Lesson 9

Be Who You Are

(2 Peter 1:1-15)
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Introduction: "Be Who You Are" sounds like a slogan written on a public wall, or a cliche repeated by someone with more beauty than brains. How can you help but be "who you are?" If I asked you, "Who are you?" what would you respond? If you answered, "I'm a Christian," that is the subject about which Peter is writing to us in our study this week. Peter gives us instructions on how to be what we claim to be - a Christian. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Gift of Righteousness


    1. Read 2 Peter 1:1. How do we receive faith? (By the "righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.")


      1. Is that something that we did? (No! It is Jesus' righteousness. We "received" it.)


    2. Read 2 Peter 1:2. How do we achieve abundant peace in our lives? (By knowing Jesus.)


      1. How much time do you spend learning more about Jesus? (If you do not enjoy a great amount of peace (abundant peace) in your life, you should consider spending more time learning about Jesus.)


  2. Gift of Life


    1. Read 2 Peter 1:3. Have you read the owner's manual for your car? Let's assume that someone gave you a car. Would you be able to enjoy the full use of your car if you had not read the owner's manual? (My car has no door handles on the inside or the outside. I was reminded that a man who owns a car like mine died in it (along with his dog) because it was hot outside, the battery which operates the doors discharged, and he could not figure out how to get out of the car. The owner's manual explains how to get out if the battery dies.)


      1. Were we given "everything we need for life and godliness?" (Yes! Peter tells us that by God's power we were "given" what we need to live and to live a holy life.)


        1. Does it require us to read the owner's manual? (Yes! Notice that verse 3 says we were given "life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us.")


      2. What else would you need if you were given "everything [you] need" for living life - a life pleasing to God?


      3. Notice that the end of verse 3 refers to Jesus calling "us by His own glory and goodness." What does this suggest about our reading? (As we better understand Jesus' "glory and goodness," we better understand what Jesus has in mind for our lives.)


    2. Read 2 Peter 1:4. Consider carefully what Peter means by "through these He has given us?" These what? What are these things by which God gave us "great and precious promises?"(Something that Peter has previously mentioned is the means by which we are given "very great and precious promises." I'm not sure which of the gifts are "these," but likely Peter refers to all of the gifts: faith, grace, peace, knowledge, divine power, life, godliness, glory and goodness.)


      1. What is the purpose of these gifts? (To "participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption of the world caused by evil desires.")


      2. How would you evaluate your desires? Are they evil or have you escaped from evil desires?


  3. Life Effort


    1. So far we have been discussing gifts. Peter now moves the discussion to something we need to do. Read 2 Peter 1:5 and compare 2 Peter 1:1. Peter starts out saying that we receive faith "through the righteousness of ... Jesus." How would you go about adding goodness to the gift of faith?


      1. Is that something you can work on? Or, is that an attitude?


        1. Can you work on an attitude? (How many of you had parents who told you, "Be good?" Clearly, they thought this was something that was in your control.)


    2. Re-read the last part 2 Peter 1:5. Can you add knowledge? Is that within your power? (On this, there is no question. If you want to learn about something, you read, you go to school, you discuss it.)


      1. What is the extent of the knowledge of the Bible among the general public? (There is a very serious problem in the United States. The Bible teaches change through love. It teaches change through persuasion. This religious belief is reflected in our Constitution, and particularly in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. There is a new generation which does not understand either freedom of speech or freedom of religion. It believes it is right to use force and intimidation to suppress disagreeable speech and religious belief.)


      2. What is the solution to this problem? (Peter has it right - we need to promote knowledge of God.)


    3. Read 2 Peter 1:6. Why does Peter say to add "self-control" after we have gained knowledge? (If you intellectually understand the reasons behind the proper approach, it is much easier to be self-controlled. It is the difference between "Do it because I tell you to," and "do it because you know it will help you.")


    4. Re-read 2 Peter 1:6. Perseverance follows self-control. Is it something different? (It adds a time factor. Don't be self-controlled for one minute or hour or day. Self-control is a long-term project.)


      1. Why does "godliness" follow a long-term commitment to self-control? (Godliness then becomes the habit of your life!)


    5. Let's step back a minute. Is being a Christian easy? (Peter started out telling us that faith is a gift. The tools to growing in our faith are a gift. We use these tools to start on the journey to holiness. That requires intention and effort.)


    6. Read 2 Peter 1:7. If you have ever been discouraged by your failures as a Christian, this is one of the most encouraging verses in the Bible. Notice that "kindness" is something that you build upon the foundation of "godliness." How can that be? (I know people who are very careful about how they live. But, kindness is in its infancy in their life. If you find it hard to be kind, this text is great news. Kindness is the next step beyond godliness!)


    7. Re-read 2 Peter 1:7. What is the last, and greatest virtue in your road to holiness? (Love. If you are discouraged by your lack of love, then you should understand that "love" is the summa cum laude, the Black belt, the Eagle Scout, the Master Guide (the highest level of achievement) of the Christian life!)


      1. What does that tell you about people who say, "All you need to do is love." "How about just starting out with love?" (They are clueless. The love they talk about has no meaning. Love is the apex of the Christian's journey towards holiness. It is not the first step.)


    8. Read 2 Peter 1:8-9. Why should we care about whether we are on the road to holiness? (We are in the middle of a conflict between good and evil. As we take on these characteristics, we become effective in advancing the Kingdom of God. If we do not, we are ineffective. We've forgotten what Jesus did for us.)


  4. Election


    1. Read 2 Peter 1:10-11. Is Peter telling us that we must be on the road to holiness in order to be saved, to "make our election" as Christians "sure?" (I believe in free will when it comes to salvation. We discussed this in past lessons in this series on Peter's epistles. That means we can choose not to be saved. But, I don't think that is what Peter means here, as we will discuss next.)


    2. Read Romans 9:10-16. We see the term "election" here together with an explanation of how election operates. What does "election" mean here? How does it take place? (These verses clearly say that election does not turn on our works. If you read the entire chapter (Romans 9) it is an argument for righteousness by faith. What it describes are special people who God chooses to be His special witnesses. God has chosen you to advance His Kingdom. Stay on the road to holiness so you will be the most effective advocate.)


    3. Read 2 Peter 1:12-15. Do we have all the time in the world to accomplish God's goals? (No. At some time we will depart this life. Our job is to make our work as permanent as possible.)


    4. Friend, are you living up to your calling and your election? If not, why not right now ask God to forgive you and ask the Holy Spirit to make you an effective witness for God?


  5. Next week: Prophecy and Scripture.

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