Sermon by Timothy Williams. This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.
Often we think because we agree with some of the basic, small things of Jesus that we do all these grand things for him. Yet we don’t dig down deep to find out if we really do them or not. We sometimes think that we do things that we really don’t do. We will look at whether or not we dig down deep enough for our house to be on solid ground.
Luke 6:46 – Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say?
The bottom-line is, do we really do what we study? Does it happen in our life? Have we built upon those things that God shows us? This is not about reading through the Bible, going through a checklist, and saying, “OK, I’ll read this verse here. Oh, I’m doing that. Good, I can check that one off.” Then I go to the next verse and read it and check it off. This is something much more complicated than becoming religious individuals who read ink on paper, and seek to apply it to our life. That’s what men everywhere do. In the field of psychology, people read through a psychology book and say, “I will apply these principles to my life.” If you are a Buddhist, you read the teachings of Buddha, and say, “OK, I’ll apply these things.” Most people live their Christian life the same way. They pick up the Bible, open it, and read particular pages and say, “OK, I’m doing this,” “I’m not doing that,” “I need to work on this” or “I’ll apply this.” Of course, in our flesh we pick the passage that we’re pretty sure we live and ignore the rest that we’re not living.
Matthew 7:21 – Not everyone who says to me, ”Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
When we talk about obeying the things of Jesus Christ, we mean hearing God’s voice on a daily―even hourly—basis, and obeying that voice. Of course it will always be in line with Scripture. But, even Scripture teaches us we have to come to Jesus Christ to find the Scriptures to be alive. We have to hear his voice from above. You have to be able to say, “Today I heard God’s voice tell me I need to do this and apply this.” Then later ask the question, “Did I do that? Was I obedient to the voice I heard?” If you’re not hearing God’s voice, feeling his presence, or understanding what it is he wants you to apply, then you need to find out what the problem is, so you can get to a place to hear from God. When we don’t hear from God, have faith and the concern for it to happen, instead of seeking the Living God, we pick and choose what we should apply to make ourselves feel better. Let’s get the foundation straight. The only type of Christianity is the kind where people hear directly from God what they should work on for the day.
Matthew 7:21 – Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
This is about communion, and fellowship. Let us say, “Today I heard God’s voice tell me to work on this in my life. Was I obedient to that which I heard?” Let’s talk about what wise builders do.
Luke 6:47 – I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.
We read, “He who hears my words.” He who is in a place where he listens and can hear what God says, not he who reads ink on pages, but he who hears the Living God speak to his life and respond to Jesus Christ knocking at his heart.
Luke 6:48 – He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock.
This is difficult work! The most unattractive thing to do when you build something is to lay the foundation. Nobody can see anything. It is boring work and hard labor. It involves digging down into rock. When someone comes to Jesus Christ, in their flesh they immediately want to work on the things that are exciting. In fact, the church will often tell them, “Well, you’ve come to God. He has an exciting ministry for you.” Nobody directs their attention to say, “Now, you have to begin the hard work of building a foundation first.” Building a foundation is not exciting. It is very difficult and hard work. We have to dig into the rock―Jesus Christ. That means when you come to Jesus Christ and you want certain things in God, it won’t be easy to build. You will say to God, “I want to lay this foundation. I want to change this in my life,” and then we expect it to happen instantly, yet it is a rock. We have to go to the rock and demand water. We have to ask for difficult things. We have to fight and persevere. This is the beginning of our Christian walk by laying the foundation that says, “I understand this requires perseverance. I understand it will be hard work.” It is no wonder so many people reject the true Gospel because they have been taught the complete opposite. They think Jesus Christ did it for them and that it ought to be easy. They just claim it and it is over with! It would be as if I went to a plot of ground and said, “I will build a house and I claim that the foundation and the house are there.” It won’t happen, no matter how much I claim it. Even when Jesus Christ brought Lazarus from the dead, what did he tell them to do? “Roll the stone away.” You have to do your part. You have to build upon the foundation. Then after Lazarus walked from the tomb, Jesus said, “Now, remove the grave clothes.” There is always action. God calls us to do our part. Labor and wrestling must take place, because God wants to purify the whole man, everything is involved spirit, soul, and body. So, are you ready and willing to build a foundation first, before you build that which is attractive? If I were to build a house, I’d build my office first. That is where I’d place all my attention. In fact, the whole house would probably be an office because that is what I’m concerned with and that’s what would give me joy. The last thing I’d want to build would be the foundation. That’s how most people do it. It is quick, easy, and fun to build the house or the room that you enjoy, but it is no fun to build a foundation. This is like a man who builds a house and has dug down deep. We should take one sin in our life, no matter how small that sin is, and dig deeper and deeper with that sin as if it were to send us to hell, because the truth is, it would! Jesus said that if you lust in heart, you’ve committed adultery. Yet I know those thoughts pass by us and we say, “It’s just a thought. I’ll just put it out of my head,” instead of digging down deep and taking it all the way out to its final conclusion until it is completely conquered.
Luke 6:48 – When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
If you want your Christianity to be absolutely solid, not even shaken, or moved in the least little degree, then we have to ask, “How do I lay a foundation by digging deep into the rock? What will that mean for my life? How do I apply that?”
Luke 6:49 – But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.
He begins to build his work, saying, “I’m called to a prayer ministry,” “I’m called to a certain ministry,” or “I do this work over here,” but there is no foundation that will hold up once the waters come against that work. We in the church so often let people get by with that because we don’t ask ourselves, “Are they laying a foundation?” because we don’t ask ourselves, “Am I laying a foundation deep into the rock of Jesus Christ?” We have to dig down deep. We think, “I looked at a commandment of Jesus Christ. Yeah, I kind of live that. It’s OK,” and pass it off. It is better to take one scripture and ask yourself, “Do I really have this in my life by the power of the Holy Spirit and by the cross of Jesus Christ?” than automatically assume that you live it. Begin to dig deep with one, and then when you are finished with that particular aspect of the foundation, go to the next passage and keep digging deep with that until you know those things are solidly in your life. Then, worry about all of the other works that everyone can see! So often when we look at it outwardly, we don’t see anything of beauty because the house hasn’t been started yet. It is very ugly to work on just the foundation because people ask, “Well, what are you doing?” If you answer, “Well, I’m just working on my foundation,” those who don’t understand think you’re not doing anything. The truth is, you are digging deep down inside your heart. Dig down to the spirit and the heart of yourself so when you begin to build that which man can see, it will last and stand. So, the question is, “Is God talking to you and are you listening and prepared to build on what he is calling you to build?” One of the things you can ask yourself is, “Does somebody have to repeat to me over and over again the basic things of God?” Does somebody explain something to you in Jesus Christ, and then three days later they have to explain the same thing over again? If you are not grasping or taking it in, it is not going deep enough into your heart. So, if I have to explain to you some of the basic, elementary things of what it means to live a crucified life, and then a week later we have to discuss those things again, you did not dig down deep so that it was solid in your life. Self was not removed out of the way so that you had the wisdom that comes from God. One way to know whether this is happening in your life is to examine yourself and see if you are grabbing hold of a concept―a basic principle in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit applies it to your life so you can understand it. It is down in you. It is solid, that you can share it with other people. For those who do not dig down deep, I constantly―or the Holy Spirit or the Word of God―have to teach them those things over and over again, and explain it time after time. They never build or lay the foundation. God will quit talking. He will quit telling you what you need to change. I will not have the time to explain it to you over and over again. Eventually, Jesus Christ will just turn and walk away, and then you will be left on your own to face the waters when they come. Just like Hebrews says, we have to go on to maturity.
2 Peter 1:1 – Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
Our faith is equal to the apostles. It is just as lovely, precious, and holy.
2 Peter 1:2 – Grace and peace be yours in abundance…
Most people would like to stop at that point and claim the grace and peace. But, look at what it goes on to say.
2 Peter 1:2 – …through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
When you dig down deep, you come to the rock, Jesus Christ. Take a little bit of knowledge and keep going with that until you are finished with that particular aspect of Jesus Christ. Dig all the way down with that one particular thing that God wants to show you in Scripture, and don’t stop until it is completed. That is the power to change and that is where the peace comes from. So, when God shows you one thing in your flesh (now, don’t tell me God hasn’t shown you at least one thing this week) take that one thing, find all of the Scriptures you can, take all the prayer time you can possibly take, and do all of the thinking you can do. Then begin to pursue that one thing God has shown you until it is completed and put to death. Take the one thing and don’t worry about all the other 99 things that you think you need to change today. It is through your knowledge and taking the one particular aspect of the sin that is in your life and applying all of the Scriptures, everything the Holy Spirit would seek to bring, all the ways of the cross would come to your life, and get that on to completion until it is put to death. Then worry about the other things that God would have you deal with later on. Most of you haven’t accomplished and conquered the first thing, let alone to talk about the hundred other things that you are worried about.
2 Peter 1: 2 – Grace and peace be yours in abundance . . .
If you want the abundance, begin to dig down deep with the first thing that God shows you.
2 Peter 1:2 – . . . through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
The more you begin to pursue him and the more you dig down deep with him in this one thing the more grace and peace you will have. God will come to each of us with a particular aspect of our flesh he wants to deal with. It becomes a source of blessing, because once I have dug down deep, I run into Jesus Christ. Once I have dug into the rock, I bump into him who I want to fellowship with. Once I have put that aspect to death, he allows me to have fellowship with him at a deeper level. Grace and peace flow, but only as I gain knowledge of him. Again, this isn’t book knowledge. In that case, the Pharisees were the most holy people we could ever meet. This is an intimate knowledge of sharing and fellowshipping with one another. When I say that I have knowledge of my wife, does that means I have some personality profile that I keep in my file cabinet downstairs? It means we know each other on an intimate level, and Jesus Christ wants the same from us. This is our knowledge of him, our coming into communion with him. What keeps us from our knowledge of him is our sin. Maybe I will come to you with particular sin in your life. Then turn to me and say, “I know it’s there. I’ll get to it eventually, but today I am working on this. Would you pray with me about this particular thing?” I guarantee you. I won’t pursue you at all because I know that you’re laying the foundation on that one thing. You’re learning how to get it to the cross and get it crucified. You are becoming changed in that one thing―then everything else that God will bring in his timing will be dealt with, and we can fellowship from there. But when a man becomes hard, he has at least one sin, but he won’t deal with anything in his life―not deeply, anyway.
Philippians 1:9 – And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight…
So, this is all about love. I take one sin that is in my life and dig down deep with that and, the end result is that I have fallen in love with Jesus Christ, and he gives me his love. He gives me love inside and then knowledge about all the things that are in God.
Philippians 1:9-10 – …your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ
When you first begin your Christian walk, things are either right or wrong? When you have a young child growing up, you teach him “No,” “Yes,” “No.” You teach him the basic concepts of black and white. Either you do this or you don’t do it. As time goes on, though, in Jesus Christ there are a lot of issues that are not just black and white. They have to do with love. As that love grows within us, we can discern what is the best to do in every situation. There are a lot of things that I would be permitted to do in Jesus Christ, but love for somebody else will not allow me to do that. I don’t use that freedom out of love for them.
Philippians 1:10 – …so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ
Most people want me to define everything in terms of “you can” or “you can’t do it.” When a man walks in that kind of Christianity, he is not in love with Jesus Christ, or he needs to press on to maturity. It isn’t a question of being right or wrong. It is a question of love; either love for Jesus Christ, love for God, or love for each other.
Philippians 1:11 – …filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.
“Filled with the fruit…” If you want to be filled with the fruit of righteousness―not just seen from a distance or examined intellectually―and really want to be filled so that somebody can eat all kinds of righteousness from you, then you have to dig down deep. Take one thing, the smallest thing that you have, the smallest thing that you can see, and begin to dig deep with it. Again we see this concept of knowledge, of understanding what to fight, what to pursue, what to do, and how to do it.
2 Peter 1:3 – His 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.
How many Christians do you know that have the same knowledge they had when they first came to the Lord? There are so many things to study and discover in Jesus Christ. This doesn’t stop. We get the foundation laid into the rock so we can build everything else on top of that. All kinds of treasures are available. We can obey and do all kinds of exciting things. We can purify our lives, but everybody wants to stay down here with these right and wrong issues and not move on to the fruit of righteousness and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. All of this is his work. This is not salvation by works—instead we receive his grace.
2 Peter 1:4 – Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may particular in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
We have looked at that in detail, but let’s press on and see how we lay hold of these promises. What should we do?
2 Peter 1:5 – For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
Think of these as building stones. Think of them as laying a foundation where you do one layer and then the next, and you keep going up until you get up to the level called love. Yet, how many of you think they know how to love one another, and they haven’t even begun to go through this process?
2 Peter 1:5 – For this very reason, make every effort…
Again, make every single effort that you can. I daresay most of us put more effort into what we have for lunch than we do in building these things. We do more planning and more thinking about what we will do for ourselves during the day than we do getting up in the morning saying, “I need to make every effort to take in this one thing to add to my faith,” and then go down through the process until it is done. Our mind is on earthly things.
2 Peter 1:5 – For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge…
We make every effort because he has given us his promises. He has given us his divine power. He waits for us to lay hold of it. All of the tools are there. Again, it is like a man who comes to a plot of land and says, “I’m just going to believe that the foundation is there,” and expects it to happen. All of the tools necessary to lay the foundation are right there. All he has to do is pick up the tools and begin to do the work. God has, by his divine power, given us everything we need to become holy people in him. All we need to do is pick up the tools and put forth the effort that he will give us in order to lay the foundation. It is just that we don’t want to work and labor. We don’t want to put forth every effort and dig down deep.
2 Peter 1:6-7 …and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
How do we apply these things to the sin of pride? First have faith that comes to God and confesses this pride; a faith that acknowledges what God says about pride is true. He comes before God in faith and says, “OK, Lord, I have this sin in my life,” and he acknowledges that God will give him the grace and the promises in order to deal with that sin. Now, most people would like to stop right there, and indeed that is where most people do stop. They come before God and claim by faith that God has forgiven them and it is over with. But, you don’t find the labor and the wrestling to dig down deep in Jesus Christ, do you? We can’t even get past to the second thing. They will say, “We’ll go with the second thing.”
Humility is next. “Add to your faith goodness.” Acknowledge before God that you have this sin of pride. Then, you begin to add the goodness of humility to your life in all the ways you can, knowing the Holy Spirit will meet you there. You are on a rudimentary level on a basic level. You begin to understand and say, “OK, I need this humility.” When you see the pride beginning to crop up, you confess it, pray about it, deal with it, and apply certain scriptures. Begin the process! So, take the goodness of the Word of God, and begin to apply it to that sin.
Then, what does it say to add to? “…to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge…” Now you begin to dig down deep about the sin called pride. You gain more and more knowledge of just how wicked pride is. Then you begin to look to all of Scripture to find all of the references you can about pride. You pray and ask the Lord, “Show me every aspect and every part of Your Word that would reveal my pride for what it is.” Add to your knowledge that pride is a sin and humility is of God. But, you see, you are digging down deep. When you are all done, you will be able to teach somebody because you know all the Scriptures that there are about pride. How do you think I got the Bible knowledge that I’ve got? I didn’t go to Bible College. It was through this very process alone. God would convict me about pride, so then I would hunger and run unto the Word and try to find every Scripture that was associated with pride to gain knowledge to find out and recognize what pride looked like in my own life. I would plead before him for more so the pride would be revealed in my heart. So, by the time I was done, I had the knowledge and understood not only my own heart and who Jesus Christ was, but I could turn and teach somebody else about what pride looks like. That is totally different from the Pharisee who goes to school and learns all of the Greek and Hebrew meanings of the word pride. A person who digs down deep looks deep into their hearts. So, you gain a deeper knowledge of just how terrible a sin it is. In each passing day, you are full of more terror. Most of us just want to claim the faith that we are forgiven, press on and forget about it. But, we are talking about digging down deep. That means when you open the Word of God, you search for that which will reveal the pride in your heart. So, you fall under more conviction. You fall under more sin as he begins to reveal more. It is like a surgeon going in to remove a tumor from your body, the closer he gets, the clearer the tumor becomes in his sight.
Then, add self-control to bring it under control. Let the Holy Spirit crucify some aspects of your pride. I can remember when people would reveal things and I could feel pride welling up within me defend myself. Many times it did. Don’t get me wrong. But, I would be convicted about that and go back to the Lord and say, “Let’s get some self-control about this. I don’t have to open my mouth and keep defending myself. I can humble myself before you, Lord. I can listen to people. I can take the one thing you tell me that is true and go with that.”
Then add perseverance. Many people give up at this point. It is perseverance! That means it doesn’t go away in a day, or even in a year. It doesn’t necessarily go away in five years. I don’t know! Just begin to persevere and say, “I will not give up in dealing with this sin, I will keep on hanging in on the cross and die until it is put to death.” In the beginning you will usually say, “OK, that’s enough for today!” I used to do this in the past. I began to deal with sin and say, “OK, I’ve had enough of this cross.” I may not have consciously said that, but I set the cross aside and then week later I discovered, “Hey, I haven’t had a quiet time for about two weeks. Things are just starting to getting pretty serious inside.” Sometimes I’d just get so far out of touch with the Lord and be so much in my flesh, I would just finally have to turn to God and say, “OK, enough is enough! I’m going to go pray and seek God.” I would just have to tell my body what to do. It was either that, or give up. No way was I going to give up! Learn to make perseverance your friend. Then, when perseverance is complete, you begin to get godliness. What is godliness? It is a level of maturity where you have what is godly without trying. You become that which you sought after. No longer do I have to work at being humble, I have become humble because he has worked humility in me. Godliness is just that―being godly. Being holy without effort, struggle, or fighting. Nothing is worse than trying to think your way into humility. For one thing, you become proud of your humility! Godliness is that quality where God crucified you. He did the work, and put you through many things in order to humble you. Once you have humility, then you can press on to something else. You have an aspect of godliness that is yours without effort. Do you really think in heaven we will have to struggle to get a quiet time? No, because we will have his godliness. It will be who we are! We won’t even think to do otherwise. It will not be a question of getting up and saying, “Do I feel like getting a quiet time today or not?” It will just be who you are and what you do naturally, because that is what you have become. You have become godly.
Then, what does it say to add after godliness? “Brotherly kindness.” You can’t even call yourself “kind” until you get here. You can flatter, talk, socialize, and fellowship, but you can’t even talk about being kind to your brothers until you have gone through this process. How quickly people come to Jesus Christ, and think, “Oh, I’m a part of the fellowship and I’m a brother (or sister). Now I know how to love other people.” They say it so easily, but they haven’t dug down deep. They haven’t gone into the foundation. They haven’t gone into the rock because that requires hard work. You can’t even begin to talk about showing somebody kindness until you have gone through this process. Everything else is flattery. Everything else is an effort to make yourself look better, more holy, or fool people into thinking you really do what you don’t do. Once godliness is in place, then you will be able to show true, pure, and holy kindness to one another.
To brotherly kindness, then we add love. The deep kind of love comes from the throne of God. A love honestly lays down its life for somebody else without any thought of self. Ask yourself in your own heart, how many things can you point to that you have done without paying any attention, or thinking about yourself? When was there a time you acted out of the purest form of love without recognizing who you are or what you were doing? I used to think, “How can you stand before God without your left hand knowing what your right hand did?” When I was a young Christian I did not think that was possible. Although to some, that means doing some good deed and then just forgetting about it. Hopefully you will be surprised when you get to heaven. But, as he works that humility, and his love, you lose more and more of self so that you are what you are and you don’t even know what you gave up. You’re not aware that it was even a sacrifice, because it is love poured out. This kind of death to self can only happen when the foundation is firm because the cross has to do some pretty powerful work. God has to send a lot of torrents of water, hardships, and trials against us in order to get self purified. That is why James says to consider it a pure joy when you face trials of many kinds because perseverance must finish its work. You must become mature. In order to withstand the kind of things that God will have to send against your life in order to deal with self, you’d better get the foundation solid because it will come hard, quick, fast, and powerful. You only think you’ve been convicted about pride! He’s shown you your pride and you’re acknowledged it by saying, “Oh, yeah, yeah, I have pride.” Just wait until he really comes deep within your heart to deal with it, he wants to cut that cancer out in all of the different ways that he can do it! He sent a demon to Paul to torment him in order to keep him from becoming prideful. How much more powerful will he deal with us in order to get rid of our pride?
The houses will crumble and collapse around you, and you will look for help from somewhere else. There has to be a solid foothold on the rock. No matter what happens, I will not be moved from Jesus Christ. Understand clearly what the cross of Jesus Christ is about so that as you dig down deep you are really into Jesus Christ, then nothing can move you from him. He wants to deal with sin so that you might fellowship with him. That can be rough at times.
2 Peter 1:8 – 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.
Many individuals get the knowledge. They say, “Lord, Lord” and they hear what he has to say, but they don’t do anything with it. They put the knowledge they have into practice. The test is, am I having these things in increasing measure? Do I take the sin of pride, for example, and, with increasing measure, I’m able to deal with and understand it? Do I take up the cause of hating and despising money or laying down my life and know that I am dealing with it increasing measure. Are you applying the good things that are in Jesus Christ? It doesn’t have to be just sin. It can be running in the promises of God, or doing what Jesus Christ called you to do.
2 Peter 1:8-9 – …they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
This statement seems a little unusual. There is not much understanding about this and I’ll tell you why. It is because sin is dealt with so lightly. When we talk about adding these things and God working them in our life, we become blinded by what he tries to do. We become devastated by what he shows us. When he begins to crucify you, all you can see is that particular sin and you become totally undone by it―the conviction is so heavy. Your first reaction is to say, “I’m not even a Christian! I never belonged to him. I’m going to fall away.” We become totally nearsighted. We’re not able to see the big picture. We’re not able to understand what he is really working, because all we can see is our self-pity in the sin that he deals with. We become blinded to what the Gospel is all about. That is, he comes on so strongly and the cross is so powerful that we become full of self-pity and we say, “Forget all this.” We can’t see anything else. We can’t see that it is his grace and love. We can’t see that it is his mercy because we are nearsighted. All we can see is that we have this sin in our life. All we can see is that we have these problems, and are tired of the cross. We focus on the pain and suffering, but not the joy that is in Jesus Christ. That is how heavy the conviction will be, and how powerfully he will seek to deal with our flesh. So, don’t go around moping, complaining, and whining about what he is doing. Do as Hebrews says, “Strengthen your weak knees and feeble arms so that others may be healed.” Many times I see Christians fall under conviction because God deals with them, and they are so far down in the dumps. “Oh man, God is dealing with me on this. I’m so lowly. I’m so nothing. I’m so this and that.” They really don’t mean it. What they really mean is, “I’d like to get out from underneath the conviction.” You may feel miserable and lowly, indeed. You may be weak before the Lord, but you are not to go out and whine and look for sympathy from the world. You know this is the hand of God! Stand up and say, “This is all good news. This is what he is working. I’m not nearsighted or blind. I’m looking at my sin and can’t see the big picture. I can’t see God doing the work in my life. This is all of God, and therefore I know there is hope. If God came to me and said, ‘We’re going to deal with this sin today,’ there is hope in that. Therefore, I can talk to other people about the Gospel even when I feel miserable.” I guarantee you, many times I don’t feel like preaching. I don’t feel qualified or worthy to even talk about it. So, what do I do? I either say, “OK, I’m not worthy,” and sit down and do nothing, or I rise up and understand that he is cleansing, working, and purifying me. I can stand up and declare the truth. I’m not going to become so nearsighted and blind that all I can see is my own little life.
2 Peter 1:9 – But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
Meaning, in order to get to the place where I could see the new sins in my life, God had to forgive me. If he loved me enough to forgive me and has brought me to a place to deal with the flesh and sin in my life, why would I ever lose sight of the fact that he forgave me? He tries to bless me more and forgive me of more things. If I didn’t want to give up my sins, I’d pout about it. If I refuse to give up self, then this is not good news. But, if I do, then it is good news. I can say with Job, “Though the Lord slay me, I’ll still trust him;” or with David, “Though he lays me low in the dust, I will still cry out to him.” He will hear my prayer. I will wait upon him. It is a life of rich faith.
Romans 5:1 – Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…
We have peace, whether we feel that peace or not. We have that peace whether we are under conviction or not. We have his peace even if we don’t feel it, or rejoice in it. It is a guaranteed thing in Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:2 – …through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Even when I don’t feel like rejoicing, or am not able to rejoice, I still can rejoice. I’m not nearsighted and blind.
Romans 5:3 – Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings…
Do you see what he says? We rejoice in the midst of the sufferings as we dig down deep―as we lay this foundation. It is hard work, but we rejoice that.
Romans 5:3 – … because we know that suffering produces perseverance…
What do we have to add to all these things? Perseverance! A person who begins their Christian life should begin by persevering and understanding that’s how you walk the Christian life. It requires persevering, day in and day out, a little bit at a time, and never stopping.
Romans 5:4-5 – … perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us…
Perseverance produces a certain character about you―a personality that is holy, rings of the Lord, and looks like the Master. Most people just don’t persevere enough to get it. They want to play the Christian label game where they claim to be a Christian, but you don’t see character. By character, I mean a person with a way of dressing, mannerisms, conversations, and conducting one’s self that rings of holiness and righteousness in Jesus Christ. When you look at them, you think, “There is something distinct about the way they do everything and who they are. Their character shows that even before they open their mouth, they belong to the King of kings.” A man who has dug down deep will have character because he has persevered through the trials and suffering. He has endured the conviction and the shame of the cross. His joy is set before him.
Romans 5:5 – And hope does not disappoint us…
You need to have this hope. You need to say, “I hope I become righteous and holy. I hope I change and will not disappoint those who persevere unto godliness.”
2 Peter 5:5 – …Because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Now, verse 6 is important for us.
2 Peter 5:6 – You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless…
You are no longer powerless! You have the ability to change. God is for you in every way. You have come to him who offers you the power and grace to change. You are just not laying hold of it.
2 Peter 5:6 – You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless Christ died for the ungodly.
You weren’t seeking after God. You cared less about him and wallowed in self-pity. Not only were you totally wallowing in it, you enjoyed it. You reveled, thrilled, and loved your sin. It was your companion. You didn’t want to give it up. You even fought against God when he came to try to take it away from you. You were a complete enemy of him. You were completely powerless, refusing the grace that was coming to you. Jesus Christ died for you when you were in that condition, when you were absolutely, totally, without a shadow of a doubt, completely rebellious. Now you don’t want to be rebellious or ungodly. Now, you want to be holy, and if he died for you when you were powerless, how much more now will he give you the grace to change? Rise up and have a little faith! Don’t become so nearsighted and blind. Begin to build and work.
2 Peter 5:7-9 – Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
You cared nothing about him. Yet he saved your soul. Now, you care about him. How much more will he give you the victory if you’ll dig down deep and make every effort? That’s all he asks.
2 Peter 5:10 – For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, have been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
When you were a complete enemy of God, he died for you and sought to save you. He went after you when you were running away from him. You hid in every nook and cranny you could find, finding every excuse, every reason not to follow him. Yet he nailed you down. He came after you in love. If he came to you with that kind of love, how much more now, when you go into the prayer closet under all the conviction that he will bring in your life and ask for deliverance, will he begin to work deliverance? He loved you like this, when you cared less, how much more will he give you good things if you cry out for him now? This is for real and a fact.
2 Peter 5:11 – …We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
You may not feel reconciled because you’re under conviction. The cross might be hard on your back. It might be a narrow road on which you walk. There may be work and labor, and all those difficult things are in Jesus Christ, but you are reconciled to him. All that is needed is to build upon that foundation and dig down deep. Why do you run from discovering sin in your life? There can only be one of two reasons. Either you don’t want to give up the sin or you don’t believe he will deliver you. If you believe he will deliver you, then why not find everything you can that needs to be crucified? Why not ask for every commandment that you’ve never obeyed? Why not ask for every tear that is in Jesus Christ, every ounce of conviction? He loves you and seeks to bring you to perfection. If you don’t want it, of course, you won’t ask, but the avenue is there for those who will reach out and grab it.
Since all of this is true and this grace is for us, what kind of attitude should we have?
2 Peter 1:10 – Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager…
“Be all the more eager to lay hold of him,” Peter said. Be eager. Run into it! This is the festival, Scripture says. We have the true celebration of holiness. When you discover something in Scripture and say, “I don’t live that! How far I am from that,” Instead say, “I’m glad I found something else that I can die to and obey now! He has given me something new that I can lay hold of.” Be all the more eager to discover all the new and exciting things in Jesus Christ that can transform your life. This is supposed to be good news. It is supposed to a treasure.
2 Peter 5:10 – 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,
I guarantee you, if you stand still you will fall. The only safety in Jesus Christ is to keep moving forward. The armor of God is all frontal armor. It is only for moving forward and taking new ground. We move forward only as we add to, build upon, and dig deep into the foundation.
2 Peter 5:11 – …and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Most of us probably have a faith to hope we get in! Let us dare to dream for a rich welcome. The angels and others who have gone before us are eager to see us arrive, not “Well, they made it in” or “I can smell the smoke on them. Their hair is singed” They offer a rich welcome and are eager to see us arrive.
2 Peter 5:12 – So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.
Let us remind each other of these things and ask, “Are you digging deep?” When somebody confesses a sin to us or asks for prayer, go back to them a week or a month from then and ask, “Are you digging deep with that? What other Scriptures has God shown you? What other areas of your heart have you dug deep with?” If they can’t name many other Scriptures, then become concerned for them and say, “You’re not digging down deep. You’re not going into the foundation enough.” By the time God is through with all of us, we ought to be an expert in the Word of God. With all of the sins we have in our life, by the time we are through repenting from all those things, we should be an expert on every aspect of the Word of God. Not from head knowledge, but from heart knowledge and a changed life. Ask one another, “Are you digging down deep? Are you building a foundation? Are you going into the rock?”
2 Peter 5:13 – I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.
I want all of us to die that way where Jesus Christ tells us ahead of time. We long to be in such communion with him that he tells us it is coming soon. You see, the world is caught by surprise, but for those who dig down deep, even God comes to them and fellowships with them, he gives them a deep sense in their heart that the time is approaching. It is a blessed way to die. The same passage we have been looking at is also in Matthew. But, since God chose to remind us, let’s remind ourselves again today.
Matthew 7:21 – Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
This is a real life of faith. This is about God coming to us, speaking to us, and asking us to do things that will terrify us. Things that are beyond our ability to do or perform, beyond our wisdom and capability, beyond anything that self can do. God will speak to us of things to do in our life. God asks us to look at things in our life that we don’t want to look at. It is a hard, narrow road, but it is a holy road. This is real faith and not a feel-good kind of faith. You know there is a lot of security in knowing this ahead of time. There is a lot of joy in knowing that this is how he lives and works. Deuteronomy, the old law, the shadow that points us to the new light, which is the new law, says this:
Deuteronomy 8:15 – He led you through the vast and dreadful desert…
So the Christian life is like approaching the desert―a vast desert. As you look around, you seek a little bit of comfort. You look for an oasis and rest. You look for one little thing that will offer you shade. But everywhere you look, it can’t be found. Every time you come to church hoping to hear a nice, soft Gospel message like you heard at other churches, you don’t get one! Everywhere you look and turn, you bump into books, publications, and other saints of the past, and all you can see is a desert! It is a vast wasteland. He shows you your heart, and all you can see is a vast wasteland, a desert, because that’s the truth. That’s where he is leading you. After Jesus was baptized, Scripture said, “Immediately the Holy Spirit led him into the desert.” Guess what? You’ve been baptized, you’ve come to Jesus Christ, and guess where you get to go? It is the false church, and false Christians that sit down by the oasis and have a good time. He led you through the vast and dreadful desert. It is a scary and dreadful place to be. You will shake and lay in bed sweating. I have been there. Not only do I have secret fears that run through my mind of things I hope don’t happen, but I know you have them also. You don’t know what this God will bring against you. It is uncertain. He knows your secret fears, you just hope he isn’t listening. You hope that God doesn’t lead you in that direction, but you don’t know for sure where he will take you. It is a dreadful thing. To become a Christian is to look at a vast and dreadful desert that terrifies down to the soul. But, that is when faith rises up and says, “I will trust this God because he knows what he is doing. He has delivered me out of Egypt and has brought me to this desert. The Promised Land is next.”
Deuteronomy 8:15 – … that thirsty and waterless land…
Why does God take us to a place where we can’t fulfill our thirst? Because he wants us to drink of him. Think of your past. How many times have you run to other churches and other things that you tried to drink of, but you were never satisfied completely? He is trying to get you out here in the desert, but you fight, kick, and scream. He wants to take you there so you will start to thirst. But, all you can say is “I am thirsty, O God.” That’s what he wants. He waits for us to turn our eyes toward heaven and say, “Lord, I am thirsty.” You know what David said in the Psalms? He said, “How shall I repay you, O Lord? The way that I will repay you, Lord, is to lift up the cup of salvation.” In other words he prayed, “I will look to you and not to man or my circumstances. I will not look to the ability of what I am able to do. I will repay you, because you look for men to turn to you and worship you. I lift up this empty cup for you to fill it.” Most of us never experience that joy because we refuse to go out into the desert and thirst. We go out in the desert maybe to whine or become terrified, but we don’t go out there to thirst. We don’t let the thirsty and waterless land become our friend. Not only are we thirsty, but the land itself is thirsty. That is how dry it is. God leads us to a place where there is nothing you can grab onto or nowhere to find any satisfaction. That is what he hopes for. But, how many of us are digging down in the dirt looking for something to satisfy and help us? We dig in our own hearts, prayers and efforts. We try to do all these things and get it all right, but it comes up empty, thirsty, and dry. Not only is this land this way, but also Paul goes on to say, “…with its venomous snakes and scorpions” Pharisees, Sadducees, false brothers, sins and snares, Satan and all of his demons, and everything are against us. This is a vast and dreadful land with snakes and scorpions full of deadly poison. If they sting us, it is not only going to hurt, but we could also die. The dangers are everywhere to live the kind of faith we are talking about. You better have your foundation dug down deep because danger will come against you, and the foundation had better be solid. Don’t run off to find some land that isn’t so bad!
Deuteronomy 8:15 – He brought you water out of hard rock.
Not just any rock but a hard rock! You will build your foundation in something that is extremely difficult to get your hands on, using tools that will require all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. He is trying to get all of us to fall in love with him. That is why he puts us in these situations.
Matthew 7:22 – Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?”
They will turn to Jesus Christ and say, “Did we not do these things?” But, it was not a life of faith in the desert. They were not thirsty in a dry and weary land or learning to call this place home. They will say, “Did we not do these things?” but it was not lead by the Holy Spirit. It was not a true life of faith. They claimed all kinds of things for self, but they didn’t go out to lose self for God in the desert―in the terrible and dreadful land.
Matthew 7:23 – Then I will tell them plainly…
They didn’t hear his voice. They wouldn’t pay attention to him when he spoke. But he said, “I will tell them plainly.” They will understand now.
Matthew 7:23-25 – “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practices like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house:
Now, think about what your house must stand against. Most of us would envision our houses withstanding rain coming down, wouldn’t we? Look again, verse 25. The rain came down. That is just one aspect. Then streams rose and the winds blew and beat against the house. Everything will come against you. The miracles will be so powerful that it would deceive the elect if that were possible. You will take a second glance. Everything will totally come against the crucified life and what it means to follow Jesus Christ, and you will think, “Is this right?” You’ll see the miracles and others will talk about hearing God’s voice, seeing all kinds of things in Jesus Christ, and large doors will open up for them. They will feel the manifestations of the spirit. They will cast out demons and prophesy. They will have all kinds of wisdom. All of this will happen. You will be taken for a moment thinking, “Is this for real?” Everything that will come against a man will come against him, and his house needs to be on solid ground to recognize the lies. Then, of course, there is the world and worldly men who will persecute and kill Christians. The rain came down. And, as if that were not enough, it says the streams rose. The persecution becomes higher and higher against the house. The winds blew. The waves of religious winds began to blow against the house, saying “Come on out. It is not safe in there. It is the wrong Gospel call.” We have all these grand things in God blowing in our lives and you are missing out on it. It says it “blew and it beat against the house.” It was steady, diabolical, and constant. “Come down off of the cross and save yourself,” you say. Yet, it did not fall because its foundation is on the rock.
Matthew 7:26 – But, everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
Let me tell you, everything else apart from this kind of Christianity is sand everything. Even sand has a little bit of rock in it.
Matthew 7:27 – The rain came down, and the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.
I may not have much of a house. They may have a large house, for they spent all of their energy and time building this grand, elaborate house. It looks good and holy to everybody else. They may be able to point to their many rooms and treasures that are inside that house. They may be able to say, “This is my Christianity here! Look how grand it is! Yet look at this other man’s house how small and insignificant it is.” I may not look like much to them. Indeed, I am not much. But, the question is, “Is my house built on a solid foundation?” Because when their house crashes, it will go with a great crash, and I pray that you’re not in that house with them and that you don’t collapse with them. Go to the small place. Go to the insignificant place. Go to the place where the foundation is firm, deep, and solid. No matter what happens, it will stand. You will receive a rich welcome into his Kingdom.
Father, work these things in our hearts by your Spirit, and may we also cooperate, Father, by fanning them into a flame so they may be alive, hot, pure, and clean, Father. Baptize us with that fire you promised.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.