************ Sermon on 2 Peter 1:10a ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on September 6, 2020
2 Peter 1:5-11
2 Peter 1:10
"Make Your Calling and Election Sure"
How do you know if you are saved? How do you know if you should be taking the Lord's Supper next week? Yes, you may publicly confess your faith before God and His people, but deep down you -- and others -- may wonder if you are only putting on an act. What is the proof of your salvation?
Peter answers these question for us this morning. He says to Latisha and Mallory, to you and me, to all of God's people, "make your calling and election sure." There is something you can do, says Peter, there is something you can do to give yourself the assurance of your salvation. "Make your calling and election sure."
I Making Your Calling and Election Sure
A What is the difference between calling and election? Or, are they just two ways of saying the same thing?
Look at the word "calling." In mind is the call of the Gospel. The job of the church is to call sinners with the Gospel. So we send missionaries to the ends of the earth saying, "Be reconciled to God" (2 Cor 5:20). We announce to the lost in the pews, our homes, at work their need to come to Jesus.
Do you hear Jesus calling? Do you hear Jesus calling, "come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Mt 11:28)? Latisha and Mallory heard Jesus calling and have come to Him. I invite anyone else who wants to come to Jesus to talk to me after the service about professing their faith.
Next, look at the word "election." It means God chooses. No one can argue election is taught in the Bible:
(Rom 8:29-30) For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (30) And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified (cf Eph 1:5).
B Calling is what God does in time. Election is what God does in eternity. Calling is drawing a person to salvation. Election is choosing a person for salvation. Calling and election go together. The same God who elects His people also ordains the means to call them. The two go together as we see in
2 Thessalonians and 1 Peter:
(2 Th 2:13-14) ... from the beginning God chose you to be saved [and what?, and] called you to this through our gospel ...We do not preach election to unsaved people; we preach the Gospel. But God uses that Gospel to call sinners to repentance, and then those sinners discover that they were chosen by God!
(1 Pet 2:9) But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
C "Be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure." Look at that word "sure." Other Bible translation use the word "certain, confirm." Make certain. Be secure. Confirm. Affirm. Guarantee. Let there be no doubt or hesitation on your part.
"Be all the more eager." That's sounds a lot like what is said in verse 5: "make every effort." In fact, it is the same word in the Greek. Make every effort. Be all the more eager. Do you hear the urgency? Do whatever you can.
"Be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure." Who needs to do this? Not God. God knows who He called and who He elects. God has no doubt or confusion about this. This is certain from God's point-of-view. It is believers who are uncertain, unsure, filled with doubts and questions and fears and tears. They are the ones who need to make their calling and election sure.
Latisha and Mallory, congregation, you have been called by God. You are elect of God. Now what? "Be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure."
II How to Make Your Calling and Election Sure
A How do you make your calling and election sure? How do you become sure and confident about salvation? Peter gives a positive answer and a negative answer.
We find the positive answer in verse 8. Listen to what Peter says:
(2 Pet 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.
"For if you possess these qualities ..." What qualities? The ones mentioned in verses 5-7: faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. If they belong to you, if you possess them. The Greek verb is very strong. It means property you actually own, an abiding possession.
If you have these qualities and they are on the increase -- the Christian life is never to be at a stand still, you don't maintain the status quo. Increase here means more than enough, more than necessary, having plenty and then some.
If you see these qualities in your life and you see them on the increase. They what? "They will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive."
"Ineffective." Another word is useless. Literally, idle, lazy, inactive. If you pursue the qualities you will NOT be ineffective, useless, idle, lazy, inactive.
And, "unproductive." Unfruitful. This word is used in the New Testament for trees that don't bear fruit. It also describes the godless men of Jude 12 and the seed that fell among the thorns in Matthew 13. If you pursue the qualities you will NOT be unproductive.
Let's use the language of our text for today. If you pursue the qualities, and they increase, you are making your calling and election sure. You are showing yourself and the church that you are not just talk, that you are not just going through the motions. That you mean life with Christ. That you know Jesus as your Savior and Lord.
B How do you make your calling and election sure? How do you become sure and confident about salvation? Peter gives the negative answer in verse 9:
(2 Pet 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.
"But if anyone does not have them ..." Have what? The qualities of faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.
If you don't have them, and if you don't have them in increasing measure, then what? Then you are "near-sighted and blind." You don't see something. You don't see you are saved. You don't see your life in Christ. You are blind to your calling and election.
You know what else? If don't have them, and if you don't have them in increasing measure, then you have "forgotten." Amnesia. A form of spiritual Alzheimer's. Forgotten you have been cleansed from sin. Forgotten you are saved. Forgotten your calling and election.
C Realize, congregation, realize Peter is talking to Christians, to believers. Christian believers should have increasing virtue. Christian believers should grow and increase in the qualities Peter mentions. So, look at yourself. Don't look at others. Look at yourself. What do you see? Do you see faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love in increasing measure? If so, be confident about your calling and election. If so, be confident about your salvation. If so, be confident about coming to the Lord's Table next week.
III Benefit of Making Your Calling and Election Sure
A We end with two benefits of making your calling and election sure. One benefit is for this life; the other benefit is for the life to come.
Notice what happens in this life when you make your calling and election sure: "you will never fall." Stumble, stagger, despair, be depressed, full of fear. If you pursue the Christian virtues in increasing measure, you have no reason to doubt your salvation.
Congregation, maybe you wonder or worry about taking the Lord's Supper next week and eating and drinking judgment on yourself. Maybe you are an aged saint facing death. Maybe you have been diagnosed with cancer. In all of this you are filled with uncertainty about your salvation. What are you to do? "Be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure."
There is nothing worse than to fear you are not saved. Grief and despair, doubt and fear, are the result. And, there is nothing sweeter than to be sure about your salvation or the salvation of a loved one. Though I was not able to go to my dad's funeral, I am comforted by his testimony that he was ready to die because he knew where he was going. I know many here have similar comfort about loved ones who have died knowing the Lord. "You will never fall."
There are denominations that specialize in making you worry about this. Does that even make sense? Isn't the church supposed to offer comfort to struggling and dying saints? Instead, these churches create doubt, fear, grief, despair, tears, agony, pain, and struggle. So their members face eternity with no assurance of salvation. Isn't that awful?
B The second benefit: "you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
What is the Spirit of God saying through Peter? That if you pursue the Christian virtues in increasing measure, God will reward you. We aren't talking about salvation. You don't earn salvation and you don't deserve salvation -- none of us. Salvation is a free gift. A gift of grace. Actually, the Catechism reminds us that what Peter is talking about is also a gift of grace. When you make your calling and election sure, then God -- out of grace -- rewards you with a rich welcome. "Rich" meaning abundant, great, extreme. "Welcome" meaning entrance, acceptance, access. Imagine a hero coming home and receiving the key to the city. The reward Peter talks of is beyond time. It is beyond space. It is in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Latisha, Mallory, congregation, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.
You are to do more than simply pay lip service to Christ. Instead, you are to live the Christian life in the power of the Holy Spirit. Those who profess Christ but never grow in their walk with God will suffer doubt, fear, pain, and struggle. Those who ever grow to be more like Christ will be sure of their calling and election. They will know they have eternal life. They will be living testimonies of the power of God to change lives.
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