Dr. Ed Young - Saved by a Look
I'm in heaven, it's the first sunrise I've ever seen in heaven. I have on my resurrected body, this old shell was thrown away. Now I've got that resurrected body, it's going to take me about 50 trillion years even to understand how the real me can operate in this new facility that I've been given. And all the glory of heaven, this is my first morning, I had only five senses on this earth, but now I seem to have dozens and hundreds and thousands of the senses to comprehend the music, the majesty, the color, the artistry, the magnificence, the splendor of this first morning in heaven.
All of my life, from the very early beginnings, we always went to my mother's bed in our family and she would read the Bible. We'd pray for missionaries, then she would pray a prayer, and in every prayer I've ever heard her pray all the way from the earliest childhood all the way until I was an adult, she prayed, "When thou art through with us on this earth, take us to our home which is in heaven". So, I didn't like to hear that as a child, it sounded a lot like death. But somehow today, with my mother, my dad, and my brother, my wife, so many have gone before they're in heaven, and now here I am, I'm in the land of the living.
All I'd known before was earthly living which is the land of the dying, I'm in heaven and I'm overwhelmed. The throne, Jesus, the lamb, the whole spectacular nature, I feel like I'm understanding about this much and then, whew, this much to get. Then I notice there are some throngs of people, there's a large throng over here and a large throng over there and a larger throng all over here, and I'm sort of confused, and an archangel recognizes that, he comes down, and says, "Welcome, may I help you"? I said yes, I don't understand these throngs that I'm seeing, I don't understand this and I feel like I ought to join one. And I said what is this throng that's over here?
"They're all gather around the river of life," I see. He said, "Well, that throng is listening to the teaching of the Apostle Paul, and he is reconciling for all of those who are beginning in heaven the the Arminians and the Calvinists, and he is speaking truth that he had tried to incorporate in his life so we'll all be up to speed," And I looked around and there were a lot of scholars, erudite philosophers, theologians there, just drinking in the teaching of Paul, and he said, "You can certainly join this group," I said no, not for the first morning in heaven, it's a little too lofty for me, though I look forward to it. And what about this group over here? And someone here is teaching, who is that? "And they're all gathered around the crystal sea," he said, "That's the Apostle John," said, "He's talking about love and how we can apprehend love, how love is the theme of all of eternity, and he is speaking on love in clear terms of how we can apprehend it, how it is a very celestial air of heaven".
I said whoa, I would love to hear John, but that's a little too mystical for my first morning in heaven and this is a little too scholarly for my first morning in heaven, what is this big group that's here? I hear a voice there, and said, and they're all gathered around the western wall in the New Jerusalem, who is that? And I hear a ringing voice at a distance I couldn't understand, and he said, "That's the Apostle Peter," and I knew immediately, that's where I ought to go. 'Cause I know Pete, he was mountaintop, valley, boisterous, up and down, around, about, and I said you know, this is where I need to belong, I can identify with Peter.
Then I started thinking, I wonder what he's speaking on, what he's teaching, and I drew closer trying to hear, and I thought well, maybe he's talking about when he was Caesarea Philippi and Jesus asked, "Who do you say that I am"? And he said, "Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God," maybe he's recounting that moment. Or, I said you know, it could be that when he's on the sea of Galilee, they'd fished all night and could not caught anything, Jesus says, "Unfold your nets and throw out on that side". He said, "I remember seeing how silly that was, he's a carpenter, I'm a fishermen, I've lived my whole life here. And we threw out on that side where you absolutely do not catch fish in that time of day, in that place, and we had a harvest of more fish than I ever caught in one time in my life".
He said maybe he's talking about that, I'd love to hear about that. Or maybe he's going by recounting when he was speaking at Pentecost, and the birthday of the church, and 3,000 Jews came to faith in Christ, and a few weeks later another 5,000 came around to the irrefutable fact of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, maybe he's talking, I'd love to hear that. Or maybe he's talking about time that Herod put them in jail and they were to have a prayer meeting, they're praying for Peter to get out of jail. And there's a knock at the door and knock at the door, somebody said, "I wish that guy wouldn't bother us, we're praying," and finally, he kept knocking, knocking, knocking, and went to the door and there's Peter; the Angel already got him out of jail, their prayer was standing out, maybe he needs to tell us about that.
But as I got closer, the ringing voice of that Apostle, I realized he was talking about what happened in Luke chapter 22. How in the upper room, Jesus said you know, "Time of my departure is at hand," he began to talk about his death. Peter said, "Lord, you're saying everybody is going to run away from you, but I won't, I'll go to prison with you, I'll die with you," Jesus said, "As Peter reported, everybody's gonna run away, and Peter, before the rooster crows in the morning, you're gonna deny three times that you even know me".
Hmm, three times, we know that's exactly what happened. They came to apprehended Jesus, all the apostles went in hiding, they ran away, but the New Testament tells us Peter followed from afar, he kept his distance, he stayed away from afar until finally he got to the little charcoal fire there, it gets cold in Jerusalem at night, ladies and gentlemen, cold at that altitude. He was warming his hands by the fire and Jesus was in with the Sanhedrin being tried, of course, illegally, but being tried anyway.
And so somebody came up and said, "You're one of his followers," Peter said, "No, no, no, you're mistaken". A little later, a young girl came up and said, "I recognize you, you're with this Jesus". "No," he said, "That's not me". Then another man came up and said, "Hey, I recognize your Galilean accent, you're from Galilee, you're a part of those Galileans, you're with that man Jesus," and he cursed, he cursed, and said, "I don't know him, I don't know that rascal," and the rooster crowed, and the rooster crowed. And the Bible tells us, the Gospel of Mark says at that time, Jesus was being moved from the trial with the Sanhedrin over to Caiaphas's house, the high priest, and said, "And Jesus turned and looked at Peter, and Peter remembered".
Somebody sent me a picture of how Jesus looked, it's some look the artist captured, I'm afraid he's looked at me sometimes like that. And Jesus turned and looked at Peter and Peter remembered, and Peter ran out into the night and wept. I knew I was with the right group in heaven when I was with a crowd that Peter was speaking to, because Peter had shamed, disgraced himself, his allegiance, his braggadocious attitude, yet God, we know, there by the sea of Galilee, asked him, "Do you love me"? Three times, and his denial was reaffirmed by his profession, and now Peter was greatly used by God. I needed that, I don't know how in the world anybody wouldn't need that, that's exactly what I needed to know.
That somehow, I too, would be welcomed in heaven. Yes, sir, we look at Peter and we discovered in 2 Peter, this little book of three chapters, it tells us how all of us can know God, K-N-O-W God. Now the question is, do you really want to know God? Hmm? Do you really want to know him? Do you want to know what he's about? Know how he wants you to live? Know his plan? Do you really want to know him? In the 1st chapter of 2 Peter, the word know is mentioned nine times. the whole book is telling us how to know God, and it's so simple, clear, plain. Nobody can say well, I didn't understand that. Read it, you can't help but understand it, this is how you know God.
And we read in the first chapter, he tells us what we have, who we are. And the 2nd chapter of 2 Peter, the scholars tell us it's the most severe, judgmental, damning, hard words in all the Bible, 2 Peter, 2nd chapter. It condemns those who follow a false understanding of God and follow teachers who are not accurately dividing the word of truth, and he condemns those who do that and he condemns those who teach that, why? To be so hard on those who diffuse and do not clearly teach and proclaim how we can really know and live for God? Why so hard on those? You go to the doctor, he gives you a total physical, he scans everything, x-rays everything, takes enough blood out of you to give a transfusion, you think, to 20 people.
I mean, he examines, he turns, he squirms, he has all these machines, and when he gets through with you, he says, "You are absolutely healthy, there's not a thing in the world wrong with you," and you go and say, "Boy, I sure do like this doctor, I'm going to go to him every time I go to the doctor, this is my man". Now there's only one problem with this; the doctor knew, or at least did not pay attention to the fact, that you had a disease that was clearly diagnosed, but he didn't tell you about it. This disease could've been cured, it could have been healed, you could have known health, but you are not healthy, you are in a precarious situation but the doctor gave you good news, what would be the penalty for that doctor? What you think we ought to do with him?
This is what we read in the 2nd chapter of 2 Peter, those who tell us, "You're okay, you're fine, you're gonna be healthy and wealthy, gotta have enough faith, it's okay," and that is a lie, contrary to what God teaches about life and how that we are to live by him, and he has severe words for those who are fooled and beguiled and those who teach such heresy. In the 3rd chapter of 2 Peter, he tells us how to get back on the team; if we wanted off the team, he says this is how you can know God and get back on the squad. But we're going to sit down and look at chapter 1, because it is a magnificent chapter, 2 Peter chapter number 1.
I hope you have your Bibles, and I want you to follow along with me, it's a fabulous little chapter, you'll love it. First of all, the first part of the 1st verse, it tells us Peter had two names and it tells us he had two credentials, look at it. "Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ," his Hebrew name was Simon, that's what he's named, his Greek name was Peter the Rock. He was a bondservant, bondservant means he wasn't taken as a slave or he wasn't subscribed as a servant, he volunteered himself to be a servant, it's a word of humility. Then it says he's an apostle, that's a one of authority, he had witnessed the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he was the intimate crowd, one of the 12, one of the three, he was an apostle.
So here we have, Hebrew name, Greek name. Here we have a thing of humility, I'm a bondslave, a bondservant, and a thing of authority, I'm an apostle, it's wonderful to have authority and have humility. Now, you see both the Hebrew name and the Greek name here, and that reminds us of a controversy: anytime you read a commentary there's always two sides. Some people think well 2 Peter is written to the Gentiles, what is a gentile? You're not a Jew? You're a gentile, Greek, Romans, et cetera. They said, oh, it's obviously written to the Gentile, others say oh no, you're not reading it properly, it's written to the Jews. And they know it's written to a church, probably in Western Turkey, Jewish Church background, Gentile church background.
I think it's a church of Jews and Gentiles and we see this in the context of 2 Peter. And then, in this chapter, we get two big things, don't miss it. Peter tells us who we are, and say who are you? He tells us who we are, who I am, who you are, then he tells us what we can become, this is who you are, this is what you can become, and it's written so simply and so plainly and so beautifully, listen to who we are. "Those who have received faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and savior Jesus Christ".
In other words, he said if you have received Jesus Christ, you're a Christian, you have received the righteousness of Jesus Christ, Keith, come here a minute, I wanna show you something. It's amazing, I can pick out anybody that's a Christian. Keith, right here, when he received Jesus Christ, he received all the righteousness of Jesus Christ. That's true of you, that's true of you, that's true of you. If you receive Christ, you received all of Jesus Christ, no matter how inconsistent you are. I asked Keith last week about the Aggies, he said we won, I ask him today about the Aggies, he said they lost, be seated.
So you can even be inconsistent and still, in Christ, you and I are filled with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. God looks upon you and me as a Christian as perfect, he's telling us who we are. Even gets better than this, look at it. It says, "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge," there's our word, "Of our God and savior Jesus Christ". In Christ you receive all the righteousness of God and now you have grace and you have peace, it is multiplied exponentially in you and in me. Man, all of a sudden, I'm beginning to realize who I am and who you are in Christ. Then it says, verse 3, "Seeing that his divine power, his divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and excellence".
Now we have righteousness, now we have knowledge, now we have power, now we have grace, now we have peace. If you're in Christ and you've received Christ and I've received Christ, doesn't matter about the past, makes no difference. Doesn't matter all that back there, how many times Peter, how he shamed the Lord, disobeyed the Lord, got on the wrong track dealing with Gentiles there, got in an argument with Paul in the Jerusalem Council, doesn't matter about all that. Man, right now, this is who we are in the Lord Jesus Christ. And then it says, verse 4, "We're partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world of lust".
I want to ask everybody here, do you need anything else? Can you think of anything that's all for life? Does anybody here needs anything else? I don't believe you can name a single thing, not a single thing, that's who you are, that's who I am, and Peter's just reminding us of this, how fabulous that is? That's who we are in Christ, very simple. Then he says on top of this, on top of this, given this, when we receive Christ, this is what you can become, it's even more. Verse 5, "Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence in your faith, supply moral excellence, excellent morality, in your moral excellence you'll have knowledge, wisdom, and your knowledge, you'll be have self-control, discipline, in your self-control you'll have perseverance, in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, in your brotherly kindness, love".
He's almost echoing the fruit of the spirit. This is who I am, this is who you are, and this is what we can become. Oh goodness, it's just, the sky's the limit. He's saying you have to grow in your faith, your relationship with Christ, my relationship with Christ is never static, it is always dynamic, and he talks about this. Verse 8, "For those qualities," or here, our qualities, "Are yours and are increasing, and render you neither useless," you're useful, "Nor unfaithful," you are faithful, "In the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ". Then verse 9, "For he or her who lacks these qualities, not growing, you're blind, shortsighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins," what's he saying? He's saying this is who you are, you got all this, and you're right with God, right with yourself, right with your fellow man, and then you can have all of this in addition to that.
And therefore, because you have all of this, and you can have all of this even more as we grow with the fruit of the spirit. We are to mature, we are to grow up. Being around church, you've heard Isaiah 53:6, "All we, like sheep, have gone astray," how does sheep go astray? They just drift off, they wander away from the shepherd and the flock, and they have no sense of direction, and they'd trip, they get cast, they can't defend themselves, they just wander. That's how we get astray, and we just wander away, any way, we just go. "All we like sheep have gone, every one has turned to their own way but God has taken him and put our iniquity," I love that word, that's a true word for sin, it sounds slimy, iniquity. God has put our iniquity on Jesus, and he has taken all our iniquity and died for us.
Now, we get the first part, all we like sheep gone astray, absolutely, and God has taken our iniquity, our sin, and put it on Jesus and he's paid the price, we get that but we miss the middle part. It says, "Each and every one have gone their own way," sin is going your own way, it's when I go my own way. It's when we get so arrogant that we can say you know, I've worked out my own deal with God, we go our own way. And you might say well, this preacher told me it was alright, or my mother said, or we've got to understand that God has clearly spelled out for us, you see it here in 2 Peter so clearly, how we can know him and live for him and have a life, here and forever, that is glorious.
It's God's way, here's the formula, here's the prescription, it's not what you think, what I think, what I want and what you want, God has a way and we've got to grow up in this way. He's given us the capacity to do it, he's put in us the very righteousness of Jesus Christ, a sense of his divinity. In that, sin has marred us, we're made in the image of God, the image of God can begin to be restored in this life. Whoa, we gotta grow up, mature, you can't stay steady with all of this, that God in Christ has given to us. So many of us lapse back and, I'll do it my way. Uh-uh, uh-uh, there's no separate, private, exclusive built-in deals that's contrary to the truth of God and to his book. It is God's principles, as to how to know his son, Jesus Christ, and how to have a life in this world that's out of this word.