing this letter from Rome … in prison. [at least he did something right!]
And perhaps he is reflecting upon his failures and he remembers that he denied the Lord Jesus. And he remembers Paul rebuking him for his wrong associations with the Judiazers.
But nevertheless, because he’s grown spiritually, he now writes toward the end of his ministry about how we too, who follow Christ, can ensure that we have a grand entrance into the kingdom, just like he did! “Ensuring an Abundant Entrance.”
But we ask, how? How can I ensure that I have an abundant entrance into Christ’s kingdom? Well, you can see the point is from the 11th verse.
2 Peter 1:11 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
And we have to ask the question, “in what way?” Peter says in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you … In what way will it be abundantly supplied to me?
Well it has to do with the previous verse.
2 Peter 1:10 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
So we have to ask ourselves again, “practice what things?” As he says for as long as you practice these things you will never stumble… For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom will be abundantly supplied to you.
So what things do I need to practice so that I don’t stumble and so I have a grand entrance into the kingdom? Verse nine, he’s talking about these qualities… What qualities? Verse eight he’s also talking about these qualities… For if these qualities are yours and are increasing they render you neither useless nor unfruitful….
What qualities? Ahh…, Verses 5-7. I need to supply to my faith: moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godlines, brotherly kindness, love.
These are the qualities that I need to add to my faith. For if you have these qualities and they are increasing in your life, you will be useful and fruitful in the master’s hand and ensure yourself of an abundant entrance into the kingdom.
Now, we all want to have purpose and meaning and live a rich and fruitful life. We all want to be somebody!
ILL: When Ruth and I got married, we had a “conquer the world” theme in our relationship. We wanted to conquer each others’ world, we wanted to conquer the world for Christ sort of speak … We all have that drive for purpose, meaning, fruitfulness, and we want God to believe that our lives have that huge purpose, that my life matters to Him.
And it does! From God’s word, we know it’s true! And He wants you to succeed also!
So what is it going to take to truly be successful, purposeful, and to live a life full of meaning in the eyes of God, and then to have a rich entrance into Christ’s kingdom?
Is it going to take being successful at my occupation… A student, business, farm, mother, father or whatever? Am I going to live a purposeful life and ministry at church if we have the bigger crowds here?
Am I going to be successful in the eyes of God if I master this person’s 10 tips for purposeful living?
Let’s get a little closer to the right answer … Can I ensure a rich entrance into Jesus eternal kingdom if I pray every day for two hours or read 15 chapters of the Bible every day? Will I ensure myself of this grand entrance into the kingdom if I would only have more or better spiritual gifts?
No! If you want to guarantee an abundant entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ it’s not a matter of outward successful ministry, it’s not how many people you lead to Christ, it’s not being successful in your work or occupation, it’s a matter of … first, trusting in Christ if you haven’t done so already, and it’s a matter of practicing these qualities in verses 5-7.
Practicing them and increasing in them will guarantee that I will be useful and fruitful in the hand of the master and that one day when I put off this veil of clay, I will have a gloriously abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
TRANS: But we are going to need help with this, of course! That’s why we have the first two verses of this text which in many ways is a typical greeting but in other ways it is unique.
And the point of these first two verses is to prepare us for the meat. It’s kind of the appetizer to being able to practice those qualities.
And the big point in vv.1-2 is this: we need multiplied grace and peace. We need multiplied grace and peace.
That will come by growing in our knowledge of God. And to grow in our knowledge of God is going to take the Scriptures.
So we need grace and peace. We need grace to practice these qualities. And that grace is going to come through knowledge of God. And knowledge of God for the Christian is going to take getting into the Scriptures.
NEED: So do you long for an abundant entrance into the eternal kingdom? Is this your heart? And is your purpose one of entering into eternity with a glorious entrance and the rejoicing of your Savior and having your Savior say to you,
…’Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
The joy of your Master why? Because your Master is joyful! And his joy gives joy… And he is abundantly pleased about how you served him with what little you may have. Is that your longing?
TRANS: So let’s pretend for a moment that we were among the first recipients of this letter and we just got a letter in the mail… And look, it’s from the apostle Peter!
2 Peter 1:1 1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ
EXP: Simon Peter.
Simon is his birth name and Peter, which means ‘rock’…is the name Jesus gave him. It’s as if he recognizes that his life changed when he met Jesus Christ. Indeed it did. He would never be the same…
But yet he carries about with him still a little bit of Simon, a little bit of the before Christ heart, a little bit of the flesh still remains. A little bit more than we like to think, as we all know.
And a little bit more about Peter… He had his failures and his successes. Imagine having the denial of Jesus Christ on your spiritual resume. And not only that, having it for all to read about for the rest of life of this earth!
Peter is sitting outside in the courtyard and a servant girl comes to him and says to him, “you too were with Jesus” …. And he denies it, “I do not know what you are talking about. And then another servant girl comes and says about Peter, “this man was with Jesus.” And again a second time Peter denies it and says, “I do not know the man.” And bystander a third time says directly to Peter surely you two are one of them.” And Peter not only denies it but begins to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!”
He failed. Miserably. He went out and wept bitterly. Imagine how distressed Peter must’ve felt. The heartache, the bitterness, the great sense of regret over his sin.
But of course, none of this happened outside of the Lord’s knowledge. The Lord Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him. And the Lord can say very earnestly, pointedly and with heartache in his own soul… as He predicted that Peter would deny him just some hours earlier…
Luke 22:31–32 31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Strengthen your brothers! What? Peter? The one who denied the Lord Jesus? He could strengthen his brothers in Christ?
Yes! Why? Because he himself was restored, forgiven and strengthened. For anyone who trusts in Christ, there is no sin that cannot be forgiven! And when he’s repented and forgiven by the Lord Jesus Christ, his ministry continues.
Peter, as he writes this letter, he can think about his past failures and can see how the Lord has done a good work in him and it has not been himself and he can say he is a bondservant and an apostle of Jesus Christ.
Simon Peter is the man with two names and two titles. He is a bondservant, one who is a willing servant, is willingly slaving for Christ. He is possessed by him and is at Christ’s disposal and displaying unquestioning obedience.
But Peter is also called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has directly sent Peter. So he is a called leader. Peter is a willing slave and a called leader.
And it is this one the one who has denied Jesus and has received forgiveness who now strengthens his brethren in this letter.
APP: And so as we look at Peter’s failures but we can also see Peter’s successes as we read the Book of Acts and we see how he was a great leader for Christ and how Jesus Christ worked many miracles through Peter and how Peter led the early church and so we can think of ourselves now “hey, there’s hope for me too!” My spiritual dreams can all come true!
ILL: And we all dream! And we’re meant to. It’s easy to think our failures get in the way of those dreams. But it’s not true.
It’s as if there’s a kind of superhero waiting to come out in all of us. You know those superhero stories. Superhero, full strength and power… But what makes for the greatest stories isn’t when the superhero never falls but that he falls and he gets back up. Every Superman has his kryptonite. And you watch it on the edge of your seat as the superhero gets hurt and he’s down and we think “Will he ever get back up and defeat his enemy?” And of course he does! And wins the day!
And that was Peter’s experience he fell but he had been restored and forgiven and he gets back up and he serves Christ with the strength that he receives!
And that’s us as well!
That can be us… If we follow what the Lord has for us in this passage. We need God’s grace to be the man or the woman of God that he’s called us to be and that’s going to come through growing in our knowledge of God from the Scriptures.
TRANS: And so Peter is not writing to some super saints, but to the average joe Christian. Look at what he says in verse 1 …
2 Peter 1:1 1 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:
He is writing to a typical Christian. He says he’s writing to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours.
All saving faith is received from God. Just like Ephesians 2:8-9 says that by grace you’ve been saved through faith and that is not of yourself. Grace, saving, and the faith are all not of yourself, they are the gift of God.
ILL: So Peter says that he’s writing to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours. It’s the same kind. It has the same value. I enjoy looking at the markets and studying financial charts. The strongest currency in the world is the Kuwaiti Dinar [duh-nar]. One Dinar equals C$4.40. So for something that costs one Dinar, you have to shell out $4.40 Canadian.
You don’t have to do that with faith! Peter’s faith is not more valuable than yours. “It is a faith of the same kind as ours.”
You and the Christian down the pew and the apostle Peter all have the same kind of faith with the same value.
And when the Lord gives the gift of faith, it is exercised and expressed towards Christ. Faith goes to Christ, flees to the cross, and even though he has no money, he buys wine and milk without money and without cost.
Faith flees to the throne of grace in heaven and with no currency, but yet he buys the heavenly gold and the eternal treasures… Faith runs to Christ and buys from him the refined gold and the white garments with which he clothes himself for all eternity (Rev. 3:18). This is the wonder of faith received!
It is righteous of God to give this faith.
And this is righteous of God to do this for you. God is righteous to give you the same saving faith that he gave to Peter.
2 Peter 1:1 1 [Peter is writing …] To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:
Our God and Savior Jesus Christ… Clearly a reference to Jesus being God… It is righteous of Jesus Christ to give you the same saving faith as the apostle Peter, as the apostle Paul, or as any of the saints of old.
So we have no excuses! “Well I’m not gifted” or “I don’t have this or that” or “I am too sinful in my background” …. No! You trusted Christ by his grace …. You have the same faith that they have and God is righteous to do this for you.
And he is righteous because Jesus Christ has died to pay for all of your sin and he doesn’t play favorites!
APP: We have the same faith, we have the same grace, we have the same peace, and all of it is from God. And God does not play favorites. The apostles are no more likely to have an abundant entrance than I am!
We can grow, we can change, we can have an abundance entrance also, just like Peter! That’s so exciting to me!
This gives me purpose, this gives me meaning, this gives me a sense that by His grace working in me, I matter to Him and I have purpose in His kingdom!
Let’s practice those qualities and let’s grow!
TRANS: So we get to the heart of the matter here…
Greeting: Multiplied grace and peace through knowledge of God (1:2)
2 Peter 1:2 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;
Now, at first glance this seems like a typical greeting. But there is meat here. How is grace and peace multiplied? Answer: “in” or better, “through” the knowledge of God.
ILL: I’ll try to illustrate it this way. Water comes through a faucet. At our house, we’re looking into getting a new kitchen faucet. The old one gets loose from the crazy way it attaches. The new one I’m sure will work better.
But water comes through the faucet. Just like water is supposed to come through the faucet, so also multiplied grace and peace comes through knowledge of God.
Grace and peace is multiplied in the Christian life through the knowledge of God. Grace and peace in the life comes from knowing God!
Knowing God in salvation
Grace is God’s favor in my life and peace is the results of that favor in my life. When somebody first trusts in Christ, they have God’s grace, that is, His favor that is totally undeserved. God looks upon him now with joy as his son and looks at him even like his own son Jesus Christ! What a marvel!
ILL: Recently in family devotions I drew a line and I put me and any of the kids on the left side and Jesus on the right side. Underneath me, I put sin. I could’ve written lying anger lust hatred pride and selfishness.
And underneath Jesus I wrote righteousness. I could’ve written “perfect holiness, perfect relationship with God, never having sinned only ever done what is pleasing in the sight of God.”
And because of Jesus’ work on the cross and through faith in him, I drew a circle around all of my sin and I put it on Jesus and I drew a circle around all of Jesus holiness and righteousness and I put it on me.
And that’s what God does! Marvel at the grace of God … it is an amazing grace, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt.
“Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured, There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.”
Or as another hymn put it, “His robes for mine oh wonderful exchange! Clothed in my sin, Christ suffered beneath God’s rage. Draped in his righteousness, I’m justified. In Christ I live, for in my place he died. I cling to Christ, and marvel at the cost: Jesus forsaken God estranged from God. Bought by such love, my life is not my own: my praise, my all shall be for Christ alone.”
It is I who should’ve been crushed! But he was crushed for me! It is I who should have received eternal death… But through trusting in Christ I’ve received his grace and now I have eternal life!
And as this grace works itself into my life or any Christian’s life, that Christian will begin to have multiplied peace, a sense of spiritual well-being and calmness of soul. Richness of soul and spiritual prosperity in the heart and life.
This grace and this peace is multiplied in the life of the Christian through knowing God. More knowledge of God, more grace and peace.
As it has been put: “The more Christians realize the meaning of Jesus Christ, the more they realize the meaning of grace and the experience of peace.”
And as Matthew Henry said, “Knowledge of God, and faith in him, are the channel whereby all spiritual supports and comforts are [given] to us….
And Peter focuses on knowledge in this letter. Verse three his divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of him…
Verse eight if these qualities are yours they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2:20 Peter is talking about false teachers, which basically saturates the whole letter, they did have knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ but then they became entangled again and overcome.
And Peter concludes his short letter in verse 18 and says but grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
And to grow in knowledge is going to take the Scriptures as Peter says in 1:19.
2 Peter 1:19 19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.
This knowledge is an experiential knowledge. This is the kind of knowledge that one gives his diligence to the study of the word of God. But it doesn’t stop there… it does start there … But it doesn’t stop there. That knowledge that is gained from the word of God is prayed over, digested, meditated upon, and contemplated. Faith then grabs a hold of those treasures in His word and trusts God for them.
So this experiential knowledge starts with head knowledge and it reaches the heart and changes the life.
So we need to grow in knowledge, first to be diligent to mentally understand the word of God. Second, to gain knowledge we need to be diligent to pray over and trust God for each line, inculcating each promise into the life, responding to each command and claiming every promise.
Then what Paul wrote will be true for us…
2 Corinthians 3:18 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of 2 Peter 1.1-2
This is where all of creation is headed. There is coming a day Isaiah says in chapter 11 verse nine that when the Lord returns, the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Just as the waters fill up and make the oceans, so also the earth will be filled up with the knowledge of the Lord in that day when he returns!
Knowing that is to be the case, how much should we give ourselves to seeking knowledge of the LORD and knowing Him in His word today!
We’ll have another message in vv.3-4 and then we’ll pursue these qualities. And as we do, let us give ourselves over to them and allow the LORD to truly change our hearts and to help us ensure that we have a grand entrance into the Kingdom.
Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 2434. ↑