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To Be Useful and Fruitful, Here's How, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
July 21, 2023 7:05 am

To Be Useful and Fruitful, Here's How, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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July 21, 2023 7:05 am

Conquering Through Conflict


Today on Insight for Living from Chuck Swindoll. You want to have purpose? You want to be useful and fruitful in life? Begin with faith. Add to faith a moral courage, not standing aloof, but standing alone when necessary.

It's standing like a steer in a blizzard. When God created man and woman, all of us were instilled with a natural drive to lead productive and fruitful lives. Occasional idleness is refreshing, but most of the time we prefer accomplishment over boredom.

And that's what makes growing older so difficult or getting sick. When we're sidelined, we feel a sense of loss that comes from our inability to produce. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll continues a message he started yesterday. We're looking at 2 Peter for guidelines on leading constructive and fulfilling lives. Today's message is titled, To Be Useful and Fruitful, Here's How. Tucked away in a rather obscure section of the Bible is a small letter that includes only 61 verses. It is the letter of 2 Peter. In the first verse, the apostle opens his letter by talking first about the writer himself, then the recipients, and then some things having to do with faith.

Simon Peter, a bond servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. Now that's the man who wrote the letter. Notice those who receive the letter. To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours.

Now that tells us that the people who receive the letter are different from the one who wrote the letter. I think he has reference to the fact that they were Gentiles and he is Jewish. They have received a faith the same kind as the believing Jews by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. In the second verse, you will notice Peter then talks about grace and peace and knowledge. The reason this transfer is possible is because of the grace of God. That which God does for the sinner which we do not deserve, which we do not earn, and which we can never repay. He gives us by his grace this sense of peace. A tranquility of soul. He comes to us in all of our lostness and absence of peace and he grants us what Peter calls multiplied peace. May grace and peace be multiplied because of a full knowledge.

A knowledge that grows into experience with the Lord God himself and with his son Jesus Christ. Verse 3 continues, seeing that his divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and everything pertaining to godliness through the true knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and excellence. That verse is rich. Verse 3 begins by talking about power that comes from God. That is how a life is changed.

That is how usefulness takes the place of boredom. That is how fruitfulness replaces this absence of reason, any reason to go on. The power of God called here divine power has been granted to us and with it has come everything pertaining to life and godliness. I call it our introductory packet. When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, he gives us an initial issue. Military terms I suppose. He gives us a basic issue and in that basic issue, in the basic uniform of life.

Come, look at it. All things pertaining to life and godliness. Our life before him and our life before others.

Both of these dimensions are affected. All things pertaining to life and all things pertaining to godliness. I think life has reference to the horizontal life lived on this earth and his divine power meets those demands and all things pertaining to godliness, I believe that's the vertical. Our relationship with people, life. Our relationship to God, godliness through the true knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and excellence. This is a basic equipment and it comes by the way with no guarantee. That is as far as usefulness and fruitfulness are concerned. The initial packet is ours.

The equipment is supplied but it requires our acting upon it. And that brings us to verses four through nine where God's promises and our part in those promises come together. This is what I might call the flip side of the record. The other side of God's grace. Now watch closely. For by these, by his glory and by the excellence mentioned at the end of verse three, he has granted to us his precious and magnificent promises. In order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

This is what God gives us and why. Verse four speaks for itself. God has granted us his precious and magnificent promises. Someone has numbered the promises in the Bible.

7,464 if I remember the article correctly. I can't vouch for that number because I've not stopped to count them but literally there are hundreds, there are thousands of promises many of which apply to us directly. Some of which do not apply to us but apply to someone in the scriptures. But the point is he has given to his children precious and magnificent promises. Do you remember when you were just a little fellow or gal and your parents made a promise?

In the Swindoll home a promise changed just a hope into a certainty. If we say with a shrug, yeah well we'll go to Disneyland one of these days. That meant very little.

Every parent in Southern California says that to get the kids off his back. But if we said we promise you next Saturday we are going to Disneyland, that did it. They put it down. They wrote it in blood and held us to it. It was an absolute certainty.

We would go even if one of us was sick. It was a promise that came from a father or a mother and it said it's sure. God has written in blood promises that are, he puts it, precious and magnificent. And these promises, why Disneyland wouldn't hold a candle to these promises. These are not promises of fantasy.

Listen to a few of them. Forgiveness to the sinful. Strength for the weary. Rewards for the undeserving. Blessing for the obedient.

Comfort to the juggler. Power to the weak. Hope to the dying. His presence in threatening situations. Resurrection at his return.

To name just a few. And over in 2 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 20, we are told that all the promises of God are yes and amen. 2 Corinthians 1 as many as may be the promises of God in him they are yes and also by him is our amen. I found that the promises of God give God's people a yes face. You can spot folks who are living in light of the promises of God.

They live with a yes face. There is a positive anticipation in the lives of people whose lives are wrapped in these magnificent and precious promises. Look at the purpose of the promises. This is why he gave them. Verse 4. In order that by them you might become partners, if you prefer. Portakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

What kind of deal is that? We live in a world where the majority of people cannot escape and will not escape the corruption. Overwhelmed by cravings that they cannot control or conquer. We have escaped such constant cravings and uncontrollable desires. By his promises we have been given a divine nature that has allowed us to escape a corruption in a lust oriented world. Now that sounds like a situation that is absolutely automatic. All you need to do is give your life to Christ and all the problems are solved.

Wrong. When you give your life to Christ, power comes. Promises are made available but nothing is automatic.

We don't punch in autopilot once we have come to the cross. The responsibility then becomes a shared responsibility. He provides the power and I give back to him in worship obedience. He comes offering promises and I respond to the promises with I believe it.

I will act upon it. I will live in the light of this promise. So verses 5 through 9 talk about what we give to God and how to do it.

Look closely at verse 5. For this very reason applying all diligence in your faith supply and he begins a list. Moral excellence in your moral excellence supply knowledge and in your knowledge add self-control. In your self-control next is perseverance and in your perseverance godliness. In your godliness brotherly kindness and in your brotherly kindness add Christian love.

Before I get into the list and I want to say a word about each one of these traits. I want you to notice the words applying all diligence and also the terms supply. Both are in verse 5. The original term rendered diligence means to make haste to be eager to take care to exert oneself. You and I in living out the Christian life in order to enjoy purpose and usefulness must be engaged in the diligence of application and obedience. This is one of those wonderful lists that we can count on that describes the things that are worth our effort and if you want to live a life that is useful and fruitful here is a wonderful place to start. These are the things that are worth your time and attention and effort. Applying all diligence start with faith. Now let's take time to work our way through this. Bunyan has said the soul of religion is the practical part.

It's a wonderful statement. To break the inertia of the old nature to deal with what is involved in getting on track and staying on track will require a sense of diligence. Let's start with faith. See it in verse 5? Applying all diligence in your faith.

That's the first stop. This is the tap root of the Christian life. It is relying on what God says in his word. It is believing him against all odds. It is abandoning oneself to him, his will. It is relying on his strength.

It is drawing on his wisdom. Faith is foundational and it is the bottom line upon which we build the character traits that are described in the following verses. So we start with faith and I have to pause and ask you are you certain you've got that in place? Faith doesn't demand sight but faith does demand an object. What is the object of your faith? Who is the object of your faith? The implication here is that it takes us back to the early part of the letter that it is the living God whom you have come to know through a knowledge of Jesus Christ that is foundational. That's the basis.

Be sure that's in place. Now add to that faith, second, moral excellence. At the root of the term is the idea of courage.

It is used in classical Greek for bravery and valor. Add to your faith courage to stand firm, to stand alone if necessary. Not aloof, but alone. I brought a series in years past called standing alone and every once in a while I've gotten comments from people who have heard that series and have said I wish you would make it clear and it's a good reminder, it's a good criticism that it's not a matter of standing aloof from people, it's a matter of standing alone for Christ. You can stand alone so severely and in such rigidity that you begin to stand aloof and that's not our hope. In the midst of a world that is corrupt and driven by lust, you can become so aloof in Christ that you're out of touch.

I think my friend Howie Hendrick says it takes the average Christian about 3 years to remove from their circle of friendship all unbelievers. Have you become so connected to the Christian world that your circle no longer includes contact with the lost? You've begun to stand aloof.

You're not careful, the enemy will convince you. That's what it means to stand alone. The purpose in life is to be insulated, not isolated. Jesus deliberately left his disciples on the earth, he said you stay in the world, just don't become a part of it.

Our hope is not to find some wonderful place where we can live like folks inside a walled monastery because believe me you bring your problems with you and you will not learn to deal with life away from the world system. And he says here add to your faith a moral excellence which requires courage, bravery, valor, standing alone not swayed by the opinions or even the majority feelings of the group around you. Add to your faith moral excellence.

Okay we're adding to this train a third car. Add knowledge. This is one of Peter's favorite words. For this very reason applying all diligence in your faith supply moral excellence and in your moral excellence be sure to include knowledge. Practical knowledge. Knowing what to do in a given situation. Common sense knowledge.

Knowing how to apply the principles of the book of God to the will of God for your life. Isn't it wonderful to be around people like that? Isn't it great to have a few friends who have put together in their practical theology an understanding of the scriptures that connects them with dealing with life. Their decisions seem wiser than ours. Their spirit seems calm. They take the blows of life in stride. They seem to have enough perception to know what to discount and what to take into consideration.

They have a good filter system. They can detect insignificance from significance. They seem to know who to worry about or who to pay attention to. This practical knowledge comes from our walk with Christ and he has a way as we stay close to him of building that and giving us that sense of equilibrium. It brings about a wisdom in life that is so needed to cope with life. You want to have purpose.

You want to be useful and fruitful in life. Begin with faith. Add to faith a moral courage.

Not standing aloof but standing alone when necessary. And add to moral excellence knowledge. A practical knowledge that puts into practice the things of the scriptures. Number four, self control. In your knowledge add self control.

Let's spend a few moments on this. This is the ability to take a grip on yourself. Not allowing anything to master you except the Lord himself. Not money. Not sex.

Not power of position. Not food or drink or drug or work. Any habit or even any goal. I've seen people who are out of control with their goals. So driven that they've lost sight of sanity. I read last year about a woman in Newport Beach who runs eight hours every day. That is fitness out of control. Someone said how do your children get time with you?

She said if they want to talk to me they need to run with me. That's a fun mother isn't it? That is a habit out of control. This is the ability to maintain a balanced life. Even, get this, even in areas where indulgence is overlooked by others. This is being able to put on the brakes. Saying no not only to a second glance at the opposite sex but to a second helping at the table.

Whoops. Stopping when no one is looking as quickly as we stop when the world is watching. Add to your life self control. That's a good place to stop and ask you do you find that someone else must keep you under control?

Are you frequently the recipient of others reproofs and rebukes? Do you know why? It's because you lack self control. Don't excuse it. Don't just pass it off and say well that's just the way I am. That's not the way God wants you to be.

It is the way you are. But the part of growing up in the Christian life requires, go back to it, applying all diligence. It's what our family sometimes calls getting tough on yourself. Telling yourself something that perhaps even your best friend wouldn't work up the courage to tell you to your face.

Straight talk isn't it from the scriptures. Add to your self control perseverance. Chrysostom calls perseverance the queen of the virtues. This is our old Greek friend hupomoneo.

Hupomeneo. It means to abide under. It's used for a donkey that is loaded with a heavy burden and he stands under the load. This is the word for steadfastness. Remaining clear headed in the midst of deadlines and distresses and even disaster. It's standing like a steer in a blizzard.

It includes my lifelong battle. Patience. Wouldn't it be great if God would hurry up? Wouldn't it be wonderful if he would just get on the beam and understand that time is getting short and he needs to come through. You know he isn't at all worried about what time it is. And I don't believe he even cares when we say hurry up. He is moving according to his sovereign purpose and will and it will work together for good. In the meantime be steadfast.

Stay consistent when the answer is wait. Stay strong even though the illness won't leave. Stand firm in perseverance. We don't hear much about the perseverance of the saints do we?

We don't hear much about that. It is one of these major virtues that will give us a life that is useful and fruitful. I suggest those of us given to impatience learn again the value of it. Perseverance. The queen of the virtues. We're midway through a message that Chuck Swindoll titled to be useful and fruitful.

Here's how. His practical application is drawn from the book of second Peter and there's much more teaching coming in the days ahead so make it a point to listen every day to insight for living. To learn more about this ministry visit us online at insight world dot org. Well right now is a wonderful time for recreational reading and our website clearly illustrates a wide variety of great options. Let me draw your attention to one of the staples that insight for living. I'm referring to Chuck's Bible commentary called The Swindoll Study Bible. This is one of the most popular study tools in our collection. By owning this book you'll not only have Chuck's reflections on second Peter but on all sixty six books of the Bible as well.

It comes in a variety of print sizes and several different covers as well. You'll be glad you added this one to your collection. Check out the many options for The Swindoll Study Bible by going to insight dot org slash store or call us. If you're listening in the United States call 800-772-8888. Well we never know how God might use these daily programs to inspire listeners but we do know this insight for living would never get beyond our offices without the voluntary gifts from people like you. So thank you for joining us in an all out effort to make disciples of Jesus Christ in all one hundred ninety five countries of the world. To give a donation right now go to insight dot org. That's insight dot org. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us again next time when Chuck Swindoll continues our study in Second Peter called conquering through conflict on insight for living. The preceding message to be useful and fruitful. Here's how was copyrighted in 1989 1990 2011 and 2023 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2023 by Charles R Swindoll Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-20 14:27:56 / 2023-07-20 14:36:02 / 8

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