Happy Fourth of July to all of you.
Today we are beginning a short book in the Bible 2 Peter. Short though it is, it is important, because of Peter’s exhortations against the false teachings of the day that were coming from the Gnostics. Gnosticism has always been a mash-up of different beliefs, mainly focused on these main tenets:
Matter is evil and spirit is good
Salvation is attained through gaining knowledge, a secret knowledge
Jesus was a messenger from heaven, not really human
There is a collection of major and minor deities worshiped by gnostics
True Christianity and Gnosticism are mutually exclusive systems of belief.
Gnosticism is based on a mystical, intuitive, subjective, inward, and emotional approach to truth which is not new at all. It is very old, going back in some form to the Garden of Eden, where Satan questioned God and the words he spoke and convinced Adam and Eve to reject them and accept a lie. So, this lie has been around for years.
Why mention it? Because schools and colleges have become breeding grounds for gnostic teaching, a mish-mash of false Biblical teachings, and the idea that you can attain some kind of cosmic worth by being smarter than others.
After the great falling away from the church during the Covid pandemic, many people have turned their backs on the teachings of Christ. These people are easily tempted by this mish-mash of a belief system.
Like Adam and Eve, people become confused, take a little from here, a little from there, maybe even a little of the Bible, and mix it together, creating their personal belief system. While sounding smart in some circles, this is nothing other than a concoction of lies formulated by Satan over the centuries.
Don’t take the bait. Don’t allow yourself to be bamboozled by a recipe created by Satan that will entrap you into joining him in hell. Let’s get into scripture, 2 Peter 1:3-4,
“His (God’s) divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these, he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
God has provided for us already. If he has called you, he is providing for you. In his word, he has given all of us many promises, all true, if you follow Jesus and his Spirit. We run into problems when we don’t respond correctly to God’s word.
We are called to participate in God’s divine nature. We are called to not fall prey to the corruption and sin of the world caused by evil desires.
So, when you say to me, God is not providing for me, I will ask: “Are you reading God’s word? Are you doing what it says to do?
The word of God is meant to change us. The Bible is a living document that will meet each of us where we are in our lives, and guide us, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to becoming more like Christ. Not another Christ, we’re not perfect, but an improving image more and more like Christ. More Jesus, less sin. This continues, or should continue throughout our lifetime.
More Jesus, less sin, not less Jesus, more sin, which is the way of the world. Here is how this happens. 2 Peter 5-8,
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
These qualities are not just in us. The Bible teaches these different qualities to us. We have to read our Bibles on a consistent basis. If we do, these will grow in us in increasing measure. If we do not participate in this process, we will degrade and become corrupt, as the world eats away at our very being. This is sanctification, this is spiritual growth.
If you keep working at it, you will continue to grow, more and more like Christ. Or, you can choose the school of worldly knowledge, this knowledge is set to satiate you with worldly desires that Satan doles out on a regular basis, greed, lust, power and control, jealousy, and hate. All sin-filled and overflowing with corruption. 2 Peter 1:9,
“But if anyone does not have them, he is near-sighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.”
Without these qualities, it will be as if we are stumbling around in the darkness, darkness of our own choosing. 1 John 2:11,
“But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him”
I see a world of people who have no idea where they are going. Just hating each other. The life of a child of God is to be different than this. Here is a scripture that at first may seem out of context, but listen to the comparison. Ephesians 5:25-26,
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
Our goal is to become holy and blameless. Sure, how do we become holy and blameless? I’m glad you asked. Matthew 1:21,
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.”
How do we become holy and blameless? Believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior. Put your faith and trust in him, not the world. Seek forgiveness for your sins and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you everything that I am talking about today.
Stop looking for shiny objects to steal your attention away from God. Stop listening for things that tickle your ears. You have the answer, pick up the Bible and get to work. 2 Peter 1:10-11,
“Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Psalm 145:13,
“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is faithful to all of his promises and loving toward all he has made.”
I don’t care how much sin you have committed. I don’t care how bleak your life may seem. God not only will forgive you, he’ll give you a recovery plan that will restore you completely if you trust in him and do as his Holy Spirit guides you.
However far you may have fallen, God will restore you. But, you have to stop playing games with the world. The world, in many ways, is the source of all our problems, it has few answers. Jesus is the way. Change is natural, more Jesus, less sin.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC