"EXCEEDING RICH AND PRECIOUS PROMISES"
I. GOD'S DESIRES FOR US.
A. That we might live a life of godliness.
1. He wants to be as He is.
b. Jesus said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
c. John wrote, "He that has this hope in Him, purifieth himself even as He is pure."
d. John also declared, "As He (Jesus) is, so are we in this world."
2. In the beginning man was created in His likeness of God and in the image of God.
a. The theory of evolution has degraded man causing man to think that he has evolved through a long miraculous series of accidents from the goo, through the zoo, to you.
b. They look at man as a highly evolved animal governed by animal instincts.
c. The Bible teaches that man was a special creation of God high above the animal kingdom, for God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, and after Our likeness."
d. Of man the Bible declares that "God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul."
e. Thus man was made in the image and likeness of God and enlivened with the breath of God.
f. God is a superior trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Man became a inferior trinity of spirit, soul and body.
g. With man's spirit ruling over his mind, he had beautiful oneness, or communion with God.
h. Paul declared to the Athenian philosophers that we are the offspring of God. The Greek word translated offspring is genos from which we get our word gene. Man was created as the genos of God.
3. The Bible speaks of the fall of man from the image of God.
a. Through the rebellion against the authority of the word of God, man ate of the forbidden fruit, and his spirit died. His oneness with God was shattered.
b. Man was now ruled by his body appetites and became like an animal, he began to live on the animal plane. His chief thoughts were of his body needs and how to fulfill them.
c. Man has not evolved from the animal kingdom, but devolved into the animal kingdom through the fall.
d. It was a fall from the image of God, into the likeness of an animal.
B. It is the desire of God to restore man into the image of God.
1. Peter is telling us that God has provided all that is necessary to enable us to live this divine life of glorious virtue.
2. It is quite obvious that man cannot live on the divine plane by just willing or desiring to do so.
3. This is the problem of religions. They for the most part point man to the divine ideal, they declare the superiority of living after the spirit rather than after the flesh.
a. After they have described the life that we should live, giving us the laws or the rules for life, they can do no more. They cannot impart the power or ability to keep the rules.
b. Thus they lead to frustration, for I can see the ideal, I admire the ideal, and desire the ideal, but I cannot attain the ideal.
II. IT IS THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD THAT MAN CAN BE RESTORED TO THE LIKENESS OF GOD.
A. Whereby are given unto us exceeding rich and precious promises that by these we might be made partakers of the divine nature.
1. The cleansing power of the word.
a. Jesus said,
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
b. Jesus prayed,
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
c. We read in the psalm,
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed [thereto] according to thy word.
2. The transforming power of the word.
a. Jesus spoke the parable of the sower who went forth to sow seed, and the various types of soil upon which the seed fell.
b. When Jesus explained the parable He said, "Now the seed is the word."
c. Scientist have now begun to discover the marvels of the cell and the DNA coding. There is a vast amount of information stored in the DNA. The blueprint to reproduce you.
d. Science has begun cloning sheep and other animals. They say it is only a matter of time until in some laboratory in some University they will clone a human being.
e. Within each seed is the DNA code to reproduce the plant or tree or flower that produced the seed.
f. Taking the parable of the sower, and the statement of Jesus that the seed is the word. Within the word is the code to reproduce the author. As you read and study the word, you will be changed into the likeness of the original.
g. This certainly gives a new meaning to the words of Peter "Unto us are given exceeding rich and precious promises that by these you might become partakers of the divine nature."
B. It is the purpose of God to restore you into His image and likeness. Jesus came so that that which Adam lost in the fall might be restored
1. Paul wrote, " Even as by one man sin entered the world and death by sin, and so death passed unto all men, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God and the gift of grace which is by one man Jesus Christ hath abounded unto many."
2. Again he wrote, "If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, and behold all things have become new."
3. God wants to make you a new person. He wants to take away all of those things that are destroying you and remake you into His image.
4. Speaking of the of the church Paul said that God had placed gifted men in the church. Some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and others as pastor teachers, for the perfecting of the church, the building up of Jesus Christ in the believers until we all came into the unity of the faith, the knowledge of the Son of God. Unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
C. To this same end, God has sent His Holy Spirit to indwell us and to give us the power to be like Jesus.
1. Jesus promised the weak disciples that they would receive power after the Holy Spirit had come upon them and they would be witnesses unto Him. A witness is not something you say, but something you are.
2. We read that the disciples of Jesus were first called Christians in Antioch. The word Christian means Christ like.
3. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth,
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.
D. Through the word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit changes are being made in our lives as we move from glory to glory until we find ourselves in the likeness of Jesus Christ.