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Maturing in Jesus

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Introduction

Hebrews 6:1–12 ESV
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
The mature - those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Today, we study an exhortation or encouragement to maturity.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016), .
2 Peter 3:18 ESV
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Maturing is Mandatory and Ongoing

But Grow – grow means to increase (to become larger, greater or bigger – literally) Peter has in mind that the recipients of this letter would grow in maturity as followers of Christ. This is the same idea that he mentions at the beginning of the letter.
2 Peter 1:5–8 ESV
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. 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.
Back to 3:18
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 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.
The verb translated grow is an imperative, which means that it is first a command for which the Christian is responsible. Commands in authoritative letters that are inspired by God are not optional activities for those that want to honor God.
Back to 3:18 - The verb translated grow is an imperative, which means that it is first a command for which the Christian is responsible. Commands in authoritative letters that are inspired by God are not optional activities for those that want to honor God.
Secondly, the verb for grow is in the present tense, which describes what should be or is and ongoing, perpetual activity.
Lastly, it is in an active tense. In the active tense the subject of the verb is to perform the activity. In this case subject is understood “you” and second person plural (you being the group of people to whom the letter was written by Peter.

Practical Application

Do not give yourself an easy out on growing up. You do not have the authority or freedom to do so. Ultimately, as a believer, you do not wan to stop growing.
Always think motive and action in all the Christian life. What specific actions are you taking to grow and why are you doing them?
If we are true disciples of Jesus, we will be responsive to God’s command to grow or increase. In what are we to increase? Peter tells us. Grace and Knowledge

Maturing is Exclusively in Jesus

Grace - Grace given by Jesus Christ – What is grace? We usually think of grace as unmerited favor or unearned favor, which is something that is kind of static and unchanging. This is favor given to us that was earned by Jesus on the cross. We call it saving grace. However, in this verse we are called to grow in grace given by Jesus Christ, which means in some way we increase in the favor that Jesus earned.
John 15:5 ESV
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Lord – King, Ruler, Master
Lord – king, ruler; Savior – one who rescues from sure destruction; Jesus – God saves
Savior – One who rescues from sure destruction;
Jesus – God saves
Christ – the anointed One, chosen One of God, Messiah
Grace - Grace given by Jesus Christ – What is grace? We usually think of grace as unmerited favor or unearned favor, which is something that is kind of static and unchanging. This is favor given to us that was earned by Jesus on the cross. We call it saving grace. However, in this verse we are called to grow in grace given by Jesus Christ, which means in some way we increase in the favor that Jesus earned.
They are two ways that we can say what Peter is describing in this verse.
First, we are to grow in the application of God’s grace in our lives. For example, one day we sin and feel that God does not loves us. To grow in grace is to dismiss this feeling and realize that Jesus loves us with an everlasting love and that he will forgive us completely of all sin when we confess it to him ()
The second way to understand grace is that it is also divine enablement. Not only is it unmerited favor that never changes, but because of that he helps me apply that realities of the person of Christ to my life. He empowers me through Christ.
Ephesians 2:5–6 ESV
even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Knowledge - Knowledge of Jesus Christ or it could be the knowledge provided by Jesus Christ, though in reality no true knowledge of Jesus Christ is gained apart from him. Knowledge is what can be perceived, understood, and learned. Peter is saying that the Christian is a disciple (learner/follower). In other words, we are to be students in the school of Christ. Growing in knowledge is necessary for living the Christian life.
even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Knowledge - Knowledge of Jesus Christ or it could be the knowledge provided by Jesus Christ, though in reality no true knowledge of Jesus Christ is gained apart from him. Knowledge is what can be perceived, understood, and learned. Peter is saying that the Christian is a disciple (learner/follower). In other words, we are to be students in the school of Christ. Growing in knowledge is necessary for living the Christian life.
This does mean the increase in mere information, though it includes the transfer of information. We should be growing in the understanding of who Jesus is and what he has done for us. Was he truly God and man? Why does that matter? What did he really do on the cross? Is he the only way to be saved? Where is he and what is he doing now? Why is that important and encouraging?
Who Jesus is and what he has done for us is vital and exclusive for growth. There is not growth apart from him. Our practical growth in Christ is vitally joined to our position of union with him.
John 15:5 ESV
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
We can see the One with who we are connected.
Lord – King, Ruler, Master
Savior – One who rescues from sure destruction;
Jesus – God saves
Christ – the anointed One, chosen One of God, Messiah

Practical Application

There is a individual emphasis to maturity. You are ultimately responsible for you own growth. What you do in the Christian life is up to you.
Psalm 1:1–2 ESV
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
There is a community aspect to growth, as well. You are individually responsible to help others to grow.
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There is a community aspect to growth as well. You are individually responsible to help other to grow.
Ephesians 4:15–16 ESV
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Ephesians 4

Maturing Brings Praise to Jesus

Maturing Brings Praise to Jesus

It is interesting that this closing encouragement is connected to what we call a doxology, which is an expression of praise to God. Peter close with a praise to Jesus Christ
To him – Jesus Christ, the King of kings, the Lord or lords, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, the son of man, the son of God, the lamb of God, the friend of sinners, the anointed one, the chosen one, the lamb slain before the foundation of the world, the one with the name that is above every name, the only only mediator between God and man, the chief cornerstone, our great high priest, Immanuel (god with us), the author and finisher of our faith, our redeemer, the Good shepherd, the lion of the tribe of Judah, the lamb standing as though he had been slain, the resurrection and the life, the coming one, our savior
Be the glory – fame and recognition,
1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Both now – in this present reality;
Both now – in this present reality;
And to the day of eternal – in the endless singular day of forever
Amen – let it be, so be it

Practical Application

Visualize with me for a moment. How must more would Christ be praise, if we were to grow in him like never before?
If you grew in holiness, humility, servanthood, love of the truth, sin-hating, sin-killing, sharing the gospel, prayer, thanksgiving, courage, meekness, faith, joy, loving your neighbor, understanding of mercy,
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