Throughout the Word of God, and especially in the New Testament, you get that followers of Christ have a living hope. I just recently completed a study of 1 and 2 Peter and have taught these wonderful New Testament books in several places around the country.
And these books, written by the fisherman Peter under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, these books are amazingly powerful and full of gospel truth. And in 1 and 2 Peter you see that Christians have a true and lasting hope in the risen Savior Jesus Christ. And because Jesus conquered death, Christians will have an incorruptible, glorified body, and we may be sure, certain, that our salvation and all that is part of this present life and our future reality with Jesus, it has permanence and it's unfading. And that we Christians, we who have been born again through faith in Jesus, we have a home in heaven for eternity. And yet, even so, there are duties here on earth that we are to carry out for the Lord in obedience to Christ. And God will preserve every born-again believer and increasingly, to greater and greater degree, sanctify us and bring us into conformity with Jesus. And the saved will ultimately enter God's presence in a glorified state.
Well hi, Alex McFarland here, so honored that you're listening. And you know, as I was preparing this to talk about in 1 and 2 Peter, really the theme is thriving till he comes, I was reading an article of some of the rather unusual and frankly tragic ways that celebrities, Hollywood celebrities have chosen to be buried and memorialized. Elizabeth Taylor, the film star, she wanted to have her funeral start 15 minutes late and that her body would be wheeled in, fashionably late, and she had put in her final wishes that she, even at her funeral, wanted to, quote, make an entrance.
Tupac Shakur wanted his ashes, he would be cremated after he died and he wanted his ashes to be rolled up in a joint and his band members to smoke his ashes in a marijuana cigarette, which I read that they did. And you know, very sadly Carrie Fisher, who was Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies, iconic actress, but she was cremated and her ashes were put in a Prozac-shaped urn, an urn shaped like a Prozac pill, because her family said she wanted to forever be with her most prized possession. Isn't that sad that an antidepressant or Prozac pill would be someone's most prized possession? It's very sad. And so when I read the New Testament and I read about all the joy that we have as born-again believers, our sins are washed away, the Spirit of God indwells us, we are in the palm of Christ's hands and will be with him forever. That's joy, that's comfort, that's hope. And it does grieve my heart when I read about these just ludicrous, incredibly foolish things that unsaved people do, even in their funerals.
It's very, very sad. But in the writings of 1 and 2 Peter, and I want to briefly go over some of these because if ever our world needed this kind of truth to call people back to the reality of righteousness and our accountability to God, we're in a time like that. But very famously, in a number of places, 1 and 2 Peter, Peter will reiterate things that he said elsewhere. And Peter, much is made of the fact that he was a fisherman and he spoke his mind and of course he famously denied the Lord and the rooster crowed, but he affirmed the Lord in John 10.21.
Over and over, he would say, yes Lord, you know I love you. And then of course Peter preached at Pentecost and inaugurated the church age. And by the time, roughly 25, 30 years after the cross, that he writes 1 and 2 Peter, he's an incredibly mature follower of the Lord and he says that God is no respecter of persons. Now Peter said that in Acts 10.34 and 1 Peter 1.17. God is not a respecter of persons.
Fame and money don't impress God. We all have to humbly come to Christ. And Peter preached that Jesus is the chief cornerstone and the capstone rejected by the builders in Acts 4 and 1 Peter 2. And Peter speaks of the name of Jesus.
And through the name of Jesus we're born again. He talks about in Acts 3, Acts 16, 1 Peter 4 and elsewhere. So Peter is amazing in the way that God uses him.
And you know at the beginning of his journey with the Lord, you know, I doubt any of us would have really picked Peter to be one of the preeminent apostles. And yet God used him. And God wants to use you and me. And no matter what we were or even what at the present moment we think we are, God can and will use us. And God will give us that incorruptible eternal life through Jesus Christ. And then God will sanctify us and draw us more and more to him. And I want to read some traits in 2 Peter that are to be operative in the life of a believer and in 2 Peter chapter 1 we're encouraged to pursue some traits. I'm going to give seven traits and if we think about these and pray about these, God will work it into our life. Now in 2 Peter chapter 1 verse 5, after making this wonderful promise that we are partakers of the divine nature and we've escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, says this, that we are to give all diligence and add to our faith virtue and to virtue knowledge and to knowledge temperance or self-control and to temperance patience and to patience godliness and to godliness brotherly kindness, charity.
That's gentleness, kindness, love. For if these things be in you and abound, they make that you will neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, the saved will bear fruit and impact others and glorify God. And it says in verse 9 if we lack these things and ignore these things, we're blind and we are to give diligence. Verse 10 says make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you shall never fall. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now to give diligence means to be proactive and to be intentional. And we are to do that. We are not just to passively live our life and wait around until we die one day and go to heaven, although if you're a believer I believe you are secure in Christ, but we are to give diligence just as a musician would practice and aspire to greater accomplishments on their instrument. An athlete is always going to work harder and try to improve on their best time or whatever.
I mean fill in the blank. As a Christian, are you growing? Are you intentionally, daily, throughout the day, working to grow in the Lord?
Well, the seven traits that we are called to pursue, that's what I'm going to talk about when we come back from 2 Peter 1, 5-11, the traits that every believer is called upon to pursue and nurture and cultivate in their life for the glory of God. Stay tuned, we're back after this. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert.
Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. In recent years, our nation has suffered greatly and we seem to be on a rapid moral decline. We've rejected God, morality, and we've almost completely lost our sense of patriotism. It's no wonder that many are asking the question, is this the end of America? Hi, Alex McFarland here and I want to make you aware of my book, The Assault on America, How to Defend Our Nation Before It's Too Late. You know, our nation has seen politicians that are corrupted by greed and they've got a vested interest in power and many of our elected officials seem to care little about the country that they've been appointed to serve. Read my book, The Assault on America, We Can Stand Up for Our Great Nation and Defend America Before It's Too Late.
It's available everywhere. You can learn more on my own website, which is alexmcfarland.com. Read the book, The Assault on America, How to Defend Our Nation Before It's Too Late. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show.
Welcome back to the program. We're studying 2 Peter and we're talking about giving to grow. In other words, the traits that we're to pursue because we've been called. 2 Peter 1 says that Jesus, the merciful Lord Jesus, our risen Savior, has through his divine power given, this is so beautiful, given to us all things that pertain unto life and godliness and knowledge of him who called us to himself and to glory and virtue. And I love verse 4 of 2 Peter 1. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature. Do you reflect on those great and precious promises of our Lord?
What are those? Well, that we don't have fear of judgment. If you're a believer, your sins are washed away. Your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. God has a plan for you.
He's working that out. His Spirit indwells you and seals you, and he will never leave you or forsake you. And your name is written in the heavenlies and you're a son or a daughter of the King. Aren't these great, precious promises? And whether by death or by Christ's return, we're going to see the Lord one day.
Praise God for all of that. Do you know another, I think, great reality of being a Christian is that we have a purpose in life. You know, we're not just here to careen through life, purposeless, undirected, just eating, drinking, buying stuff until we die. Do you know there's a whole industry that's cropped up around the liquidation of material goods that people accumulate over decades of living.
And hoarders, there's a whole television program about people who fill their houses with so much junk they can't even get around. We were made for more than that. We're not just animals. We're not just people with no reason to live. There's a reason to get your life in order. There's a reason to have your house in order.
There's a reason to manage your time. And we remember, and Peter does allude to this, that we are stewards. Now, the seven traits that we are to cultivate are these. And we add to our faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance or self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, love and charity. Now notice, Peter says here, add to your faith. Now that's verse five. Some people, they accept the gift of salvation, but for some people it just ends there. They're a recipient of Christ's offer of forgiveness.
But do you know what? It's like Paul says in Romans, we are to grow and serve and do. Paul says, which is your reasonable service. In other words, it's like the least we could do.
Now, you know this. We're not saved by works and we're not kept saved by works. It's all by the grace of God. But really, an intentional proactive invested Christian life is really an act of worship and gratitude. Yes, we want to become more and more virtuous and exhibit holiness and godliness and sanctification. Yes, we want to grow in knowledge.
I do. I'll just tell you, I want to know everything about everything. You know, when I was in graduate school, I had a Western civilization class, and I've said this before, I really loved it. I loved the history. But it came time for that exam, and I think we were all kind of nervous. And so there was a day at Liberty University when all the classes were supposed to give you a day to prepare for exams, a study day. And the professor, we all were in there, and this is six, seven hundred level master's programs. So we said, how do we prepare for this exam? And the professor said, well, just know everything about everything, and you'll be fine. Well, so the exam had one question, and there were like five dozen things that had happened over two thousand years of Western civilization. And he said, look, there are going to be like seven or eight key things that you've got to know. You've got to know about the Reformation, Protestant Reformation. You've got to know about Pentecost and the birth of the church. You need to know about the Magna Carta, those things.
And so he said, you pick out at least seven of the twenty-four key milestones of Western civilization. And it was a written exam, an essay exam, and here was the one question on the exam. Two thousand years of Western history. Here was the question. What happened? In other words, we were supposed to write to the best of our ability what had happened over the last two thousand years.
And it was about a three-hour exam, and I think I wrote about thirty pages handwritten, and my arm was about to fall out of its socket. But the reason I share that is we Christians are supposed to be lifelong learners. Add to your faith virtue. Peter says, add to your faith knowledge. Folks, be a lifelong learner.
Don't let your mind go dormant. And obviously it begins with reading the Bible. Proverbs 1.7, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. But we are to grow in knowledge.
And as John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, said, challenging his preachers that he mentored, he said the local congregation deserves the highest scholarship the Church has to offer. The Church in previous centuries has been the center of learning and knowledge. And you know, I think it's getting that way again as the lost world is so into darkness and delusion.
I mean, they don't even know what a male or a female is. And we really are alike in a time of a developing nation. Speaking of knowledge and the lack thereof in our culture, in the year 2000, my wife and I made the first of many trips to Africa. And she, as a nurse, has gone to the Sudan and gone on medical missions.
And then I've gone on preaching missions. And we went together with about 45 people in the summer of 2000. And we were 100 miles into the bush country in Zambia, outside of Lusaka, Zambia. And I mean, it was like, you know, set your watch back 2000 years. Twenty-one days, slept on the ground and saw things that just looked like they were out of a movie almost. How primitive it was.
Sweet, sweet people met hundreds of bushmen that loved the Lord, and we saw people saved. But we were in a number of villages in Zambia where people were so sick. And it was dysentery.
And people would have dehydration from so much diarrhea. And it wasn't hard to see because their well would be right beside the latrine where they would go to the bathroom. And Angie, as a nurse, she said, you know, you've got to talk to these people and tell them they can't have their drinking water literally three feet from where they have their bathroom. And so we were trying to explain that, and they couldn't believe that in the water was bacteria. And we hold up a jar of water, and I was explaining to this tribal chief, there's bacteria, that's why your people are sick. And I said, back in America we have building codes, and the well has to be like at least 150, 200 feet from the septic tank. And the chief, very indignantly, he pointed to this jar of water we had pulled up from the well.
He said, you really believe this? There are invisible creatures in this water that are making our people sick. And Angie said, yeah, it's called bacteria. Just trust us on this.
Put your well in your bathroom very far apart and watch your people get better. And we had to persuade them of what to any westerner would be easily known truth. You know, I feel like we're that way again. I find myself debating people, not about the existence of God always, but male and female. They use the term birthing persons. And I'll say, you mean a woman? No, a man can give birth.
No, that's false. And as we are delving further and further into a darkened, pagan, heathen culture, a culture that doesn't know God and doesn't know truth, and common everyday knowledge that any rational adult should know, we have to plead with people and beg people to be open to. We're going to have to rise again to 2 Peter 1 and intentionally grow in knowledge so that we can share truth. Well, stay tuned. We're going to come back and talk more about five other traits that we're called to pursue in our life as we're in 2 Peter 1, and this is Alex McFarland. Don't go away. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert.
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He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Well, welcome back to the program.
We are in 2 Peter chapter 1. I want to thank you for listening. And you know, as I record this, I'm just days away from another youth camp all this summer in six youth camps. We are in front of 1,250 teenagers.
Actually, a couple of hundred more than that, they tell me. But I value your prayers, and I want to say a big thank you to everyone who, through your prayers and financial support, are enabling us to grow as a ministry. We have two radio shows, two television shows, events, publishing, broadcasting, and people are getting saved. I give God the glory that as far as we know, for the last several years, we've averaged about 7,500 people a year coming to Christ. This year, it may be as many as 10,000 people.
But you're helping, and you share in those rewards. And do you know, young people that we correspond with, and we ship out books, and we have the privilege of helping change lives, they are so hungry for it. And as our country has gotten more and more woke, I give God the glory that we are here where we are with our staff, our growing staff. We are needing to add another, really two more people.
And we've got Webb and IT, and we've got such a great vision. We're doing a lot, but we have a vision to do so much more. So I want to ask you to please continue to pray. Pray for the favor and the blessing of God to be on Alex McFarland Ministries, Truth for a New Generation, our viral truth campus clubs. And then as you are able, please financially support.
And please know that all of your gifts are tax deductible. We are in the process of pursuing ECFA certification, the Evangelical Council on Financial Accountability. We will get that approval before this year is out, and we're just now to the point that we can actually even qualify. But that's kind of the good housekeeping seal of approval for our ministries. I give God the glory.
We also are going to have a major fundraising event this fall, and I hope you'll plan on attending. But I give God the glory for our board, our staff, and you, the people that stand with us and support that are enabling us to do our utmost to call America to God. Well, speaking of that, the Bible says in 2 Peter 1 that to our faith, see step one is salvation, but to our faith we are to pursue and add and grow in virtue, that's righteousness, knowledge, we've talked about that, and how really Christians and the church in dark times have always been the oasis of knowledge, that's truth. But also temperance, that means self-control, and that the Lord helps us get a hold of our emotions.
I don't know about you, maybe you have felt enslaved by the mercurial up and down emotions, anger, and then depression, and things like that. Well, as we train ourselves to see life through the lens of scripture, and we realize every day is a gift, oh my goodness, every day is such a privilege, and we grow in the Lord and we represent Christ, two things Peter says, temperance, self-control, but also patience. Do you know the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13 that one of the characteristics of true love is love is patient. We're not a very patient society right now, in fact we've got things like road rage, and people get so angry, and it seems like almost every week or so in the news there'll be some video footage of people having a brawl in a store, or getting into a fight in a restaurant.
We're a culture that's not very patient with each other. But you know one of the earmarks of being controlled by the Holy Spirit is that we become patient, like our Lord. God is patient, long suffering, not willing that any should perish. And so when we are controlled by the Spirit of God, we become more like Jesus, and that would include being patient. And then godliness. Hey, let me ask you this, is church kind of a drudgery to you?
How about reading the Bible? Do you desire to get into the Word of God like the milk of the Word, Psalm 42, as the deer pants for the water brook, my soul pants for God. Godliness would include that you desire to be in the presence of the Savior, and you grow closer to the Son of God by daily getting into the Word of God. And it will become such a joy. And I'm not talking about some super sanctimonious piety, or just this holy thing that belongs in a glass case.
No. Some of the most godly people I know, they're not just trophies in the church glass display case. They're living life in the world, working, getting their hands dirty, being real. But they carry about them the presence of the Lord. And remember in the book of Acts, it said that the people took note that the disciples had been with Jesus. Well that's how it ought to be with us, that people, not for our glory, or not for show, but people should be able to say there's something different about you.
What is it? You're not like everybody else. Well, we walk with Jesus. And then two more traits. Brotherly kindness, and then love and charity.
We're to give diligence and pursue these things. And it takes prayer, and it takes commitment. Kindness. That people know you're going to give them a wise answer.
People know that you're going to be somebody that they not only can approach, but just would want to be around. Because you do exhibit Christ-like love. Now what is love? We've said it many times.
Love is to seek the highest good of another. We had a person call into our radio show earlier today, and they were talking about their rebellious 13-year-old son. And he didn't believe in Jesus, and didn't believe in God. And I asked, I said, does he go to church? And they said, well we don't make him go to church.
And I said, well if you love your child, you're going to set some boundaries. Turns out these parents really weren't walking with the Lord either. But love means seeking the highest good of another person. And when we do that, we will not only try to point them toward a life with Christ, but we ourselves will role model that. I would submit to you, and this is not legalism, this is not works, but if we're not role modeling Christianity and living it for others to see, not only are we not really loving the Lord, we're not really loving our neighbor.
We are to show our love to Jesus by obedience and consistency, and really show our love to others by living, modeling, and speaking truth before the watching world. Now we're almost out of time, but I want to read verse 9. And it says, he who lacks these things literally forgets or ignores these things. Peter says in 2 Peter 1.9, he that lacks these things is blind and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Okay, look at these words. Blind, myopic, that's literally the word there.
Your vision is so skewed. Forgetful and ungrateful. See here, there's this diligent challenge of these seven traits I've talked about, but then there's a note to the neglectful. We quickly forget what Christ has done for us, and we don't want to be blind, we don't want to have not being able to see afar off, verse 9 says.
What does that mean? We have forgotten what it was like to be saved. We are not thinking about the day that we're going to see Christ.
See, we ought to be able to see afar off, backward and forward, and presently around us. Remember how the Lord lovingly drew you to Himself. Think about the fact that we're going to meet Christ one day and give an account.
Look around you and see the limitless opportunities to be a witness and to serve the Savior. And Peter warns us, don't forget our Savior. Don't forget His love and grace to you. Don't forget the blessings. And don't forget that we are on mission in a world that needs the Gospel. And then finally, the greatest motivator of all, certainly the greatest motivator is gratitude.
Really, don't be ungrateful. Look, that submarine went down a few days ago, and for everything we know, those people did not know the Lord. And they foolishly got in that contraption that so many people had warned them about.
And they were lost. All around us there are people that are dying unprepared and in gratitude that we are saved. We've been rescued. If you're a believer, you've been thrown the lifeline.
You've been rescued in a world that is perishing. Many people perishing eternally in absolute appreciation and gratitude to Christ. Let's be on point. Let's give the Lord our best.
Let's give this world the truth. And let's do what we've been called to do. And as Peter says, we will prove who we are. Make our calling and election sure. You know, we're almost out of time. There's a famous old hymn by A.B.
Simpson, a great Christian leader of years past. The hymn is really called Jesus is Standing in Pilate's Hall. But the chorus says this, and I close it. It says, What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be. One day your soul will be asking, What will he do with me?
Don't be neutral. Come to Christ. Stand strong for Christ and know that we're here to help you do that. May God bless you. Alex McFarland Ministries are made possible through the prayers and financial support of partners like you. For over 20 years, this ministry has been bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ and has been equipping people to stand strong for the truth. Learn more and donate securely online at Alex McFarland dot com. You may also reach us at Alex McFarland P.O. Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404 or by calling 1-877-YES-GOD and the number one. That's 1-877-YES-GOD-1. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of The Alex McFarland Show.
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