If you go to Rome today, adjacent to the coliseum you will find the small church that’s built over a hole. And that hole in the ground was a prison, a jail cell. Tradition has it that both Paul and Peter were prisoners in that little cell. The church was built on top of it; it’s there today. And it’s interesting that both Paul and Peter wrote letters of encouragement, tradition has it, from Rome and maybe even from that cell. Paul writes to the Christians at Corinth and he encourages them and likewise Peter writes to believers who are scattered around the then known world. And in the second letter of both writers, Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians and Peter’s second letter to the saints, they seem to write with the motive of encouraging those who are under persecution, facing problems and under pressure. Paul writes to those who are experiencing persecution and problems and under pressure.
And likewise, Peter in his second letter, writes and he encourages those who are also facing persecution under pressure and facing problems. It’s about the time of Nero who was persecuting believers for their faith. And in his second letter, Peter writes and he says; “Grace and peace be unto you for God has to according to His divine power, given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and to virtue. Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises that by these you might be partakers or partners of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” He writes to encourage them as they face all kinds of persecution, all kinds of problems, and as they live under the pressures of life. And he encourages them by saying God has given us three provisions right there in the text: His divine power, He has given us divine promises, and we are part of a divine partnership: power, promises, and a partnership.
Peter says God has given, God has gifted to us divine power and through that power, he says, He’s given us all things that pertain to life and not just life, but life and godliness that we might live as unto God. Even in the face of persecution, even in the face of problems, even as we experience the pressures of life. For God has released into us all that we need in order to succeed. I’ll say that again; you didn’t get it. God has given us all that we need in order to succeed. Say that with me: God has given us all that we need in order to succeed. By His power, all things that we need to live, to make it, to succeed, to overcome, and that we might do it in a manner that brings honor and glory unto Him. For God says He has given us His divine power.
Paul speaks of it in his writing to the Ephesians. Then he says, “God has given us and released in us the same power that raised Christ from the dead.” Resurrection power, God says, is available to you. The same power that stepped into a dead grave where Jesus the Christ lay on a rock. The old African American preacher would say they put Jesus the Rock, inside of a rock, and laid the rock on a rock, and put a rock in front of the rock, with the rock on the rock, inside of a rock. But God released resurrection power that came past the rock, in front of the rock, where the rock was on a rock, in a rock, touched a dead Jesus and raised Him from the dead. And that same resurrection power is available for you today.
Paul says God has given you resurrection; the same power that stepped into a grave where there was a dead Jesus so that if your problem, if your pressure is not worse than a dead Jesus, you and God can handle it. Let me try it again. He has given us divine power that steps into the deadness of our lives. When it seems as though life and the pressures of life are causing all that we have to decay and crumble before our very eyes, God says He’s given unto you His divine resurrection power.
And then He says not only power, but divine promises. Peter says, “God has given us exceeding great and precious promises.” Sometimes the only thing you have to hold on to is a promise. Sometimes it appears that the pressures of life and the problems of life and the stuff that life throws at you has you feeling so destitute, so alone struggling and straining and sometimes the only thing you have to hold on to is a promise.
Peter says, “God has given us exceeding great and precious promises.” For example, God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” That’s a promise of God. God says I don’t care what you’re facing, I don’t care what you’re going through, God says I will never leave you nor forsake you. The two words imply, leave you means to go ahead of. God says I’ll never leave you back there to handle this thing alone.
And then He says “I’ll never forsake you.” The word forsake is the exact opposite. It means to remain behind or to stay behind. In other words, God never says go on and handle it by yourself. I’ll never leave you nor forsake you. God’s great and exceeding and precious promises. God brought someone to this service today. God brought someone to this broadcast today to speak the truth into your life; the promise that He will never leave you nor forsake you. It’s a promise of God. God ordained the steps and ordered the steps of your life that you might hear this truth today.
I don’t care what you’re going through, I don’t care what you’re experiencing, I don’t care the pressure, the pain, the problem, or the persecution, God says I’ll give you a promise. I will never leave you. I will never forsake you. God says I give you precious promises.
Here’s another promise. He says, “If God be for us who can be against us.” And the emphasis on the structure of that phrase is really saying this: if God is for us, who would have the nerve to try to be against us? And the words if God be for and those against us have a slightly different picture than what we would imagine in our culture. The word for means if God be huper: if God be above us, if God is covering us, if God is over us, if God is reigning as Lord over our lives. And then he says who can be against us? The word against is not so much pushing back, it’s the word that means its kata, which means a downward motion. Who can hold us down? Oh you didn’t get it; I’ll give it to you again.
If God is covering me, if God is holding me up, if God is reigning over my life, who would have the nerve to try to hold me down when God is holding me up? If God be for us, who can be against us? He gives us divine power. He gives us divine promises. And then the bible says He has caused to be.. Peter says partakers. Same word means to be partners. We are partners in the divine nature of God. There’s a sharing of the very nature of God. I thought about that, how do I share the nature of God? I have not walked on water recently. I haven’t done that water to wine thing very recently. So what does it mean to be a partner in the divine nature of God? Peter says it’s because of Christ. Christ in me, the hope of glory. And then I am in Christ.
So let’s see, Christ in me and I’m in Christ. It’s a kind of reciprocal indwelling. Let me try it on this side over here. There’s something mystical and marvelous about my relationship with God that makes me a partaker, a partner in His divine nature. When I receive Christ, its Christ in me and yet I am divinely baptized, I’m placed into Him. And so Christ is in me and I’m in Christ. A kind of reciprocal. Oh, you don’t have it.
When I was a little boy, we all had chores, we had jobs to do at the house and one of our chores was to wash dishes. I hated to wash dishes. I’m grown now and I still hate to wash dishes. But I learned something very theological and very truthful about washing dishes. I had a strange thing - I liked to wash glasses. You got your thing, I got my thing. I liked washing glasses and yet God taught me something about washing glasses. I discovered when you take a glass and put the glass in the water, the water gets in the glass. I’m back on this side over here. Something happens when I put the glass in the water; the water gets in the glass. Glass in the water, water in the glass, Christ in you, you in Christ. A kind of reciprocal indwelling. You still don’t have it yet.
There’s something about. I had an aunt who lived in the country, way back in the country. Way back in the country in Alabama and she didn’t have a heater, central heat, she had a fireplace. And in order to heat the house, we had to make a fire. And she had this long, long piece of iron so you’d make this fire and this long piece of iron, and you put this.. the iron was called a poke. Anybody ever hear of a poke? Oh you all don’t have pokes out here in California? And so you put this poke in the fire and kind of kind of shake it around a little bit and a fire would come up see. So you put this poke in the fire and a strange thing happened: when you pulled the poke out, on the tip of that poke, was flaming red because when you put the poke in the fire, fire got in the poke. You don’t have it. Poke in the fire, fire in the poke. Glass in the water, water in the glass. Christ in you, you in Christ; a kind of reciprocal indwelling. Are you getting any of this?
There’s something about my relationship with Christ in which I share in His nature. And then it dawned on me that Christ, the word Christ, the name Christ, means the anointing and so I share in the anointing of Christ. The presence and power of Christ in my life is like the anointing. What does the anointing look like? How does it activate? How does it release itself? David gives me an example. He paints a picture in Psalm 133. He says here’s what the anointing is like, he says it’s like the oil, the anointing oil that flows over the head of Aaron, listen now, and then it flows down over his garment. I am a participant, a partaker, a partner in the anointing. What does that look like? It flows over the head and the bible says in Psalm 133, it flows down the garment and then it says to the hem. One version says the skirt of the garment. It’s the lowest part of the garment. You didn’t get it I’ll give it to you again.
It starts on the head and flows down the garment to the lowest point on the garment. You still don’t have it. So that the greatest concentration of the oil is not on the head, the greatest concentration of the oil is at the lowest point of the garment. She’s got it. In other words, the power of God is released in my life, not when I’m high on the hill, not when just the sun is shining and things are going well, but when I get down to the lowest point, the lowest season, the lowest time in my life, the power of God is activated. It’s released, it’s produced in my life and I rise and stand in power and anointing. You still don’t have it yet.
So he says it’s like the dew, Psalm 133 that begins on Mt. Herman. Mt. Herman is about forty miles north of the Sea of Galilee and the dew, the water, the rain that gathers on Herman flows down, down, down forty miles from the top of Mt. Herman, which is about nine thousand feet above sea level. Stay with me, I’m going somewhere on this one. It begins on the top of the mountain and flows down. Forty miles down, it pours into the Sea of Galilee. From the Sea of Galilee, it flows a hundred and twenty seven miles south in the Jordan River. From the Jordan River, it flows into the Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on earth. So that it began on the top of the mountain nine thousand feet above sea level and flows down, down, down to the lowest point on earth, which is thirteen hundred feet below sea level.
But there’s something strange about the waters of the Dead Sea. Although it is said that things cannot live there, there’s something about the chemical balance in the waters within the Dead Sea it is said that it is physically impossible to drown in the Dead Sea. You didn’t get it; I’ll give it to you again. It does not matter how low you are you can not drown in the Dead Sea, so there’s something about the anointing of God that says when it seems as though death and decay and trouble and pain and pressure and problems are all around you, you can not go down because the power of the living God holds you up, raises you up, stands you up and you come out in victory and you come out clapping your hands and giving praise to the Lord.
Clap your hands all ye people and shout unto the Lord with the shout of triumph. Shout to the North, shout to the South shout to the East, shout to the West. Clap your hands oh ye people to the power of the living God. Somebody give God praise in this house today.