The Big Picture
Never get away from the consciousness of the grace of God. Never get away from the awareness of your need of the cross.
Alright. Thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? This is your good friend, Bob Cook, and I am delighted to be back with you once again to share from God’s Word.
We’re looking at II Peter Chapter 1. We’re down to Verse 9. You remember Peter said God has already given you everything you need to be a successful Christian. “His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of Him.” And then in addition to that he’s given you the means of implementing that gift, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that by these promised you might be partakers of the divine nature.”
Then he said there’s something you and I need to do, “Give all diligence, add to your faith virtue.” There are certain things you can add to your own life and personality by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul says in I Corinthians 1:30, “Christ is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” Your faith in the Lord Jesus can make you different. And so you add virtue and knowledge and temperance and patience and godliness and brotherly love and Calvary love. He says if these things are in you and abound and that’s the word “spillover,” if they just spill out of your life, they’ll make you fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, he says, “But,” Verse 9, “he that lacketh these things,” Verse 8, “If these things be in you and abound.” But he says, “He that lacketh these things is blind and cannot see afar off and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren do all diligence to make your calling and your election sure for if you do these things,” as you get another “these things” here, see, “these things,” verse 8, “spilling out of your life, they’ll make you fruitful.” These things, if you lack them, then you’re blind and you’re nearsighted and you’re forgetful. So he says, “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure for if you do these things…” See, what are you talking about? Adding to your life the enrichment that the Holy Spirit of God can bring to you in these various elements that Peter has mentioned — virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly love, Calvary love. These things, “If you do these things,” he said, “ye shall never fall.” An abundant entrance will be ministered to you into the everlasting kingdom.
Now, we get to the rest of those verses by and by. I just wanted you to see the progression of thought there before we get into some of the detail. Now, he says, “He that lacketh these things,” we’re talking now about the components of the Christian life that can be added through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, all right.
Now, what characterizes people who may be believers but who just don’t have all that God wants them to have. They haven’t taken advantage of His offer of doing all of these for you by faith. Well, the first thing he says is “blind” and he uses the word there that is an absolute word for blindness, “tuflos” which means blind. Blind blind. It’s referred to, for instance, in John Chapter 9, “They saw a man who is blind from his birth.”
Now, what is this? Why would he say — but he uses a different word right away that we’ll talk about which is “nearsighted.” But now he used, first of all, he says “blind,” can’t see. What is this? Your perception of eternal matters depends upon your willingness to trust Jesus Christ to build them into your life. Your perception of eternal matters depends on your willingness to let the Lord Jesus Christ build these eternal concepts and entities into your life. “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith,” he said, “and that ye being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the length and depth and breadth and height, than to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge?” He said, “I want you to have the full assurance of understanding to the acknowledging of the mystery of God the Father and of Christ in Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Now, he says, “Walk by faith in him, rooted and built up in Him. In Him dwells all the fullness that the God had bodily. You’re complete in Him,” and so on. I’m just quoting some of the verses from Colossians 2.
Your knowledge of eternal matters, your conception of eternal matters is inescapably linked with your willingness to let the Lord Jesus Christ build them into your life. The reason some people just don’t see it, as we say, is that they’re not willing to let Christ modify their lives or their characters or their lifestyle or all of the above. Do you follow that? “He that lacketh these things.” You don’t have virtue. You don’t have knowledge. You don’t have the inner strength. You don’t have patience. Instead of staying down, you give up or blow up. You don’t have the quality of God in everyday ordinary living. You don’t have brotherly love. You don’t have Calvary love or any of these or all of them. “He that lacketh these things.” He says you don’t get it.
Now, am I talking to somebody today who — maybe you’re a little impatient with Bob Cook at this point and you say, “Brother, why are you banging away on us at this?” We got troubles enough without having you get on our case.” Well, beloved, I love you and I’ve got to be faithful to you. The reason that you don’t understand more about eternal things may well be that you haven’t been willing to let the Lord Jesus modify your life, your character, your lifestyle, or all three. That’s what Peter is saying. You shake your head and you say, “I don’t get it. I’m doing my best. You don’t realize how hard I’m working. You don’t realize how tough I’ve got it. You don’t realize what it means to be the only Christian in an unsaved family. You don’t realize what it is to be the only Christian in an office full of heathens. They all pick on me all the time.”
Well, maybe I don’t but maybe indeed I do. I’ve been around awhile and I know that it’s not easy for you. Nobody ever said it would be. But I want you to know that your understanding of eternal matters does not depend upon the situation in which you’re living. It does depend upon whether you’re letting the Lord Jesus Christ operate in your life by faith. Whether or not you’re taking by faith what He can do and only He can do in you. Do you follow that?
Now, there’s a first word he used. It’s “blind.” The second word is “nearsighted,” cannot see afar off. Nearsighted. Now, there are some people who have a little spiritual comprehension but they can’t see very far, can’t see very far. They’re inextricably linked to the present. All they can see is the present circumstances and the present difficulties and the present opportunities perhaps. They don’t see the whole picture.
Years ago my boss, Vic Cory, sent me to a management class where it was explained to me that if you want to be a good manager you have to learn to see the big picture. What did that mean? Well, it means that you have to see more than just the scope of your own little job situation. You have to see more than your own feelings about it and you have to understand more than being successful in your own widget department or whatever it may be. You have to think in terms of the corporation and what the corporation wants to accomplish. The big picture is what business calls it. How many of God’s dear people are nearsighted? They don’t see much more than their own little committee or their own little niche in life and you disturb that and they get terribly upset because that’s everything. That’s all they’ve got. It’s a tragedy to tie your life to something less than the eternal will of God.
I spoke to a man who is burying his only daughter. She died at age I suppose about what — 31. That would have left him at age, well maybe in the middle 50s or close to 60. He had idolized this child of his as she grew up and now she was gone. He got a solid copper casket and did everything the most expensive way possible. And I’ve ventured to suggest to him that this must be a very costly matter to him. I gently put it that way. He looked at me for a long time and he said, “Well, Mr. Cook,” he said, “she was all I had and this is all there is left.” It’s a tragedy really. Oh, sorrow breaks your heart. I don’t minimize that. It was sorrow. It was bereavement. It was heartache. It was heartbreak to lose that precious daughter. But I want to tell you something. It’s a tragedy to tie your life to anything less than the eternal will of God. The big picture that God has for you is bigger, beloved, bigger than your own heartache, bigger than the things you’ve suffered, perhaps at the hands of an unsaved husband or unsaved family.
God is greater than what you have been experiencing. God is greater than your feelings this minute and you can trust Him to fit you in to His divine will. You don’t have to be nearsighted. You don’t have to focus on the aches and pains of the moment so to speak. You can be tied to eternal matters. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our fate, “Let’s run the race,” He said, “with patience looking unto Jesus.” Read the 11th chapter of Hebrews that said they could have returned to where they came but they went right on by faith for they looked for a city which had foundations whose builder and maker is God. They had their eyes on eternity. That, my friend, is normal Christianity. Do you follow that?
Now, he said, “Blind cannot see afar off,” and then He says, “has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” Now, why that? Because the reality of eternal matters in your life will always be connected with your sharp awareness of Calvary and your need of the cleansing blood of Jesus. Drift away from the consciousness that you are saved only by God’s grace and that you and I deserve nothing but judgment in hell. Everything outside of the lake of fire is pure grace. Drift away from that and you either become self-righteous and careless or worldly and careless. Hath forgotten. Yeah, he uses an interesting word here. This translated forgot. That means to slip your mind, escape notice. “It slipped my mind,” we say. You didn’t mean to forget. It just slipped your mind. We get busy with other things and matters that seem that is to be important and we forget how important it was and is that we’re saved by the grace of God, that Jesus died and shed His precious blood upon the cross for our salvation, that God commandeth His love toward us in it while we were yet sinners. Christ died for us.
Never get away from the consciousness of the grace of God. Never get away from the awareness of your need of the cross. Make the redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ His death for you and His resurrection for you and the blessed experience of being saved. Peter calls it being purged from your old sins. Make that central in every day’s living.
Dear Father, today, may we have that big picture of God’s divine will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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