************ Sermon on 2 Peter 1:10 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on January 24, 2016
2 Peter 1:1-10
2 Peter 1:10
"Hooked on Christ"
When I was serving a church in British Columbia a regular attender invited me to go ice-fishing with him. We left his home at 6 a.m. in a four-wheel drive pickup. We drove a couple of hours up a mountain road until we reached the point it was blocked by snow. We then hopped on snowmobiles and went another hour or so until we came to a frozen mountain lake. We rode to the middle of the lake, drilled a hole, let down our poles, and drank hot-chocolate. He landed a couple of small ones that he threw back. Suddenly my pole bent. Line started to run. I started to reel it in. I had hooked a large pregnant salmon filled with thousands of eggs.
The Cadet theme this year is "Hooked on Christ." Through Jesus, God has placed His hook in us.
I The Fisherman
A Picture God as a fisherman. Picture God as the "great Angler." Watch as He sets the hook and brings in His catch.
Who am I? I was born a Jew. Though we did not live in Jerusalem, my parents had me circumcised when I was eight days old. Every morning my parents made me apprentice for a local tradesman so I could learn how to support myself. We talked Greek in our home but my parents sent me to Synagogue School every afternoon so I also learned Hebrew. I loved school and I loved memorizing the Old Testament Scriptures. I did so well that my rabbi sent me for advanced training.
I was a good Jew. I loved the law of Moses and prided myself on keeping it. I hated Jesus and the new religion He started. I hated Him so much that I stoned one of His followers to death. I hated Him so much that I punished any Jew who became a Christian. I was a leader in the Jewish faith. People looked up to me and followed me.
One day, as I was on the road, a bright light blinded me. I fell to the ground. I thought I heard the voice of Jesus. For three days I was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. I did a lot of thinking and praying those three days.
On the third day one of the Christian converts I hated came to see me. He placed his hand on me. He said something about Jesus. I was filled with the Holy Spirit and asked to be baptized and began to preach that Jesus is the Son of God.
Who am I? I am the Apostle Paul. Do you see how the great Angler was setting His hook in me? It was He Who arranged my life so I could speak Greek and Hebrew. It was He Who made sure I knew the Old Testament. It was He Who made me a leader among the Jews. It was He Who blinded me and made me think about my life. It was He Who sent Ananias to talk to me and baptize me. It was He Who made me a leader of the church. The great Angler set His hook in me.
Who am I? I was a wealthy man who lived in Jericho. They say money buys friendship. But I was kind of lonely. The Romans poked fun of me. Most of my fellow Jews wanted nothing to do with me and even kicked out of the synagogue and told not to come back.
One day I heard the news that a man called Jesus was in town. I had heard about Him in the coffee shop. He was a miracle worker. I heard He was way smarter than the Pharisees who look down on me. He says things which make them mad and look dumb. So I went to see Him. The crowds were too thick. So I ran ahead and climbed a tree. I was hidden in the branches. But from there I had a clear view of Jesus as He came through the city.
Jesus stopped under my tree. No one knew I was there but He looked up. Though I had never met Him before, He called me by name. He told me to come down. He invited Himself to my house for dinner. Suddenly I knew my life was never going to be the same again.
Who am I? I am Zacchaeus. Do you see how the great Angler was setting His hook in me? It was He Who arranged my life that day so I wanted to see Jesus. It was He Who made me climb that tree along Jesus' route. It was He Who changed my heart. The great Angler set His hook in me.
Who am I? I was born and raised in the Greek city of Thyatira. I am a woman who ran her own business selling purple cloth. I decided to live and work in Philippi. In the course of my work I met some Jewish women who invited me to attend their worship by the river. Before long I was going every Sabbath and became a worshiper of the one true God.
One Sabbath a visiting rabbi named Paul was invited to read the Scriptures and give the message. He talked to us about Jesus. My heart was strangely warmed as I listened to him talk. Before I knew it I was being baptized and invited Paul and his friend to stay with me.
Who am I? I am Lydia. Do you see how the great Angler was setting His hook in me? It was He Who gave me Jewish friends. It was He Who sent Paul to Philippi. It was He Who opened my heart to believe the gospel. It was He Who made me a Christian. The great Angler set His hook in me.
Who am I? This one you boys will not guess. Maybe one or two people of the congregation know who I am talking about.
As I child I believed in God, but without love or awe. God was simply a magician Who did not always perform so I lost my belief in Him.
I was an intellectual. I read widely and thought deeply. I studied with excellent teachers and endlessly discussed ideas with friends. I loved books.
I became a materialist. I believed that the material universe -- what may be touched, tasted, seen, or heard -- is all there is. There is nothing else. This belief made me happy. For a while.
I became an idealist because materialism did not account for truth, beauty, right, and wrong. I decided what is real is not what one touches and feels but what one thinks. Mind is ultimate. And there is an ultimate Mind. It is called "The Absolute." Belief in The Absolute offered me all the advantages of belief in God with none of the inconveniences because The Absolute made no demands. It was simply there.
I met some people I came to admire. All of them, to a person, believed not merely in an Absolute, but in God. These people had depth. These people cared about telling the truth, restraining lust, and dealing fairly with others.
I was not searching for God. I did not want to meet God. But the Angler could not be denied His prey. You must picture me alone in my room, night after night, feeling the steady, unrelenting approach of Him Who I did not want to meet. That which I greatly feared came upon me the third term of 1929. I gave in and admitted God was God, and knelt and prayed.
Who am I? I am the great Christian author C. S. Lewis. Do you see how the great Angler was setting His hook in me? The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But I was brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting my eyes in every direction looking for a chance to escape. The great Angler set His hook in me.
B You boys have learned a phrase for this -- a phrase we see in our Bible reading for tonight. It is the phrase "calling and election." What does this phrase mean? It means that before the foundation of the world God chose certain people to be saved. And then He drew them in through His Word and Spirit. He gave them true faith in Christ, He forgave their sin, He made them holy, and someday He will bring to glory.
Calling and election. God is the great Angler. He knows His prey. He lures them. He hooks them. He captures them. They are His forever.
II The Fish
A You might be wondering if you've been caught by the great Angler. Like Paul. Like Zacchaeus. Like Lydia. Like C. S. Lewis. What do you do to make sure? Listen to what our text for tonight says:
(2 Pet 1:10) 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 ...Make your calling and election sure. What does this mean?
Peter writes this because he knows how easily our hearts and minds can be filled with doubt. Peter writes this because he knows we too easily wonder and worry about whether we are called and elect. Peter writes this because he knows not all Christians have the assurance of their salvation at all times. More than one person has asked me how to be sure about salvation. If you are one of these unsure persons, I want you to realize you are not alone; assurance of salvation is a difficult struggle for many. And, I hope and pray that this evening's message will help you.
B What keeps us from being sure about our calling and election? The primary reason why any of us are not sure is because of sin.
The sin that we are born with as well as the sin we actually commit make us question our calling and election. When we are disobedient to God's commands or lacking when it comes to the things of the Lord, we may question whether or not we are saved.
Satan is the only one who is happy when we doubt our calling and election. Because that means the old man of sin is winning in our life. Because that means he is keeping you awake at night, tossing and turning and endlessly troubled. Satan loves it when God's people are not sure about salvation.
C Make your calling and election sure. Put your life under a magnifying glass. What do you see? What should you see?
-a true faith in Christ -- that is, a faith that looks to Christ and Christ alone for all the blessings of salvation: such as forgiveness, righteousness, new life
-a childlike fear of God -- that is, not the fear of a slave, but the respect and love of a son or daughter
-a godly sorrow for sin -- that is, not merely a sorrow about getting caught or because of the consequences of sin, but a deep and abiding sorrow that we have offended God and His majesty
-a hunger and thirst for righteousness -- that is, a desire to walk in God's ways, to follow His laws, to be like Christ
Those who can truly and sincerely observe these fruits or a measure of these fruits within themselves can rest assured of their calling and election.
D Make your calling and election sure. Peter warns us against presumption. You can't presume you are called and elect just because you are raised in a Christian home or are sent to a Christian school or attend church on Sundays or are part of Cadets. If the fruits of calling and election are not found in your life, don't presume to think you are saved.
On the other hand, if you think the fruits are there, but are hesitant to say so, then make your "calling and election sure." Start off by spending time with the Word and in worship. Then, within this context, encourage those fruits to be more real in your life. Cooperate with the Spirit of God rather than resist it. By the grace and power of God work at making those fruit more visible in your life. Says Peter,
(2Pt 1:5-8) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; (6) and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; (7) and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. (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.Make every effort. Strive. Work hard at it. Don't give up.
God is the great Angler. He knows His prey. He lures them. He hooks them. He captures them. They are His forever.
Are you one of His fish? Are you one of those called and elected by Him? Well, then, make your calling and election sure.
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
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