we spent some time talking about relationships with Jesus and saw how Jesus reached out to all but not all accepted the message He had.
after accepting the message of the gospel,
we are called to walk a new walk, a new life.
scripture speaks of this new life in many passages and this one clearly shows the path to maturity.
As we walk as a believer in this world, we can grow in our faith or we can become stagnate, or worse, backslide.
it is different than our physical growth that just seems to happen as we go from childhood to adult.
maybe we measured ourselves every so often on the door frame and marked a line and a date?
wouldn’t it be nice to see our spiritual growth in the same way.
let’s look at what Peter says about growing as a Christian and see our mark on the doorpost.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
now, this verse is one of those that is worth memorizing, it powerfully explains what God has done for a believer to live this life! He has given us the Spirit to live our lives out and that is enough.
by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,
and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,
and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
we will stay right here for a bit to look at what verse 5 shows us about supplementing our faith with.
and it does start with faith, for a Christian nothing else can really come first. we are saved by faith. but being saved is not the end....it is as you know just the beginning.
these are not so in an order that you cannot have the second if you don’t have the one before it. God is working on all of these in our lives as we speak.
virtue. or some translations use goodness and others excellence of character. as we walk in relationship with the Lord, we are changed by His goodness to us, and also as we are given the Holy Spirit, we show signs of virtue.
virtue is simply doing what is right to others. living moral before them. our changed life displays this towards others. to see the mark on the wall, we sometimes need to look back and see where we came from. not that we pat ourselves on the back or get prideful, because it is all the work of the Spirit, but we can see the change in our behavior since Christ came into our lives.
knowledge, this is knowledge about Jesus, about the Father. As you and I spend time with anyone we collect knowledge about them. the same goes for our relationship with Jesus. the more we pray, read scripture and fellowship with the saints, the more we grow in knowledge.
self control, or temperance. interesting that this is found in the list of the fruit of the Spirit as well. the opposite would be without restraint. self control shows itself by how we act when we don’t get our own way. God has the power to restrain us so the question comes do to this. do we look to Him. do we ask for God to restrain us? what a powerful prayer and it leads to self control.
perseverance or steadfastness or endurance and even patience. for me the parable comes to mind of the seeds that were planted and some didn’t grow or persevere but some did. they needed deep roots, they needed rain, nutrients. just as we need to be in the word, learning and being challenged by scripture as well as in fellowship with other Christians that encourage our walk. if one thinks they can be a lone ranger in this Christian life, not needing scripture, not needing other believers, they are gravely mistaken. the enemy wants us to get separate so he can try and devour us. we need the word like plants need nutrient rich soil.
Godliness. as we read scripture, we must look at the culture and the times as well as the eternal truths and principles that we find. Peter was writing in a time and place where there were many false teachers that were living in ungodliness. Peters use of the word twofold, to point the way for believers and to convict the ungodly. His letter would have been read as a community so these teachers would have heard it. Godliness is as Paul writes, follow me as I follow Christ. it is doing what God does.
Brotherly kindness or brotherly love. this is really directed at the community of believers, the church, to love one another. Jesus declared by this all men will know that you are My disciples when you have love for one another. We have a responsibility towards each other, to know and to reach out, to minister to each other. and that is all of us. who have you loved on lately?
love or some translations use the word charity. the greatest need in the world is not more money, or food, or more stuff, but love. the world is starving from not enough love. love or being loved changes a person. it causes them to know they are valued, to know they are wanted, appreciated. it gives them purpose. love is one answer for the hearts longing.
we as Christians know the source of love. there is a spring that never runs dry. as you and I spend time with Jesus, we experience love that we need. once we have been loved like that, we have love to give. It is important for us to see Jesus in every area of our lives, even the not so pretty areas, because His transforming love with give us what we need to minister to others when they are in a place of struggle, when it’s not so pretty.
Church, do you realize what God has done? He has given you and I something that can change the world! we just have to step out and use it. Love.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
so the opposite of this, if we just came to faith and stopped. we didn’t read the bible, we didn’t pray, we weren’t learning from other believers, we become ineffective or unfruitful Christians.
I heard a while back from a preacher, if you went to court for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict?
are we ministering the love of God, are we persevering, are we showing virtue, are we displaying our faith?
Peter goes on to say about the one who isn’t living this out....
For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
I believe we need to hear the gospel message every day. we need it to sink deeper and deeper into our heart and mind. we need to experience the freshness of what God has done for us. this is our foundation to our faith. Jesus. may we remind each other what God has done for us. I love when just being in life, the gospel message comes out. it is beautiful.
Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
what a statement! but honestly, as we walk with the Lord, He keeps us in peace and joy. so when you and I are not living in that place of peace, we must look at our walk with Jesus. we must ask the question, where am I? A Christian is not guaranteed to walk to never fall if they aren’t walking with the Lord. we fall because we walk out of step with Him. that is why we must watch our walk carefully.
and as we walk with Jesus, as we see these evidences in our lives, we are building confidence in our final destination, our entrance to heaven.
For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
oh what a life we have been given. what a Savior we have. that He would earn for us a way to heaven....what a glorious King.
May we realize, who we were, who He is, and how much He has done for you and I, to take us from a sorry, sinful state and to wash us clean as snow and to give us freely His righteousness, how can we not be in awe. isn’t He wonderful!
maybe we have been hurting and broken within, overwhelmed by sin. we need to just return to the altar and find the arms of the Father.
sing with me come to the altar.