Sermon Notes & References

Christian, Grow Up!

2 Peter 1:5-9

October 27, 2019

1.  Introduction

     a.  Manifold Blessings

     b.  Recipe for Christian Growth

2.  From Faith to Love

     a.  An Exercise in Diligence (5a) Footnote  

     b.  From Faith to Virtue (5b) Footnote

     c.  … to Knowledge (5c) Footnote

     d.  … to Self-Control (6a)

     e.  … to Perseverance (6b)

     f.   … Godliness (6c)

     g.  … Brotherly Kindness (7a)

     h.  … Love (7b) Footnote

3.  Improving Our Vision

     a.  The Desired Results (8)

     b.  The Alternative, Failure (9)

4.  Conclusion


Endnote  2 Peter 1:5-9. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Christian, Grow Up!

 

1.  Introduction

     a.  Manifold Blessings

          i.   when we last looked at the apostle Peter’s letters

                (1) it was on Thanksgiving

                (2) and it was at the first four verses of this second letter

                (3) on the gratitude we should have for salvation’s blessings

                (4) and found in those verses nine such blessings

          ii.  but Peter is not going to stop there

                (1) though it is great to count our blessings, name them one by one

                (2) we need to continue on from that start

                (3) so we shall look at Peter’s

 

     b.  Recipe for Christian Growth

          i.   now, I am not really the person to talk about recipes

                (1) for that you would have to speak to a lady I know

                (2) who, being very systematic has kept many recipes

                (3) so that when one of the boys ask her

                (4) she can ship it to them by e-mail

                (5) and I hear the results of the students resemble those of the teacher

          ii.  but my knowledge is pretty limited

                (1) that most bread, cake and cookie recipes early on include flour

                (2) but one were to stop there the result would be quite gross

          iii.  I also know the expression, ‘fold in’ meaning to add some ingredient

                (1) the recipe goes though some standard, necessary items to add

                (2) which will produce a regular bread, cake or cookie

                (3) and the you are to ‘fold in’ the ones that make it special – raisins or chocolate chips, or so on

          iv. Peter’s recipe for Christian growth is like that

                (1) as each ingredient is added, the nature of the result becomes more and more apparent

                (2) it goes through step by step what is involved in building a mature, Christian character.

                (3) so that then the recipe is just about complete

                (4) but when we ‘fold in love – agape love’ that makes it really special!

 

2.  From Faith to Love                                                                 verses 5-7

     a.  An Exercise of Diligence (5a)

          i.   “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, …”

          ii.  what is ‘this very reason’ to which Peter is referring?

                (1) look back to verse 4 of this book: “For by these 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.” (2 Peter 1:4)

                (2) ‘partakers of the divine nature!’

                     (a) that we as God children should ‘be holy as He is holy’

                     (b) “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behaviour;” (1 Peter 1:15)

                     (c) “... predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son ...” (Romans 8:29)

                     (d) this is the goal of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit

                     (e) which is a co-operative work of the Holy Spirit & the believer

          iii.  the high destiny of our high calling is the very reason that having been saved we should apply all our diligence

                (1) that word ‘applying’ or ‘giving’ literally is ‘bringing in from the side’ which raised in my mind the idea of ‘folding in’ an ingredient

                (2) and this is to be done diligently – with haste or zeal

                (3) it is not something to put off until another day, or to a mature old age, or when we have begun ‘to arrive’ – but now; A.S.A.P.!

 

     b.  From Faith to Virtue (5b)

          i.   “… in your faith supply moral excellence, …”

                (1) one of the problems with translations is that none is perfect because meanings of words just do not flow from language to language

                (2) to that end, the classic Amplified Bible was published in about 1965 which gave multiple translations for some words to provide a clearer understanding of its meaning

                (3) for example, this phrase might be rendered, “… in (to) your faith supply (add, provide, furnish) moral excellence (virtue, goodness, noble character) …”, so you can see the fullness in these few words

          ii.  the point being, first of all, that our salvation, starting with the faith which we received back in verse 1, does not end there.

                (1) our testimony should not be merely, ‘I believed in Christ as my Saviour when I was eleven and have believed ever since.’

                (2) for as is pointed out in James 2:17, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”

                (3) faith is the great starting point, but it should grow: be added to by other qualities so that we become complete in Jesus Christ

          iii.  and the second point is the need to add moral excellence

                (1) now, those words in themselves, or the alternatives, virtue, goodness, and noble character, may be hard for us to picture

                (2) but that last definition may give us a graphic hint

                (3) the Bible gives some examples of noble characters and one that springs to mind is Jonathan, whose friendship and loyalty to David transcended any personal ambition or consideration

                (4) add that quality to your faith!

 

     c.  … to Knowledge (5c)

          i.   … and in your moral excellence, knowledge;

                (1) the next needed quality if knowledge

                (2) of course, we are given the Scriptures in order to gain insight, discernment, understanding, wisdom

                (3) which is why we should seek to have a quiet time where we read that word of God in order to learn

          ii.  but, there is another aspect of knowledge – an active, continuing part

                (1) this is the knowing that God made clear to Jeremiah 9:23-24, ‘23 Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things, “declares the Lord.’

                (2) it is the personal knowledge of our Lord which realises what He would have us do in each situation

                (3) with such knowledge we have been allowed entrance into the will of God, having the practical abilty to distinguish good from evil

 

     d.  … to Self-Control (6a)

          i.   “and in your knowledge, self-control, …”

                (1) self-control can be rendered temperance

                (2) but that really is the result rather than the quality

                (3) even self-control can convey the misleading impression of a Stoic gritting of one’s teeth and rigidly bearing up to pain or stress

          ii.  this is the inner rule of oneself, so ‘it abstains from the evil it knows to identify, and in Christian liberty steadily bridles its desires’ Endnote

 

     e.  … to Perseverance (6b)

          i.   “… and in your self-control, perseverance, …”

                (1) this does not refer to the dogma of ‘the perseverance of the saints’, i.e, that those who are truly saved will persist in their faith forever

                (2) but rather of continuing on when under a heavy load, whatever that load may be: responsibility, suffering and so on

                (3) so it contains elements of patience and steadfast endurance

          ii.  as John W. Peterson wrote in that hymn

It’s not an easy road we are travelling to heaven,

For many are the thorns on the way.

It’s not an easy road, but the Savior is with us,

His presence gives us joy every day.

Chorus:

No, no, it’s not an easy road.

But Jesus walks beside me and brightens the journey,

And lightens every heavy load. Endnote

 

     f.   … to Godliness (6c)

          i.   “… and in your perseverance, godliness;”

                (1) just to repeat what we said a few weeks ago

                     (a) that does not mean god-likeness, though that’s a common idea

                     (b) the old English word, piety, was a closer definition

                     (c) it is something perhaps easier to recognize than to define:

                     (d) it is being such a person that our very being worships God

          ii.  a quality we should expresses even when under a heavy burden

          iii.  or, a somewhat fuller description, ‘the disposition in which the consideration of God controls the whole life, in which He is held in supreme honour, and the doing of which things constitutes its own happiness ’ Endnote

 

     g.  … to Brotherly Kindness (7a)

          i.   “and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, …”

                (1) the word for brotherly kindness is philadelphia, which is the name of the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ – which used to strike me as funny because their hockey team used to be the roughest & fightingest!

                (2) but the point is that the church of Jesus Christ is a family

                (3) true world wide, and true in its smallest units such as ourselves

                (4) showing that mutual concern which should exist between brothers

          ii.  as my youth-time pastor used to repeat, ‘Despite all of its imperfection the world knows no sweeter fellowship than that within the church of Jesus Christ.’ Endnote

 

     h.  … to Love (7b)

          i.   “… and in your brotherly kindness, love.”

                (1) and now we have reached the pinnacle of the temple that we are to be of the Holy Spirit

                (2) agape love – the feeling and showing of concern for others without thought of benefit or return to oneself

          ii.  Jesus gave the mark of the disciple who has learned from the Master

                (1) “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

                (2) agape love – which doesn’t stop with family, or with friends, or with our church – though it certainly is to start & exist there

                (3) may Paul’s prayer be realised in us “and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you;” (1 Thessalonians 3:12)

          iii.  for this is love toward all, even enemies, as was manifested in Christ

 

3.  Improving Our Vision                                                             verses 8-9

     a.  The Desired Result (8)

          i.   “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

          ii.  first the desired result is not a result as such

                (1) for while Christian growth will have these qualities shown in us – they are in us; they are in our possession as personal property

                (2) that is not a final or result condition

                (3) but just as Peter’s readers were pilgrims, on a journey through a foreign land, these progressive steps in the Christian are not a final resting place but part of a progressive journey.

                (4) just as the Christian is to be growing, so these qualities are also to be not static, but abounding

          iii.  yet they will be marked by results

                (1) a friend came by this past Friday and gave me a UPS and brand new replacement battery

                     (a) but he warned ‘It works but it just doesn’t do the job!’ – that job being to keep a computer, say, running when the power goes off

                     (b) well, I examine it briefly, and found the lights went on, it hummed and behaved as a UPS does, but the only power that come out of it was was from the battery, which would soon drain to nothing.

                     (c) in a word, it just didn’t work

                     (d) in the words of this verse, it was useless – un-working, barren, ineffective

                (2) in James’ word quoted previously, the growing Christian will be one whose Christianity works; it produces the needed power

          iv. and it will be fruitful – which means that these qualities that mark growth are really not of our own making, though they need our diligent effort

                (1) John 15 contains Jesus words on fruitfulness

                (2) summed up briefly, fruitfulnesss requires abiding in Jesus Christ

                (3) that is, as expressed in this verse, ‘the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

                (4) otherwise, off comes that limb of the tree, suitable only for fuel

                (5) for when a tree stops growing it has begun dying

 

     b.  The Alternative, Failure (9)

          i.   “For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.”

          ii.  to be happy with having faith as experienced when we first came to trust in Jesus as our Saviour is to be so short sighted as to be unable to see beyond the end of our noses!

          iii.  for this pays no attentions to the purpose for which we have been saved – purified from the guilt and contamination of our sins

          iv. that this was done so that we should share an eternal fellowship with our Creator God.

          v.  to fail to grow in these qualities is

                (1) to fall short of His purpose for us

                (2) and of our fulfilment and satisfaction in Him

 

4.  Conclusion

     a.  A suggestion to help you in such Christian growth

          i.   set apart for yourself a place and time of quiet

          ii.  that you can spend in prayer

          iii.  and in the reading of God’s word

          iv. which, though even brief will equip you in this way.