Sermon from our Red Deer Church – All Systems Go Part 2 – Rob McLaughlin
All systems go part 2, yay, who wants to go today? Kind of to carry over from Pastor Nick last week I just really appreciated his heart through that message. And a lot of different things that went on through his message in terms of points and things to go over but he summed it up with just two things, and it’s God’s great plan for us, for his children, for his people, and a connection to God is important. And through that he said that it’s almost like NASA, when all systems go, the terminology was created back when before they were using space launching satellites and launching different things and things had to be checked off in order before they could say “All systems go.” And the preparation that he led to is great, so I’m going to kind of carry on with that, and I entitled my message today “Everything we need.” Today we’re going to pretty much camp out in 2 Peter 1:1-1, so if you have your Bibles please open them up, if not that’s fine we have things like that which is sweet.
So let’s read God’s Word. It says, “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. May Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” Verse 3 – “His divine power has granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. By which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue; with virtue, knowledge; knowledge, self-control; self-control, steadfastness; and steadfastness, godliness; and godliness, brotherly affection; brotherly affection with love. For if you have these qualities and they are increasing, they will keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Amen.
Let’s pray. Thank you God for your word this morning. I thank you God that you give your people everything they need in preparation to be effective as long as they seek you first. Father God I ask that you open up the hearts of your people this morning, that you open up their eyes and their ears to hear the truth and the revelation and the confirmation that you have for them this morning. Bless your people today. Father God give me a spirit of courage Lord to deliver your truth. Salt my words with only you and the things that bring you honor and glory, in Jesus mighty and holy name we pray, amen.
So today we’re going to unpack this a little bit and I like to start right in the beginning, verse 1, it says, “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing as ours.” Wow. This is Peter, like Peter, the guy who walked on water Peter, the guy who pulled out a sword surrounded by soldiers Peter. I think he knows a little bit about faith, let’s assume this. So he’s sitting here in this word saying in context “to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing as ours.” That is amazing to me that him as an apostle, us, God’s children, we can be in line or have equal standing faith with him. So, before we start we have to understand that this is a message to those of faith. 2 Peter is writing this book to those who already have faith, faith in God. So I encourage you today to ask God to increase a measure of faith for you today. I also ask for those who may not understand or have faith yet or are here because they’re seeking, I encourage you to pray and ask for God to open up your heart to an understanding of faith in him.
This letter was written very close to Peter’s end, and I felt that he… putting myself there I guess if I’m at the end of my life I think the things that I would like to pass on or leave in terms of messages would be something of value and of importance. And I think that if we get this we can really understand the rest of it, it’ll all come together when we understand that we have a faith of equal standing. And it’s not the size of our faith that makes us equal, it’s not how much faith we have, it’s not necessarily even what we put our faith in that makes us equal with the Apostles or equal with all the children of God; it’s who we have our faith in. Our faith in him is what gives us the ability to be of equal standing with them. I find this just amazing. When we put our faith – we could put our faith in many things – but I just encourage you all today to just put your faith in him and in him alone.
So what is faith? What is faith? Well, faith it talks about Hebrews 11:1, this is my favorite scriptural definition of faith, it talks about faith is just the confidence assurance of the things that we don’t see in short, that’s my version. But it’s putting our hope in something or requiring something that is uncommon to man. Everything around us, every person around us likes to put their faith in the things that they can touch and see. But our faith in Jesus is a confidence and hope of knowing who he is. Like Pastor Nick alluded to in his last message about God’s plan, he talks about in Hebrews 11:3 it says, further says, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was made out of what was not visible.” So this kind of reveals by faith we’re able to understand God’s plan. So I submit to you this morning that it’s not uncommon to those who have faith, but a reminder to those that have faith that faith is the way that we receive. It’s by grace you have been saved, but through faith. Through faith we receive mercy, we receive forgiveness, through faith we receive the Spirit of God, through faith we receive healing, through faith we receive all the gifts that he has for us. So it’s through faith that we have the capacity and the ability to receive the things that God has for us.
This faith in him is required. But is faith alone enough? This is kind of a launch of where we’re going to go today, through this passage. James 2:17 says, “Faith without works is dead.” To go a little deeper, 2:24, you see that person is considered righteous by what they do not just faith alone. So a faith that is considered righteous before God is a faith where works and faith combined, it’s the way that we live our lives. It’s not just what we say; it’s what we do as well. So to have an act of faith like pastor Nick closed very passionately, I remind you, last week, about having faith and having this connection to God, and being in word and being in prayer, this requires effort, this requires work for us to do what we claimed to have in our faith. So by having given everything, it says right here, that his divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness – divine power being, talking about in the scripture, is his spirit. So we receive his spirit through our faith in him, so it’s by faith we receive the ability to have everything we need for life and godliness. And that says everything or all things that pertain to life and godliness, depending on the version.
But if we have this, what good is everything if we don’t use it? That’s my question this morning. I have maybe a little bit of a funny story to articulate this a little better. So I know this gentleman who works in the oil field on the rigs, and this story is quite embarrassing so I’m not going to use any names, Lane. So there’s this new contraption in the oil field and it shocked me when I heard about it, and it’s called an incinolet. You guys understand maybe where I’m going with it, I’ll explain it. So there’s this contraption, pretty much an out house, out on the rig that you have to go do your stuff in, and it has a little switch in it that once you’re done your business you flip the switch on and it incinerates everything. It’s an incino-toilet. So whoever fails that day or whoever draws the short straw, everybody should know what the oil field is like, but whoever kind of gets picked on or whatever has the great privilege of cleaning the incinolet at the end of the day. Lane. So of course, just like we’re talking about today, in order to go we must be prepared and we must have the right things, so he of course in all of his wisdom he laces it up, he puts the boots on, he puts the full set of coveralls on, I mean the ones that go way up to the neck, puts his gloves on and then gets even so concerned about the level of job description that he has to entail that he starts to tape up his wrists, he tapes up around his legs, and he even tapes up around his neck or whatever to be able to be sure that he’s going to be safe and covered. But unbeknownst to him, when he goes to clean this out he pulls the tray out to the back and a sudden wind gust comes up and blows all the ashes right into his face. I’m sorry for that because I almost just gagged.
The point I’m trying to make is I guarantee you that in the dog house or in a place by the rig there was probably some safety glasses, probably an H2S mask. The company had provided everything that he needed but he chose to only operate with a few things and suffered the consequences. So in preparation before we go, this story is to kind of illustrate that we do have everything that we need for life and godliness, and it’s in our preparation and having things in a balance like Nick talked about that’s going to get us there. So to be effective and to be unfruitful these things need to be increasing in our lives which requires effort. So we’re going to talk about some things today, some points that are really going to explain the connection that Pastor Nick was talking about, was kind of just a carryover of his connection. So if we read again in 2 Peter 1:2 and 3 it just talks plainly saying that it’s in the knowledge of him, if you carry on through the end of it talks about we have all things that pertain to life and godliness, through what? It’s through the knowledge of him. And this word, ‘knowledge’, is not what we would commonly think knowledge is in terms of information, this is not just a word. I did some research back in the Greek, it’s the word inoshiko which means a knowing, an intimate type of relational type of knowing. This is not a knowledge of “I just know you and I know about you.” This is an intimacy. For example, Genesis, “When Adam knew Eve she became pregnant.”
So this is a type of intimacy that this word is talking about in reference to the scripture, so it’s more than just even a knowing or a believing type of knowledge, it’s an investment, it requires effort. It’s not just a knowing of information or a belief structure, because I can tell you from a theology standpoint even the enemy has good theology, even the demons know God is who he is, and they even believe he is who he is, and they know all the things about him is true. But they are unwilling to surrender their lives to him to have an intimate growing and joined relationship with him. James 2:19 reflects this, it says, “You believe that there is one God, good, even the demons believe that and they shudder, they tremble.”So to know Jesus like this is important, extremely crucial, to know him in an intimate relationship type way. It says in Matthew 7:23, this is kind of one of the scariest scriptures of all time in my opinion, where it says, “You cast out spirits and you do many miracles in my name. But depart from me, I never knew you.” This is the type of knowing that I’m speaking of today for my point one. We need to know him people, we need to trust him, we need to invest in him. How a marriage for example, for those of you are married today, how awesome would your marriage be if you didn’t invest in it? How awesome would your marriage be if you didn’t take time with your spouse to nurture, to grow, to invest in it? This is the type of knowing that Peter is referring to when he’s talking about through this knowing of God we can have all things that pertain to life and godliness.
2 Corinthians 2:2 leads me to my second point. “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” That is enough folks; that is enough. To just know him, to know who he is, and to know that what he’s done for you it’s amazing, this is all that’s needed. And in order to know him in that way then it leads me to my second point which is choosing him. Our freewill is one of the greatest gifts that God’s given us. Probably nothing out of all the gifts that he’s given us has probably pleased him more, or can please him more, when we choose to love him over the distractions of the world, to choose him over ourselves, to choose him over all the things that are available to us to choose, including, like Eve, the tree of knowledge. We choose him over all that, that brings him so much joy, it pleases him fully, and to a level that we probably can’t even fathom. But even knowing him isn’t easy like this, we have to be intentional like I spoke of, we have to take the time with him. He is our father, we need to take time with our father. And I would probably say the opposite, it’s probably even more difficult often to get to know him in this way than it is easy. With the busyness of our culture, with work and with time and with kids and the family and with all this stuff there’s so many distractions. So I just ask you and submit to you today, regardless of those distractions choose to invest in him, choose to prioritize him.
And the reason why I put knowing him and choosing him in this order is because I believe just like a human relationship you’re not going to choose to follow somebody you don’t know, you’re not going to choose to follow somebody you can’t trust, you’re not going to choose to follow somebody that you’re not invested with or have a relationship with. I just think that by this knowing of him and the way that it’s listed out here will help us understand that it’s through our knowing and our knowledge of him that makes it easier, just a little easier coming up against the things that we always come up against to choose his will, his plan, and his life for us. And you’ll ask, “Well, I don’t see where it says choose him in 2 Peter 1:1-11, I don’t see that.” But I like Sherlock Holmes, so I’ll explain what a deduction is. 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. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises; thank you Jesus, So that through them you may be participating or partakers in the divine nature – that is amazing to me – and escape the corruption in this world that is caused by evil desires. So why I think choosing him is important is if you read that backwards, if this is true than the opposite of this is true. If we choose to not know him in this way, not put our faith in him in this way, not believe in his great and precious promises or doubt in his great and precious promises, then we can’t partake in his divine nature that he has set for us, and we will be ensnared by the corruption of the world by our evil desires; that’s a deduction.
So it’s very clear that there are two choices – there is the choice to have faith and believe and choose him, and then there’s the choice to not. So that’s where I came up with the choice and why it’s important. So I think it’s important to note again that… Well, ponder on this for a second – based on that scripture that I just read, if you are living a life right now today, your heart is full and abounding in peace and goodness and holiness, and you have everything that you’ve needed, who gets the credit? You pat yourself on the back? Or does it say that God has granted us this? God receives the credit, it’s to his glory through what he’s done for us. And then through the deduction formula, well, what’s the opposite? If you are not living abounding in him full of grace and mercy and love, if you are not living godliness, being godly or in goodness, if you are not in that way then what’s changed? Has God changed? Has his promises changed? Has his provision for each and every one of us who have faith in him change? No. If you’re not living in the tools and the everything that he has for you, chances are you’ve changed, and chances are the distractions and the lack of commitment and awareness has probably changed.
To choose him is not complicated; but it is extremely costly. Luke 9:23, “Then he said to them all,” this is Jesus speaking, “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily to follow me.” Matthew 16:24-25, “Then Jesus said to his disciples whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Costly. Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” To choose him guys is not costly, but I’m telling you it’s worth it, it is extremely worth it. So make every effort to choose him. Like Pastor Nick says, it takes a lot of commitment and work, it’s hard work, so be diligent, make every effort to choose him. And this leads me to my third point – we need to reflect him. We need to know him, we need to choose him, and we need to reflect him.
2nd Peter 1:5-8 simply talks about this, it says, “Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue and with virtue knowledge.” All these things that are listed here, he’s speaking directly to character, the character traits of God, the character that we need. When we know him personally and intimately, and we’ve fully chosen him at this point. We choose his ways over our ways out of a gratitude of what he’s done for us, not duty, I’m not speaking that these are mandates, I’m just telling you this is fruitful preparation, there’s a reason why he listed it this way, that you will be ineffective and unproductive in all you do if you add to yourself these things. When we reflect him it confirms our choice to those around him. When we reflect him it shows that we are different in a very good way from the world. We have different priorities, we look at things differently, we love differently, we forgive differently, we face trials situations circumstances differently when we choose to reflect him. When we choose to reflect him it reveals that we serve a greater purpose than ourselves. In short, when we reflect him it shows that we’re becoming more like him. If we don’t it’s pretty clear what it says in verse nine, verse nine just talks about that we’re near sighted and blind forgetting of being cleansed of our past sins; that’s pretty weighty, right?
Some of you today may have come here with the expectation that God is going to change your situation or your circumstance. And I am not here to say that he can’t, and I am not here telling you that he won’t. But maybe, just maybe, he cares more about changing you than he cares about changing your circumstances. Maybe he’s allowing these things in your life to reveal or to shape or to mold a character trait of his in you. Maybe he’s allowing these to build perseverance or steadfastness or virtue. He cares more about your character and your heart than he does your comfort, you’ve heard this before, but this is a good reminder. And once we get this, once we get that God is at work, it says every work, every great work that he started he will complete. So once we see things through him, through knowing him, through choosing him, becoming to be obedient to his will, then he can soften our hearts. And it changes everything – we start to mirror him, we start to love like him, we start to forgive like him. And out of that comes this amazing perspective that God is in control. The weight and the expectations that we put on ourselves are eliminated, we see everything differently when we get this. We see our burdens differently, we see our relationships differently, we see our worries and our finances differently.
Matthew 7:20 says in short they will know you by your fruit. It’s how we live our lives and what comes out of us. Jesus says it’s not what goes into a man that defiles him, it’s what goes out. We have to be cautious that we cast a shadow. Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Walk in love, therefore be imitators of God as beloved children and walk in love as Christ loved us, gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-15, “But thanks be to God who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of knowledge of him everywhere, for we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” And I chose these texts to kind of reflect this because it speaks about our being a wonderful fragrance of God, and a beautiful aroma. If we just think for a second back in those old days… as I say old days, it’s a long time ago. So back 2,000 years ago when they were… just think about the process of making a fragrance or think about the process of making an aroma where they go and find these natural beautiful sources of scent through plants or whatever and they would grab them and they would stick them in a bowl and they would mash them, and they would squish them and they would crush them. And then they would start the process of refining them, and then the end product was this beautiful fragrance. This is what God is doing with us. He’s taking the old, processing and refining to bring to completion a beautiful fragrance that reflects him.
So like pastor Nick says, reflecting him requires effort, and it also requires a sense of discipline. Hurting is not fun, being stripped, being broken, being exposed is not fun. But I’m telling you it’s worth it because you’re not your own, you were bought with a price, and at a steeper price than you could imagine. Well, maybe you can imagine, but I guarantee you it was worse than that. So it says here if you read through, it says doing this, by adding these characteristic traits of God it will keep us from being ineffective and unfruitful in our knowledge of him, in our knowing of him. And then if we live this out, the blessing can flow through us to those who need it the most, which is the people who ultimately we care about. This is the whole mission of all systems go. Christ didn’t come to save the saved, he came to save the sinners, it’s the people of the world that don’t know him and don’t know his principles and don’t know there’s freedom and a better life; this is what matters.
So this leads me to my fourth point and final point for the day, which is simply go; simply just go. When you know him and you know him intimately and you invest in him, and you take the time to love him and then you choose to follow him out of obedience, not out of duty, because of the amazing grace and the amazing gifts and the amazing ability he’s given you, then you will reflect him. And through this reflection you’re fully prepared, all systems are in line as Pastor Nick would say, and the launch process can start. But, by going I will encourage you in this way – so often in going we get ensnared by this huge intimidating thing of now that God’s given us this great commission I’m just going to go out and I’m going to change the world and it seems to always get deflated, or things always come against you in ways, and you can become very intimidated of the daunting task that’s out there. There’s some what? 3.2 billion people out there that haven’t even heard the name of Jesus Christ. When you think on this level it can be pretty daunting. And I ask you today to curb your focus away from this global mission, even though it is an absolute requirement, I get it. But it’s through knowing him and through choosing him and through reflecting him that we understand it’s personal and intentional that he’s placed us right here, right now for this very season to impact and impart and reflect his love and glory to those around us. It is by intent that he is putting every single person in our path in our path.
So as Jesus says in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey my Commandments. And behold, I am with you always for the end of the day.” We skim over that, we see the grandeur of it. But there’s a little word that says, “go there and make disciples.” So my encouragement to you today, discipleship making is intentional relationship, it’s coming alongside those that are with you. It is putting your arm around them, praying with them, teaching them, teaching them to obey the commands of God so that like Jesus did, everything he did was intentional. He had an intentional invested personal relationship with every one of his disciples and every single one that he talked to. This is discipleship, this requires the same level of relationship and investment and time as it does to get to know God. It’s funny how it works backwards, it’s like a circle. So once we know him and choose him and reflect him then we can invest in people the way he invested in people. And by the training and teaching and loving example reflecting him these people are now equipped, to do what? To disciple as well. And then they go, and then they go, and then they go; and this is how the Great Commission becomes effective. It’s through knowing him and through choosing him and it’s reflecting him on a personal level. I care so much more about the people than the process.
I will close with this. He loves you, and if your faith is in him today… it says at the end of Matthew, Matthew 19:20 after the great call of his children, “And again remember, I will be with you for the end of the age.” He has given us everything we need for life and godliness. If we follow these practices and these principles of adding to our character the things of God, he prepares a room for us it says. It’ll be a rich welcome into the kingdom of our Lord and Jesus Christ, our Savior. So today as we focus on preparing, understand that you can shave a lot of the burdens and the expectations and the grandeur away, put your hope in knowing God and choosing his ways and loving him. And just be obedient to love and to share and to be hospitable, and to add these character traits of virtue and steadfastness. And be an example to those he’s placed around you, and that’s why you’ll be effective and fruitful.
So let us pray. Dear Lord I thank you so much for what you’ve done on the cross for each and every one of us Lord. I thank you that it is through this knowing you and understanding and believing in you that we can see or be revealed your plan for your people. I thank you that your word and spending time with you is a way that we can gain this knowledge of knowing you, understanding your character. I thank you Lord that it’s a lot more simple than it is complicated. I just ask today Lord that you give us the strength and the courage to keep our eyes magnified on you, keep our eyes magnified on the call that you have for us individually to recognize the opportunities and the people in need of your great love around us. I pray just as we are focusing on preparation today that you prepare the hearts of those who need you the most, prepare our ways and our paths to minister your love and grace to those around us. And I thank you Lord for your great and precious promises that give us strength and encouragement. And I thank you that you will be with us till the end of the age. Increase our faith today Lord, put a zeal and passion in our hearts to want to get to know you more. Remove the distractions from this life so that we can choose you, to obey you Lord, and to reflect your love to those around us, in Jesus mighty and holy name I pray, amen.
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