What manner of persons - Part IIBro. Ron Rupé
11/17/2002 6:00 PM
2 Peter 3:9-14
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
This is a New Testament prophecy: "The day of the Lord will come..." "The Lord is not slack" concerning this promise. What will happen on that day? "...the heavens will pass away ... the elements shall melt with fervent heat ... the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up ..." What should we do to prepare for this? "Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." "... what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness..." The manner of person we should be is Christ.
1 John 4:17
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
Our boldness in the promised day of judgment will be that we were as Christ in this present world. We need to be like Christ to prepare for the day that Peter spoke of. Since we are to be like Christ:
- To what extent are we to be like Christ?
- To what extent are we like Christ?
Are we to take this in part, or in whole? Are we to be like Christ with our whole heart and whole soul and whole mind and all our strength? Yes.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Though a man be as Christ in part (a babe in Christ) it is not God's will that he remain like Christ in part, but that he would come unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, and grow up into him in all things. It is possible for someone to be like Christ in part. The new Christian, or the babe in Christ has the unstable and shaky position. God doesn't want us to remain children. These have been cleansed in the flesh, but not in the Spirit. They have need to put off the inward faults (anger, envy, etc.) The inward passions are still a struggle to one who is only like Christ in part.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
This is an example of someone who is like Christ in part. Paul is addressing Christians, but they have not obtained the fullness of Christ. This is not the highest Christian experience. A new convert struggles with the will of the Lord. God wouldn't have them to remain there. It's a struggle with those inward things that come short of the glory of God. "We henceforth be no more children..." Henceforth - from this point on. From the moment you've been filled with the fullness of Christ, on...
An Old Testament promise that deals with the experience of sanctification:
For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave unto your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.
God promises to cleanse from both the filthiness of the flesh and the filthiness of the spirit. Ezekiel was prophesying of our day. It was not fulfilled in Ezekiel's day. God promises to save from all our uncleannesses. He cleanses the uncleanness of both the inward and outward man.
The fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy:
2 Corinthians 6:16-18, 7:1
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
The promises Paul speaks of (see verses 16-18) Paul is quoting from Ezekiel. He encourages them to cleanse themselves from not only the filthiness of the flesh, but also from the filthiness of the spirit. God is able to save to the uttermost. He is able to make us whole in Christ.
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Some have attained a greater height than being a babe or a child that is tossed to and fro. All the things a babe in Christ struggles with have been put off. Have you reached the "but now" place in your life? Has the uncleanness of the spirit been removed from you?
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Paul's prayer for them "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." The ministry is to work until we all come to the fullness of Christ. Comprehend - understand it through possession of it. It is understanding by experiencing the abiding presence within. He wants us to understand it like every other person who possesses it does. When we realize that we can't conquer this on our own, Paul gives us this assurance, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, " God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all this that we ask.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly..." To what extent are we to be like Christ? To what extent are we like Christ? The body and the spirit need preserving. "He is able." "He is faithful to do it."