Living Examples

Your personal contact with Jesus makes your testimony believable.

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:16-21, Matthew 17, Ephesians 2:10


Alright. Thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, it’s your good friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you once again. I’m making this broadcast in the early morning hours. It’s just barely light outside now and even the birds are walking, it isn’t light enough for them to fly. But my heart is singing with praise to our blessed Lord and I’m glad to be with you. What a privilege to share God’s blessed Word with you precious friends day by day. I’m so thankful for those radio stations that make it possible and for you, friends, who by your prayers and support make it possible. Thank you, thank you.

We’re looking at 2 Peter chapter 1, the closing verses. Now, we’re going to look at that whole package of verse 16 to 21 before we go on into the second chapter. Part of it will be a review and part of it may indeed be new, but in any case I trust it will be custom fitted just for you, by the blessed Holy Spirit. Peter said “After I die I’m going to arrange that you have these things in writing so that you’ll be constantly reminded of them.” Remember his insistence on the “These things.” “All things are given unto you that pertain to life and godliness,” verse 3 chapter 1, “And if these things be in you and abound, you’ll be fruitful. If you lack these things you’re blind and shortsighted and if it slipped your mind and how much you owe to the shed blood of the Lord Jesus.” And then he said “If you do these things, you’ll never fall.”

Practicing the Word of God is the secret of a successful Christian living. There’s a great slippage there. It seems to me in our day, people love to talk about the Word of God and about religious things. But when it comes to doing something about it, yeah, that’s different. You go to a missionary meeting and the missionary talks and gives an impassioned recital of what’s going on in his particular or her particular field and people are seen dabbing at their eyes with handkerchiefs. It’s such a moving account and then at the close of the message, the chairman says “Now, we want to take up a missionary offering.” And you’ll see nickels and dimes and pennies and then occasional dollar bill. But there isn’t a great deal of response that is practical.

Now, every person who has been in Christian work for a while has seen that happen. People’s emotions can be stirred without affecting their checkbook. And people’s conscience can be stirred without affecting their conduct. He says “If you do these things.” We go back to James of course, where he says “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” If you just talk religion and don’t live it, you’re kidding yourself but nobody else. Everybody else knows the score about you.

But you’re kidding yourself, that’s what James says. “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own self. For if any be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he’s like a natural man who beholdeth his face in a glass, and goeth his way and forgeteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, He being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work. This man shall be blessed in his deed.” D-E-E-D, do, deed, done. Things you do are the index of how deep the Word of God has gotten into your life.

A strong truth, isn’t it? But it is so very, very true beloved. I ask myself and I ask you. How deep has God’s Word gone into our lives? Has it indeed produced action? Based on these blessed truths that we saw there in the early verses of 2 Peter 1, He gave you everything you needed to be successful. And then, He gave you the precious promises to implement all of that in your life. And then, He gave you the privilege of approaching the throne of grace and by faith claiming these helpful changes in your own personality that bring you in line with the Will of God, all given freely to you. What have we done about it? Is the question. If you do these things, you shall never fall.

And so, we come then to Peter’s statement that he’s now giving a little defense of what he’s been saying. He said — this is verse 16, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables.” Now, that’s what they were accused of in those early days. Unbelieving people and those who had much to gain by squashing the story of Christ’s death and resurrection, we’re saying “Oh, these people have made it all up.”

I will just remind you that any time there is collusion on a story, inevitably somebody makes a mistake, and the truth comes out. Have you noticed that? You cannot successfully make up a story by a group without having somebody miss on a detail and the truth comes out that it was indeed collusion. And the second thing to say about it is, there never has been a record of people who made up a lie as a group and then were willing to die for it.

When people know that they’re lying, they’re not willing to lay their lives on the line and lose their lives for lie they’re telling. And so Peter says, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Why? He said “We were eyewitnesses of His Majesty. We were there.” Now, there are two things that you can depend on. One is personal testimony. When a person has really met the Lord Jesus Christ, he knows it and you know it. “The Spirit beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the sons of God and if sons, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.” The witness of the Spirit in a personal experience of Christ in unmistakable.

Now, people may differ with you in minor points of doctrine and they may differ with you in the points of procedure or how things ought to be done. Great deal of difference in those areas in our world but if a person knows the Lord Jesus his Savior, he knows it and you know it, no doubt about that. “We were eyewitnesses,” said Peter, “of His majesty.”

The second thing that you can be sure of is the solidity of the promises of God, “A more sure word of prophecy.” “Where unto ye do well that ye take heed.” Alright. Well, now let’s go back to what he said. “We’ve not followed cunningly devised fables.” “When we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” “This voice we heard, when we were with Him in the Holy Mount. There came a voice from Heaven saying ‘This is my beloved Son.’”

And you go over to the story, the transfiguration. And there you have the record of what happened when the Lord Jesus took his disciples and went up into the mountain and was transfigured before them. Mathew 17 is the passage, “After six days Jesus taketh Peter, James and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them. His face did shine as the sun; his raiment was white as the light.”

My old theology prof, Dr. Champion, back in seminary, he used to use the illustration of a kerosene lamp. He said, “Any of you people ever live on a farm or you used kerosene lamps?” Well, of course I grew up — I partly grew up on a farm and I knew about kerosene lamps because I had to clean the lamp chimneys every Saturday night that was chore. Right after supper my uncle Frank would say, “Time to clean them lamp chimleys, boy.” And I’d get some old newspaper, and I’d scour the inside of those smoked-up lamp chimneys until they shone bright and clear once again, and put them back on the lamps.

And so, the old prof would say “Well, when you turn the wick down, you only have a very small light. But if you turn the wick up you have a larger flame.” And he said, “Young ladies and gentleman there on the Mount of Transfiguration, the Savior turned up the wick of deity and let the light shine out for a moment.” That was a pretty good illustration.

So, it says “He was transfigured. His face did shine as the sun. His raiment white as the light” and there appeared Moses and Elias and Peter, of course nobody asked him anything but he’s always answering and then answered Peter. He didn’t know what to say, so he said it. And he said “Lord, it is good for us to be here. Let’s make three tabernacles. One for thee, one for Moses and one of Elias,” he made the mistake of lumping the blessed eternal Son of God together with these two prophets. And now, God the Father is going to straighten them out. A high cloud overshadowed them and a voice out of the cloud said “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him.”

Now, that’s what happened as recorded by Mathew, in Mathew 17. We come over then into 2 Peter 1 and he said, “There came such a voice to him from the excellent glory.” “This is my beloved Son in whom I’m well pleased.” “And this voice which came from heaven, we heard when we were with Him in the Holy Mount.”

Let me stop here long enough, just to remind you beloved, that your personal contact with Jesus makes your testimony believable. The reason the world around us sometimes doubts the validity of our Christian faith, and assigns it simply as a point of view, is that there has been no transforming experience of Christ that shows up. “This voice we heard, we were eyewitnesses;” says Peter, a difference because of the experience. Now, I’d be the last person in the world to have you form your theology out of the idea that you have to experience something in order to believe something, it’s just the other way around. People say, “I’m from Missouri, show me and I’ll believe.” God says, “You don’t have to be from Missouri, you believeth I’ll show you.” First faith then experience, and we’re straight on that now, aren’t we?

“By grace he ye have saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of work, lest any man should boast.” But he goes on to say in Ephesians 2:10, “We are his workmanship created unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” You don’t do good things to be saved. You do good things because you are saved. The same thing is true in this matter to be a witness, you don’t depend upon the experience to provide the validity of your relationship with Christ, but the reality of your experience will make what you say credible, believable to the world around you. You read the next, Chapter 4, it says “They took knowledge of them,” these are the Apostles. They took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. There is a difference when you linger at His presence.

Now, that’s why I emphasize from time to time the importance of your morning contact, day by day with your blessed Lord. Meet your Lord in the morning. “Take time to be holy. Speak oft with thy Lord; Abide in Him only and trust in His word. By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be; Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness will see.” Hymn writer was so correct! It is the importance of that daily meeting with your Lord that will make what you say the rest of the day believable. Experience, “We were there, I met Him.”

Stuart Hamblen died not too long ago but I was friends with him for a good many years since the time he became a Christian, a real born-again Christian back in 1949 in one of our brother Billy Graham’s meetings there in Los Angeles, and he delighted, Stuart Hamblen did, in telling things that would happen as he travelled here and there, as people would talk with him. And he said he was sitting beside a man who professed to be an atheist, and the man scoffed at him and said, “Why, do you believe there is a God?” And Stuart said, “I told him, yes, of course I do. I talked to Him this morning!”

That daily contact with your Lord makes a difference in your relationships with people all day long. Well, God bless you dear friends. We’ll see you the next time.

Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be blessing!

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